February 6th, 2015

Valentine’s Day Photo Gifts

It’s that special quasi-holiday that inspires feelings of love and romance. Or dread. Or both. Well, at least when it comes to buying gifts, the Photolab makes it simple to give a gift that says any of the following:

  • I think about you
  • I have a special fondness for you
  • I value the time we spend together
  • I like doing nice things for you

That’s a Valentine’s Day Grand Slam, right there. The key, of course, is personalization. Photos are excerpts from life; memories we can see and feel. When you give a photo gift, you are actually giving someone a tangible, physical incarnation of a memory (whoa, how’s that for a romantic thought? Feel free to wheel that one out yourself for extra Valentine’s points—no extra charge!)

As for the type of photo gift you should choose, it will probably depend on two things:

  • Your relationship to the recipient
  • The significance that he/she places on Valentine’s Day.  You don’t want to misjudge this one.  Luckily, it’s not usually difficult to figure out.

From there, you’re sure to find the perfect gift somewhere on the spectrum of the Photolab’s awesome personalized gifts:

Keep an eye out for this flyer for some great deals. Consider it a message from Cupid.

Keep an eye out for this flyer for some great deals. Consider it a message from Cupid.


  • Gallery wrap: stretched around a frame, the printed canvas provides unmatched colour reproduction and richness. (More on gallery wraps here.)
  • Metal print: printing on an aluminum surface using special inks produces vibrant, shimmering colour that won’t fade. Perfect if your special someone appreciates the non-typical. (More info)
  • Photo plaque: if the standard frame isn’t your thing but you don’t want to get too fancy, an image printed on a composite plaque might be the ideal solution.
  • Crystal heart: It’s crystal. It’s heart-shaped. Could anything say, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ more?
  • Jewel box: Perfect for keeping that giant sparkling ring she’ll expect to receive soon after (kidding).
  • Puzzles and aprons: for those who appreciate a little whimsical humour with their Valentine’s Day, and personalizing it will ensure it remains a meaningful gift.

Whichever option you choose, you can create and order it online just like regular prints from the Photolab. You can even add a special Valentine’s Day icon to your photo gift or print for free—consult a Photolab technician for details. Making things even easier, most of these gifts are ready for same-day pickup. That’s it! The only real effort you’ll need to put into Valentine’s Day this year is finding an image of your and your special someone that hasn’t been photobombed.

February 4th, 2015

Happy Personalized Valentine’s Day

Please don’t tell me your plan is to just run out and buy your special someone an off-the-shelf, run-of-the-mill Valentine’s Day greeting card. Because that would be textbook Valentine’s Day sacrilege.

After all, the only thing a typical greeting card has going for it is that it’s better than nothing. And when you get your special someone a gift that’s simply better than nothing, that’s exactly the message you’re sending—“Hi, honey. You’re better than nothing. Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Choose your favourite photo to be placed onto one side of the mug.

Choose your favourite photo to be placed onto one side of the mug.

Personalized cards and mugs mean Love.

Personalized cards and mugs mean Love.

Instead, why not give a Valentine’s Day card that’s impossible to interpret as disinterest? A personalized photo greeting card from the Photolab, for example. Available in two glorious sizes, 5×7” and 8.5×12” folded, printed on glossy coated card stock with the 5×7” version also available on photo paper. And yes, they’re available as single prints so you won’t be stuck with a whole box of them.

If the object of your affections happens to enjoy both personalized gifts and warm beverages, perhaps a Valentine’s themed photo mug would be more appropriate. These can be printed not only with a high-quality image, but with customized text as well. In that sense, it’s like giving someone a Valentine’s Day card they can fill with their favourite Arabica blend. Another benefit to a personalized mug is its daily usefulness; the recipient can look at it every day, and whenever they do they’ll remember how you didn’t forget them on Valentine’s Day.

Whether you choose a card or a mug to bestow your personal Valentine’s wishes, creating either is fast and easy. You can create, customize and order your greeting cards in-store using the Home Edition kiosk; you can order a mug from the Photolab or in-store, just like ordering regular prints. Mugs are ready for same-day pickup while greeting cards are ready in just one hour. Each gift says, in its own way, “I care enough about you to NOT buy you something generic.”

February 4th, 2015

This Valentine’s Day, think outside the heart!

If you’re thinking about getting your special someone a photo gift, consider: just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to choose some lovey-dovey photo of the two of you.

I’m not saying lovey-dovey is anything to be ashamed of; I’m just saying it’s all a matter of context. After all, not everyone would feel comfortable using a photo mug at work if the photo is of a smoochy close-up. Obviously, the less embarrassing the image, the more widely the recipient will use or display the gift.

To some people, this says Love much more than a photo of a walk along the beach.

To some people, this says Love much more than a photo of a walk along the beach.

Remember, the best thing about a photo gift is the fact that you’ve taken the time to personalize it—not that you’ve used a photo of the two of you with your heads pushed together.

With that in mind, get creative! How about an action shot? Or a photo of the recipient accepting an award from work or their community, or some other proud moment? Or maybe you’ve found an amazing candid of the recipient with their children. Use a photo that reminds you of how special the recipient is to you.

However, if you want to raise the originality another notch, grab your camera and shoot some photos the recipient has never seen. They could be of the recipient’s favourite local place, or a landmark that has sentimental value for the two of you. Again, be original and creative—there’s no rule that the subject has to be a person! If you happen to think a pet photo would best bring a smile to the recipient’s face, all the better. I don’t think I’ve ever a met a pet who wasn’t game for some modelling.

Perhaps the best-case scenario of course, if you can get away with it, is to shoot some candids of the recipient without revealing their true purpose. The practice you’ll get will improve your photography skills exponentially, and the more candids you take the more likely it is you’ll capture a shot so perfect that the recipient will want to display your photo gift everywhere they go.

Then again, the recipient might really prefer that old photo of the two of you snuggled together with the sunset in the background—and that’s perfectly cool too. All you really need to do is trust your instincts and choose a photo that suits both the gift and the recipient. And as always, the technicians at the Photolab are a great resource, so feel free to consult them.

January 6th, 2015

Photo Publishing: An Easy Resolution to Keep!

Maybe you’ve taken plenty of awesome photos and can’t choose a favourite to print. Or you’d prefer to capture the memory of the whole holiday rather than one single day or event. The Photolab has your solution, with a wide selection of engaging Photobooks, or even a calendar. You can create any kind of Photobook you like; you may want something light, fun and portable, or perhaps you’d prefer a leather-bound coffee table book with a bit more gravitas. Check out this post to learn more about Photobooks.

In addition to the cover, you can also select from a variety of design templates for the actual pages—or you can opt for a clean, white page.

In addition to the cover, you can also select from a variety of design templates for the actual pages—or you can opt for a clean, white page.

Similarly, you have a wide range of calendars to choose from, as I’ve described in this post.

The best thing about Photobooks and calendars is how completely customizable they are. You can download the Photolab Home Edition software for free and use it to create exactly the kind of layout and page effects you want. You can build it, make changes and send it to the Photolab for printing without ever having to exit the software. For a full how-to or more information check out this post. (Oh… and before I forget, you can also use the software to create original greeting cards, which are a great way to send out personalized post-holiday thank you’s).


January 6th, 2015

Should Old Photos Be Forgotten?

Because that’s what will happen in 2015 to all those great photos you’ve taken during the holidays if you leave them on your hard drive or sock them away in the cloud. Sure, you’ll share them on your InstaTwitFace account, where they will accumulate Likes and warm & fuzzy comments, but within a few days your followers’ collective short-lived attention span will flitter elsewhere and your wonderful holiday photos will fade away into obscurity.

Don’t relegate your holiday photos to the cloud. Print them out using one of our many options and display them throughout the year.

Don’t relegate your holiday photos to the cloud. Print them out using one of our many options and display them throughout the year.


You could actually, you know, do something with them. Like turn them into actual physical keepsakes. The kind that people are able to see in perpetuity. And every time they cast their eyes on it they will remember that specific moment or event. After all, isn’t that why we photograph these moments in the first place? Not so that they can remain a bunch of digital information packets that we archive indefinitely in cyberspace.

The specific kind of physical product you should create is entirely up to you. You can go for something traditional and classic, or choose a piece with a funkier, more modern edge, or maybe warm & fuzzy is more your thing. And yes, you can even opt for something purposefully tacky if the photo calls for it.

If you’re not familiar with the Photolab’s photo printing products, I’ve reviewed a few of the more popular ones below.

Enlargements and Awesome Prints

The holidays are the time of the year when typically the whole family gets together. The whole gang of friends, too. At the workplace, the annual holiday party is the one of the few times where everyone is gathered in one place—and the marketing department actually gets dressed up! All of which are reasons why this tends to be the best time of year for taking photos, and why holiday photos often make the best ones to put on display. The Photolab offers a great selection of enlargements and art prints to suit any photo, occasion, or décor.

Enlargements— To begin with, there’s always the simple, tried and true photo enlargements. The Photolab can print sizes from 7 x 7” all the way up to 44 x 66” — the latter being the ideal size if a co-worker is photographed in a Christmas sweater so hideous it simply begs to be on display in the lunchroom all year.

A simple enlargement is a great option for a desk photo, or if you’ve already got a frame you really like. Hey, some people are frame fans. I get it.

Gallery wrap— If you managed to capture some amazing shots of the kids, or your winter vacation to the ski resort yielded some breathtaking scenic panoramas, a gallery wrap can provide a stunning reproduction of either.

Using specially pigmented inks, the image is stretched on a fine art canvas, which requires no frame (although you can still add one for aesthetic purposes if you wish.) The canvas wrap adds tremendous depth and dimension to the image, giving it the presence of a gallery piece. This post provides more detail about gallery wraps.

Metal Prints— If you really want to make a bold statement, a metal print is a state-of-the-art way to display a photo. This method infuses dyes onto specially coated aluminum sheets, providing vibrant colour reproduction and incredibly crisp detail. These shimmering, glass-like prints are an eye-catching way to bring life to an accent wall. I’ve written more extensively about metal prints in a previous post.

The Photolab offers quite a variety of art prints, which I encourage you to explore. You’re bound to find the ideal option to suit both your photo and your home or office.


January 6th, 2015

Why not put a photo on it?

Photo mugs have come a long way. This mug shows how beautifully images can now be reproduced.

Photo mugs have come a long way. This mug shows how beautifully images can now be reproduced.

Suppose you want to do something a bit out of the box with your photos. After all, certain photos are just crying out to be made into crystals, mouse pads or a smartphone/tablet case.

The Photolab has a wide array of products that you can grace with your favourite photos. Have a look—some of the options may surprise you. Of course, one of the most popular options would have to be the photo mug. I wrote about them here in a recent post, but suffice to say if you’re a pet person, or you have grandkids, nephews or nieces, it’s almost mandatory that you own at least one mug bearing their photo—and nothing spreads good cheer throughout the year like an adorable holiday photo.  There are also magic colour changing mugs that are heat activated, as illustrated in this short video here:

Certain products—magnets, for example—can be put together using the Photolab Home Edition software. Others can be created and ordered online just like photo prints. In either case, the process is simple and affordable. And the end result is a keepsake that will bring a smile to your face all year long.


December 15th, 2014

Photo gifts are the new black

Guest post from Vancouver Fashion Blogger, Vancouver Vogue

The best way to give a Christmas gift that’s truly unique is to personalize it! I was recently looking for a fun way to personalize gifts for a few of my fellow beauty vloggers, and thought custom photo ornaments would be perfect. They also make great stocking stuffers too, but I planned to use them as decorative name tags for their gifts.

image1 READ MORE

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