November 29th, 2016

Giving Gifts They’ll Actually Love

Hint: It’s not the thought, it’s the personalization that counts!

We all know that one person who seems to always give the perfect, thoughtful and most unique Christmas gifts. How do they do it? Our Photolab Experts have the secret, and it’s easier than you think. It’s all about personalization. Adding a personal touch, like a photo or custom text, will give your gifts a unique quality that your loved ones will cherish. Our Photolab has virtually endless possibilities to customize your gifts for friends, family, colleagues and anyone else on your holiday shopping list.

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Greeting Cards – Whether it’s your family’s annual Christmas card, or individual cards to give out to family, friends and colleagues, spreading the holiday cheer starts here.  Rather than picking out a set of generic cards to send, why not create unique holiday cards with personal photos? Our Photolab can now customize Greeting Cards using a wide variety of themed templates on 6 new premium card stocks: linen, natural white, matte soft white, shimmer silver and shimmer soft gold. We are the only local Photolab to use these premium card stocks, so your greeting cards are guaranteed to be entirely unique.

 

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Photographic Albums – Give a truly thoughtful and personal gift by curating a collection of special photos and creating a personalized photographic album for loved ones. The book’s photos are printed on thick photographic paper that will brilliantly display cherished memories in a high quality format. Share photos of a recent trip together, a collection of photos taken over the past year, or even old childhood and family photos.

 

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Personalized Large Fleece Blankets – Brand new to the London Drugs Photolab, this is the ultimate cozy Christmas gift. Got a hockey player in the family? Customize a fleece blanket with a photo of their team, and parents can use it to show support and to keep warm at their next game. Grandparents would love a personalized blanket with a photo of their grandchildren, and a dog lover would be over the moon to see their prized pup immortalized on a super-soft fleece.

 

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Photo Crystals – Choose a meaningful photo to share with your loved ones and gift it to them in the form of a crystal. Our new expanded selection of shapes includes heart, teardrop, moon, wave and rectangle-shaped crystal blocks, which can transform your photo into a unique, eye-catching Christmas gift. This would make a great personalized hostess gift for any of your upcoming holiday parties.

 

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Express Books – Need to whip together a quick and easy Christmas gift, and need it right away? The 8×8 photographic Express Books can be made within 24 hours at any London Drugs location. Just choose your photos, and we’ll create a sleek photographic book complete with black leatherette cover. So if you forgot one last person on your list, or if you received an unexpected gift from your neighbour or colleague, don’t fret: we can take care of that.

 

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Instagram Books – This small personalized Instagram Book makes the perfect stocking stuffer gift! Simply select your favourite square Instagram photos from your feed, and our Photolab will turn them into a beautiful square photo book you can easily pop into someone’s stocking. This is a great gift for hard to buy for tweens and teens and for hobby photographers who showcase their work on Instagram.

 

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Photo Calendars – Have a few people on your shopping list that you’re just not sure what to get them? Our photo calendars are easily customized, which make them the perfect gift for almost anyone this Christmas. For family, feature images of your kids growing up, or for co-workers, perhaps feature some of your favourite landscape photos. It is useful all year round.

 

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Personalized Mugs – Whether they’re a coffee person or a tea person, you can’t go wrong with gifting a personalized photo mug. Pick a colour, design, and then choose your photo: it’s as simple as that. You can even choose our Magic Mug that reveals your hidden photo when hot liquid is added. These personalized mugs make great stocking stuffer gifts, as well as gifts for colleagues or your kids’ teachers.

 

Order any of these gifts at our new Photolab website or by visiting any London Drugs location.

 

Holiday Order Deadlines

A great selection of products are available for same day or next day pickup, up to Saturday, December 24 including Enlargements, Canvas Gallery Wraps, Express Books, Photographic Calendars and Mugs. See a photolab expert for details.

Be sure to place your orders for the below products before the listed dates to ensure Christmas delivery:

Photobooks, Calendars and Traditional Greeting Cards: Wednesday, December 14

Creative Products: Wednesday, December 14

Crystals: Tuesday, December 13

Crystallize-it 3D Photo Crystals: Tuesday, December 13

Bobbleheads: Monday, November 14

Yes Video: Friday, November 25

Click here for information about order deadlines.

 



November 29th, 2016

Awesome new mobile app upgrades

Upload to a Photolab kiosk—from anywhere!

In addition to conveniently being able to upload photos to your Photolab account and ordering prints from your mobile phone, the new Photolab mobile app has received a sweet upgrade: now you can also upload your photos to a Photolab kiosk—from anywhere! And by “anywhere” I mean, “without having to be physically present at a London Drugs location and connected to its wireless network.”

 

In case the awesomeness of this upgrade is eluding you, allow me to present just one of many scenarios where it will make your life easier in an awesome kind of way:

 

Imagine you and a friend/sibling/spouse are out shopping for holiday gifts, and you stop at a coffeehouse to briefly collect your senses amidst the madness and chaos. Your friend/sibling/spouse takes a sip from their mocha and begins speaking to you without realizing they have a big dollop of whipped cream on their nose. In a flash, you grab your phone and snap a perfect close-up of them before they realize it. You realize that this photo is too perfect NOT to commemorate as a photo gift especially for their mother/other siblings/co-workers.

 

So what do you do, Hotshot? Here’s what you do:

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  1. You open your newly-upgraded Photolab mobile app, with its upgraded menu options—including Upload to Kiosk!

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  1. Select & upload the recently taken whipped cream nose photo (not shown).

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  1. When the upload is complete, the app displays a code that you can use to access your uploaded photos at ANY Photolab kiosk, at any Photolab location (for a limited time.)

 

With your prize photo uploaded and waiting, you can make a quick stop to your local Photolab right there in the mall or on your way home and order this comedically priceless gift photo mug or ornament in even less time than before. One little upgrade and your holiday shopping time was substantially reduced. More importantly, you were able to create and order a unique, spur-of-the-moment gift that celebrates and mildly embarrasses your friend in less time than it takes to get through a crowded holiday parking lot.

 

And that friends is why the Photolab app upgrade is so awesome. So be sure to give it a try before you embark on a long holiday shopping sojourn.

 



November 28th, 2016

Photo gifts—direct from your mobile phone!

Check-out these How to Videos

These days, something in the neighbourhood of 50% of all online retail purchases are made using mobile devices. In fact, it may even be more than that when you consider that I don’t like doing research about retail sales statistics and therefore didn’t bother looking up more recent data. But it’s absolutely plausible; more and more people are only using their computers at the office and their phones everywhere else. Whatever the actual statistics, the ever-proactive Photolab people are aware of them and have built a mobile site that’s easy to use and fast/stable enough to create and order anything from their entire catalog of photo products while you’re waiting for the barista to steam your latte.

With the holidays fast approaching, this feels like the perfect time to demonstrate exactly how easy it is to create and order a photo gift item (in this case, a holiday-themed printed beer stein) on a smartphone. How easy? Well, the video demo I created is a mere seven minutes from start to finish—which includes the time I take to (over) explain everything. As I usually do with my video demos, I pre-loaded all my photos and albums to save time, but of course that’s a very simple process as well. You can review it with this post if you need. Then, grab your smartphone and give it a try yourself, and see how simple holiday shopping can be. And once again, my sincerest apologies for sounding like a Simpsons character.

Instagram Easy Photo Books!

From your social networks to your favourite prints in a snap.

As we’ve mentioned many times here on the ol’ Photoblog, no one loves Instagram more than the Photolab. Well, the Photolab also loves Facebook and Twitter, plus any other social media that’s helped make photography such an essential part of the way we communicate and express ourselves in daily life. However, I’ve never asked but I’d bet Instagram is still the consensus favourite simply because of its emphasis on photography.

In fact, the Photolab has made it possible for people to engage via Instagram outside of the digital world with the new, specially-created Instagram photobook. It’s a simple 20-page booklet that can be either 4×4” or 6×6”—square formats that are perfect for Instagram photos. Simply choose your finish (glossy or pearl) and your binding edge (top or side), load your Instagram account into your London Drugs photo album and build your book. And as you can see from the video demonstration, it takes only a few minutes to create and order. These booklets have a very instantaneous, in-the-moment quality to them, and they exist to be shared with others—almost a kind of tactile version Instagram—yet made for actual life!

Have a quick look at the video. Then, start by taking what you consider to be the best images in your Instagram account and print your very own Instagram’s Greatest Hits photobook. And as you watch, keep this in mind—my tongue isn’t actually fused to the roof of my mouth with a wad of peanut butter. It only sounds that way.

Your phone: the instant personalized photo greeting card maker.

Perhaps you’ve never made a personalized greeting card for anyone. Perhaps it’s because you believe it’s going to take too much time, and therefore it’s easier to just buy a pre-printed set from the store. Let’s set the record straight once and for all; this is a holiday myth—and it’s a bigger downer than the myth about getting coal in your stocking. The fact is, it’s always been quick & easy to make a personalized greeting card from the Photolab. It was easy back in the days of the Photolab home software, and it became even quicker & easier with the launch of the current Photolab website.

Also, since the new site is all responsive and adapts to mobile phone web browsers, you can create a personalized card from your photo album anywhere you take your phone. Do you happen to be somewhere with a nice outdoor light display? Snap a picture and make it into a holiday card, right on the spot in a matter of minutes. This short video demonstration shows you how. Actually, it serves more as proof that you can do it, because the process is so simple that you really don’t need a tutorial.

Have a look at the video, then try making a personalized card yourself. The recipient will certainly appreciate you spent the time—however little time you actually needed to take. And I apologize for having a voice that sounds like a failed audition for the pre-recorded Skytrain announcer.



November 24th, 2016

Nostalgia and personalization top holiday decor trends for 2016

The holidays are all about enjoying the company of friends and family, and if you’re celebrating together from the comfort of your own home, there are a few creative ways to make your home feel even more festive and inviting. Spread holiday cheer from the moment your guests walk in the door with unique and personalized holiday décor items from London Drugs Photolab.

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Christmas Ornaments – Christmas Ornaments are what make every Christmas tree unique. Often, ornaments are passed down through the generations, and many tell our family stories, from ‘First Year Married’ to ‘Baby’s First Christmas’. You can customize your very own Christmas ornaments to share your favourite memories. Choose from our extensive selection of ornaments, made from aluminum, pewter, crystal and ceramic – all of which come in a wide variety of shapes. Add a personal photo and some text to create a special keepsake you can hang on the tree for years to come.

 

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Canvas Gallery Wraps & Aluminum Panels – Just as you change the pillows and other décor in your home for the holidays, why not switch up your artwork, too? Get creative and have your own personal holiday photos printed on a Canvas Gallery Wrap or Aluminum Panel. Deck the halls with a fine art print of your family’s annual Christmas photo, or if you consider yourself skilled with a camera, why not take one of your own wintery landscape photos and have it printed?

Our Canvas Gallery Wraps are hand stretched onto deep wooden frames for easily placement or hanging, and are printed using specialty pigmented inks with archival qualities, so your holiday photos can be displayed as works of art.

We now also offer our high-gloss Aluminum Panels in a larger format, up to 40 x 60, which makes them great for creating your very own holiday wall décor. Thanks to their mounting, the vivid images appear almost three-dimensional, seemingly jumping off the wall.

 

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Personalized Placemats – A lot of time during the holidays is spent around the dinner table, so why not add your own personal holiday touches to your tablespace? Customize placemats using our Photolab to match your Christmas theme: our experts recommend using a photo of last year’s Christmas tree, the gingerbread house your kids made, or even a snapshot of the snowman you built. You can even personalize with text (a simple ‘Merry Christmas’ works great).

 

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Photo Coasters – If you’re planning on entertaining, it’s the details that will really impress your guests. Instead of pulling out your usual old coasters for guests to use, customize your own holiday coasters with some personal photos and the help of our Photolab. Make them all the more festive with some text: “Eat, Drink and be Merry!”, for example.

Get started with any of these fun and festive décor ideas at our new Photolab website or by visiting any London Drugs location.

 

Holiday Order Deadlines

A great selection of products are available for same day or next day pickup, up to Saturday, December 24 including Enlargements, Canvas Gallery Wraps, Express Books, Photographic Calendars and Mugs. See a photolab expert for details.

Be sure to place your orders for the below products before the listed dates to ensure Christmas delivery:

Photobooks, Calendars and Traditional Greeting Cards: Wednesday, December 14

Creative Products: Wednesday, December 14

Crystals: Tuesday, December 13

Crystallize-it 3D Photo Crystals: Tuesday, December 13

Bobbleheads: Monday, November 14

Yes Video: Friday, November 25

 

Click here for information about order deadlines.



November 21st, 2016

Aluminum metal panels offer durability, clarity and a unique way to display photography

Choosing the right surface to display your photos on is just as important as capturing the right moment on your camera. More and more photographers are opting to print on aluminum panels due to their durability, resistance to fading, and their glass-like luminous quality. The London Drugs Photolab has been printing photos on aluminum metal panels since 2014, and has recently added larger sizes to the range of printing options.

Photographer, Larry Hilderman has printed several of his photos on aluminum at London Drugs, and offers some insight about why he uses the medium to showcase and sell his photography. 

 I have worked in the photographic industry for 35 years on the technical side. Starting with friends and family, and then growing through word of mouth, I have been fortunate to sell images to clients across Canada. As a landscape photographer, I have had great success using aluminum panels to showcase my work. The smooth glossy surface of the panel shows great detail of the photograph. Colour gamut is not diminished with good saturation, the image has “pop” that has been very well received.

Aluminum panels have a sharper look to them as opposed to paper or canvas prints, they have “depth” that is not normally seen on other media. This enhances the colour and contrast without looking artificial. This is best suited to subjects with more saturated colours – but I have had black & white images printed on aluminum that also looked beautiful. It must be the apparent contrast that enhances the image.

As a bonus, the image is extremely durable and resistant to moisture which allows it to be displayed in high traffic areas and places with high humidity. I have had many requests for these panels and hope to sell more in the future!

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Above: Selected images from photographer Larry Hilderman, whose aluminum prints are currently featured in the Local Inspirations Artist Gallery at select Calgary Photolabs.

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See more of Larry’s work at: http://larryhilderman.myportfolio.com/

 

 

 

 



November 16th, 2016

Experimenting with photo paper: Choosing the ideal texture and finishes to showcase your photography

When it comes to selecting photo papers, creativity is the main ingredient and experimentation plays an important role. Besides the usual suspects— glossy and matte —there are many different textures and finishes to choose from at London Drugs Photolab.

Photographer, Matt Ferguson recently decided to try metallic and bamboo prints. Here he shares his experience.

I’m a BC born and raised photographer, specializing in landscapes and hoping to take enough great photos of my daughters to one day make them a book of their adventures.  I love being outside, exploring and adventuring, even if it’s just around town, never a fan of idle time.

Every once in a while I like to get some of my photos developed, some to hang, some just for the fun of it, and often just to see how they’d turn out!  I also love to have printed photos simply just to have on hand.  I’ve never spent an evening going through a slideshow on my computer while laughing at the memories.  I most certainly have done so looking through a tub of photos at my parents’ place though, more than once.

So, recently I decided it was time to get some printing done and I wanted to try something new.  I chose metallic print for a Northern Lights shot and did a few moody fall shots on bamboo, as honestly, bamboo just sounded cool. 

When I opened up that order with Wendy, the Photolab Assistant Manager, we were both amazed at the quality of print and just how rad the bamboo looked… and felt, and made us feel. 

Like canvas or a black and white photo, the texture and physical feel to the print was so different than a regular photo.  It seemed like you could actually touch the trees and feel the coolness of the fog.  It was unlike anything I’ve felt about one of my photos before.  I have often noticed how much better a printed photo is than the computer version, but never have I stopped in my tracks like this. I’m looking forward to framing it up and putting it on the wall!

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Left: Northern Lights photo by Matt Ferguson.  Right: Metallic print of photo printed at London Drugs Photolab.

 

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Fall shot by Matt Ferguson printed on bamboo at London Drugs Photolab.

See more of Matt Ferguson’s work, check him out on Instagram: @mattfphotography

To learn more about London Drugs’ selection of print textures and finishes, click here.



October 19th, 2016

Don’t wait! Make your photo gifts now

Welcome to our annual Don’t Wait! blog post, 2016 edition.  It seems every year we here at the Photoblog encourage you, dear readers, to rise up during the month of October and get a jump on your holiday gifting. We are happy to continue doing this year after year even though it might be construed as nagging. Why? Because the Photolab keeps making it easier to create astounding and memorable personalized photo gifts, leaving you with ever fewer reasons to procrastinate. That’s why. Hey, I get it: you keep getting busier and busier. Luckily, creating awesome photo gifts from the Photolab just keeps getting easier and easier. The Photolab in-store kiosks and website make it incredibly simple to not only to aggregate and manage your online photos and keep them handy for photo prints at a moment’s notice; it’s also a great resource for original, personalized products that make perfect gifts. The process is intuitive, fast, stable and robust with no downloading necessary. Most importantly, they are extremely user-friendly and simple, as you’ll see in the video demonstrations provided below. Their purpose is not only to show you how to create some unique and meaningful gifts for the holidays, but also to show the doubters among you just how simple the process really is. Overcoming skepticism with a show of wonder and magic…now there’s a tried and true holiday theme!

 

Personalized Christmas Ornaments

Everyone loves personalized gift ornaments. Even those people who decorate their trees with uniform bulbs and lights, who stick to a predetermined colour palette throughout the entire tree with absolutely no exceptions. That is, until you present them with a photo ornament that brings a smile to their face. You’re darn right they will make an exception for that. Heck, they’ll probably hang it right in the centre of the tree so everyone can see it, colour palette be darned. Even though, as you can see in the video, you can create and order it in a matter of minutes.

 

Personalized Holiday Photo Mugs

By itself, the standard ceramic mug is one of the least exciting objects in all of human history. Therefore, you probably assume there’s not much you can do to customize, personalize, or make it interesting in any way.

Well, as this video demonstrates, if this indeed is your assumption, you are wrong. You can make a fun and totally give-able mug in minutes. Check it out.

 

Personalized Photo Greeting Cards

I may have mentioned this before in previous holiday posts, but there is an unspoken hierarchy of holiday cards that goes like this:

Lowest level: e-cards. Really. No matter what its message is. Honestly, why even bother?

Next level: printed store-bought greeting cards.

Second-highest level: homemade cards or ‘artisanal’ cards found on sites like etsy with wax paper snowflake collages glued on them or whatever.

Highest level: personalized photo greeting cards from the Photolab. This isn’t a case of bias here: personalized photos help greeting cards do what they were created to do: remind the recipients that they are part of your family or circle of friends, and that you value that relationship.

Note that this hierarchy doesn’t apply to price. Photolab-made cards are priced comparable to most regular store-bought cards, especially if you order higher quantities. And they’re a lot less than most fancy-shmancy etsy cards, probably because they’re much easier to create. No glue gun necessary…just watch the video!

 

Photo Books

Few holiday gifts are as appreciated as a photo book, especially for the price.  And the more thought you put into choosing the photos and customizing the style and layout, the more appreciated it will be. As this video demonstrates, the Photolab site and kiosk allow you to do as much of both as you wish.

 

A few other notes about the video:

  • Just for the sake of expediency, I pre-uploaded all the photos I would need for the demos and pre-sorted them into collections. Uploading is a very easy process, but if you need any reminders there’s this post for the website or this one for the kiosks.
  • Because of all the pre-uploading, I didn’t get a chance to mention as a reminder that you can also import your photos from Facebook and Instagram as collections.
  • One last reminder not mentioned in the video: remember you’ll need to register for a Photolab account or sign in before you can do any gift-making.

 



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