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.


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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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 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.

August 26th, 2015

10 Instagram Accounts That’ll Make You Proud to Be Canadian


We never get tired of double-tapping photos of Canada’s majestic scenery. So why resist? To celebrate the growing popularity of #beautifulcanada on Pinterest (above), we’ve decided to collect our 10 favourite Canadian photographers posting to Instagram. Follow them and just wait for the magic to hit your feed.

1. Hannah Keiver

A photo posted by @hannahkeiver on

Vancouver-based Hannah Keiver uses her feed to demonstrate her love for adventures and the outdoors. Think epic mountains and sunshine.  READ MORE

July 31st, 2015

Gallery wraps and square photos

Photos like this one, taken from an Instagram account, would look even cooler on your wall.

Photos like this one, taken from an Instagram account, would look even cooler on your wall.

If you’ve spent any time at all with us here at the Photoblog, you’ll know we devote a lot of time to walls. They’re probably our most popular topic after photography. You could say we’re on something of a mission: to educate the world about the limitless possibilities of using prints from your own photo library to decorate your walls. Why? As we mention in past posts like this one, since your photos are uniquely yours you’ll never have to worry about a friend or neighbour having the exact same print on their wall.

Since our focus this month is on square photography, let’s look at one particular type of print that is very well suited for it—canvas gallery wraps, which we’ve explained in detail here. However, even people who are familiar with gallery wraps may have a misconception that square wraps are only suitable for an accent wall. The truth is a square gallery wrap works equally well as the focal piece of any wall—especially if you’re planning on using multiple wraps to create a diptych or triptych. Get creative! If you’ve working with an interior designer, have them take a look at your photo library and get their thoughts on which images they might recommend to incorporate into the overall room design.

If you are thinking of a gallery wrap that’s on the larger side, you’ll want to make sure that the image you’re using is high-resolution (the Photolab website lists suggested file sizes for the larger gallery wrap sizes). Many DSLR cameras come with preset square photo settings; if yours doesn’t, you can always use the grid lines to frame your own square image. As always, your local Photolab technician will be happy to help you make the most of your photos.

July 29th, 2015

Printing with Instagram

A collection of 4”x4” prints from Instagram.

A collection of 4”x4” prints from Instagram.

In last year’s post about square photos I touched upon the process of making prints directly from an Instagram (or Facebook) account through the Photolab. This year, now that I’ve actually started using Instagram more frequently, I actually went through the process myself to see firsthand how easy it actually is.

Once you’ve logged in to your Photolab account, follow these simple steps:

  1. From the Photolab homepage, click Get Started
  2. When you see the page titled “Where are your photos from?” click the Instagram icon and log in to your IG account
  3. Follow the prompt to authorize London Drugs to access your Instagram Account, which will load your IG photos.
  4. Then, simply select your IG photos for printing just like you would from any of your other Photolab albums!
  5. With your photos selected, proceed to the Product Catalogue and select ‘prints’ and choose your size(s). Square prints are available in a variety of sizes from 4×4” to as large as 12×12”.
  6. Proceed to checkout from there and complete the process in the usual way.
Once you’ve connected your Instagram API, the photos are as easily accessible and secure as any of your other Photolab albums.

Once you’ve connected your Instagram API, the photos are as easily accessible and secure as any of your other Photolab albums.

The print quality is absolutely outstanding, and the built-in Instagram filters I chose for my images reproduced amazingly well. I chose a pearl finish with borders that gave the images a very nostalgic/retro feel, reminding me of the film prints I used to pore through as a kid. If you’re too young to remember when such prints were the standard, you’ll still love arranging them into collages — on a refrigerator, a corkboard or even affixed to a wall. Printing your Instagram photos will give your photos a vivaciousness that a display screen simply can’t match. At a mere 39¢ per print, try it for yourself and see.

July 28th, 2015

The Joy of Square


See? Your iPhone has a square photo setting, meaning they’re not just for hipsters anymore.

It’s official: square photos have gone mainstream. If you don’t believe me, just check the settings on your iPhone camera. Of course, if you’re a regular Photoblog reader, this most certainly won’t be news to you, as we’ve written about square photos in detail here, here and elsewhere. In particular, this post from March 2013 offers some great techniques and general advice about taking great square photos, and their compositional differences from rectangular photos.

Whether square photos are your thing or not, if you’re even a passing photography aficionado you’re well aware of the current supreme leader of social media photography: Instagram. But did you know that you can order prints directly from your Instagram account via the Photolab website or in-store kiosks? Say goodbye to the arduous process of having to download images from IG and then uploading them to the Photolab from your computer. The Photolab has made it a very straightforward and simple process, which I nevertheless describe in a new post. And in case you’re of the opinion that Instagram is just a dumping ground for memes and vapid selfies, DailyTekk has compiled a great list of some of the finest Instagrammers of 2015. They’re all follow-worthy, but have a look at some brilliant photos from the following Instagram accounts:

August 30th, 2012

Instagram Part 2: Think Prints

This summer I wrote about the mobile app, Instagram, which is a fun and simple way to add a little flair to smartphone photos.

My in-depth Instagram research (which involved sticking my phone into my family’s faces every time they turned around) has turned into a full-on obsession. And as my photos get better, the more I want to see them on paper.

In Part II, we will take a look at some key techniques you can use to get lovely, print-worthy photos.


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