February 8th, 2017

Photobooks and Valentine’s Day photo cards

Sentiment and romance—they’re like the twin pillars of Valentine’s Day. And if your gift is lacking in one, you’d better hope it covers the other. Fortunately, the Photolab has been a solid go-to for occasions like Valentine’s Day for, well, I don’t even know how long. I guess all that matters is that the Photolab will be there for us again this Valentine’s Day, with a couple of simple gifts that score off the charts when it comes to sentiment and can also be as romantic as you want to make them.

To be a success, after all, a Valentine’s Day gift doesn’t need to be particularly expensive, but it does need to be thoughtful in nature (I suppose this is true of any gift, really).  And what could more thoughtful than browsing through old photos of you and your significant other (S.O.), looking for just-perfect photos to build a personalized card or photobook around? That, friends, is the very definition of sentimentality. In fact, the only way it could be more sentimental is if the card could also somehow play ‘your’ song as it’s opened (hmmm…note to the Photolab…)

As for romance, that, my friends, is up to you and photo-choosing skills. (And also, I suppose, your photo-taking skills—because you need to have romantic photos featuring your S.O. in order to choose romantic photos.) The Photolab kiosk and website have a selection of themes to cover any mood you want to create, from light & breezy to super-smooth romance. So provided you have the right photos—you know the ones; the tropical beach, the moonlight shot, the embrace, the one from that special night—a photo card or photobook can be as romantic as the ‘candlelight dinner + dozen roses + Barry White playlist’ triple crown.

This is usually the point in the post where I bust into the walkthrough showing how to create the gift item in question using the Photolab in-store kiosks and website, but in this case creating photobooks and greeting cards have been covered in detail:

Creating a photobook

Creating a personalized Valentine’s Day card

Do yourself a favour this V-Day: forget the clichés, forego dropping a fortune on extravagance, and stick with a simple testament to how well you know the special someone in your life and how fond you are of the memories you’ve created together. That, friends, is truly Valentine’s gold.

Just a sample of personalized greeting card Valentine’s Day themes available via the Photolab website and in-store kiosks.

February 3rd, 2016

Make a Personalized Valentine’s Day card using the new in-store kiosks!

Valentines Day 2016 will soon be upon us, and once again the Photolab is here to bail you out—only this time, like never before! If you’ve previously visited this space you are no doubt well aware that personalized greeting cards, created with actual photos that have true meaning to the recipient, are absolutely perfect for hitting it out of the park on occasions such as this. Now, thanks to the Photolab’s new in-store kiosks and website, these Valentine’s Day life-savers are more customizable than ever. Allow me to demonstrate the ease of making a personalized greeting card using the brand-spanking-new in-store kiosks available at all London Drugs locations:

Since these fancy kiosks are so new, I thought I would demonstrate how to use them to make a greeting card. So let’s do as the button says and get started!


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.

February 3rd, 2014

Cards for your Valentines

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can proudly say that I {heart} making cards. Every time I see this topic on my assignment list, I do little happy claps. Card making! For Valentine’s Day! In the photo blog business, it doesn’t get better than this.

Valentine’s Day might be the most enjoyable card making season: Christmas is so rushed and the milder weather is too tempting at Easter. So find some photos, download Home Edition, and grab some wine and chocolate to get yourself in a Valentine-y mood for card making!

February 2nd, 2014

Posing for Romantic Couples Portraits

Your friend just got engaged, your parents are celebrating a big anniversary, or your sister is looking for a special gift for her beau on Valentine’s Day? Grab your camera because romantic portraits are a great way to improve your skills (and to create a special image for people close to you).

To start off: Fill the frame with faces

Image-1-Fur-hatsZooming in for a close-up is the perfect start to a couple’s photo shoot for one important reason: this is your chance to look at the light and how it hits their faces. Look for bright spots, hard shadows, and flattering angles. Note that too much light can be as much of a problem as too little, casting hard shadows and making people squint. You may want to shoot in a shady area, or later in the day, so the light is gentler.

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