Choose the right photo book for the photographs that carry your precious memories

Photo book providers compete for customer attention. Anyone wanting to create a photo book can pick from a rich variety of offerings, driven forward by constant innovation within the field.

 

The leading photobook printers offer a range of different paper types including the choice between a standard, matte and high-gloss finish. This diversity is useful because the right choice of material will optimise the presentation of your pictures. This article describes the characteristics of the paper types and finishes on offer and guides you in making the best choice for your photo book project.

 

Photo book paper types

 

Photo book, digital print

Digital printing is the  most popular choice for several reasons. Virtually all photo book providers have had the necessary Kodak Nexpress or HP Indigo printing equipment for years. The pages are standard and familiar, since every modern consumer has seen digital print products before. When printed at 200 dpi or better, the printing dots are not usually visible to the untrained eye, so only experts are bothered by the optical “noise”, making digital printing suitable for everyday photographs.

 

Most photo books use a paper quality of about 200 g/m², while leaflets and smaller photo books often use a lower grammage of 150 g / m² or less. A stronger paper is necessary for the larger photo books in landscape format, which are popular as wedding albums. A good photo book provider will print larger photo books on paper up to 250 g/m².

 

The digitally printed pages are bound with a spiral, or glued into the spine clasp to form a book.

 

Leading photo book providers offer to refine the photo book pages with a glossy or matte finish, for which most photo labs demand a surcharge.

 

Photo book digitally printed and with hi-gloss finish

Hi-gloss
Glossy photobook

Digitally printed glossy photo books receive a coating, enhancing the colours and brilliance. In addition, the gloss coating increases the durability, as it protects the photo book pages from moisture and dirt.

 

To create a photobook as a gift where superior quality and appearance are expected, a high-gloss finish should be added, to emphasise the photo album’s value.

 

Digital photo book printing with a matte finish

Digital printing with a matte finish is ideal for photo books when using high resolution pictures, especially from SLR cameras. For this process the image data will be applied with high resolution ink on special paper.

 

The special paper, together with the high-resolution ink, creates a photo book where the pictures can be rich in detail, with softer colours and superb contrast. The matting adds expression and character to the pictures, the reason why a matte finish is particularly popular among professional photographers.

Photographic paper
Photo book on photographic paper

Photo book on photographic paper – without the book bulge

The special photographic paper  for photo books developed by Fuji Film, is glued together back to back and then bound with a Leporello-binding. This lay-flat binding makes it possible for the photo book pages to lie practically flat, with no page curve. One advantage of photo books on photographic paper is that landscape pictures  can extend over double-page spreads, gutter free.

 

Photo book processed on glossy photographic paper

When choosing glossy photographic paper, the silver halide method provides, in addition to greater detail, high depth of field and a wealth of contrast, also a special colour luminosity. The images on the photo book pages appear in vivid colours.

 

True Matte Photographic Paper

When printing a photo book on photographic paper, the image data will be processed like traditional photographic prints. The silver halide process provides great detail and intense focus with vibrant colours.

 

Surface properties with and without  finish

 

Standard

Pro

  • Standard finish digital print is the most popular type of photo book
  • No surcharges.

 

Contra

  • Pages without coating are more fragile
  • Colours are less expressive.

 

Glossy

Pro

  • The gloss gives an impression of more light
  • Glossy coating improves resistance to wear
  • Fingerprints can be easily wiped off the surface.

 

Contra

  • Fingerprints are more noticeable
  • Coating usually associated with a surcharge
  • Colours may appear too bright
  • Surface reflections.

 

Matte

Pro

  • Prevents unwanted reflections
  • The matte coating in digital and the matte finish on photo paper are the most robust
  • Neutralising effect
  • Fingerprints less noticeable.

 

Contra

  • Coatings often incur surcharges
  • Less detail than shiny finish
  • No gloss.

 

Application themes

Evaluating the pros and cons, some of the most popular photo book themes have been matched with the optimal paper types, printing and finishing processes, leading to the following general recommendations:

 

  • Holiday Photo Album

glossy or hi-gloss

The ideal holiday picture of a bright sunny day or beach appears more “vivid” in a glossy than in a matte finish. For superior luminosity we recommend using a glossy finish for holiday albums.

 

 

  • Winter / Snow

 

glossy photo paper

For digital printing, the glossy coating provides more brightness and contrast. Better yet is real photographic paper, because with processed photo paper, the lack of dots provides smoother images with richer detail. The lay-flat binding with no page bulge is ideal for double-page spread landscape pictures.

 

  • Landscapes, nature, travel

 

photo paper, matte

To maximise the detail in landscape and nature photography, the use of real photographic paper photo books is recommended, this avoids flickery print dots. To avoid reflections and exaggerated colouring, the best choice is to use a silk-matte finish. The lay-flat binding used for photographic paper results in landscapes over double-page spreads without a gap or book-bulge.

Photo album
Civil partnership album
  • People, Portraits, Faces

glossy photo paper

Nothing displays skin as clearly and naturally as real photographic paper. Faces look more lively with a glossy finish.

 

  • Wedding Albums

digital printing or photographic paper; glossy

Standard vs matte finish
Examples of standard and matte finish.

A format which is very popular for wedding albums is the large photo book with a leather or linen binding from Albelli, Photobox or CEWE; these are printed digitally. However, nothing depicts skin tones as naturally and realistically as real photographic paper. On glossy photo paper faces appear brighter and details sharper. The stronger photographic paper, where the pages lie flat side by side is our favourite format for a wedding photo book.

 

  • Babies, first pictures

digital printing or photographic paper; glossy

The glossy coating protects the pages in digitally printed photo books. It makes them ideal for the next generation’s first images, because the photo book will shine in vibrant colours forever. Nothing, however, reproduces skin tones as clearly and naturally as real photographic paper. On glossy photographic paper, faces appear brighter and with neater detail. The stronger photographic paper with pages lying flat side by side, is also our favourite for the baby album.

 

  • Highly detailed images

photographic paper or true matte

Photographic Paper reproduces pictures without visible print dots and should be used to display highly detailed images.

 

  • Product catalogues

digital printing

For a product catalogue, the choice is between the superior detail offered by real photographic paper or the more economical digital print.

 

  • Animal photography

glossy

Pictures of animals, particularly when taken with a strong optical zoom, benefit from the improved contrast of the glossy finish.

Photo books are fantastic memories: Whether of early childhood, a wedding album, a children’s scrapbook, a memory book as a birthday present or a holiday album. With the right choice of materials, going through personal photo books and viewing the pictures is great fun for life, no matter at what age.

Photo album printers in Austria, Germany and the UK have long benefited from lower VAT rates

FachwerkThe UK has one of the most complex Value Added Tax rating systems in Europe, compared to which the VAT-rules in member states like France’s TVA or Spain’s Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido appear straightforward. According to information issued by HM Revenue and Customs, HMRC accept that a “photo book which possesses, as a minimum, several pages, a cover stiffer than its pages and is bound, will qualify for zero-rating as a book“. Furthermore, her Majesty’s tax collectors accept that a book is not necessarily there to be read, but can also be designed to be looked at. The tax authorities are thereby overturning the previous rule of a minimum text content of 20% (whatever that means) for a printed photo album to enjoy the same preferential VAT treatment as a novel on paper. At least the rule was not quite as restrictive as in Danmark, where the text has to be in Danish for the book to qualify for the lower rate.

 

However, the Queen’s bureaucrats would not see a photo book as falling within the zero rate if the pages have the quality of individual photographic prints or if it is a photo book with spiral binding.

 

EU VAT harmonization

In a Combined Nomenclature (used to catalogue products for customs, duties and VAT) harmonization ruling issued in December 2015, Brussels has decided that photobook print (in A4 size) is to be classified like photo albums [EUR-Lex – 32015R2254], thereby making it a full rate VAT item or service in all of the European Union, including in those member states currently classifying printed photo albums as books. The photo album ruling brings Austria, Germany and the UK in line with Ireland and the rest of the EU, ending the practise of some British and German photo labs selling printed photo books at zero or lower-rate VAT to consumers in EU-countries where local businesses have to compete at the full rate.

How to create a wall calendar

In this tutorial you will learn how to design a 12 month wall calendar with your own pictures.
If you have at least twelve images you want to show throughout the year, a wall calendar is ideal and quick to prepare, following these few, really easy steps.

Choice of calendars
Choice of calendars

Choose a suitable app

To make your own photo calendar, download free Designer software from an online photo printing lab, like e.g. FotoInsight, whose photo calendar quality has been lauded in many reviews across the UK, Ireland and Europe. The free Designer app is available for Microsoft Windows, MacOS X, Linux as well as the iPhone/iPad and Android. After installing the application and starting it, you simply choose the print product you want to create (i.e. photo calendars).

 

Wall calendars

There is a range of wall calendars in portrait, landscape and square format and in different sizes. To pick a suitable format, you should check the direction and shape of the pictures you want to use and the space where you plan to hang the wall calendar.

 

Paper qualities and the print process

Different photo labs use different paper qualities. CEWE Calendars are all made on quality cardstock, using digital print at 300dpi or special photo paper. The paper can be prepared with a glossy or matt finish, where again, the wall calendar’s location will play a role. For example a high-gloss finish, popular for its radiant elegance, will display more reflections. Processed photo paper is more radiant than direct print, so that even a matt finish photo paper will provide brilliant colours. Photo paper also feels stronger, though if hung over a stream of hot air, like above a radiator, it tends bend a little, as it is composed of layers with different thermal properties. The photo-chemical exposure on photographic paper reproduces balanced colours with sharper detail, with no noise from print dots, not even under a magnifying glass.

 

Starting month and bank holidays

Calendar_change_featuresWhat is your calendar for? If the calendar is for example for a birthday present it could start the month of the birthday? Bespoke calendars can also follow a twelve month school or academic year or start on any other month of the year. To change calendar features like the starting month click on the “tools” in the top left corner of the software interface. Here you can also tick the option to add bank holidays or add date-specific free text to the calendar template. Note that some smaller calendar templates may not display the bank holidays due to lack of space.

 

Basic layout

Calendar_basic_designThe Designer App offers all three categories of basic designs of the CEWE photo calendar:

  • The default calendar provides one or more images per page in front of a plain background, for which there are many choices of colours. It also offers the usual calendar templates.
  • The Designer Calendar provides designer backgrounds and calendar templates, often on specific topics, at a surcharge.
  • The templates of the free customisable calendar will usually assume that the image or images cover the page to the brim. Only in these highly customisable calendars, is it possible to set images as a full page background, as is popular in photo books, by right-clicking the mouse over the picture and choosing the option in the pop-up menu. In the free customisable calendars it is also easier to add small images on top of the calendar template, for example, to show passport pictures on birthdays.

 

The basic design sets the calendar template, background and image layout as a theme for all 13 pages of the calendar. The background and image layout can be changed for the cover and each individual month at the next stage.

 

Design menu

Calendar_design_choiceThe FotoInsight Designer app menu gives access to the choice of designs and image folders in the section on the left hand side of the interface. This section can be expanded by positioning the cursor over the separating line and then dragging it right to enlarge the section or left to give more room to the design area.

 

Layout in the design menu

The layout section in the design menu allows to drag image templates onto individual calendar pages. The image frames can be individually adjusted, layered and text frames can be added with ease, using the icon on the top toolbar or with a right click or “Ctrl + V”.

 

Text over images can be difficult to read, but for example a white text on top of a uniform surface, like a clear blue sky, can work well. The design grid, which can be activated from the ‘Designs’ block of the toolbar, helps to position picture or text frames.

 

When creating a bespoke design for one month, it can be saved to use in other months. To apply a specific design to the whole year as a basic design, right click on the design template and click the option in the pop-up menu.

 

Calendar templates with columns

In some calendar templates, such as those for the kitchen calendar and time planners, it is possible to insert columns in the calendar.

In the headings of the columns you can then enter the names of your family or team members, so that each member has a separate area for notes, tasks and appointments.

In the first row of headers write the heading for the first column, in the second line, the heading of the second column, and so on.

 

Moving a design and picture to another month

Individual calendar pages can be changed by dragging one month (e.g. July) from the page selector (on the right hand side) onto the other month (e.g. May) with the mouse, while pressing the left button. In this case the pictures, background and design from July will appear in May and vice versa.

 

Picture editor

The FotoInsight Designer app comes with a photo editor. The editor is handy to quickly post-edit pictures while creating a photo book or calendar.

Calendar_preview

Save

To save a project click on the disk icon on the “General Tools” menu on the top left hand side of the toolbar or under the header “File” (“Save File” or “Save as”). It is advisable to save projects during the design process, though FotoInsight Designer also autosaves projects as the work progresses.

 

Calendar_basketAlready stored projects can be opened by clicking on the folder icon in the “File” section on the left hand side of the toolbar or on the header “Open” (“Open another project” or “Ctrl + O”). The latest projects which you have worked on, including auto-saved projects, are listed directly under the header “Open”, where they can opened directly.

 

Upload / buy

Once the photo calendar has been completed the Designer app makes it easy to order a print. Just click on the red “Add to Basket” field at the bottom right of the screen, to order one or multiple prints. It is best to save the project to make sure it will be available for later use.

 

You can read more about the print quality in the photo calendar test. That review also discusses the main software options here: http://photopresent.typepad.com/english/2015/05/which-calendar-print-test.html

 

The Photo Canvas Test

Comparison of two leading Photo Canvas Printing Services

 

The Photo Canvas Test

Decorative large format prints from digital photographs are becoming ever more popular. The artistic possibilities offered through post editing of digital images make canvas prints an ideal medium for decorative art at home or in an office.

The resolution of even some cheap digital cameras suffices today for large format prints. As with any “light drawing” the work is only as good as the artist. Digital photography does not only allow to “snap away” at virtually no cost; higher resolution cameras allow to further enhance good pictures. In line with the trend to print outstanding images, a growing number of online photo printers who are selling prints and posters are also offering laminated, framed enlargements and photo canvas printing.

Many modern so called photo canvases are not printed on traditional linen. For good reasons man-made fibres are being used. Such synthetic fibres have a finer, more even structure and allow to optimise the materials so that the inks perfectly adhere to the fabric, improving longevity and colours. As a result, all canvas prints in this review can be swiped with a humid cloth.

Mounted on a wooden frame
Stretching a printed cloth evenly over a wooden frame requires skill. Most services supply the photo canvas mounted on a wooden frame. Both FotoInsight and Printing-1 supply the canvas print wrapped around the sides of a wooden frame, ready to hang on a wall. As this does away with heavy glass, the frame is surprisingly light and should hold onto even the weakest plaster board wall of modern houses. FotoInsight’s frames are delivered with all the necessary parts to suspend them on a wall. Synthetic fibres resist the tension of the stretch over the frame and therefore do not need re-tightening.

The Photo Canvas Test
From the broad range of online photo services in Britain we separated those delivering softened, greyish, orangey or dark images and those that are simply too expensive and instead focused on reviewing two leading photo canvas print services. The main criteria were range of products, ease of use, delivery time, quality, support and price.

Product Range
Decorative Photo Prints
FotoInsight’s range of decorative print products on canvas, laminated posters, gallery and acrylic prints, including a Nielsen wooden frame, is probably one of the most comprehensive on the Internet. Posters are processed on photographic paper and have bright colours and a satin surface. FotoInsight offers a lamination to seal the surface, which makes heavy, reflective glass redundant. Printing-1’s offering is more specialized covering photo books, calendars, poster and canvas prints (no framing).

FotoInsight: 9/10 Printing-1: 7/10


Choice of canvas print formats

FotoInsight offers canvas prints in only twelve sizes, from 20×30 cm (12″x8″) to a maximum of 90×130 cm (52″x36″). Printing-1 offers a phenomenal range of 55 sizes, which increase in 10 cm (4″) steps from 30 cm (12″) to 120 cm (48″) for each side. Any size from 30×30 cm (12″x12″) or 30×120 cm (48″x12″) to 120×120 cm (48″x48″) is possible, or any combination in between (in 10 cm / 4″ increments).

FotoInsight: 8/10 Printing-1: 8/10


Ease of use
Photo CanvasBoth photo services offer free software to design the photo album or canvas. After uploading a picture to Printing-1 using the client software, the user has to use an Internet browser to log into the website before the print can be ordered. The advantage of the web account upload is, that it allows the user to show others their print project online before buying and also to allow friends and family to buy their own prints. This seems convenient for photo books, especially for a wedding album or other festivities. For one-image-products like a poster or photo canvas it seems an unnecessary complication.

FotoInsight offers two routes to order. Those who want to print just a single picture do well with the web-upload through their browser. Using this route gives access to all large print products like canvas with or without frame, collage canvas, Alu-Dibond or acrylic poster prints and XXL posters. FotoInsight offers text tools and highlights the frame fold area; but the browser upload misses tools to zoom and position the image. The free ordering software “FotoInsight Designer” provides a zoom tool, however FotoInsight print on the area folded over the frame. Those who wish to avoid that a computer algorithm ‘optimises’ the colours of their prints, should use the ‘FotoInsight Designer’ software’s option to turn this feature off. Also people who wish to upload several images or higher resolution pictures should better use the ordering software tool. Another feature of the ‘FotoInsight Designer’ software are templates, which help to elegantly layer several pictures on a canvas.

FotoInsight: 9/10 Printing-1: 6/10


Delivery time
The canvas prints from FotoInsight reached us in four days (though the ones ordered with a frame took a full week longer). The photo canvas prints from Printing-1 took five working days.

FotoInsight: 9/10 Printing-1: 7/10

 

Quality
Canvas PrintThe fabric used by Printing-1 has a fine structure and a more paint like ink, which gives more of an impression of a classic canvas. The fabric is stretched over a wooden frame and stapled to it. The colours look brighter and less warm than with FotoInsight. Especially when FotoInsight’s “automatic image correction” has been activated during the upload, the colours tend to use a skin friendly spectrum, which may help portraits, but can be undesirable on landscapes, specially with snow. When turning the “automatic image optimization” off, FotoInsight offers outstandingly realistic colours. The material used by FotoInsight is a fine, synthetic fabric, appearing more real, with good colours and contrast. FotoInsight prints at 300 dpi, a resolution higher than most services and states that it “uses man made optimised fibres and fade-resistant archival inks to guarantee longevity and brilliant colours, with all materials guaranteed by their manufacturers to last 100 years”.

FotoInsight: 10/10 Printing-1: 9/10

 

Support
Both firms provide support by email. During office hours we received a reply the same day. In addition to email support, FotoInsight offers also free telephone support under telephone number 01926 463117. Longer service hours in the support  team would have lead to full marks.

FotoInsight: 8/10 Printing-1: 6/10


Costs
A mounted canvas print does not require a frame. If you want one, it will be as expensive as the mounted print. For that amount, FotoInsight offers professionally cut Nielsen frames with a float (i.e. a gap between the edge of the canvas and the frame to display the area folded over the edge).

Prices for canvas prints in comparable sizes:
Format 30×40 (print size 36cm x 46cm): FotoInsight: £34.99 – Printing-1: £39.95

Format 40×60 (print size 46cm x 66cm): FotoInsight: £49.99 – Printing-1: £54.95

Format 60×60 (print size 66cm x 66cm): FotoInsight: £49.99 – Printing-1: £64.95

Format 60×80 (print size 66cm x 86cm): FotoInsight: £69.99 – Printing-1: £74.95

Format 80×100 (print size 86cm x 106cm): FotoInsight: £115.99 – Printing-1: £94.95

Postage & Packaging per order
FotoInsight £4.49 for a 20×30 cm canvas, raising to £8.99 for the largest 90×130 cm format).
Printing-1 £9.90 (faster 5 day turnaround £16.40).

FotoInsight: 9/10 Printing-1: 8/10

Result
Photo Canvas PrintingIn the final count FotoInsight leads with 60 points ahead of Printing-1 with a respectable 51 points. If a classic canvas structure is desired or flexible formats are required, Printing-1 is worth the extra money and time. Those who can do with a standard format or want a high resolution print with warmer colours can save money with the test winner FotoInsight.

FotoInsight UK: http://fotoinsight.co.uk/posters-and-canvas.html

FotoInsight Ireland & Europe: http://fotoinsight.ie/posters-canvas.html

Printing-1: http://printing-1.co.uk/


Conclusion

From this review, we excluded photo canvas services with prints that can’t fulfill modern expectations. If you choose to print your canvas with Printing-1 or FotoInsight should depend mainly on the specific characteristics of each service, which we have tried to outline here, are most important to you. We hope, that the information in this review will help to make the right choice and that your canvas print will deliver lasting visual pleasure.

How to save the Internet’s info: print it out

How to save the Internet’s info: print it out

If you really want to make sure important information stored on the Internet survives for posterity, put it on paper reports CNN Money  from the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California.

 

Time Magazine: Why the ‘Father of the Internet’ Thinks You Should Print Out Your Photos.

‘Vint Cerf, a “father of the internet”, said at the annual meeting of the American Association for ave been saving on computers will eventually be lost’, reported the BBC. and continued: ‘Our life, our memories, our most cherished family photographs increasingly exist as bits of information – on our hard drives or in “the cloud”. But as technology moves on, they risk being lost in the wake of an accelerating digital revolution.’

 

If you really want to make sure important information stored on the Internet survives for posterity, put it on paper reports CNN Money and quotes Google VP Vint Cerf saying:  “In our zeal to get excited about digitising, we digitise photographs thinking it’s going to make them last longer, and we might turn out to be wrong.”

 

 Digital_Indigo_Print_1_

“I would say if there are photos you are really concerned about create a physical instance of them. Print them out,” Google VP Vint Cerf

 Photobook_Quality_Control_3_

Google VP Cautions Us to Print Our Photos

Popular Photography Magazine reports that “Cerf cautions us to print more of our beloved images, ensuring that precious memories will actually last a lifetime…and more.”

 

What is ‘bit rot’ and is Vint Cerf right to be worried?

What Cerf coined as “bit rot” is a process by which the mechanisms for accessing a digital file are lost, rending that file useless junk. A big part of the problem is the use of closed file formats that require specific software to read those files.

 

If, for instance, you have memoirs written over the last decade stored in a Microsoft Office .doc file from Word or a similar program, that file is easily readable today with a multitude of programs – not all of them made by Microsoft. But the .doc file is a proprietary file format made and licensed by Microsoft.

 

Should Microsoft choose to stop supporting it and prevented other software from using the format, all those documents would be unreadable once the last version of the old software that could read them no longer runs on newer computers.

 

That is the danger of closed, proprietary formats and something consumers should be aware of.

 

In 1985, not even Bill Gates knew that computers would not feature 5.25 inch floppy disk drives forever.
Source: The Guardian

 

Going, going, gone: Google’s vice-president Vint Cerf has warned that all digitally stored information could be wiped out by tech upgrades, reported G2, on 13 February.

 

The trade publication “it world” reports: Print your photos before the digital dark age is here, warns internet pioneer Vint Cerf worries about a ‘digital dark age,’ and your data could be at risk.

CAL34-bottom-small-v3-

 

A “father of the internet” cautions us to preserve our memories not in digital form.

Source: itworld.com

 

A digital dark age may be coming, Google VP warns

Father of the Internet and Google Vice President Vint Cerf has issued a warning to photographers and data storage lovers at large: Physically print your data or risk losing it to a digital dark age.

Source: digitaltrends.com

 

Even if Google and Apple don’t exist in the year 3015, how can we ensure our files, photos, movies, and more, can be preserved for ages to come? How can we future-proof our content for generations way down the line? asks uk.businessinsider.com

GalleryPrint_family_sunset

Digital Alzheimer awaits us

 

Hard copies are the best way to save memories in the digital world

According to the industry publication geeksnack Cerf actually thinks that future generations will not be able to access records from the age of technology, aka the 21st century due to incompatibility issues, which means that essentially, all that data will be lost. He blames the digital dark age on technological revolution itself, which turns older software and hardware into obsolete concepts long forgotten. Think of the floppy disk! That’s probably the best example that illustrates what Google VP is trying to say. You can no longer access the data stored on your dad’s floppy disk, and my floppy disks which have file backups on them are just wall decorations in a wannabe-retro dining room.

Source: geeksnack.com

Acrylic_Print_Wedding

Glenda Cooper writes in her Daily Telegraph column: When my husband was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, it occurred to me that if future generations were to go through my personal effects, they’d find plenty of love letters from long-ago boyfriends, but only a handful of Valentines and anniversary cards from the man I met and married in a digital age. Who knows what very wrong idea they could get from that?

Cooper continues: ‘While Cerf may be right in saying that what we need is the equivalent of “digital vellum” to preserve what we care about, I can’t help thinking that, in the meantime, it’s best to take his other advice: “If there are photos you really care about, print them out.” ‘

New Photo Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Bishop Valentine of Terni is a martyred Saint of ancient Rome. Because of his believes he was executed on 14 February 269. Bishop Valentine married couples and aided Christians which Emperor Claudius II considered a crime. According to legend Valentine gave the newly wedded couples flowers from his own garden. A modern Valentine present for a friend or partner requires a personal touch, that purchased flowers can hardly provide.

Choosing or preparing a gift for Valentine’s Day should be fun – not something rushed through at the last minute. FotoInsight, a leading independent digital photo service, is expanding its range of Valentine’s photo gifts year after year. “Love is a special feeling and it must be expressed in an extraordinary way, Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion“, states gift expert Ann Green and she asks: “When was the last time you have given your partner a truly unique gift?

Valentines Photo GiftsOnline digital photo services like FotoInsight can help transforming an individual photograph into a Valentine’s present that will be cherished and remembered for years to come:

• Photo cushion with the picture of a loved one, guarantees sweet dreams.

• In lieu of store-bought sentiments featuring cartoon characters, own Valentine’s Day cards with FotoInsight photo greeting cards are another way to say “I love you!”. Photographic greeting cards can be personalised with a romantic poem or a few simple words straight from the heart.

• A picture of the beloved partner in large format? Ideal for this are acryl glass posters: real photographic paper will be transparently adhered to acryl glass which is 5 or 10 mm thick. Acrylic poster prints have shiny colours and the glass provides additional optical depth. They are available in different sizes from 10×15 cm (with stand) to truly big 50×75 cm (optional hanger). Due to their superior humidity resistance, acrylic prints are well suited for humid areas: Ideal for a picture of the loved one in the kitchen or over the bath tub.

Glitter dome with love hearts and own picture “Photo dome with red hearts” a photograph is inserted in the centre.

• Love Crystallised: FotoInsight adds to its selection of photo gifts designed to display and preserve cherished photographs. Valentine’s Day photo gift ideas include crystal photo heart with a 3D laser engraved photograph, picture frames, crystal key rings, pen holder glass block with a laser engraved photograph. Special about the crystal key ring is an LED light to illuminate the engraved image.

• Where Cupid’s arrow strikes there is a story to be told with printed photo books. For shiny love there is now glossy photo book with environmentally friendly varnish from Printing-1 (produced under the environment norm ISO 14001). With a range of creative themes, covers and flexible page layout, these one-of-a-kind coffee table books will help to remember a romantic get-away or the every-day moments shared in vivid colours. The photo book format “original” (18.5×18.5 cm) is available in a printed soft cover from £14.99 (plus p&p).

• The picture of a loved one in large format? Laminated and framed posters look impressive and are ready to hang on the wall. Deco block posters are available in different sizes.

Photo Calendars• Showing love 365 days this year. Daily reminders of love are easy with photo calendars featuring own digital pictures. A photo calendar can start any month of the year. A hanging wall calendar offers room to jot down romantic dinner dates. Photo calendars on photographic paper ensure shiny pictures in true colours. Photo calendar printing is easy and starts from £7.79.

• A picture of your loved one as a canvas print? Printing-1 prints digital images onto canvas, stretched over a wood frame, delivered ready to decorate a wall. The sizes range in flexible 10 cm steps from 30 cm to 120 cm per side (and in any combination of height and width). Photo canvas prints are light, durable and elegant.Photo Canvas

• FotoInsight brings a new meaning to staying at home on Valentine’s Day: to cuddle up with the loved one and a cuddly teddy bear. Adding special effects or text to a digital photograph printed on the teddy bear’s shirt makes it a very personal Valentine’s present.

• The panoramic mug is also available with the inside in red. The FotoInsight Designer software provides templates (for example in heart shape) to print photos onto mugs.

Keywords: photo gifts, heart pillow, Valentines Day, photo calendar, crystal, photo, key ring, Acrylic poster prints, photo canvas, photo heart, gift ideas

Creative gift ideas trump spending power this Christmas!

British families spend on average about £700 on presents for Christmas. Personalisation and creative gift ideas are booming. Style expert Ann Green has put together a list of Christmas gifts available online. The gift ideas range from refined decorative ideas, the practical to family friendly games. They all have in common, that they can be personalised with own images.

Exotic, feminine, raw and functional are according to style agency “bora.herke” the overarching trends for Christmas. With modern online tools Christmas presents can now be personalised to offer individual gifts in fashionable styles.

Awaiting Christmas with a personalised Chocolate Christmas Calendar
To sweeten the 24 days to the Holy night Fotoinsight offer photo Advent calendars with 24 festively wrapped chocolate balls and your own photograph.

Christmas cards don’t have to come of the shelf
Christmas cards with your own interesting or funny pictures are much more personal. Photo services like FotoInsight print photo greeting cards usually in sets of ten as picture postcards or folding greeting cards (with image and text on-print on all four pages) with their envelopes.

Calendars with own photographs
There can hardly be a more obvious Christmas gift idea than a personalised photo calendar, the person receiving a calendar will need a new one every year. Photo book specialist Printing-1 now also offers personalised calendars in different sizes on matt paper or with elegant high gloss coating.

Photo Calendar Discount
With family photographs or holiday snaps it is easy to make photo calendars as a very personal gift ideas. Photographic calendars can be printed in mat or glossy finish in various sizes and formats as kitchens or wall calendars or for the desktop, with space for appointments or with the professional finish on dot-free photographic paper.

Remember all important dates
A photo diary is always a popular gift option as the New Year nears. Some photo print services offer diaries with personalised picture cover, at FotoInsight even the inner pages can be personalised with own photographs and texts. With two customisable photo pages per month a diary is personal and keeps fond memories alive. There is also the option of a school diary for younger people, which following the academic calendar.

Family stories in pictures
With pictures from a family or holiday there will be a story to tell. The ideal medium to preserve these memories are photo books, printed with personal photographs.
Personalised Christmas Gifts with own photograph
Home decoration
Some pictures need space; they will look great as a poster or as a laminated and framed deco block. Laminating posters instead of putting them under a glass frame avoids light reflections, but still protects the colour prints from humidity and UV-light so that several generations should be able to enjoy the poster prints. Both, FotoInsight’s website and it’s Designer software includes Collage Posters and the Collage Canvas feature, to create a print composed of up to 98 images.

Refined Photo Acrylic Prints
Your photo as a stylish Christmas gift. A real, quality photographic paper poster print is applied with fully transparent foil on a sheet of up to 1 cm deep acrylic glass. As light passes through the side of the acrylic it illuminates the image, giving it additional depth and colour brilliance. The quality processing suits it’s use in photographic exhibitions and due to its excellent visual appeal, acrylic prints are used in prestigious art galleries and exhibitions.

Aluminium Gallery Prints
For the Aluminium Dibond a photograph is printed onto foil, which is laminated onto an aluminium dibond panel. This is becoming increasingly popular with photographers to exhibit their work. The images get a shiny finish and are presented on a robust, coated composite panel, withstanding even water splashes. A great way to make an elegant, long lasting print.

Own photographs printed onto canvas, mounted on a wooden frame
A fine present for those with space on their walls is a photo canvas print, Especially photographs which were post edited with artistic effects that look great as an art print. ‘Think Big!’ photo canvas prints are available in online photo shops in a range of different formats and sizes from 20×30 cm to 90×130 cm. FotoInsight offers photo canvas prints with the option of a floating Havana frame. With this frame the fold over the edge of the wood frame is visible and the 3D effect of a mounted canvas preserved.

Acrylic Desktop Picture Frame
With it’s simple and clear elegance, the acrylic photo stand is welcome in every home or office. The photo behind an acrylic glass sheet with acrylic foot is available in the sizes 10×15 cm (6″”x4″”) and 13×18 cm (7″”x5″”).

Photo on a coffee mug
Always popular, simple and economical is a photo mug. As a German beer mug with a a photograph or a panorama print on a coffee mug (with coloured inner side), it only needs one digital image to make a practical present personal.

Cuddly moose with photo
When giving a soft toy with your own photograph, at Christmas it has to be a “photo moose” (with a red cap).

Photo games at Christmas
The picture pairs game “Photo Memo” is ideal for families, as it suits children from the age of 4 years young and unites families and is a real memory trainer. 25 of your own photos (family, holidays, et al) suffice for an individual gift (£12.99 / €€13.99 +p&p), which families can play over the holidays. Photo puzzles too are popular during long winter nights.

Play with nicer cards
When the family gets together over the holidays, playing card games is great fun. A deck of cards with a picture on-print of a loved one on the reverse is an ideal present and guarantees a good hand in Blackjack, Poker and other card games! Recommendation: Buy two decks of photo cards to play canasta!

 

Glossy Photo Calendars for Christmas

Photo calendars are among the most popular personal Christmas gifts in Britain. This year glossy photo calendars will shine und/er Christmas trees, as Printing-1 presents the new high-gloss coating on wall calendars printed with own photographs: http://www.pmai.org.uk/photo-calendars-now-available-with-high-gloss/ . A shiny, personal photo gift and currently with £10 off the first order (voucher code “PRIXUK”)!
Glossy Photo Calendars

The term digital print describes a group of printing methods in which the image is transferred directly from a computer to the printing machine without using a static print form like printing plates. Digital direct print uses systems like Indigo, inkjet and laser printing, which from the standpoint of individual printing offer very good value for money. By selecting appropriate paper, the prints are produced with a matt surface. Applying a polyurethane varnish produces a gloss finish, with brightness similar to photo paper.

Choco Photo Advent Calendars – Cool!

They print a picture which you upload over the Internet onto the photo Advent calendar. 24 little doors conceal festively wrapped, tasty milk chocolate balls:

Photo Advent Calendar with Chocolates

I can’t wait! I have already made photo Advent calendars for my two children and all four grandparents. It’ll soon be the first of December!