“A photograph is like a recipe, memory the finished dish.” Carrie Latet
As a child of the 80’s, I grew up at a time when taking pictures meant buying rolls of film, loading a camera, and shooting sparingly. My family might have one maybe two 36-exposure films to develop after an extended vacation. I remember accompanying my mom to take the rolls of film to the store and praying that all the pictures would turn out. If we were lucky, only a couple of the pictures would come out blown out or blurry, if we were not, the entire roll would be thrown out.
However, despite this perceived trouble, I remember feasting on the many picture albums we had around the house. I loved looking at all the photos and listening to my parents tell me the stories that went along with them. Whether it was my parent’s wedding album, mine or my sister’s baby pictures, memories from our trips, birthday parties, or just day to day stuff, I was captivated.
Fast forward some 25 years and things have changed a bit. No more rolls of film or rationing pictures. Now, when I go on a day trip with my family we may return with hundreds of shots which, we will load into our computer and rarely look at again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love digital cameras and the ability to take endless pictures of everything but think about it, how many times have you sat at your computer just to scroll through the thousands of pictures in your hard drive? If you are like me, the answer is not many. Truth is, instead of sitting down on the living room couch and sharing stories while looking at picture albums, we now rely mostly on Facebook’s memory feature to help remind us of our past.
But why am I telling you all this?
As you know, photography is one of my hobbies but, what is the point of taking pictures if I will never look at them again? If I will never get to share with my children stories, much like my parents did, until they are old enough to find my Instagram account?
So, I decided to share with you a short list of budget friendly ideas that have inspired me to get my favorite pictures out of my computer and into the daylight.
- Engineer’s Prints
Do you have a large empty wall in your house? Why not fill it with a large print of your favorite picture?
Last year when we returned from our vacation I came across this idea of getting inexpensive large prints at our local office supply store. All we did was give them a copy of the file and ask them for an “engineer’s print.” Engineer’s prints are priced by the foot and will vary depending on whether you want in black and white or in color. We spent about $3 for each of the 24X32 black and white prints of our favorite pictures from our trip.
After we got our prints, we walked next door to Michael’s and got a couple of nice frames at their buy 1 get 1 free sale.
2. Photo Mosaic
This is an idea we have tried a few of years ago using one of our all time favorite pictures. We absolutely loved the end result and we spent less than $10 to make it. Once again, this is perfect for a large wall but, since you have full control of how many panels you want to print, the possibilities are endless.
To read my original post about this project with detailed step by step directions click here.
The only thing I would change on the directions is that I would skip the part about gluing the panels to foam and just print them onto photo paper and mount them to the wall as they are.
3. Photo Books
Photo books are a great alternative to the old picture albums. When we first got married, my husband and I started a tradition of making family “yearbooks” every year on our anniversary. Putting the book together was a fun way to revisit our adventures in the past twelve months. However, as the years went by and our children were born, it became a lot harder to find the time to work on these so they have since morphed into “occasion” books (i.e. birthday party memories, vacations, etc.).
Just thinking about the books we have made makes me want to be more intentional about making more in the future.
There are several online printing services that offer photo products and software that can help you print these books with minimal effort. Currently, my favorite is Shutterfly. For starters, they are offering 50 FREE prints, 1 FREE photo magnet, and 1 set of personalized address labels just for signing up. What I like the most about Shutterfly is that they always have special offers running and sometimes you can even get photo books for free. In fact, most of the ones we have we only had to pay for S&H.
If you do not have an account with them yet, you can win a FREE photo book through their refer a friend program. All you have to do is send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org letting me know that you are interested and I will be in touch. 😉
4. Shadow Boxes
You can get creative with shadow boxes because not only can you include pictures, but also other keepsakes. My favorite shadow box idea also came from Pinterest and it is called “Ocean View Shadow Box.” This is an awesome way to remember your trip to the beach and take advantage of those FREE prints from shutterfly.
The idea is simple, we chose our favorite picture from our beach trip, add in some sand and seashells or rocks we picked up and voila!
I used a 40% off Michael’s coupon available on their website to purchase the shadow box for a little over $5. Sometimes you can also find them on sale as a BYGO Free.
I hope these ideas will inspire you to get your favorite memories in places where you can enjoy them 😛
Note: The Shutterfly APP is currently offering FREE UNLIMITED 4X6 and 4X4 prints. You can upload your pictures and order your prints right from your phone and you only have to pay S&H.
Did you like these ideas? Do you have any others you would like to add? Please let me know in the comments below.