In the age of digital cameras and smartphones, there’s a tendency for vacation photos to live in purgatory on our devices or only be shared through Facebook newsfeeds or Instagram filters. But if you want a tangible souvenir of the fun times you had over the summer months–or just a better way to organize them–you’ve definitely got some options.
One of the advantages of the digital age is that you can take as many photographs as you need to get the right shot. No more film canister limitations. But for all of those pictures you don’t want to display just yet, there are some great free options for saving them without using precious space on your hard drive, including Photobucket, Flickr, and Picasa. Most sites integrate with existing online accounts, making sharing a cinch, and some even include photo-editing tools directly from the web. Online storage is recommended as a safeguard against lost phones, crashed hard drives, or any of the other detrimental technological mishaps that could cause your photos to be gone in the blink of an eye.
Invest in a Photo Printer:
One surefire way to encourage removing your photographs from memory-card limbo is to invest in a photo printer. While the initial expense might seem a bit high, there are some great affordable options from trusted brands like Canon (both PIXMA and SELPHY lines have printers under $100), HP, and Epson. While you can use these printers as a more flexible Polaroid, you can also experiment and buy photo-transfer paper to decorate fabrics, make stickers, or any number of fun projects. Just be diligent about research as printers differ in use: there are multi-format printers, which allow you to print things other than photographs, and dedicated printers, which are solely for images.
You’ll also need to purchase the correct paper for your printer–and for the finished product you have in mind. Things to consider include finish, durability, and obviously cost. While most photo printers have their own lines of paper, many online vendors exist, such as Inkpress, Museo, and Red River, to ensure you’ll get the proper end result.
Once you’ve gone through the arduous task of finding the right paper and printer, you’ll definitely want to put all of your hard work on display. Scouring your local dollar store or Ikea for cheap frames can be very fruitful, and since the frames were inexpensive, you can have free reign to modify them. Pinterest is a treasure trove of DIY frame ideas. Try sponge- or spray-painting them. Glue on buttons, sequins, or even mementos, like from the beach where the photos were taken.
If you haven’t gotten around to printing your photos yet (or don’t plan to), there are also bountiful options for digital frames, which will cycle through your photos with various settings you can control. You can change them as often as you want, so you can look at your summer holiday when it’s snowing outside or at snow-covered mountains as you turn the air conditioner all the way up.
In most cases, if you can think of it, the Internet can make it a reality. This is especially wonderful when it comes to creating amazing souvenirs with your vacation photographs. Websites like Snapfish, Shutterfly, Zazzle, Artifact Uprising, and Artsy Couture can take your poolside selfies and put them on anything from a magnet to a shower curtain. Some sites even let you add text, which means you can turn your vacation photos into family Christmas cards or party invitations. Be sure to check Groupon and LivingSocial before ordering, as there are usually deals for fun photo projects online. The Polaroid Photobar website allows you to add a serious nostalgia factor to any photograph by adding the instantly memorable white border to any shot, which you can then modify in size and material. With just the click of a button (and some patience for shipping), you can turn one of your favorite vacation moments into a lasting keepsake, which is exponentially better than having it live on the screen on your iPhone.