August 2nd, 2017

World Photo Day 2017: Celebrating Moments in Time with Photofinishing

Even in today’s digital-centric world, printing has remained an incredibly important part of the photography process. Photography is meant to celebrate a special moment in time, and photo printing helps us to share that moment with the world. It’s worth reminding ourselves just how powerful a photo can be, especially while we celebrate World Photo Day.

Developing negatives has always been an exciting part of the process for any photographer, and for a long time it was the only way to share your captured images. It was the only way to tell your story. Henry Fox Talbot pioneered the process of chemically developing film negatives, patenting the process of ‘calotype’ in 1841. This calotype process made photography more practical than paintings and illustrations, with the new ability to make any number of prints from a single negative image. Suddenly, photography was accessible to the everyday person.

However while our options used to be limited to basic prints and enlargements, photographers now have all kinds of unique print surfaces at their fingertips. Thanks to digital technology, we can tell the story of each photo not just with the developed print, but through editing and the print surface itself. After all, a bright, vivid image won’t be conveyed the same way as a dark moody image on the same surface. You’ve chosen a moment in time that you want to celebrate, now you just have to find the perfect surface to share it. Here is a look at some of our favourite print surfaces.

Aluminum Metal Panels

These high-gloss aluminum metal panels have become a popular choice for photographers in recent years. We’ve had many professional photographers tell us these eye-catching prints have been popular with their clients as well. The coated aluminum sheets are infused with dyes that can make any image, especially detailed and rich landscape photos, come alive with vibrant colour.

The London Drugs Photolab has expanded the availability of metal printing technology from just one location to now several Photolab locations, which have the special presses necessary to create the aluminum prints on-site. The lightweight and durable surface makes these prints ideal for hanging on the walls of your home or gallery. They’re also an especially good choice for high traffic areas, thanks to their resistance to fading.

Local photographers Stacy William Head and Larry Hilderman have both printed their landscape images on aluminum metal panels. Stacy finds that the aluminum surface gives his rich, long exposures a very surreal feeling compared to paper or canvas. Larry appreciates the depth it gives his landscape images. You can read more about both Stacy and Larry’s experiences with aluminum metal panels on their respective blog posts here and here.

Canvas Gallery Wraps

Turning your most precious moments into a true work of art is easy with canvas gallery wraps. Using specially pigmented inks with archival qualities, the image is printed on a fine art canvas. The canvas is then stretched around the sides of a 1.75” wooden frame and secured on the back. This style gives the image added depth and dimension. Since the image is printed right to the very edge of the canvas (otherwise known as “full-bleed”), the print can be hung on a wall without an art frame. If you do want the look of a border, our LDExperts in the Photolab recommend a black or white frame, or a floating black frame.

Our LDExperts recommend keeping the canvas dry and avoiding water or liquid cleaning solutions. This will help to preserve the image’s colour and contrast, allowing it to last for many years without noticeable fading.

A new offering is the metallic canvas, which features a pearlescent finish and vibrant colour reproduction. If you’re looking for a unique surface texture, this is an excellent choice.

Bamboo Prints

The texture of bamboo prints really is unparalleled. Made of 90% bamboo fibres and 10% cotton, this ultra-matte, finely crafted white paper offers a unique look and feel to your image. The surface offers maximum aging resistance and an extremely large colour gamut. As an added bonus, bamboo prints are also environmentally-friendly, as bamboo is considered to be a highly renewable resource.

Local photographer Matt Ferguson was impressed after printing on bamboo for the first time. The “texture and physical feel to the print” made it stand out, and he felt as though he “could actually touch the trees and feel the coolness of the fog” featured in his image. If you’re curious to hear more about his experience you can, check out this blog post.

 

Hopefully World Photo Day will inspire you to experiment with your photofinishing options and try something new. Consider the image you have (portrait or landscape), the colours (vivid or dark), and the purpose (home décor or gallery display) and use those elements to help you decide which surface will best tell the story of your image. If you need a little extra help deciding which surface is the right choice, just speak with one of our LDExperts in the Photolab department in-store!



July 19th, 2017

Guide to Wedding Season Photos

Wedding season is upon us. If you’re looking at your calendar and realizing that your weekends are packed with bridal showers and weddings, you’re not the only one. Or, maybe it’s your own wedding that’s just around the corner. From unique gifts to customized cards, here are some creative ways to celebrate and preserve those wedding memories.

Wedding Cards

Especially if you’re gifting the couple something off their registry or giving cash, the wedding card is your chance to get personal. Rather than choosing a generic one from the card aisle, you can customize a blank or wedding templated card with photos and a heartfelt message to the soon-to-be bride and groom. Better yet, if you happen to have some photos of the couple from back when they first met, add those photos to the front of the card. They’re sure to appreciate the flashback!

Save The Dates

Save the Dates have become more elaborate in recent years, with couples staging fun and creative photoshoots to capture the excitement of their wedding announcement. If you have photos from an engagement or Save the Date photoshoot, you can turn those photos into personalized Save the Dates that can be printed on thick postcards using your choice of 6 specialty papers. Make sure to include important information on the card, including who’s invited, your wedding website URL (if you have one), and “Invitation to Follow” if you’ll be sending a wedding invitation at a later date.

For a clever twist on Save the Dates, put it on a magnet! They’re unique, versatile and most importantly they’re hard to lose once they’re on the fridge, so you can be sure your guests won’t forget the special date.

Unique Wedding Favours

Being able to celebrate your wedding with all of your friends and family members present is something truly special. All the more reason to share a token of this special day with them. A crystal or ornament can be customized with a photo and the wedding date for each guest to take home. They also make a great centrepiece on the tables during the wedding reception. Personalized playing cards are a handy wedding favour your guests will likely use again and again; take a wedding logo you’ve designed, or a photo of the two of you, to have printed on the cards.

Wedding Gifts

Rather than the traditional stand mixer or crystal ware, consider surprising the newlyweds with something unique and personalized. The best gifts say something about the happy life you wish the couple will lead.

A fine art print will set your wedding gift apart from all the others. Feature a photo of the happy couple or a photo of their favourite place to travel, on a Canvas Gallery Wrap. Not only is it sentimental, but will help to brighten up the walls of their home together.

Any couple is also sure to appreciate a gift they can use together. A set of customized Mr. and Mrs. aprons plus personalized placemats would be a sweet gesture if they share a love for cooking. Or help the couple start off their new lives together with some of your all-time favourite recipes, curated into a soft cover book.

Photo books are also a thoughtful way to show the couple you wish them the best. Collect photos of the two from their dating years through to their wedding day, and create a beautiful Coffeetable Photo Book for them to look back on years from now.

Thank You Cards

There is a lot to thank your guests for. It could be the incredible shiny new gift they gave you both, or the fact that they flew across the country to be there on your wedding day – whatever the reason, a good thank you card will help to convey your appreciation. Just like Save the Dates, Thank You cards can be printed on 6 different specialty papers. Double-sided or folded cards both make a good choice, and come with envelopes included.

Wedding Photo Book

Once the wedding is over, and the thank-you cards are sent, it’s finally time to sort through your wedding photos. Compile your favourites into your choice of photo book to display the memories of your special day. Especially if you invested in having a professional photographer at your wedding, it’s worth it to have those photos printed in a high quality format Photographic AlbumExpress books are also a great option; they’re quick and easy to make, and perfect for handing out to family and friends.

 

If you need some help getting started, our Photolab Experts can answer any questions you may have, and walk you through the ordering process. Just visit us at any London Drugs location, in the Photolab department.



November 24th, 2016

Nostalgia and personalization top holiday decor trends for 2016

The holidays are all about enjoying the company of friends and family, and if you’re celebrating together from the comfort of your own home, there are a few creative ways to make your home feel even more festive and inviting. Spread holiday cheer from the moment your guests walk in the door with unique and personalized holiday décor items from London Drugs Photolab.

ornament_xmas87

Christmas Ornaments – Christmas Ornaments are what make every Christmas tree unique. Often, ornaments are passed down through the generations, and many tell our family stories, from ‘First Year Married’ to ‘Baby’s First Christmas’. You can customize your very own Christmas ornaments to share your favourite memories. Choose from our extensive selection of ornaments, made from aluminum, pewter, crystal and ceramic – all of which come in a wide variety of shapes. Add a personal photo and some text to create a special keepsake you can hang on the tree for years to come.

 

canvas_xmas

Canvas Gallery Wraps & Aluminum Panels – Just as you change the pillows and other décor in your home for the holidays, why not switch up your artwork, too? Get creative and have your own personal holiday photos printed on a Canvas Gallery Wrap or Aluminum Panel. Deck the halls with a fine art print of your family’s annual Christmas photo, or if you consider yourself skilled with a camera, why not take one of your own wintery landscape photos and have it printed?

Our Canvas Gallery Wraps are hand stretched onto deep wooden frames for easily placement or hanging, and are printed using specialty pigmented inks with archival qualities, so your holiday photos can be displayed as works of art.

We now also offer our high-gloss Aluminum Panels in a larger format, up to 40 x 60, which makes them great for creating your very own holiday wall décor. Thanks to their mounting, the vivid images appear almost three-dimensional, seemingly jumping off the wall.

 

2015 Photolab

Personalized Placemats – A lot of time during the holidays is spent around the dinner table, so why not add your own personal holiday touches to your tablespace? Customize placemats using our Photolab to match your Christmas theme: our experts recommend using a photo of last year’s Christmas tree, the gingerbread house your kids made, or even a snapshot of the snowman you built. You can even personalize with text (a simple ‘Merry Christmas’ works great).

 

2015 Photolab

Photo Coasters – If you’re planning on entertaining, it’s the details that will really impress your guests. Instead of pulling out your usual old coasters for guests to use, customize your own holiday coasters with some personal photos and the help of our Photolab. Make them all the more festive with some text: “Eat, Drink and be Merry!”, for example.

Get started with any of these fun and festive décor ideas 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.



May 6th, 2016

London Drugs Photolab Prints Fine Art for the 3rd Annual Capture Photography Festival

For the 3rd consecutive year, London Drugs is proud to be a sponsor of the Capture Photography Festival, celebrating local and international lens-based artistic talent in Vancouver. The festival is devoted to exhibiting challenging and thought-provoking photography at over 50 esteemed galleries and public installations.

This year, the London Drugs Photolab printed the works of several high profile Capture exhibits, including LA-based photographer Aline Smithson’s exhibit Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography, and the News Photographers Association of Canada’s National Pictures of the Year awards exhibit.

Using the best in photofinishing equipment and innovative materials such as our Hahnemühle Fine Art Bamboo Paper, our passionate, experienced Photolab Technicians printed flawless fine art pieces hung in galleries across the city.

These fine art printing services aren’t just reserved for professionals, either. Amateurs, freelancers, and professionals alike can get museum-quality prints, using the London Drugs Photolab’s cutting-edge printing services.

Visit our Photolab in-store or online to find the right print for your photography project!



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.



May 26th, 2015

Canvas Gallery Wraps

Canvas gallery wraps are the ultimate antidote for bare, lonely walls. Infinitely more personal than store-bought wall art and available in a huge range of sizes both square and rectangle, their striking colour reproduction draws viewers in and brings out the best of any image, scene or subject.

Essentially, a canvas gallery wrap is made using special inks on a fine art canvas, which is then wrapped around a wooden frame and thus doesn’t require an art frame. I’ve written extensively about canvas gallery wraps in the past (primarily this post) in case you’d like to learn more. Canvas is an excellent way to preserve the colour and contrast of the image, and as a surface it works for any type of photo including family portraits, scenic shots—heck, even pets!

Gallery wraps work well for anything from a small accent piece to the main focal piece of an entire wall. Sizes range from 9×9” to 40×60”. Just keep in mind, if you’re going big, you’ll need a high-resolution image. And of course, your local Photolab technician can advise you of such details, as well as anything else you’d like to know about gallery wraps or fine art prints.



January 6th, 2015

Should Old Photos Be Forgotten?

Because that’s what will happen in 2015 to all those great photos you’ve taken during the holidays if you leave them on your hard drive or sock them away in the cloud. Sure, you’ll share them on your InstaTwitFace account, where they will accumulate Likes and warm & fuzzy comments, but within a few days your followers’ collective short-lived attention span will flitter elsewhere and your wonderful holiday photos will fade away into obscurity.

Don’t relegate your holiday photos to the cloud. Print them out using one of our many options and display them throughout the year.

Don’t relegate your holiday photos to the cloud. Print them out using one of our many options and display them throughout the year.

OR…

You could actually, you know, do something with them. Like turn them into actual physical keepsakes. The kind that people are able to see in perpetuity. And every time they cast their eyes on it they will remember that specific moment or event. After all, isn’t that why we photograph these moments in the first place? Not so that they can remain a bunch of digital information packets that we archive indefinitely in cyberspace.

The specific kind of physical product you should create is entirely up to you. You can go for something traditional and classic, or choose a piece with a funkier, more modern edge, or maybe warm & fuzzy is more your thing. And yes, you can even opt for something purposefully tacky if the photo calls for it.

If you’re not familiar with the Photolab’s photo printing products, I’ve reviewed a few of the more popular ones below.

Enlargements and Awesome Prints

The holidays are the time of the year when typically the whole family gets together. The whole gang of friends, too. At the workplace, the annual holiday party is the one of the few times where everyone is gathered in one place—and the marketing department actually gets dressed up! All of which are reasons why this tends to be the best time of year for taking photos, and why holiday photos often make the best ones to put on display. The Photolab offers a great selection of enlargements and art prints to suit any photo, occasion, or décor.

Enlargements— To begin with, there’s always the simple, tried and true photo enlargements. The Photolab can print sizes from 7 x 7” all the way up to 44 x 66” — the latter being the ideal size if a co-worker is photographed in a Christmas sweater so hideous it simply begs to be on display in the lunchroom all year.

A simple enlargement is a great option for a desk photo, or if you’ve already got a frame you really like. Hey, some people are frame fans. I get it.

Gallery wrap— If you managed to capture some amazing shots of the kids, or your winter vacation to the ski resort yielded some breathtaking scenic panoramas, a gallery wrap can provide a stunning reproduction of either.

Using specially pigmented inks, the image is stretched on a fine art canvas, which requires no frame (although you can still add one for aesthetic purposes if you wish.) The canvas wrap adds tremendous depth and dimension to the image, giving it the presence of a gallery piece. This post provides more detail about gallery wraps.

Metal Prints— If you really want to make a bold statement, a metal print is a state-of-the-art way to display a photo. This method infuses dyes onto specially coated aluminum sheets, providing vibrant colour reproduction and incredibly crisp detail. These shimmering, glass-like prints are an eye-catching way to bring life to an accent wall. I’ve written more extensively about metal prints in a previous post.

The Photolab offers quite a variety of art prints, which I encourage you to explore. You’re bound to find the ideal option to suit both your photo and your home or office.

 



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