March 20th, 2017

Make springtime the photobook making season

Photobooks let you re-live that luau all year long.

Maybe it’s me, but it seems there are a lot of people going away on sunny tropical vacations this spring break. Well, for the rest of us who aren’t quite so lucky, we may not be taking a ton of exciting new photos this spring, but we can do something to preserve all the great photos we’ve already taken—in a format that’s much more fun (not to mention more real) to browse through. I refer, of course, to photobooks.

Trust me…make at least one or two now, in the spring, before you get busy again. If you’re already up to your elbows in spring cleaning, you may as well grab all those ancient pre-digital photo albums and prints you have slowly decaying in boxes and bins (and yes, that’s actually what they’re doing), and organize them into a scan box for the Photolab technicians to turn into high-quality digital scans. Then, get creative and make a photobook or two that will truly do justice to those priceless photos of days gone by. It’s the best way to ensure they never get buried in storage again. You’ll be able to display them prominently on your coffee table, and share them with the friends and family who had undoubtedly forgotten they exist.

Or, if you’re a winter lover who is too busy lamenting the inevitable end of a memorable winter to start your spring cleaning, why not turn your favourite memories from this past winter into a photobook? Keep it on the coffee table all year as a reminder how awesome this winter was. It will set a high bar for you and your family to beat next winter. It will be a fun and convenient way to look back on over Easter or a rainy spring (for our west coast readers).

You can create and personalize one in a few minutes using your local Photolab’s in-store kiosk (I’ve posted a number of how-to’s here on the Photoblog this past year.) If you have your digital photos organized and earmarked it takes even less time; it also depends on the amount of editing you want to do, and of course, the more experience you gain as a photobook-maker, the quicker and easier it gets. And if you happen to be one of those lucky ones taking a spring vacation, remember you can use the Photolab website to create a photobook from your poolside lounger.



February 8th, 2017

Photo blankets are a real thing

The London Drugs Photolab continues to expand its impressive line of photo gifts. This is very good news for people like me who are always struggling to find fresh and interesting gift ideas for occasions like Valentine’s Day.  You can only give the same person a photo mug or a fine art print so many times, after all. Regardless of the quality of the print or the perfection of the chosen photo, after a while the recipient is going to wonder why you never bother to think of something new. It’s ok. They don’t need to know that the Photolab is happy to do this kind of thinking for you.

For example, the Photolab now boasts a robust selection of textile print gift items including t-shirts, hoodies, aprons, pillowcases and blankets. Textile gifts are perfect for a range of occasions including bachelor(ette) parties and company picnics, but to me at least they seem especially appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Giving jewelry or a vacation is a little overkill and candy/roses/dinner is lame and cliché, but giving a personalized photo blanket ticks all the boxes: sentimental, thoughtful, affordable, original and uncommon. Most importantly, if you choose something like a beautiful vacation photo of the two of you, it’s also very romantic.

And, as always, creating a textile gift is as easy as ordering prints. Here is a short walkthrough of some of the steps for ordering a photo blanket at the Photolab in-store kiosk:

From the main screen, select Creative Orders and accept the terms.

 

Choose the source of your photos to upload, for example Wireless Transfer or Facebook.

 

Once you’ve gone through the steps to select your chosen picture for your blanket, you can choose the upload size. Blankets have a large surface area, so you should choose ‘Large’.

 

Once the upload is complete, you’ll see the Photolab homepage and from here you should select ‘Textiles’ followed by ‘Blankets’.

 

Choose either than landscape or portrait orientation…

 

Finally, whether you want it to be a full rectangular image or if you want to go Valentine’s Day to the Max and choose a heart print!

 

Nearly there! You can name your project and then get to work choosing and placing your image.
There’s a Toolbar along the bottom which you can use to edit your photo and add text.

 

Then, when you’re done, proceed to the Cart page and voila! Valentine’s Day all wrapped up in a personalized blanket.

 

Come to think of it, a personalized photo blanket makes arguably the best Photolab Valentine’s Day gift—because it’s the only personalized gift that two people can snuggle in.

 



November 29th, 2016

Giving Gifts They’ll Actually Love

Hint: It’s not the thought, it’s the personalization that counts!

We all know that one person who seems to always give the perfect, thoughtful and most unique Christmas gifts. How do they do it? Our Photolab Experts have the secret, and it’s easier than you think. It’s all about personalization. Adding a personal touch, like a photo or custom text, will give your gifts a unique quality that your loved ones will cherish. Our Photolab has virtually endless possibilities to customize your gifts for friends, family, colleagues and anyone else on your holiday shopping list.

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Greeting Cards – Whether it’s your family’s annual Christmas card, or individual cards to give out to family, friends and colleagues, spreading the holiday cheer starts here.  Rather than picking out a set of generic cards to send, why not create unique holiday cards with personal photos? Our Photolab can now customize Greeting Cards using a wide variety of themed templates on 6 new premium card stocks: linen, natural white, matte soft white, shimmer silver and shimmer soft gold. We are the only local Photolab to use these premium card stocks, so your greeting cards are guaranteed to be entirely unique.

 

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Photographic Albums – Give a truly thoughtful and personal gift by curating a collection of special photos and creating a personalized photographic album for loved ones. The book’s photos are printed on thick photographic paper that will brilliantly display cherished memories in a high quality format. Share photos of a recent trip together, a collection of photos taken over the past year, or even old childhood and family photos.

 

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Personalized Large Fleece Blankets – Brand new to the London Drugs Photolab, this is the ultimate cozy Christmas gift. Got a hockey player in the family? Customize a fleece blanket with a photo of their team, and parents can use it to show support and to keep warm at their next game. Grandparents would love a personalized blanket with a photo of their grandchildren, and a dog lover would be over the moon to see their prized pup immortalized on a super-soft fleece.

 

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Photo Crystals – Choose a meaningful photo to share with your loved ones and gift it to them in the form of a crystal. Our new expanded selection of shapes includes heart, teardrop, moon, wave and rectangle-shaped crystal blocks, which can transform your photo into a unique, eye-catching Christmas gift. This would make a great personalized hostess gift for any of your upcoming holiday parties.

 

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Express Books – Need to whip together a quick and easy Christmas gift, and need it right away? The 8×8 photographic Express Books can be made within 24 hours at any London Drugs location. Just choose your photos, and we’ll create a sleek photographic book complete with black leatherette cover. So if you forgot one last person on your list, or if you received an unexpected gift from your neighbour or colleague, don’t fret: we can take care of that.

 

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Instagram Books – This small personalized Instagram Book makes the perfect stocking stuffer gift! Simply select your favourite square Instagram photos from your feed, and our Photolab will turn them into a beautiful square photo book you can easily pop into someone’s stocking. This is a great gift for hard to buy for tweens and teens and for hobby photographers who showcase their work on Instagram.

 

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Photo Calendars – Have a few people on your shopping list that you’re just not sure what to get them? Our photo calendars are easily customized, which make them the perfect gift for almost anyone this Christmas. For family, feature images of your kids growing up, or for co-workers, perhaps feature some of your favourite landscape photos. It is useful all year round.

 

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Personalized Mugs – Whether they’re a coffee person or a tea person, you can’t go wrong with gifting a personalized photo mug. Pick a colour, design, and then choose your photo: it’s as simple as that. You can even choose our Magic Mug that reveals your hidden photo when hot liquid is added. These personalized mugs make great stocking stuffer gifts, as well as gifts for colleagues or your kids’ teachers.

 

Order any of these gifts 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.

 



November 28th, 2016

Photo gifts—direct from your mobile phone!

Check-out these How to Videos

These days, something in the neighbourhood of 50% of all online retail purchases are made using mobile devices. In fact, it may even be more than that when you consider that I don’t like doing research about retail sales statistics and therefore didn’t bother looking up more recent data. But it’s absolutely plausible; more and more people are only using their computers at the office and their phones everywhere else. Whatever the actual statistics, the ever-proactive Photolab people are aware of them and have built a mobile site that’s easy to use and fast/stable enough to create and order anything from their entire catalog of photo products while you’re waiting for the barista to steam your latte.

With the holidays fast approaching, this feels like the perfect time to demonstrate exactly how easy it is to create and order a photo gift item (in this case, a holiday-themed printed beer stein) on a smartphone. How easy? Well, the video demo I created is a mere seven minutes from start to finish—which includes the time I take to (over) explain everything. As I usually do with my video demos, I pre-loaded all my photos and albums to save time, but of course that’s a very simple process as well. You can review it with this post if you need. Then, grab your smartphone and give it a try yourself, and see how simple holiday shopping can be. And once again, my sincerest apologies for sounding like a Simpsons character.

Instagram Easy Photo Books!

From your social networks to your favourite prints in a snap.

As we’ve mentioned many times here on the ol’ Photoblog, no one loves Instagram more than the Photolab. Well, the Photolab also loves Facebook and Twitter, plus any other social media that’s helped make photography such an essential part of the way we communicate and express ourselves in daily life. However, I’ve never asked but I’d bet Instagram is still the consensus favourite simply because of its emphasis on photography.

In fact, the Photolab has made it possible for people to engage via Instagram outside of the digital world with the new, specially-created Instagram photobook. It’s a simple 20-page booklet that can be either 4×4” or 6×6”—square formats that are perfect for Instagram photos. Simply choose your finish (glossy or pearl) and your binding edge (top or side), load your Instagram account into your London Drugs photo album and build your book. And as you can see from the video demonstration, it takes only a few minutes to create and order. These booklets have a very instantaneous, in-the-moment quality to them, and they exist to be shared with others—almost a kind of tactile version Instagram—yet made for actual life!

Have a quick look at the video. Then, start by taking what you consider to be the best images in your Instagram account and print your very own Instagram’s Greatest Hits photobook. And as you watch, keep this in mind—my tongue isn’t actually fused to the roof of my mouth with a wad of peanut butter. It only sounds that way.

Your phone: the instant personalized photo greeting card maker.

Perhaps you’ve never made a personalized greeting card for anyone. Perhaps it’s because you believe it’s going to take too much time, and therefore it’s easier to just buy a pre-printed set from the store. Let’s set the record straight once and for all; this is a holiday myth—and it’s a bigger downer than the myth about getting coal in your stocking. The fact is, it’s always been quick & easy to make a personalized greeting card from the Photolab. It was easy back in the days of the Photolab home software, and it became even quicker & easier with the launch of the current Photolab website.

Also, since the new site is all responsive and adapts to mobile phone web browsers, you can create a personalized card from your photo album anywhere you take your phone. Do you happen to be somewhere with a nice outdoor light display? Snap a picture and make it into a holiday card, right on the spot in a matter of minutes. This short video demonstration shows you how. Actually, it serves more as proof that you can do it, because the process is so simple that you really don’t need a tutorial.

Have a look at the video, then try making a personalized card yourself. The recipient will certainly appreciate you spent the time—however little time you actually needed to take. And I apologize for having a voice that sounds like a failed audition for the pre-recorded Skytrain announcer.



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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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).

 

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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.



September 16th, 2016

Creating a customized Photolab calendar

Customized calendars are one of the most popular items the Photolab has to offer. And why not? Their merits—specifically their customizability and their immense sentimental value, especially as gifts but even for oneself—have been covered frequently in past Photoblog posts like these.
However, since the last post about them the Photolab has rolled out its magical new website and in-store kiosks, making their creation easier and even more customizable than ever before. And if you doubt this claim for even a moment, I invite you to read at your leisure the demonstration that follows—

How to create a customized photo calendar
using the Photolab in-store kiosk:

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Begin by selecting Creative Orders, and then Agree to the Terms & Conditions on the next screen.

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Then choose where you want to get your photos from. This time, I chose to log in and access the ones I’ve uploaded to my Photolab account.

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Next I select Calendars from the Products page.

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On the Calendar page you can choose your calendar type, your binding…you can even choose a single page or a desktop. I’ve selected the traditional style of calendar, because I happen to be a traditional guy.

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In fact, I went even more traditional and selected the standard 8.5×11” calendar. As you can see, I’ve got nine styles available in this size to choose from.

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From the menu on the left I can also choose to start my calendar in October, November or December, or I can just choose the full 2017 calendar year.

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You can place your photos manually one-by-one, or you can select the autofill option. Usually when I post a demo like this, I choose the manual option so I can take you through it; but since I’ve gone that route so often, this time I’m going with autofill—you know, just to balance things out a bit.

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When you select autofill, it pre-loads photos from your album into the calendar template, and then you can proceed to edit them.

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From the top left of the screen you can choose your layout; you can also select whether you want to edit the calendar in page view, spread view or as a grid of thumbnails.

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Not only can you edit or add text to your photos, but you can also add and edit text in each of the individual date boxes on each page, for every month. Now you can give Grandma’s birthday the same official recognition as a national holiday!

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Once you’re finished with all your tweaks and edits, you can save the project to your account or add it to your shopping cart. As you can see, volume discounts are clearly pointed out. Then choose your shipping or in-store pickup preferences, and you’re done!

But the helpful advice doesn’t end there, dear readers! One thing the Photoblog hasn’t addressed much is the fact that however you want to make your Photolab calendar, great photos will make it that much better—except what do you do if you happen to have a dearth of quality photos? The solution is in this month’s companion post, which contains a helpful way to keep some handy DIY photography tips right close by whenever those perfect photo-ops present themselves.



November 5th, 2015

Photo Gift Ideas for the Proactive

If you wait, before your know it Dec 24th will be here and you’ll have missed your chance to get Aunt Rita this customized photo pet bowl for her Shih-Tzus.

If you wait, before your know it Dec 24th will be here and you’ll have missed your chance to get Aunt Rita this customized photo pet bowl for her Shih-Tzus.

So…who’s up for being proactive this holiday season? Hmmm. Okay, I don’t see very many hands… What’s the matter? Oh, I understand: being proactive can be a hassle, which is probably why so many people don’t bother with it. Being proactive requires thinking ahead, and who has time for that? Speaking of time, that’s another big reason people aren’t more proactive with their holiday shopping: we’re too busy being proactive with other things to be proactive shopping for a holiday that’s still so many months/weeks/hours away.

Fortunately, as a lover of all things photography-related, you’re in luck; the Photolab has great gift solutions for pretty much everyone. Keep in mind, these are personalized gifts you create especially for the recipient, from your own computer or mobile device. Again, to recap: personalized gifts that are convenient, require very little of your time and involve photography—your photography, in particular—which is something you enjoy. See that? The Photolab has just removed all of your barriers to proactivity.

On top of all that, the Photolab has made it easy to customize the type of gift based on the recipient’s known preferences/lifestyle/etc. In fact, the selection of items you can put an image on via the Photolab just keeps on growing. Here are just a few of the many gift ideas you’ll find:

Mugs—Sure, we’ve covered these before and you already knew photo mugs have been around forever. My personal favourite is the latte mug. Not only can it display a larger image, but it also holds more coffee. I like lots of coffee.

Coin bank—Help the recipient save by printing a picture of their savings goal right on the coin bank itself. That’s motivation, right there! Or, buy one for yourself and put a picture of someone for whom you’re saving up to buy a more expensive gift. Either way, everybody wins. Available for square or panoramic images

Water bottle—Say you know someone who wants to get back in shape, and they’re doing it ‘for the kids’, or ‘the kids deserve a fitter, healthier parent’ or something to that effect. So give them a water bottle with a picture of their kids on it, so their motivation is always right there, in a cupholder on the Stairmaster. Available with 4×4 or 8×4 image.

Heart-shaped puzzle—This isn’t just for couples who aren’t too cool for heart-shaped things. I bet the grandparents would love a heart-shaped puzzle of the grandkids. I bet the kids would love a heart-shaped puzzle of the family pet. Think outside the box, dear readers. Start thinking more heart-shaped.

Photo pet bowl—It’s a good thing dogs can’t see two-dimensional images. Otherwise, they might think a food bowl with their picture on it is kinda vain. Fortunately they care more about what’s inside the bowl. Your cat can see photos, however, and cats feel entitled to such glorification. Available in small and large sizes.

So there you have it. The Photoblog has just provided you with the inspiration for probably half your shopping list. And this is only a partial list of the Photolab’s gift ideas. Do yourself a favour and check them all out; you never know what may jump out at you. While you’re at it, give yourself a gift, too—give yourself the time to be proactive.



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