November 20th, 2017

Make a Gift Day: Craft Your Own Personalized Holiday Gifts for Loved Ones

Photolab Gift ideas

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s fitting that December 3rd is Make a Gift Day. Let’s think of it as a subtle nudge to get started earlier this year. This unofficial holiday encourages people to hand craft gifts for loved ones. After all, that little bit of effort to personally customize a gift goes a long way to making it special.

Photos are a great way to personalize gifts.  You’ve likely captured hundreds if not thousands of them over the year, so why not put all those memories to good use? Do some digging through your virtual photo albums and see if you can find some gems to work with.

Even if you don’t consider yourself Pinterest-level crafty, our Photolab can help you tap into your creativity and produce personalized photo gifts.

Here are some of our favourite DIY gifts for the holidays:

Photo Mugs

Personalize a mug with a special photo or artwork. It’s an easy, inexpensive gift that shows you put some thought into it. Find step-by-step instructions for adding photos or text to a mug on our Photolab website or at our in-store Photolab kiosks. Photo mugs are available for same day pick-up. If you want to order in time for the holidays, make sure to get your order in by December 24th.

Photo Mugs

Hand Print Mugs

Have the kids create their own handprint artwork on pieces of paper, which can then be digitized using an at-home scanner. Or visit us in the Photolab, where you can use our self-serve scanner, or have one of our LDExperts scan it for you. Then you can upload those digital files to our Photolab site (or use our in-store kiosks) and customize special mugs with that artwork, to be given away as holiday gifts.

Personalized Stockings

If your family does stockings every year, a fun pre-Christmas gift to make would be personalized stockings for everyone. Brand new to our Photolab, we have a selection of different Christmas stocking designs to choose from. Customize one for each member of your family, by choosing a design, selecting a photo of your choice, and adding their name (you want Santa to know who he’s delivering to). Then we’ll do the printing for you.

Personalized Stockings

Photo Ornaments

Photo ornaments are a gift that will show the recipient just how much you care. It’s something that can signify a special moment or milestone in their life, and they can hang it on their Christmas tree year after year.

Our Photolab can help you create your own customized photo ornaments. You pick the design: metal, crystal, ceramic or pewter, in a variety of shapes. Then choose a design template that fits your giftee perfectly. We have everything from baby’s first Christmas to first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs. Then, you can add the right photo, and get as creative as you like by editing the colour scheme, text and layout. Knowing you put the time and effort to customize every aspect of the gift will make it that much more meaningful for them.

 

We hope you’re feeling inspired to use your images to make fun and personal gifts that your friends and family are sure to cherish. We have lots more items you can customize. Just check out our Photolab site to see them all, from bobbleheads and crystals, to photobooks and blankets.

Need a hand getting started? LDExperts at many of our Photolabs are hosting workshops throughout December to help you personalize your holiday gifts. For workshop locations and times, click here.

 

Holiday Order Deadlines

A great selection of products are available for same day or next day pickup, up to Sunday, December 24th 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 Greetings Cards…………Sunday, December 17

Creative Products………………………………………………………Sunday, December 17

Crystals…………………………………………………………….……Sunday, December 17

Crystallize-it 3D Photo Crystals………………………………….Wednesday, December 13

Yes Video……………………………………….……………………..Saturday, November 25

 

If you need some help creating your holiday gifts, 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 15th, 2017

Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas from Blogger Melissa Cartier: Express Books & Book-It Mini Books

Hi everyone, Melissa from Melissa Cartier here again.

My husband and I have a little tradition where our only gifts for each other are meaningful, within a budget we set and must fit in our stockings. I love opening my stocking each year, and some of my favourite memories as a kid was Santa placing my stocking at the foot of my bed for me to find when I woke up. As for buying stocking sized gifts for my husband… it’s a challenge. He’s very practical and doesn’t really like chocolate (we are very different haha).

While looking at the different creative projects on the London Drugs Photolab App (iOS version only), I noticed the Book-It Mini Books. The price easily fit within our set budget and they are small enough to fit in a stocking. Kevin and I have created so many memories with our son this past year that it was so easy to put together a little book of some of our favourites. While I didn’t need the quick timeline, I was really impressed these Book-It Mini Books can be made in 24 hours!

The Book-It Mini Book I made is adorable. I chose the black hard cover, pearl finish paper and a single image on each page. I also chose the centered square image option which I love because it reminds me of a little book of Instagram photos.  It’s going to make a great stocking stuffer but if you’re looking for smaller gifts that are still meaningful the Express Books and Book-It Mini Books are a great option. They are quick, easy to make and budget friendly, so they are perfect for co-workers, your child’s teachers or anyone you’ve travelled with.

I love getting photos developed and putting them into photo albums (with each photo dated, of course) but I could see myself using the Book-It Mini Books as little keep sakes after notable events where we take quite a few photos. Family trips, birthdays or even holidays. I have so many photos from Thomas’ first Christmas that would be so sweet to compile in a Book-It. I know Kevin is going to love finding this little book of memories in his stocking this year!



October 25th, 2017

Get a Jumpstart on the Holidays with Personalized Greeting Cards

The Holidays may seem like a ways away still, but every year the same thing happens: you blink, November is almost over, and you’re suddenly scrambling to get all your holiday to-do’s done. Why not make this the year you get a jumpstart, and save yourself the stress in December?

If there’s one item you may want to get working on sooner rather than later, it’s holiday greeting cards – especially if you’re planning to send them off by mail to friends and family. Rather than picking out a generic set of cards to share, our Photolab can help you create unique holiday cards that are completely personalized.

Finding the Right Photo

Lots of people share a photo or two of their family when they send out their annual holiday cards. It’s a chance to show your loved ones how your family has grown over the past year. You can choose a favourite photo you have from this year, or plan a fun photo shoot with your family to snap a special ‘holiday card’ photo. Get creative and have a theme, like everyone wearing red, or have some fun holiday props on-hand, like pre-wrapped gifts. If you get an early snowfall this year, why not take advantage and run outside for a wintery group photo?

You can also turn your old Christmas photographs into digital copies that can be featured on your greeting cards. We can digitize those photos for you with our Photo Scanning Box service. Just pick up a box from your local London Drugs Photolab, fill it with all your print photos, and bring it back the Photolab where our technicians will digitize the photos at high resolution. Your print photos will then be returned to you, along with a USB flash drive storing all your special photos. Then you can simply upload them to our Photolab website or one of our in-store Photolab kiosks to get started with customizing your holiday greeting cards.

Pick a Card Style

Our Photolab’s user-friendly website and in-store kiosks give you every opportunity to customize, which means you have lots of options when it comes to the style of your cards. First, choose between either flat or folded cards. Flat cards have an extensive list of options, including single-sided, double-sided, and postcards. You can even pick a postcard template that is ready to stamp and drop in the mail. If you’d prefer a traditional folded card, we have both regular and premium folded cards in both 5×7 and 7×5.

We are the only local Photolab to use premium card stocks, so your greeting cards are guaranteed to be entirely unique. To make your holiday greeting cards truly stand out, our Photolab also offers 6 specialty papers in addition to our card stock: linen natural white, linen white, matte soft white, matte white, shimmer silver, and shimmer soft gold.

Once you’ve picked your greeting card style, you’ll then be able to choose a template. We have a wide variety of themes available, including Christmas card templates and Hanukkah card templates. Or if you’re feeling extra creative, feel free to go complete-DIY with a blank card.

Write a Personalized Message

To make your cards as personal as possible, add text to any of our greeting cards. You can choose your preferred font and colour, and customize where it will appear. Type a simple season’s greetings that you can easily send out to all of your family and friends, or customize each card with a unique and personal message. Our LDExperts recommend signing the cards by hand after it’s printed, for an extra special touch.

 

Ready to get a jumpstart on your holiday greeting cards? You can save 10% on your order of greeting cards, calendars and photo books if you order between October 27th and November 1st, 2017. Click here to get started!

If you need some help creating your holiday greeting cards, 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.



August 4th, 2017

World Photo Day: The Evolution of the Camera

Olympus film camera

Photography wouldn’t be possible without the incredible invention of the camera. According to Kodak, “the use of photographic film was pioneered by George Eastman, who started manufacturing paper film in 1885 before switching to celluloid in 1889. His first camera, which he called the ‘Kodak,’ was first offered for sale in 1888.”

It truly is amazing how much the camera has evolved since then. In came the digital camera, and the debate between film vs. digital began. Today, people appreciate the merits of both, and choose based on their preferred aesthetic.

If you love the nostalgia of film, you’re not alone. Film offers a creative challenge for photographers. Shooting analog photographs is an art form that truly embraces the candid nature of photography. The excitement of having your film photos developed, anxiously awaiting the final images, is a feeling many people love. There is something to be said about the simplicity of shooting with film too; without a Photoshop program to edit with, the result is a much rawer, visceral image. There is also a great deal more thoughtfulness involved in film photography, as you are limited by the amount of film you have. This is one of the reasons why many people recommend starting out on a film camera, even if you want to shoot digital. Being forced to be more selective with your shots will ultimately make you a better photographer, whether you shoot on film or digital.

Meanwhile, if you prefer to shoot digital, there are plenty of benefits that come with the ever-evolving technology of digital cameras. They are more convenient than ever, and are constantly being upgraded with more advanced features. Photographers can choose from point and shoots, DSLRs, and even compact mirrorless cameras, depending on what the situation requires. Today, many digital cameras also come with added features such as WiFi and Bluetooth. This allows you to directly transfer images to your smartphone or tablet, making it super easy to share all of your great moments.

Nikon camera and Nikon lenses

As digital technology has progressed, mobile phones have become the camera of choice for many people who wish to snap and share moments instantaneously. Some of you may remember seeing the #shotoniphone7 campaign, which inspired iPhone users to take incredible photographic shots simply using their phones’ camera. Today, millions of photos are uploaded every minute, allowing us to share our snapshots with the world in seconds, and find inspiration in the talent of other passionate photographers worldwide.

Whichever you prefer, London Drugs proudly offers a large selection of both digital cameras as well as film, and still offers film developing.

If you’re looking to upgrade your current gear, whether it’s a phone, film camera or DSLR, World Photo Day is a great time to see what’s out there and try something new. Our LDExperts can help you choose the right camera for your interests and needs. London Drugs’ selection of photography gear doesn’t end with cameras, either. We also have an extensive collection of lenses, camera accessories, photo printers and photo editing software to help you achieve the best images possible.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay tuned for our World Photo Day deals (including a very special drone offer, available exclusively on August 19th)!



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!



August 1st, 2017

Happy World Photo Day 2017: The World’s Largest Photography Celebration

For photographers across the globe, August 19th is no average day: it’s World Photo Day! The world’s largest photography celebration highlights our communities’ passion for photography, amongst both amateur and professional photographers. World Photo Day reminds us of the significance of photography. It allows us to showcase the natural beauty of the world, including landscapes and subjects. Whether you’re using a cell phone, point and shoot, or DSLR, this special photography day is meant to encourage photographers of all skill levels to contribute to their craft.

For our LDExperts in the Photolab – many of whom are photographers themselves – World Photo Day is an opportunity to celebrate with customers and photography enthusiasts in the community, like you!

Many of our London Drugs Photolabs will also be celebrating World Photo Day in-store. You can sign up for all kinds of free workshops being held at select stores, devoted to tips, themes and new products. We hope they will inspire you to learn and hone your skills as a photographer. For details on celebrations happening at your local London Drugs Photolab, click here for locations and workshop details.

You can also get involved online by registering on the World Photo Day site and submitting photos to be eligible for prizes and even possible publication. World Photo Day’s global gallery is constantly growing and evolving: a striking mosaic of images captured by photographers from every background.

If you’re on Instagram, you can follow along and be inspired by the Canadian photographers we feature each day on our @LDPhotolab Instagram account, and we encourage you to use the hashtag #LDPhotolab to be featured! Of course, don’t forget to also check out the hashtag #worldphotoday to see how other photographers are celebrating around the world.

 



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.



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