I feel I should probably start by apologising a little for using the word 'Christmas' in a post I am writing in October. In my defence I would say that for a few years, a large number of my Christmas gifts have been photo based and in order for the process of making them to be enjoyable and not a mad rush to the Christmas printing deadline, I do generally start preparing them at about this time of year.
Like many people, I find a lot of my photos are taken in the square format for instagram and finding the right way to print and display them can take a bit of research. So I wanted to share with you a few of what I think are the best ideas...
Buy a series of canvases
I confess I haven't bought a canvas for a few years cause I got a little bored with them, but Canvas Pop have managed to refresh the idea by displaying multiple canvases together with characteristic Instagram rounded corners or frames making them look very contemporary. The website allows you to import directly from Instagram and their inspiration gallery of customers prints will make you want to order staright away.
Make a Blurb book
I have been printing photo books with Blurb since 2006 and I have never found anyone to rival their quality and printing options. They aren't the cheapest, but they are worth every penny. With Blurb you can import your Instagram photos directly into the online editor and create a 60 page square book for £13.79 (plus P&P)
Design a cushion
We did one of these last year as a bit of a joke gift for my father with a photo of his dog on it (he is rather obsessed with the dog!) but you don't have to have a photo of a family member grinning at you from the sofa. Take inspiration from these cushions and do your own plant prints. You can buy photo cushions from a range of places online, or you can buy printer transfer paper and make your own at home.
I know coasters aren't terribly rock n' roll, but they are a really useful way of using your photos to decorate your home and crucially they are square too. I've been using my own photos for coasters for years usually from PhotoBox. You can chose personal pictures or images that are more obscure like landscapes or close ups.
Do some prints and create a multi-aperture photo frame
This is really two ideas in one, but as I doubt you'd just give prints on their own as a gift, I thought I'd list them together. My favourite place to do Instagram square prints is Polargram. They do both polaroid style prints (with a wide white border at the bottom) and 4 inch square prints which fit the Umbra multi-aperture frame (above) from Red Candy perfectly. I reviewed this frame back in April and it's still one of my favourite things on the walls of our house.
These might not be the most expensive or big gift, but they do always go down well. Sticky 9 do sheets of 9 square magnets for £9.99 or you can get them in the more conventional photo dimensions from picstick.com for £9.50. (you can 25% off picstick using the code 'MAYB25' until November 5th) Also if you are making for close friends or family it might be worth asking their partners if you can arrange a time to raid their photos so you can print their images on the magnets.
This is a new discovery I have made. Ixxi consists of various size square cards that can be fixed together using x's. They look absolutely awesome on the wall and I love the potential to start a display that can be added to (or refreshed) every year.