Making a gift of your own photography

There’s nothing more satisfying for the amateur photographer than to create beautiful photos that any professional would be proud of. Even better when their work garners recognition, or when people begin to ask if they sell their services. A photographer might turn their favourite shots into greeting cards and sell them at the local farmer’s market, but like any other weekend warrior, as they improve in their technical abilities, their friends and family often become the lucky ones to receive the gift of photographic art.

Here are some ideas to choose the right photos and make them truly memorable.

Tailor your photo gift to the recipient. In general, art is subjective, and it can be nerve-wracking to give away our own work if we don’t think it will be appreciated. The perfect photo is both meaningful and beautiful to the recipient. A close-up shot of a bee on someone’s prized roses, perhaps? Or a sunset picture of the family hunting cabin, highlighted in the glow of the autumn colours? The better you know the recipient, the more likely you are to choose something they might really like.

Go for Black and White. Some people like to look at faces on the wall, some like architecture, landscapes, or something more abstract. Whatever the content, black and white is always stylish and timeless, and it has the widest appeal for most people. It’s wonderful for accentuating people’s faces, letting their character shine through. And what frame do you choose to go with a black and white shot? Go for the gallery look: either black or white frames paired with a white mat is the classic choice, and an extra-large frame matted with a smaller photo can make a statement, too. But if you know the person very well, silver or gold metallic frames, or a coloured frame might do if you are familiar with their décor and color preference.

Frames don’t have to be expensive. These days, big box craft or home decorating stores offer a variety of standard frame sizes, often with mats included, for a better price than custom framing. If you’re looking to save even more money, or you’re looking for something vintage to suit your photo style, browse the shelves of thrift stores or antique stores for old photos or artwork that have appealing frames and glass that is still intact. Most framing companies will custom cut a mat to fit your photograph and your frame.

Don’t be limited to framed photographs. There are plenty of brick-and-mortar stores, as well as online companies that offer books, calendars, mugs, and more, for reasonable prices. Digital technology has improved drastically in the last few years. Imagine a coffee-table compilation of your best beach photos taken on your travels—a great housewarming gift, say, for a friend who’s purchased a seaside cottage. Or maybe a journal, customized with photographs curated for the individual? In this do-it-yourself world, the wonderful thing is that you are only limited by your imagination.

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