This shall not be your typical holiday photo gift guide.
No digital frames or framing suggestions here - you already know how to do that! Follow me into 2024 for tips and tricks in that arena, but for now I want to share services, products and ideas that are fun, unique, thought provoking or even empowering - you know my motto - photos are powerful! If something here sparks joy or an idea of your own, please follow up and let me know!
Ok, the board book made the cut because its unique... Board books are made more durable and drool/chew resistant than your typical album so they're perfect for a baby or toddler to use. If you make it in time for baby to unwrap it at Christmas you'll get so many AWWWWwwwww's!!!! from your family while he just plays with the wrapping paper - but it will be well loved (and chewed) later on. Pro tip - if designing for a newborn, take close up photos of each family member's face, convert them to black and white and increase the contrast before uploading photos for design. Why? Babies can't see very far and it takes a few months to fully discern color but they are very, very interested in faces! Starting at $45 from Artifact Uprising
If you are Gen X you love all things projection and remember watching slideshows of your neighbor's vacation, spending hours with viewfinders and who remembers scopes from Ocean City? Share your projection passion with this generation with these mini projector flashlights that come with 3 reels (dinosaurs, space and safari) as well as a voucher for a custom reel with 8 photos you upload! $32 from Uncommon Goods
Its the pickle ball of family game night! Or, dominos for the visually literate! Seriously, you're going to want to check out Ouisi: an absolutely brilliant and delightful visual connection game that develops pattern recognition, social-emotional learning, abstract thinking and so much more - plus there are so many ways to play and the photos are beautiful. Pro-tip - for the moms of young kids, keep a few cards in your purse and if a young child is getting bored or clingy, hand them a card and ask them to find a connection within a defined environment. I read this idea in a review and thought it was just brilliant! This game is a great way to develop curiosity while engaging every brain in the family... $35 at Ouisi and other Game Stores
That's right, PJs with Fido's face! Or Mango the Mantis' mandible (January, I hope you are reading this!) You can also get customized flannel pants from Amazon for the teen that insists on flannels for school as well as socks for your sneaker head. Pro-tip: Why limit the cringe to pet pictures? Go ahead and put your own face, or a boysfriend's face, on custom flannel pants and see how your teen screams. 100% worth all of $39 at Cuddleclones or Amazon
All the fun of Polaroid but better image quality and cheaper film. The Fujifim Instax mini 12 comes in at least 5 different pastel colors and sets come with lots of fun ways to display your captures, $130ish at Amazon.
The grown up version is less expensive, very well thought of and tragically hip. Yup, I want one. Bad. $99 at Best Buy.
The concept of both Remento, Storyworth and similar services is to give your parents a format for sharing their life stories that will eventually be bound into a book. You choose a prompt to send each week for a year and their response will be captured and assimilated into text. Storyworth uses email so if you have a parent that loves to write crazy, long emails then this is the format for them! Remento uses video voice recordings and saves them by QR - the also develop prompts around photos you upload - so there's a bit more mixed media here.
Each year I decide to give this to all of the grandparents and each year I choke because I don't think they'll actually do it. This year I'm deciding that the opportunity alone is worth the money, wish us luck! About $100 at both Remento and Storyworth.
Get them a gift certificate for a Generations Session with yours-truly and let's capture the unique relationship between your parents and your kids! If the kids are over at your parents for a visit I can pop in for an hour or so with a camera and capture all that spoiling-goodness for them to remember always. Or, if the grandparents are adventurous and want to take the kids on a favorite outing I can tag along for a portion. You can join in the fun or step away for a day date of your own, its up to you. Either way, I will work with your parents before the shoot so that they know what to expect. $350 for the session fee plus package cost, minimum total cost $600 but only if you get your gift card in 2023!
If you like banned books then you'll want to get this before the state of Florida does. Which is tricky, its currently out of print, but with a new printing scheduled in 2024, interest in Frank's work is likely to find a resurgence because its still relevant today. First published in France in 1958, Swiss-born Frank's work was highly criticized here in the US for its unvarnished views of American culture including Jim Crow segregation, consumerism and political strife. But its not spiteful or sarcastic, its pensive and poetic with just 83 highly curated photos and a forward written by Jack Kerouac for context. To understand more about the relevance of this work and how it changed American photography, check this out. Pro tip: Do you have a family trip planned in 2024? Present your tween/teen with both this book and the Fuji camera and challenge them to photograph their trip as an outsider, just like Frank did. You will have many, many conversations around this (mostly about your own culture) and the results will be stunning! $40 at Barnes and Noble or $1100 on eBay for an early printing.
Its the modern day locket - or a scope necklace - no matter how you see it, its a way to carry a memory with you always. Shop for necklaces, bracelets, ornaments and more. $80 at Wear Felicity
Its important to gift yourself this season. I'm calling this opportunity a photo gift because, if your application is selected, you'll send a self portrait to my amazing friend Ashley Trabue, an artist who will create a custom art piece (drawing or painting) just for you. Its a journey in loving ourselves profoundly, both through the collaborative process of creating the work as well as living with that work everyday. Ashley is so open and gifted - I know it will transform you! Applications for the Take Back Your Body Project are live 12/5 and while I don't have a cost to share, a commissioned art piece is invaluable. Just download the questionnaire and get started, what do you have to lose? Ashley Trabue, artist
Are you over 40? Gift yourself a boudoir session with me next year - just hear me out here... We've prioritized caring for others. We've prioritized taking pictures with and for others. This is about liberation and self celebration in this phase of our lives and I'm centering this service on women over 40 for a reason - let's get visible to ourselves again! What this is not about at all: photoshop, looking thinner, looking younger or in some way recapturing our youth. This is about feeling beautiful, powerful and uplifted just as we are where we are. $350 for the session fee plus package cost, minimum total cost $600 but only if you get your gift card in 2023!