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How to Use Photographs as Gifts

Photographs have been used for generations as gifts, and it’s easy to see why. Having a permanent record of a loved one at a certain point in their life is a very valuable thing. It’s something that you can look back on and cherish for the rest of your life, and it preserves a memory along with it. You don’t just have to send a print as a present – there are lots of other ways to turn photographs into gifts as well. Let’s look at some of the best ideas here!

Printed Photographs

There is a saying that the old ways are the best, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with handing over a framed print on Christmas or birthdays. But you can also get creative with photographic prints, as in these ideas.

  • Canvas or metallic prints – You can make a photograph look so much more special just by changing the medium that it is printed on. A canvas makes a portrait look like a real piece of art, while a metallic print is a modern take on the traditional format. Go big to go bold!
  • Greeting cards – Especially at Christmas, sending a family photograph printed onto the front of a card makes a gift in itself. It’s the kind of card that will be kept for years and years, and having a collection of them as the family grows older makes for a tradition that chronicles the passage of time perfectly.
  • Storage boxes – If you want to create a gift that can grow and grow, consider a photo box. This is great for family members in particular – for example, a child could give it to their parents. Each year you can add more photographs to the box, creating a pile of memories that can be taken out and admired again and again
  • Photographic album – The best way to remember a special event or period of time, an album gathers together all of the important shots and displays them in one place. You can have the inside of the album professionally designed to make it look even more amazing.
  • Calendar – Imagine a calendar where every month is illustrated by a family portrait! This is the perfect give for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and will definitely light up a proud parent’s life. Not only will the photographs be kept and treasured, but the calendar also remains as a kind of diary of what you all got up to during the year.
  • Mosaic or collage – If you have lots of photographs that you want to use, why not make a collage? You can lay out the photographs in a certain shape, such as a heart, for maximum impact.

Photographic Products

These products are a little different to the traditional prints, but they still involve printing the photograph directly onto the surface. There are lots of possibilities with this, certainly not limited to what we have listed here!

  • Mugs, plates, and other crockery – Mugs are probably the most common item of crockery to have photographs printed on, but there’s no reason why you can’t choose something else too. These not only make great gifts, but are also functional and useful.
  • Coasters – Similarly, you can make up a set of coasters, each of which has a different design. This is a great way to get a larger amount of photographs printed up on things that can be used again and again.
  • Photo tiles – You don’t have to go overboard with these, but it’s a perfect way to showcase your family photographs in a tiled room such as the kitchen. Replace one of your normal wall tiles with a tile that has a photograph printed on to it. How cute!
  • Stickers – This works really well with joke or novelty photographs – like the kids dressed up in funny costumes or pulling faces. Get them made into stickers, preferably with the white background cut off so that there’s no big white square attached. Then the giftee can stick them wherever they like!
  • Photo magnets – Everyone loves to stick keepsakes on the fridge. Whether it’s pictures drawn by the kids or tickets for that show you saw together, the fridge is a place for good memories. Your fridge magnets can join in the fun too with memories printed onto them.
  • Personalised phone case – Why not get a special moment printed onto the back of a phone case? A new bride might treasure that first wedding kiss on her phone, or a mother might appreciate a great shot of the kids. This is all about wearing your heart on your sleeve.

Get Crafty

You don’t have to stick with the same boring old ideas! Why not try something crafty and quirky? These ideas will really make your gift a memorable one.

  • Photo cake or cookies – It’s possible to print onto edible icing with certain printers! This is best left to the professionals, but you can get anything you like made into a tasty surprise.
  • Wood or glass transfers – If you have the right materials, you can transfer a photographic print onto a piece of flat wood or glass. This can make for a really unique gift as it’s so unusual to see something like this. They make great wall hangings if you make fittings for them as well!
  • Photo jewellery – The obvious option is to put a photograph inside a locket, but you can also go further than that. You can mount photographs into the individual links of a bracelet, or make small cameo earrings from real photos. This takes a steady hand and close attention to detail, but it makes for a unique and highly personal gift.


All of these gift ideas are great ways to make a photograph come to life and last longer than just a digital file hidden away on your desktop. Portraits are pieces of art, so let’s treat them that way and put them on display! What are your favourite ideas for using photographs as gifts? Let us know in the comments!

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