8 Ideas for Displaying Your Photos (or Giving Photo Gifts!)

I love displaying my favorite photos where I can see them often – and my clients do, too!

The images I display include family portraits, snapshots of my children when they were young, and various vacation memories. The décor in my house is mostly items we purchased while we were on vacation, or handmade items given to us by friends or relatives.

There’s very little on our walls, shelves or tables that doesn’t remind us of a person or place that’s important to us.

In the past, decorators have told me that it’s not necessary to use my photos for décor – but I disagree wholeheartedly. It’s important to me that I’m surrounded by things that bring me joy and honor our family ties – so I’ve decided to disregard the decorators’ advice.

Because photos are important to me, I try to keep a running mental list of my favorite ways to display my favorite images. Some of the methods on my list are my own, and some have come to me through friends, family and clients.

This post can give you some ideas if you’re looking for some creative ways to display your recent photos, so you can share and remember your memories from this year’s holiday season. (There are also some ideas for thoughtful birthday or holiday gifts in 2017).

Let’s dig in!

1. Display Your Photos On Your Computer.

You can set up a folder of your favorite photos to display like a slideshow when your computer is “sleeping.” You just compile your screensaver photos into one folder, and adjust your computer settings to point to that folder.

You can also select a favorite photo to use as the background image on your desktop or laptop. To adjust these settings, look around on your computer’s to find the “Display” or “Screen Saver” settings.

If you wanted a unique and thoughtful gift for friends or family members, how about sending them their own collections of photos for screensavers? You can compile and share a customized Dropbox folder for that person, and call it “Screensaver” so they get the idea.

2. Display Photos in Frames.

You’ve got lots of creative ways to play with this traditional way of displaying photos.

For example, I like to display frames in themes. For one project, I grabbed photos taken when each one of our children was two years old, and when each one was wearing a hat. Then using the Photos app, I created black and white versions and printed them for these frames.

You can think in terms of colors, age, holiday themes, or events when you’re organizing your photos into frames – or get creative and make up your own groupings! Also: Keep your eye out for frame sales at craft stores to snag good deals on traditional frames.

3. Put Your Photos in Digital Frames.

Modern technology makes it possible to display photos in new and exciting ways. For instance, now you can set up a digital frame that displays photos on it like a slideshow.

Digital frames are surprisingly easy to set up – you can do it in 15 minutes or less – and it’s a great way to showcase photos to help you remember everyday moments. You can even customize how long each photo is shown before the frame switches to the next one.

Need a digital frame suggestion? The Nixplay Edge 8-inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame with Hi-Res Display is a good one to start with for your first project – it’s available on Amazon.

I once created a digital frame for a client as a thank-you gift. I thought this would be a great way to honor her relationship with her children and grandchildren, so I set up a folder of just those photos to display in the digital frame.

Her frame can even receive new photos remotely, through her home’s wifi capability (yes – her picture frame can get talk to the Internet!) and I plan to update her frame collection from time to time with new photos she has taken.

4. Compile a Wall Collage.

You can also put together a creative and beautiful collage of your favorite photos.

Right now, I’m in the process of compiling photos for a collage we’ll display in our basement (we have a little nook that’s a perfect spot for this). I’m going to use black and white photos of our family and extended family, for a consistent look on the collage.

I’ve selected some pivotal moments – like pictures of my in-laws as they migrated on a ship from Germany to Canada – and I’ll also use photos of my extended family and my own kids as little children. It’s a fun way to see family resemblances when you showcase photos of people at the same ages in their lives.

I purchased the collage frames from a local frame store. My frames have pre-cut openings on the mats, so to lay out my collage I just selected the photos I wanted to add, printed them out on my printer on regular paper, and attached them to the collage frame temporarily with a post-it note. Then I can move the images around to see which configuration I like best. When I have everything placed where I want it to be, I order the prints in the appropriate sizes and attach them them with the mat with regular tape.

5. Use Photos in Your Christmas Decorations.

Each year, when I take out our ornaments to hang on our tree, some of my favorites are the personalized ones with photos. You can get lovely ornament frames from Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, or from your local frame or craft store.

For example: Our beloved dog, Otto, is no longer with us, but this photo of him (taken in his first year) is a bittersweet reminder of his role in our lives. Christmas was always a fun, crazy time with him vying for our attention amidst the mess of presents and wrapping paper. 

For the same reason, I also kept all the ornaments my kids made during their school years. They remind me of those times, and they always make me smile!

Another way to enjoy your own Christmas or holiday photos is to frame the images and include them as part of your decorations. For our family, it’s fun to see look back over our memories of the year, and see what has happened and how we’ve changed.

6. Make a Holiday Card Collage.

Each year I keep all the photo Christmas and holiday cards I receive, and hang them on a large bulletin board in the back hall of my home. When I walk past my collage, I think of the people who are represented in those cards. Since we often just correspond once a year, it’s a way to keep them in my thoughts and stay connected with the people who are important to me.

If you’d like to make your own holiday card collage, all you need is a decent-sized bulletin board. You can buy one at a local craft store (like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby) or even snag one at an office supply store. Then just hang your bulletin board and start hanging cards!

7. Design and Create Photo Albums.

You can always create your own physical photo albums for your own home – and albums make great gifts, too.

To design and print albums, some affordable options are Mixbook.com, Picaboo.com, and Shutterfly.com. You can easily upload your photos to their site, design on the spot, and place your order — then the site will print your entire album for you. It’s a good idea to pay a little extra to get their best quality so look for the hardcover albums that lay flat when they’re opened.

If you’d rather physically compile the album yourself, you can also print your photos and put them in physical albums. For the best quality prints, I recommend using your local camera store.

In our family, Sam’s fiancé Nicole and Ben’s girlfriend Amberlee have just graduated from college. For their graduation gifts, I thought giving them each photo albums would be a fun way to honor their accomplishments – so I gave each of them a coupon for that service from me. They can choose their own photos from their time in college, and I’ll design the album for them.

8. Create a Keepsake Box.

You can create a beautiful keepsake box to store your photo albums or prints – and even customize the box with one of your favorite photos on the lid.

Here’s a beautiful example of a wooden keepsake box from Artifact Uprising. One of my favorite things about this box is that it’s made from reclaimed mountain beetle pine. I gave my daughter and her fiancée one of these beautiful boxes, and customized it with one of their engagement photos. They can use it in their home to hold keepsakes from their wedding or their new life together! 

5 thoughts on “8 Ideas for Displaying Your Photos (or Giving Photo Gifts!)

  1. I also make cards from my photos. I use card stock from Photographers Edge in Colorado Springs. I give these away in sets of 10 as gifts. They are a huge hit with family and friends.

  2. I have a Google Assist which will display pictures from your gallery. After I lost my 24 year old daughter it was very hard to see her photos flash up on the screen so I disabled photos. I recently put them back up after 6 months. It’s hard seeing her a times but seeing her smile helps me a lot. I cry, smile, and laugh. The pictures bring all emotions in which I need.

    1. Hi Pamela:
      I’m so sorry about the loss of your daughter. Our photos can be a bittersweet reminder of our loved ones. Hope they bring more smiles and help you relive happy times with her!

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