Here are five of my favorite picture projects and my favorite sites for each (from simplest to most involved):
- Postcards @ Winkflash: The quickest, easiest way to use your photos is to print postcards with one photo on each card. Most sites offer lots of borders and other options, but I like just using a single picture that fills the card with a glossy finish. You can print messages or addresses on the back of the card, or just leave them blank. I like to print a 4x6 picture of my children on Christmas morning, then use the cards for thank you notes. You can print multiple copies of the same photo or get an assortment. At Winkflash, the prices are low and the quality is fine for a basic postcard. And now, with the collage feature in Picasa, it's super easy to make a single image file that includes mutiple photos.
- Notecards @ Winkflash: Almost as simple as postcards, the notecard set is great to have on hand or give as a gift and so much more fun to use than generic cards. Again, I think simple is best -- one full photo per card and you can't go wrong. With Winkflash, you can order the exact number you need instead of having to order sets of 12. Envelopes are included.
- Holiday cards @ Winkflash: Okay, so you're noticing a theme here. For my money, Winkflash is the best for card printing because I like to just use my photos (no borders or other designs) so that they work for anyone -- no worrying about getting Christmas cards for Christians, Hannukah cards for Jews and so on. If you want better designs, go to PhotoWorks (see below). But the other advantage with Winkflash is that you can print your message directly into the card -- no extra printing, folding and stuffing of holiday letters. I usually get the 5x7 size card so that I can put more than one photo on the front and have enough space inside for our annual update. And you can order the exact number you need instead of having to order in sets of 25. Envelopes are included.
- Calendars @ PhotoWorks: Lots of photo sites have calendars, but the nicest ones I've found are at this site. They have multiple sizes and styles (sample above), including a perpetual calendar for keeping track of birthdays and anniversaries, and the quality of the printing and materials is better than the rest.
- Photo books @ Shutterfly: When I was pregnant with Pippi, this became my addiction. I "nested" by becoming my own little yearbook staff for baby Juni pictures -- but way better than when I was actually on the high school yearbook staff because it didn't require a typewriter, scissors and glue (our kids will never understand that "cut & paste" was a literal thing before it became virtual on computers, but I digress). Of all the sites I tried, Shutterfly was the best combination of design options, ease of use and quality final product. One tip: Don't try to work in Mozilla Firefox; for some reason, Shutterfly is happiest in Explorer.