Creative Uses for Extra Photographs
What do you do when you have enough photos to fill a landfill?
So many people enjoy taking photographs that I would venture to guess that photography is probably in the top 10 list of hobbies. In fact, many people like taking photos so much that they may not even think of it as a hobby, and simply a way of life for them. Even the ones who take pictures sporadically tend to take a lot of them, especially since digital photos are free and memory cards are cheap. Once all these pictures are taken, though, we have to figure out what to do with them.
In our family, we have many boxes of photos we have printed from back when photos couldn't be seen until they were printed. In our area, many photo developing places had buy one get one free deals, so we wound up with duplicates. We need to find a way to use these pictures. We have been scanning our pictures so they will be available in digital format, but that leaves a lot of pictures hanging around needing to be used.
Once we got digital cameras, we took even more pictures, one from every angle and lighting situation imaginable. We have printed a lot of them, but most of them sit in the computer, waiting for the opportunity to be appreciated and enjoyed.
So what do we do with all these photos - digital and physical? There are a large number of ways you can enjoy them. Hopefully, some of these ideas will help you to use your photos and enjoy them. Since either format can easily be converted to the other, this article will include ideas for both formats.
When we were young, we had art projects where we cut out pictures from magazines and glued them on something like a pencil holder or a box.
Now that you are older, you will hopefully have better dexterity and be able to make an item that is neat. You probably have learned more about what is beautiful to you, and can make something that suits your baste instead of your teacher's. We can use more valuable things like photographs.
Simply cut out the parts of the photo you want. When you are ready, spread some Mod-Podge on your item, put the photos on, and cover with another layer of Mod-Podge.
Alternatively, you can use a software program that can create collages. Order a large poster print to display on your wall.
There are many software programs that let you make collages as well as scrapbooks, and photo albums. I haven't tried it, but CollageIt is highly recommended. With these types of programs, you can leave your original intact, and be able to use the same photo over and over again in different ways if you want. You can try out different layouts, combinations, backgrounds, words, and accessories to really stretch your creativity and maximize the use out of a single photo. You can also use a lot of photos in a single project.
Photo Editing Software
If you've been neglecting a particular photo because it has a minor flaw, you may be able to use a photo editing software and making it better. When you fix the lighting, crop it, and /or change the color cast, you will like the picture better and will be more likely to use it.
You can even edit pictures you do like and try out the different artistic features of the software.
Photo Developing Company
When you send your photos to a photo company such as Snapfish, don't limit yourself to simply getting them printed. You can get them in a variety of formats, like the calendar shown above. They also have posters, mugs, blankets, key chains, note cards, greeting cards, and a lot of other ideas for how you can maximize the potential of your pictures.
One of my favorite ideas is to create a photo book with your photos. You can simply make it a photo book, but I like to add words to tell the story of my favorite trip, a biography of a person, or the story of the family. There are so many ways you can customize the book, and it isn't as expensive as you might think, especially if you wait until the company is offering a promotion.
There are a lot of mixed media projects that use photographs. You can print your photos on fabric using an ink jet printer by simply stabilizing your plain fabric onto freezer paper. Press to set the dye and you can use it like any other fabric. If you prefer, you can use the pictures even when they are printed on photo paper. They can be made into artwork, note cards, quilts, or anything else you can imagine.
Have you collected a lot of photos from a family photo exchange? You can frame individual portraits and arrange them in a in a family tree If you don't like the tree idea, you can choose a different shape, such as a heart or a car.
I have found that enlarging a photo sometimes turns it from a snapshot to a work of art, provided that the image quality is good. Consider taking a photo and enlarging it to a 16x20 or bigger poster. A mat and a frame will help turn it to a work of art. Sometimes the packaging really does matter.
Signs and Banners
Photos can be used for a bonding experience with students, coworkers or community groups. They can create signs and banners to publicize their organization or event, show people the directions to a particular location, schedules, and many other reasons.
Imagine a big birthday banner showing a person growing older year by year, or a tribute showing the many ways a person has helped the community.
Photos can easily be turned into note cards or postcards. You can simply write the word PostCard on the back and use a postcard stamp. Add the address and a message, and it is ready to send. The postcard is personalized and you don't have to go searching at the store for the right image. Once you have created a perfect postcard, simply mail it. It is a great way to keep in touch with people you don't see often. If you can't think of anyone, you can even consider sending one to Postsecret.
You can put all your photos together into a photo mosaic using your scrapbooking software. Free sites such as EasyMoza let you create the mosaics and print or download them for your use.
Throw Them Away
It is entirely possible and permissible to throw away your extra photos. If you can't use them, can't find a friend or relative who wants them, and don't want to give them away to a school or church to use as a crafts project, then there is no need to keep the photos out of guilt. It is okay to throw them away.
You can share your photographs online on Facebook or a photo sharing site like Flickr. If you select settings that allow others to use them, they may even wind up in articles like this one. You can also sell them at places like Photostock or Shutterstock.
You can pin them on a bulletin board, and change them with the seasons or whenever the mood strikes you.
Use Up Those Extra Photos!
You can also use up extra photographs by cutting them up. When you cut them up, you can use them as you would magazine cuttings.
Here are a couple of ways we have used cut up photographs:
- We found a pin on Pinterest that gave us an idea of using playing cards to list 52 things I love about you. There are a lot of people who have made these cards and will give you ideas about the list and different ways to personalize the project. Photographs are too big, but we could cut up and glue just parts of them to help personalize the cards. This helps you use pictures with problems - if the head is cut off, it is no problem when you are talking about the shoulders.
- When my daughter was younger, I folded 14 sheets of construction paper and half and stapled it in the center to make a book. I wrote a letter of the alphabet on each of the pages, and my daughter and I searched through magazines and extra photographs to find things that started with that letter. This really helped personalize the alphabet book and use up some pictures.
What To Do With Your Extra Pics
There are so many different ways you can share your photographs, there is no reason for them to languish in a photo album, or worse a box or a drawer. Bring them out to the light with the ideas listed in this article.
© 2014 Shasta Matova
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