BRIGHT IDEAS

Thinking Outside the Album

Sunday, August 19, 2007

You've shot countless images, uploaded them to a Web site, e- mailed the link to friends and maybe printed a few. But other than putting them in conventional albums (do people even do that anymore?), here are more ways to get some mileage out of your travel photos.

· Make old-fashioned calling cards with a modern twist, the better to pass out your contact info while on the road. Those with Flickr accounts ( http://www.flickr.com) can use their images to create MOO MiniCards ($19.99 for 100 cards, http://www.moo.com), with a photo on one side and up to six lines of information on the other. They're about half the size of regular business cards, all the better for packing light.

· Put your travels front and center -- plus change your decor on the cheap -- with clear plastic hanging wall displays, which are essentially long plastic sheets lined with photo sleeves.

England-based I Want One of Those markets the double-sided Picture Pockets (about $15, http://www.iwantoneofthose.com), which can carry up to 40 4-by-6-inch photos, as can the Walbum (about $10, http://www.photobox.co.uk; free account required). Go with a color scheme (solid reds, blue accents, green patterns, etc.) or a thematic approach (foreign dishes, headless statues, etc.).

· Carry your trips with you at home and on the road with a photo bag. Snaptotes (866-707-3186, http://www.snaptotes.com) makes bags -- from beach tote ($75) to messenger ($95) to diaper ($110) -- that offer a backdrop for your stunning shot of Mount Fuji or that I-wish-I-were-there image of a Jamaican beach. You pick the material (microfiber, with or without leather trim), the color and the snapshot, which will be superimposed on the material itself. Prices start at $30 for a coin purse.

· Make your own postcards. The2Buds Inc. ($3.95 for 10 4-by-6-inch backings; 888-270-0552, http://www.the2buds.com) sells adhesive "backing" with address lines, a Place Stamp Here image and everything you need to make your photos look like an official postcard. Just slap it on the back of an image, and your friends can see what you're writing home about.

And for those special pals . . .

· . . . gussy up the postcard with a customized stamp from Zazzle ($18.99 for a sheet of 20 postcard stamps, http://www.zazzle.com/custom/stamps).

· Photojojo ( http://www.photojojo.com), a site dedicated to all things photography, has ideas for a zillion and two DIY projects. For example, there's no need to trash the photos that didn't turn out picture-perfect. Instead, turn them into an online comic strip (via Comeeko, http://www.comeeko.com) and get out all those snarky thoughts you had on your trip. And why spend precious souvenir money on a snow globe anyone could buy when you can make your own from a bottle, two pictures and some glitter?

-- Anne McDonough


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