The biggest problem when it comes to buying the perfect gift is that some people are really difficult to buy for. What do you get for the friend that buys everything they want themselves?
In these situations, we usually resort to the same old mundane and “practical” luxury gifts every year – aftershave, bath salts, etc. If you’re tired of giving the same old thing every year, why not try something that is much more unique and personalized?
All you’ll need for this gift is a digital camera, your PC and a good sense of what the recipient’s taste in décor is like. I’m not suggesting family photos here (unless you know that will be most appreciated) but photo art.
- Get a sense of your intended recipient’s decorating style. Someone whose home is ultra-modern and minimalist is more likely to appreciate art that is more abstract or that has clean, unfussy lines than typical “postcard” art.
- Scout out possible locations for your art in their home. (Be aware though that they will have the final say.)
- Once you’ve seen a possible location, consider the décor in the room. What are the predominant colors and themes?
- Choose a color and theme for your picture that will fit in with the decor.
- Now that you have a basic idea, go out and take some photos. Concentrate on getting the photos properly focused and exposed. All the photo manipulation software in the world cannot make a bad picture amazing.
- Try taking shots in the early morning or late afternoon so that your subject isn’t washed out by the full sun.
- Set your camera to take high quality pictures.
- Once you get home, go through your photos ruthlessly. Any that are slightly blurred or just plain awful, delete.
- When you have some workable images, load them onto your PC and start playing. Your camera should have come with some basic photo editing software but if it didn’t, you can always download Google’s Picasa for free from www.picasa.google.com
- You can now manipulate your image. What is the focal point of the photo and how can you highlight it? Remove things that distract from the focal point. Crop out wasted or boring space. Get rid of distractions.
- Play with the lighting and color of the shot. Try removing all the color or changing the hues. Sepia toned photos usually turn out really beautifully and go with most décor. Black and white photos can make a real statement as long as they are crisp and clear.
- When you are happy with your image/ images, decide how you will present them to your friends. What will they look like framed? What about printed on canvas and block mounted? Bear in mind that the resolution of your picture will determine the end size of the print so you need a resolution of at least 300 DPI. The higher the resolution, the better the end image.
- If you are doing a few, it is worthwhile looking into printing them onto canvas. A standard size A0 sheet can comfortably fit about 7 or 8 A4 size prints and leave enough space around the edges to allow them to be block mounted.
- Should you go the canvas route, you can decide whether or not to frame them. Currently though, block-mounted, unframed canvases are more fashionable.