What Should You Do with All Your Digital Photos?

What can you do with the thousands of pictures you've taken on your phone?

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #223

It’s that time of year where family members are graduating, vacations are getting started, and a billion pictures are being taken. Before the internet age, these pictures were developed and stored in shoeboxes or photo albums. This practice now is all but nonexistent in the age of the smartphone where cameras are incredible, space is unlimited, and every photo of your cat is posted online.

The case that I would like to make is that in this digital era, there are some awesome ways to organize your photos and use them in the physical world: for gifts, albums, books, you name it. All too often now pictures are taken and lost in a sea of other pictures. What’s even worse is because phones and cameras have such large capacities you can take thousands of pictures, which typically means every picture that deserves a frame could be surrounded by one hundred other pictures that are less than stellar. This means going back and finding diamonds in the rough can be hard.

It’s interesting that now, with amazing photo taking technology, that a majority of the pictures we take are never manifested in the real world. They are confined to fleeting social media accounts or stored by the thousands on your phone or memory card.

Luckily there are some pretty incredible websites out there that make it easy to do incredible things with all of your pictures. The funniest thing about this is that my mom (a very tech illiterate person) was the person who showed me all of this! Ever since we replaced her 35 mm film camera she had stopped making photo albums because the process of offloading, uploading, and editing pictures was too much.

A couple of large family vacations went by without photo albums and we decided something needed to change. I always knew that it was really easy to print standard size 4”x6” pictures online, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across websites, such as Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Costco Photo, that things really started to take shape.

Long gone are the days of just photo albums. The websites I just mentioned can put your pictures on pretty much anything from calendars to photobooks, mugs, mouse pads, magnets, stickers, shirts, canvas, and even posters. If you can imagine it, they can do it!

Why does this matter? Personal gifts, tied together with pictures and memories are some of the best gifts to give and to receive. These websites all have apps which means that you can directly upload your pictures to their servers in order to add them on to whatever project you’re working on. Now to actually make the items that I talked about you’ll probably want a computer with a mouse and keyboard to make things easier on yourself.


My family’s favorite photo project is by far photobooks. This is because my mom generally has a lot of pictures that she wants to have printed, and unlike adding pictures to a mug or mousepad, you can add as many pages as you want into a photobook.

Conceptually it’s probably the easiest to work with as well you can simply drag and drop pictures wherever you want them. Shutterfly even has a feature where if you upload all of your images via your smartphone, it will take the location and date time data from each picture and auto create an album for you. This was pretty incredible when we went to Hawaii, or when my parents went to Europe because it filled in little labels with dates, and locations so that my parents didn’t have to remember them when they were making it.


Calendars are another great photo present to give for the same reason as photobooks, you can put a ton of pictures for each month of the year that will be up in an office or at home somewhere. What makes calendars great is the fact that you can also add custom dates other than just holidays. You can add birthdays, anniversaries, special family events, upcoming vacations, pretty much anything! Not to mention, how many gifts are pretty much guaranteed to get looked at every single day for an entire year.

Random But Awesome

Now if you love social media, especially Instagram, my wife found out that Shutterfly will print Instagram pictures in little magnetic squares. These are perfect gifts for yourself, or for friends that love their social media. You can take their pictures and turn them into magnets for decorations. Honestly the range of products is pretty staggering with what’s available. I recommend going and checking out all of the websites I’ve mentioned to take a look at prices and to get some great ideas.

I personally like the beer cozies, drink coasters, coffee tumblers, canvas prints, and iPhone cases. Please also realize that guys are suckers for these types of gifts too. Can you imagine getting your dad a coffee tumbler with a picture of every deer season? What about a poster collage of him and every car he’s owned? Or in the case of my dad every pair of skis and sun glasses? (Just thought I’d throw some Father’s day ideas your way!)

Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.