Your mother tried her damndest to set an unbreakable picture record, but thanks to smartphones and tablets, you and your friends will take more photos of your kids than any generation in history. With that great power comes great responsibility: Namely, doing something useful with all those great pics, rather than letting them languish in the cloud. These services and photo apps make turning that pic of Junior licking the cat while the cat licks the baby into a keepsake — something more permanent than just ones and zeros. How else will your kids enjoy the grand tradition of not recognizing themselves while thumbing through albums at Grandma and Grandpa’s house?
For A Custom Magazine: Recently
Remember magazines? Your parents do, so give them a subscription to Your Grandkids Monthly using this photo app that turns your camera roll into a collectible periodical without you having to do, well, anything. The app curates your 100 most publication-worthy photos each month, you tap “Upload,” and a beautiful magazine printed on thick, archival quality Mohawk Paper is on its way. That’s it. With one tap, your dad starts a collection way cooler than that stack of TV Guide.
Recently ($8.99 per month)
For Framed Pictures: Social Print Studio
A A picture on Nana’s fridge means you’ve arrived; a frame on the étagère makes you a hall-of-famer. Social Print Studio and their mobile photo apps let you instantly create both from your phone and Instagram photos. Their signature cardstock squares turn your Instagrams into real-life artifacts Nana can like and share without having to know what Instagram is. They also offer framed photos and quirky takes on familiar products, like giant photostrips or teeny picture books, all handcrafted in their studio.
Classic Framed Print ($60)
Square Prints, Set of 24 ($12)
For Calendars: Artifact Uprising
Artifact Uprising offers dozens of gorgeous photo products (as do pretty much all these sites and apps), but their calendar is definitely, like your mother would call you, the handsomest. The reclaimed beetle pine clipboard is magnetized for easy mounting and holds a page for each month, starting when you order it so your folks don’t have to wait until Christmas to get next year’s calendar.
Wood Calendar ($29.99)
For Books: ChatBooks
ChatBooks automatically generates 60-page photo books pulled either from your Instagram feed or a group chat you set up with family and friends, and prompts you each time you near 60 to see if you want a new volume. the photo app basically turns everything you’re already doing into a book, whether that’s blasting babygrams endlessly or showing friends baby pics only by literally shoving them in their faces. Either way, you’ll enjoy your photos long after you’ve liked your own post to increase your followers.
Instagram Series ($6 per volume, subscription)
Chat Series ($6 per volume, subscription)
For Really Big Coffee Table Books: Tweed Wolf
Tweed Wolf lets you upload as many photos as you want (seriously, numbers in the thousands are welcomed), then pays an actual human to sort through the bottomless pile to design and lay out a hard-bound album with up to 350 photos and 120 pages. You know, the part you’d never have the time or patience to do yourself. They’ll send you a preview, which you can change or approve for free direct-to-grandparent delivery.
Tweed Wolf ($270)
For Postcards: MyPostcard
This photo app turns a photo or photos into a postcard that you can fill out and send to anyone, anywhere. Like sending them a photo from your phone, only they don’t see it for several days! Your parents will undoubtedly appreciate getting a real, tangible memento they can hold in their hands, although probably less so if they live nearby and you send them the view of your living room saying, “Wish you were here.”
MyPostcard ($2.25 per postcard)
For Sets Of Prints: Timeshel
Subscribe to the service and add photos from your camera, Instagram, or other feeds to your Timeshel “story.” At midnight on the last day of each month, Timeshel prints your story and sends you 10 or 30 photos depending on your subscription tier, which you can switch whenever you want. Finally, an app that recognizes the new fundamental truth of your existence: you’d love to do that, but you don’t have the time.
Timeshel ($5.95 or $14.95 per month)