Sunday, January 07, 2007

New ways to manage your photos

After the holidays, there is never a shortage of photos. Children opening presents, holiday parties, and winter vacations all leave digital cameras overflowing with cherished memories. The problem, of course, is what to do with all those pictures. Wolfe’s Cameras, Camcorders and Computers, located at 635 S. Kansas Avenue, has brought to Topeka an easy way to organize, share and preserve memories via “photo books.”

Photo books are collections of digital pictures printed and professionally bound into books of various sizes. While some digital camera owners will print their photos at home or with a photo processor, the pictures often times are never put in an album. According to Wofle’s President DeWitt Harkness, “Even with the best of intentions, pictures don't get put in albums”. That’s one reason Wolfe’s give the average consumer the ability to not just print their digital pictures, but at the same time, have them put in an album and bound for permanent storage and display.

Approximately six months ago, Wolfe’s invested in touch screen kiosks that allows customers with digital photos to get a bound photo book on the same day for under thirty dollars for a ten page book. Each page holds up to nine pictures and the books can accommodate up to 40 pages. Harkness is so committed to the digital processing, he’s redesigned the store to accommodate more do –it-yourself photo printing equipment in a cybercafe-style format with easy chairs and couches.

At these kiosks, Wolfe’s employees, all who have experience with photo books, will walk new users through the short process of making the book. Harkness indicated the knowledge of his employees is “what a specialty store offers that the big boxes do not”. No computer skills are required to operate the kiosks. Customers plug in their digital camera media and the pictures automatically load into the kiosk. Customers can then select the photos to print, specifying how they should be laid out on the page, as well as colors and size of the album The kiosks even allow themes such as "earthtones or “romantic hearts” which include predesigned color schemes and backgrounds. The books are extremely high quality and are "printed on the best commercially available equipment" according to Harkness.

Alternatively, customers can also go to the compay's website, at www.wolfes.com, which offers more options and greater control, but isn’t as user friendly and requires about ten days for the book to be processed. Harkness believes that the in-store printing is more attractive than other online options because “people want what they want now” and printing the books at Wolfe’s is much faster than other online options.
  
Other popular options at Wolfe’s for printing include calendars, full size posters and scrapbook pages. Often times people buy these books for those difficult-to-buy-for people on their shopping lists. At Wofle’s, one of the most popular uses of photo books is grandparents giving them as gifts for grandchildren. Each grandchild is given a unique album of pictures, printed with their name on it. Another popular use of these photo books is to share vacation photos with friends and family.

Harkness sees these photo books as the next “big thing” in photography and is excited about photo books because they are “designed to share with others, on the coffee table or other places”. Next time you take a series of pictures, you might consider freeing those memories from your camera.

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Online websites that support photo books as well as other ways to print digital photos:
Photoworks: http://www.photoworks.com
Shutterfly: http://www.shutterfly.com
Snapfish: http://www.snapfish.com
Kodak Gallery: http://www.kodakgallery.com/
Walgreens: http://photo.walgreens.com
Walmart: http://photos.walmart.com

Users of Apple’s iPhoto can click the “book” icon
For coupon codes and savings at these websites, go to http://www.deal-news.com