While the main benefit of digital photo printing is the ease with which it can be done – meaning that anyone with a PC and printer can run off their own copies of a photograph – another huge positive is the number of things which can be done with the basic images themselves. From bespoke photo books to calendar printing, the flexibility of digital imagery means that the photograph itself is really only the start of the story.

Before the advent of digital photography, photo developing was a specialised art which required the use of laboratories, chemicals and expensive equipment. Consequently, if you wanted to turn a roll of your film into a collection of twenty four or thirty six photographs, you had to hand it into a laboratory and then wait patiently while they did their work. Often, this would actually require posting the film away to the other end of the country and then hoping that the pictures could make it safely back.

Digital photo printing is, of course, much simpler. Since the images are stored electronically on either your camera or a memory stick, they can be quickly and easily transferred onto a computer and then printed off using a standard printer. Even if you don’t own a computer or printer, most chemists and supermarkets now boast a unit at which it is possible to run off as many copies as you like – from individual prints to whole collections.

Although photo prints are the first thing that most people think of when taking the pictures themselves, they’re really just the beginning of what can be done with digital imagery. When you print photos taken with a digital camera you’ll doubtless be impressed by the sheer quality of the imagery. The fact that digital cameras are almost entirely automatic means that almost anyone can now take the kind of photographs which would once have been open only to professional photographers and, having produced these stunning images it is now possible to use them to produce an equally stunning range of personalised photo gifts.

The gifts in question range from small, cheerful, inexpensive items such as key rings and fridge magnets to larger objects along the lines of canvas prints and individual photo books. Canvas printing is a fine example of the way in which digital photography can be used, in that it is a technique which used to be open only to professionals which can now be put to good use by absolutely anyone. It means that you can take an image or images from your collection and turn them into full size works of art which are the equal of anything you would find in an art gallery or shop.

The same applies to calendar printing. Photo calendars, whilst useful, are usually rather uninspiring to look at, but building one around your own images means that it can be personal, emotional, uplifting and still totally practical.

In all cases, the actual procedures behind the production have been simplified to the degree where anyone, no matter what their level of skill or experience, can produce items of guaranteed excellence. Rather than just print photos, think of all the other things you could do with them and then upload the images you want to use. The software will do the work for you and, when it’s finished, you’ll have a unique memento for yourself, or a fantastic gift for someone else.