Thursday, May 16, 2013

Creating Collages for Custom Garden Flags and Photo Gifts

I have always loved collages.  They are perfect for indecisive people like me.  When I have a group of photos and can't decide which ones I like best for a print or photo gift , I just mix them all together a make a collage.  Voila, the problem is solved. 

photo giftsWe would like to offer the same option to our customers who would also like to utilize the versatility of collages to print on our gift products or custom garden flags. I have made some really fun photo plaques for friends and koozies for parties all with collages.  We even have some ideas for some custom garden flags.  The problem sometimes can be actually putting together the collage.  It can be time consuming and not everyone has sophisticated photo editing software.  I knew there was some free software offered online, so I decided to do some research and find out if there w
ere any of them that I would recommend.

Once I began my search I was amazed at just how many free photo editing softwares there were online.  I started with the ones where you download the entire program to your hard drive. A program named Picasa is the only one of those that I would recommend.   Not that the other programs were bad, I actually never got that far, but every one of them had bunches of annoying add ons with them that downloaded with the program,like toolbars and search aids and there was no way to get the software without them.  With one program I even got a nasty bug that took several days to get rid of.

I had used Picasa in the past, but there were a couple small things I did not like about it so I ventured ahead to check out what else was available.  There are photo editing softwares where you upload your photos and do the editing and collage making all online.  This saves space on your hard drive and anytime you don't have to download you are reducing your risk of viruses.  Again there are tons of these, I tried maybe six or seven of them.  Most of them you can download your end product to your computer, some you can only share online.  Some of them would only upload one photo at a time and did so very slowly others would upload whole files of photos very quickly. There are a good variety of templates that vary from program to program depending on what you are wanting to do.  I would recommend you do your own experimenting to see what works best for you.  The one that I liked best was one called Kizoa .It would upload groups of photos that were large files very quickly, it had a great variey of templates and different effects you could use, you could even do animation.  You could crop your collage at the end to fit standard photo sizes and you could download your final product to your computer to print and store. The only drawback for me was that you could not choose a custom size for your collage which is needed for doing the different shaped items we were wanting to do.

My final choice was to stay with Picasa for most my collage making although I might still go back to Kizoa on ocassion. I must say there were a few quirky things about Picasa that drove me nuts, but once my daughter showed me a few basic tricks and I looked at a few tutorials online and basically knew a little better what I was doing, its really a very fun and functional program.  Also I found there is a Picasa forum with some very helpful members if you have some questions you can't find answers for yourself.  So give it a try and have fun.

Thank you for reading

Marilee and Josie
Custom Flags and Gifts