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Thoughtful Graduation Photo Gift Ideas Your Grad Can Take Along

Your grad may be moving on, but that doesn't meant they won't want a little piece of home with them. Get them a custom photo gift that will surely help with homesickness.

By: Walmart Ideas Editors
graduation
Graduation is the perfect time to look back and reflect just before looking ahead. Finding a meaningful gift/keepsake to give your grad on their big day is easy! Here are some quick options that work for any budget.

Multi-purpose photo mugs

Photo mugs
One thing is sure about the next step; your grad will need a daily caffeine fix! Whether it’s a modern travel tumbler to take on-the-go or a coffee mug to keep at their workplace, this gift is sure to get a ton of use!
Bonus: Aside from the coffee, mugs also make great holders for small succulents any grad will love. Simply add some soil and an affordable, no-maintenance succulent, and you’ve got a great gift in minutes! Also ideal for a busy lifestyle — all they need to do is just add water every once in a while.

DIY photo garland

photo garland
Have a ton of images of the grad over the years but not sure what to do with them? Create a DIY photo garland for an easy, trendy addition to any party or future living space. Just print out your photos (try the Fujifilm Instax camera for fun instant prints), lay out a piece of twine and cut accordingly. Allow for 1-inch gaps between each photo and attach with small clothespins or specialty tape. Just like that, you have a versatile, heartfelt gift to use on the big day — and beyond!

Shop all supplies for photo garland

Home decor ideas

home decor
After the caps are tossed and the parties have ended, many grads are faced with the daunting task of moving into a dorm or apartment. Going from her childhood home to an unfamiliar space is tough, but decorating doesn’t have to be! Give her an unforgettable gift that will make the new space feel like home. Images of friends, family or pets make a sweet, sentimental keepsake on wall decor, pillows, and more.

Personalized photo cards

photo cards
Need something even more simple and convenient? A check or gift card goes a long way with a new grad, but tends to feel a bit impersonal. Easily add a thoughtful touch by creating a photo card from your favorite (or most humorous) baby picture. It will be sure to put a smile on your grad’s face!
Whichever option you choose, it will definitely be a hit with the grad on the big day and during all the exciting life changes that are to come! Don’t forget to capture great images of the day as well; the selfies, decorated grad caps, candid hugs and big smiles will be great to look back on for years to come.
Check out Walmart Photo to order your prints today.

Photography 101: A Quick Guide to Composition & Lighting

photography
Whether you’re snapping family photos or updating your Instagram feed, nailing the basics of composition and lighting is what will make your photos more than just underexposed, albeit special, memories. Here are five foolproof rules for every shutterbug, from the novice to the pro.

Follow the rule of thirds

This technique is a classic staple of great photography. In your mind’s eye, place an imaginary grid on top of the photo you’re composing. The grid divides the image into thirds, vertically and horizontally. A well-framed image will follow the rule of thirds by putting something important at one of the intersecting lines of the grid. When photographing landscapes, line up the horizon with either the top or bottom horizontal grid line. Bonus: most smartphones give you the option to add a visible grid to your screen while shooting photos.
photo compositionand lighting tips rule of thirds
In this powerful portrait, the photographer draws our attention to the child by placing him in the left third of the picture, with his face (the main focus of the image) exactly on the top left third of the picture. By putting the boy in the left side of the picture, we can’t help but look to the right, where he’s looking, which creates a feeling of sharing in his experience.

Use symmetry & leading lines

Symmetrical pictures have two parts or halves that are similar or identical in size, shape or position. This simple approach can give your photos an artistic, striking quality: Imagine two beach chairs with an umbrella between them, or the reflection of a mountain in a lake. Similarly, leading lines can help make your photo more interesting by drawing the viewer’s eye towards the subject of the picture. Horizons, fences, stair rails, pathways and building architecture make effective and dramatic leading lines.
photo composition lighting leading lines
This image demonstrates both symmetry and leading lines. The two halves of the picture mirror each other, creating perfect symmetry; meanwhile, the lines point towards the subject in the center. When framing photos, notice where the leading lines are pointing and put your subject there, or at a symmetrical intersection point, like in the photo above.

Create negative space

Negative space is a lot more positive than it sounds. Generally, the term refers to a large expanse of open space that isn’t taken up by the subject. In portraits, it’s the space that surrounds your subject, but in other types of pictures it can just refer to any large amount of empty space. Don’t be afraid to use negative space to make your photo really stand out. It’s okay to let your subject take up only a small amount of the photo if it draws more attention to them, framing them without distraction. It will make the rest of the photo, whether it has a person in it or not, much more dramatic. Combine negative space with the rule of thirds or symmetry and you’ll strike photographic gold!
photo composition lighting negative space
This picture combines negative space (a big empty sky) with the rule of thirds (horizon line at the bottom third of the image). It also incorporates leading lines: Our eyes follow the waterline across the shot to the small people on the left. By making the environment really big and the people really small, the photographer ensures that you feel the vastness of the beach.

Avoid harsh lighting

You may not realize it, but the midday sun is probably a photographer’s worst enemy. Bright, overhead light creates dark shadows that make eyes look black and sunken in. But with a little creative thinking, even bright daylight can work to your advantage. Make the most of the high-contrast lighting (extreme lights and darks) by taking photos of different shadow shapes. If you’re determined to photograph a face under harsh light, pay attention to where the light and shadows are landing, working with it to create a dramatic effect. Have your subject stand somewhere slightly shaded to help soften the lighting.
photo composition lighting no harsh lighting
To avoid the bright sunlight, this photographer had the subject sit beneath some tree branches. When it’s hard to find perfectly even shade, use the effect of dappled sunlight to add interesting texture in your picture. Because this girl is mostly shaded, we can see her beautiful eyes and skin, which look soft without any harsh shadows under her eyes.

Capture the golden hour and create silhouettes

The best time of day to take photos will always be the golden hour, which is the hour immediately after sunrise or before sunset. The light is soft and gives everything an amazing glow. Observe your subject from different angles to see how the light changes when it hits them from the side versus directly. Golden hours are also the perfect time to create dramatic silhouettes. To photograph a silhouette, place the strongest light source so it’s directly behind the subject that you want to appear as blacked out. The next steps are to make sure that your camera is exposing for the brightest part of the picture instead of the subject, and that your flash is off. If your camera is on auto, you might have to first push the shutter halfway down while pointing the lens at the bright sky to recalibrate exposure for bright light sources. Then reframe your picture the way you want it and shoot the silhouette.
photo composition lighting golden hour sillouettes
The photographer created the silhouetted shape of a surfer by putting the subject between his camera and the sun. The addition of negative space around the silhouette makes the picture more dramatic and memorable. If your camera keeps making the picture too bright, try switching to the “spot” or “centered” metering mode so that you can trick the camera into exposing for the brightest part of the picture.
Click on through to find out more about the best type of camera for you.

Telling Your Family Travel Story with Photos

By: Walmart Ideas Editors
hands organizing photo prints
Whether you’re jumping in the car for a day trip, jetting to the airport for a destination adventure or spending spring break at home this year, there are so many family memories being made in those little moments.
Looking for fun, outside of the box ideas to capture these memories? Here are a few quick and creative ways to capture the spirit of your family adventures, whether you’re staying near or going far:
3 young kids in the back seat of the car reading a map and listening to music
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Sure, those scenic mountain views are great and no one should ever miss the opportunity to capture a beachfront sunset…but getting to your destination is half the fun! Whether it’s a giggle-filled sing-a-long or an unexpected stop along the way, small moments make the greatest impact. Look for moments along your journey to snap a photo — candid or posed — to tell the story of your family’s adventure. Keep pieces of your travels too! A loose collage of ticket stubs, road maps or luggage tags make a great photo for the album to remember the places you stopped along the way.
father lifting up his child in the air during a bread on a family road trip with mom in the background next to the family car
The non-traditional family photo. Although it may seem like a tough task, try to set aside a little time for a family photo op that’ll capture the essence of your travels. Keep an eye out for scenes that can frame your family in a natural and creative way. Colorful doors, canopy trees and interesting windows are all great backdrops that will make your photo look unique while adding in elements of your trip.
Going on a road trip? Find a flat, elevated surface for a makeshift tripod, set the self-timer and jump together in front of your overpacked car. If you don’t want to risk leaving your camera or smartphone alone for too long, don’t be discouraged or embarrassed taking a family selfie. The quick, laid back nature of a selfie makes the photo more fun and playful. It’s always great to have a few tight shots as well.
A new perspective. Feeling uninspired? Look for candid moments throughout the day, like the kids snoozing in the back seat or wait until dusk to catch silhouettes. For a truly different perspective, pass the smartphone or camera to the kids. Seeing your travels through their eyes will lend a unique viewpoint to your photo storytelling. Expect a few blurred shots here and be sure to supervise along the way!
young girl in sunglasses lying in the sand on a beach, making sand angels with her arms and smiling
Print, make and create. Sharing on social media is great but it doesn’t leave your family with anything to pass on. Get your creative wheels turning and transform those snapshots into home decor, gifts and treasured keepsakes. Travel photos are perfect for a coffee table photo book, wall decor can transform your living room into a gallery, and prints are the perfect starter for a DIY project with the kids. Even better, transferring photos from your smartphone or camera is easy at Walmart Photo or with the Fujifilm Kiosk Photo Transfer App for pickup in-store.
Whether your travels take you down the street or across the country, take in (and print out) your special moments!

Heartfelt & Homemade: DIY Accordion Photo Album

Create this heartfelt & homemade gift for Mom by crafting a simple personalized accordion-style photo album for Mother’s Day using beautiful paper, a little glue & photo prints from Walmart.

By: Anne C. | Walmart Ideas Editors
accordion photo album
Create this heartfelt gift for Mom by crafting a simple accordion-style personalized photo album using card stock paper and photo prints, plus a few basic office supplies like scissors and a glue stick.
Order the card stock online with TwoDay delivery and print your photos for in-store pickup to make this easy last-minute gift idea for Mother’s Day.
Show your love by making family photos come to life.
back and front of accordion photo book
Project supplies
Hover & click to shop photo book supplies.

Supplies

Instructions

Step 1. Plan your design. You’ll need a total of 4 full sheets of 12x12 paper. However, you can mix & match the colors & patterns you like based on half sheets, like we did. We used a combination of colors & patterns:
  • 1-1/2 sheets orange card stock
  • 1 sheet striped paper
  • 1 sheet floral paper
  • 1/2 sheet trapezoid print
step 1 plan your design
Step 2. Take 12x12 pieces of scrapbook paper & cut them in half. Easily do this by folding in half & cutting across the fold. You should end up with 8 pieces of 12x6 paper. Then take one of those 12x6 pieces, the one you want to be the cover, & cut that in half so it’s 6x6.
step 2 cut paper into 12x6 inch pieces
Step 3. Take all of the 12x6 rectanlge pieces & fold them in half.
step 3 fold 12
Step 4. Arrange the pieces of paper in the order you’ll want them glued together. We’re using the orange paper as the “interior” of the photo book. (The photos will be glued to them.) One way to organize how you’ll glue everything together is to think of the the orange as a base, then glue the other paper to the orange base.
step 4 arranging paper before gluing
Step 5. Glue each sheet of paper onto one another in your arranged pattern. Don’t glue the 2 cover pieces yet, leave those for later.
step 5 glue paper together
Step 6. Glue 6 Walmart photo prints onto the orange paper using a glue stick. Because the photobook has 6x6 sections, you can place the 4x6 prints either horizontally or vertically. Or if you want to be fancy, & give an Instagram look to the book, you can cut the prints into square shapes. Whatever you like!
step 6 glue prints to paper
Step 7. Next you’ll attach the cover & at the same time create the ribbon closure. To create the ribbon closure, generously glue the bottom paper & then place at least a few inches of ribbon onto the paper; 4 inches is perfect. Then generously apply more glue to the cover piece of paper and lay it on top of the ribbon & bottom piece. Repeat on the other side. Let dry.
step 7 attach ribbon & create cover
Optional steps
While you can certainly stop here, we've added some additional decoration to the photobook by attaching letters that spell "FAMILY" to the back of the book.
Step 8. Cut the letter shapes FAMILY out of a contrasting color of paper.
Tip: If creating block letters seems challenging, here’s a tip: On the back side of the paper, write the simple letter shape backwards, not as a block, as best you can. Leave room between the letters. Then outline the simple letter shape by 1/2" on every side.
step 8 cutting and gluing letters onto the back of photo book
Step 9. Being careful to match which side your pictures are facing (up or down), glue the letters onto the back of the photobook.
step 9 finish gluing letters onto photobook

interior view of photo  book