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Sorta Awesome Podcast: September 24, 2021

EPISODE 343 Gift Guide: Awesome photo gifts and more!

It’s so fun to be back on Sorta Awesome and to chat with Meg about ways to use your photos! You can listen to the full episode for free on your favorite podcast app or find it along with all the show notes on their website. 

If you’re new around here, welcome! Be sure to stop by and say hi on Instagram and Facebook, explore the website to learn a few things about me, and connect. I’d love to help you with your stories and your photos!

This episode is jam-packed with product recommendations, ideas for using your photos, and exclusive discounts. It’s not too early to plan your gifting for the holiday season, especially for photo gifts. We’ve got great options for everyone on your list, whether you want to use a little creativity or just make a purchase, but don’t delay as predictions show that stock could be limited this year. 

And p.s. Make sure you’re following Scissortail Digital on Instagram for exclusive content in the coming weeks highlighting many of these recommendations – you won’t want to miss it!

Click to listen:

My Awesome of the Week

Podcast: This is Ashlynn

Find Ashlynn on Instagram

Ashlynn’s own words say it best: “she knows that joy is possible, even when life hasn’t gone as you hoped.” I think we all can relate, even if our stories differ. I recommend starting with episode 2 to learn the meaning of  “Be the Buffalo” (it’s only 6 minutes).

Photo Prints & Gallery Walls

The first crucial step is taking the photos, but a close second is making sure you do something with those photos. Don’t just leave them hidden on a device. Printing photos is a fantastic solution and it doesn’t have to be as elaborate as a gallery wall (but that doesn’t have to be so complicated either!). Print a few favorites and post them on the fridge or add some to frames and set them around the house.

Did you know that research shows a connection between the development of self-esteem in children and seeing themselves in printed photos? Check it out!

Where to print

Mpix is my decide-once choice for printing photos. They are a family-owned company based in Kansas and offer outstanding professional quality, affordable pricing, exceptional customer service, and incredibly fast fulfillment. In addition to prints of all sizes, consider their metal or canvas prints as well.

Mpix: Use code awesome2521 for 25% off an order through October 8, 2021. This discount is valid for 25% off your order. The promo code is valid for one use per customer and cannot be combined with other offers except free Standard shipping on orders of $35 or more. E-Gift Cards are not eligible for this promotion. The promo code must be entered at checkout to receive the discount. Offer expires October 8, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (Central).

Photo Calendars

They’re a classic for a reason! Photo calendars have long been a way to enjoy photos and share memories and important dates with family. 

Shutterfly – You can always find a discount with Shutterfly. They have the best platform for creating a photo wall calendar with lots of options to customize and personalize the finished product. It’s also easy to collaborate with other family members and to ship your calendars to multiple addresses for everyone in the family.

Minted – How about a free photo calendar? You might already know and love Minted for their great holiday cards (and addressed envelopes), but definitely check out their beautiful designer templates for photo calendars. Just add 10 personal dates and get your custom calendar for free – you only pay shipping (it was $5.95 for me). I loved mine this year so much that it even served as some of the inspiration for my office redesign.

Photo Books

Photo books and albums take printed photos and elevate the experience. Holding the photos and stories in your hands and flipping through a published, professional book can always bring a smile! Be sure to listen to the podcast for more ideas of stories to tell and photo books to create.

Designing Photo Books

Designing photo books outside of the publishing company software allows you to always access and own those designs and layouts. My two favorite choices are AlbumStomp and Canva.

Scissortail Digital. If you want to enjoy the finished product without investing time into the creative or technical processes, be sure to get your project on my design calendar! All photo book projects (and gift certificates) purchased by October 17, 2021 will include a free Premium Softcover Layflat copy of your hardcover photo book when you use code SORTAAWESOME.

AlbumStomp: This photos-first approach is my not-so-secret time saving tool for designing a beautiful professional photo layout in a fraction of the time. Use code SCISSORTAIL for 20% off AlbumStomp through October 31, 2021.

Update: See my interview with StompSoftware founder, Chip Gillespie, now on IGTV. You’l also hear about their awesome new program SpaceSaver, which retains the original quality and metadata of your photos, but can cut the size/space of each image almost in half! My 20% discount (code SCISSORTAIL) now applies to both AlbumStomp and SpaceSaver.

Canva: I use Canva almost every single day and I am a major Canva fangirl! Even a free membership gives you incredible design tools and the pro version is very affordable. Use my link to get a free premium element to use with a new free account.

Where to Print: Mpix is the answer yet again! Note: I’m a huge fan of their signature albums and premium hardcover and softcover photo books, but I do not recommend their economy books. 

Use code awesome2521 for 25% off an Mpix order through October 8, 2021. This discount is valid for 25% off your order. The promo code is valid for one use per customer and cannot be combined with other offers except free Standard shipping on orders of $35 or more. E-Gift Cards are not eligible for this promotion. The promo code must be entered at checkout to receive the discount. Offer expires October 8, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (Central).

Capture a Story & Include the Kids

Photos are only one way to capture and share a story. When I discovered Laurel & Bleau‘s signature handwriting collection, I HAD to include it here because it epitomizes storytelling. All custom made in New York City, founder Lori Gilman is able to translate any handwriting or a drawing into a beautiful piece of custom jewelry. This is absolutely the perfect gift for mom!

Use code SORTAAWESOME10 for 10% off any item through October 15, 2021.

Pinhole Press is my favorite creator of photo gifts, especially for kids. My nephews love their photo puzzles and magnets and Luke has already helped me choose and design a Christmas gift for his little brother this year! They have so many great options from games to notepads, board books to magnets – you’ll find photo gift inspiration for all ages.

Use code SCISSORTAILDIGITAL20 for 20% off any Pinhole Press order through October 24, 2021 

Pinhole Press puzzle
Pinhole Press magnets

Travel Photos

Just Go Travel Studios is all about celebrating travel, stories, adventure, and photography. Amy and Pete Brahan are passionate about the National Parks and have created an amazing business producing customized, vintage-style travel posters and t-shirts using client photos. The WPA National Park art is ionic and instantly recognizable and Just Go posters are inspired by that style. I recently sent them three photos from a trip to Tuscon and Saguaro National Park, they provided stunning proofs (it was hard to choose, but there was a clear winner!) – I can’t wait to receive my beautiful, custom travel poster and share it with you! 

It’s not just for National Parks travel – they can design a poster from any image or destination. Visit their website for more information and follow me on Instagram where I’ll share all about my experience of designing my poster with them and show you the finished product.

Buy 2, Get 1 and Free Shipping – automatically applied, no code needed.

Custom Photo Postcards

Who doesn’t love getting FUN mail instead of just bills or junk mail?! Simply Cards and PostSnap are two great options for sending custom photo postcards directly from your phone by mail to anywhere in the world. I’m doing a bit more testing of both apps and have sent postcards to several locations around the world and will share more on Instagram when I have confirmation that they have been delivered.

Gear & Technology

Digital Picture Frames

Amazon Echo Show 8, 1st or 2nd generation. If you’ve been around here long or listened to Sorta Awesome episode 328, you know I’m definitely a fan and avid user of Amazon Photos, which fits perfectly with using the Echo Show as a digital photo frame! So what’s the difference between the two versions? Nothing in the photo frame settings, but the 2nd generation offers some additional features if you want to also use the Echo Show 8 for video calls.

Pix-Star. Digital frames are often a great gift for grandparents or others with whom you want to easily share photos – especially those who may not be exactly tech savvy. This is the perfect solution and has been designed for that specific demographic. I have one and will definitely be including it in my gifting this year.

Photography: Where to Start

SnapShop Online

Instead of asking what camera is best for a new photographer, I highly recommend using whatever gear is available – a phone is great! Then, start by developing skills with these fantastic resources developed by Oklahoma photographer Ashley Campbell for adults and kids, for phone photography or a DSLR. SnapShop Online will be relaunching this fall.

  • Anker PowerCore Portable Charger 20100 + Cables. Power is essential, making this my #1 piece of travel gear that gets used on the regular even without packing a suitcase.
  • Small Tripod & Phone Mount. These tools offer so much versatility for phone photography and serve as a desktop docking station for my phone on an average work day.
  • Splat Tripod. It’s blue, bendy, fun, and practical for a phone, GoPro, or most any other camera.
  • DJI Gimbal OM5 or OM4 If you’re interested in advancing your video skills, consider one of these now pocket-sized gimbals. This technology has come so far in just a few years and it’s a fun and affordable splurge. The main differences between 4 and 5: OM4 has about 14 hours of battery and can also work as a charger; OM5 has about 6.5 hours of battery, is much lighter (due to the smaller battery), and has a telescoping arm (aka, selfie stick).
  • Customized PopSockets. Design your own PopSocket with your photos or graphics and make sure your phone is one of a kind.
  • GoPro The 10 has just been released, but you can also get a great deal with an 8 or 9. I recommend the Black series – the top of the line for each release.

Where to Shop

Bedford Camera

Shop local if you’re in Oklahoma, Arkansas, or Missouri! They also offer fantastic online trainings, most of which are free, and all can be accessed from anywhere. Check out their YouTube channel as well.

B&H Photo Video

B&H is the one-stop for all things photo and video. Located in NYC, their website is a fantastic resource, even if you choose to purchase elsewhere.


Moment specializes in photography resources for creators and has outstanding accessories and tools for iPhone, plus lots of other quality gear.

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Hi, I'm Lisa

Photos have always brought me joy and are one of my favorite mediums for storytelling. But let’s be honest, the sheer volume of digital photos we all have can be overwhelming! It’s my goal through Scissortail Digital to help you tell your stories and improve the ways you work with your photos.

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