A great gift, worth 1,000 words

I donít usually wax poetic about gadgets. Weddings, as a rule, tend to be low-tech affairs, and Iím not a big tech head. But I am a photographoholic, and I recently received one of those spiffy Philips digital photo frames. Itís just about the coolest thing on my desk, and I think it has a lot of potential as both a wedding gift and a piece of supplementary wedding dťcor.

white-frame.jpg

Now, I like framed photos as much as the next gushy girly-girl, but getting the orientation right and coping serenely with matting issues has never been my strong suit. Thatís probably why I like the darn thing so much — loading photos into a sleek plastic frame via a USB cable is something I feel comfortable doing. Iím also a fan of good design, and this frame fits the bill. Itís sleek and simple, and isnít cluttered up with buttons and switches. The in-frame interface is even fairly intuitive. Plus, the default options seem to be a creamy sort of white or a metallic silver, making it a perfect compliment to most wedding stuff.

First let me suggest you ignore the image quality of the picture above. I don’t know why it came out all skuzzy like that, but trust me when I say that these digital frames really make pics pop with a print-quality LCD display. While you can store photos in the frame itself (how many you can load depends on the resolution of your pics), the frame features a built-in memory card reader that supports a number of data storage formats. This means you can scroll through as many photos as your memory card will hold Ė which, in my case, is a lot. Then you can either set up the frame in a landscape or portrait orientation to display one pic ad nauseum, scroll through your photos at will, or check them all out slideshow style.

This is where the options come in. Say you want to roll through your pics using the slideshow feature. You can set the frame to change photos randomly or sequentially every five, ten, or thirty seconds; every one, five, or thirty minutes; one, four, or twelve hours; or once per day. I recommend using a longer transition time…seeing a new photo come into view every five seconds really messed with my mind. And if the thought of the current picture simply being replaced by the next bores you, there are fourteen transition effects to choose from, including resolving pixels and a sweep. Want to see them all? Choose the random transition feature and watch your photos get rolled up and peeled back as new pics come into view.

You can also use the frame to modify your photos using a small palette of effects. Morphing a pic from color to b&w or sepia is as easy as pushing a button…because thatís all you have to do. There are a few funny outline type effects that will enclose your photoís subject in a word bubble, a heart, and things like that. You can crop and rotate. While the modification features donít exactly add up to Photoshop, they are plenty fun and functional, and generally good for those people who want to play with their images but donít feel up to learning the ins and outs of design software.

So what makes this a great gift? Imagining buying one for a new bride and groomÖbut rather than present it to the couple before their nuptials, you wait until after theyíre legally wed so that you can load a memory card filled with the photos you took at their ceremony and reception into the frame. They not only receive a pretty cool piece of gear, they can also get a slick preview of their wedding photos before their professional prints come in. And this is a particularly thoughtful gift for those whose photogs have flaked out — it doesnít happen often, but it happens.

Or consider picking one up before or after the wedding for the husband-and-wife-to-be or a family member. There probably isn’t a loving parent or grandparent in the world that wouldn’t like a digital frame pre-loaded with a memory card worth of photos from their child’s or grandchild’s wedding. And I know my mother is planning a post-wedding brunch with a slide show — a few of these frames set up on tables around the venue would make a great alternative to a projection screen or TV.

One Response to “A great gift, worth 1,000 words”

  1. JaneC says:

    Ah, finally something I can register for that my fiance will actually care about! He loves gadgety things. Unfortunately he also likes to play practical jokes, and I can just see him messing with my settings so suddenly the pictures do start changing every 10 seconds, or there are odd pictures in there like a bizarrely-close-up picture of his face or something…. Ah well.