12 Clever and Unexpected Photo Gifts for Dad

By PJ Feinstein

Surprise dad this Father's Day with unexpected photo gifts featuring family photos and Instagram favorites.

There's nothing more personal than a photograph, especially as gift. However, with so many clever photo gifts available these days, a simple framed photograph or even a traditional photo wall calendar feels a bit unimaginative. This Father's Day, make your dad's day (literally!) by exploring the more unexpected options for printing dad's favorite family portrait, candid snapshot, or self-taken landscape. Here are 12 ideas to get you started.

Perpetual Desk Calendar

While dad is sure to love a calendar filled with family photos, his co-workers might not appreciate having to stare at his personal snapshots... all day, every day. So when creating a photo calendar for dad, skip the hanging options and check out this perpetual desk calendar from Pinhole Press. At $24.99, its understated design is perfect for just about any office setting, and because it doesn’t feature the year, dad can keep it on his desk until he’s promoted all the way to the top. Or until he asks for a calendar with updated photos.

Photo Collage Water Bottle

Shutterfly Collage Square Water Bottle is a unique photo gift for dad

This $21.99 Shutterfly water bottle is a practical Father’s Day gift for any exercise-loving dad. Made from BPA-free stainless steel, the 20 oz water bottle will keep dad hydrated during a workout, while the collage of family photos will give him that extra bit of motivation to push through one more set of squats or to run that extra mile. For even more encouragement, be sure to include a shot of him wearing a bathing suit at the beach last summer as part of the 18-photo collage.

Personalized Pocket Journal

Personalized pocket journal from Zazzle is a unique photo gift for dad

For a low-tech dad who prefers the handwritten to the digital, this bound custom journal from Zazzle is the perfect size to stash inside a briefcase or jacket pocket. Choose either checklist or lined page inserts for list-making dads; blank or grid pages are available for the dad who loves to sketch. Then make the pocket-size journal meaningful by uploading photos for the exterior and interior covers and adding a personalized message to the back inside cover -- Happy Father’s Day, perhaps? Handmade in the USA from 100% acid-free recycled paper, each journal costs $11.15.

Cut-out Statuette

Mpix Cut-Out Photo Statuette is a unique photo gift for dad

Skip the traditional picture frame and turn dad’s favorite action shot into a statuette with an acrylic base. Whether dad’s the coach or simply the biggest sideline cheerleader, he’ll get a kick out of seeing his kid’s winning goal or first cartwheel memorialized as an Mpix cut-out. Printed on E-Surface photo paper mounted to ⅛-inch masonite, each 5x7-inch or 8x10-inch statuette costs $16-30 (depending on the size). For an additional cost, Mpix artists can even create statuettes of multiple persons and objects so nobody feels left out.

Custom Photo Apron

Snapfish photo apron is a unique photo gift for dad

If dad’s planning to barbecue on Father’s Day, you might want to give him this no-frills photo apron before the big celebration. Snapfish recently updated their popular photo gift with thicker, stain-resistant fabric and added two pockets for all of dad’s spatulas and grill tools. The 30x28-inch apron retails for $29.99 and can be customized with an 8x10-inch landscape photo and an optional caption. “Is dinner ready yet?” would be an obvious choice.

Striped Photo Acrylic Block

Tinyprints Photo Acrylic Block is a unique photo gift for dad

A modern alternative to a framed photo, Snapfish turns digital images of snap-worthy moments into 3-dimensional acrylic blocks measuring one-inch thick. Thick preppy stripes make a bold statement on this portrait-size 5x7-inch acrylic block, and the text can be changed as you like. Of course, since this is a Father’s Day gift, there’s nothing wrong with a simple “I love you, Daddy.” Customize yours for $49.99.

Daddy and Me Board Book

Daddy and Me Board Book from Pinhole Press is a unique photo gift for dad

A Father’s Day gift for dad and his child to share, this Daddy and Me Board Book celebrates special moments and special people -- and will quickly become your kid’s favorite bedtime book to read with daddy! You’ll love how easy it easy to customize this Pinhole Press photo gift. Simply upload between 13-21 of dad’s favorite photos and add short text on the corresponding pages. The spiral-bound book costs $34.99 and is available in your choice of glossy or matte ultra-thick paper.

Game On Playing Cards

Personalized playing cards from Shutterfly is a unique photo gift for dad

Perfect for a competitive game of Go Fish with the kids or poker with his buddies, this $19.99 playing card deck is a playful gift to customize for Father’s Day. The photo strip-like template showcases three pics and the sidebar color can be changed to dad’s favorite. Personalize the playing cards further by adding dad’s name, nickname, or last name to the text box when ordering. The deck arrives from Shutterfly in a hard case for storage.

Photo Golf Balls

Personalized photo golf balls from Zazzle are a unique photo gift for dad.

Dad may prefer to hit the links with his buddies, but you can be sure he’ll thinking of you (while attempting to nail that hole-in-one) when he’s playing with golf balls UV-printed with your photo on them. Sold in packs of 3 for $15.90 on Zazzle, these Wilson Ultra 500 Distance golf balls feature a high-energy core and a cut-proof lonomer cover that resists scuffing. If dad frequently loses his balls in the water, consider upgrading to a 12-pack of photo golf balls for $31.85. And who knows: If somebody recognizes your face when the balls are finally retrieved, dad might get them all back!

Plush Fleece Photo Blanket

A plush fleece photo blanket from Snapfish is a unique photo gift for dad

Because it gets chilly downstairs in dad’s man cave, give him the gift of warmth this Father’s Day. For this fleece photo blanket from Snapfish, skip the family photo and customize it with a gorgeous landscape -- preferable one that he took with his Digital SLR on your last vacation. You could also go the sports route and upload a photo of his favorite team in action. There’s a 50x60-inch blanket for $74.99 and a 60x80-inch for just a few dollars more, and both are printed with a neutral cream back.

Custom Beer Labels

Custom photo beer labels from Pinhole Press are a unique photo gift for dad

You don’t have to be a brewmaster to give dad his own custom beer on Father’s Day. Turn store-bought glass beer or craft soda bottles into one-of-a-kind beverages with personalized beer labels from Pinhole Press. For $11.99 you get 15 labels featuring the same photo and text. Sure, you could upload something sentimental, but toasting dad is even more fun with an embarrassing old photo on the label instead.

Luggage Tag

A photo luggage tag from Shutterfly is a unique photo gift for dad

You may not be able to meet dad at baggage claim after every business trip, but your smiling face can be there in your place with a customizable photo luggage tag. The two-sided metal luggage tag can be personalized on both sides -- one with a trio of photos, the other with contact info. At $9.99 for a large (2.5x4.375-inch) and $7.99 for a small (2x3.5 -inch), Shutterfly’s luggage tags are inexpensive enough to order a matching set for dad’s checked suitcase and his carry-on bag.