In the age of social media, it seems tempting to skip out on sending out holiday cards. I hope the holiday card tradition never comes to an end. I am not saying this because I am a photographer, but because I truly love receiving holiday cards each year. To me, receiving a card from a family member or friend is a gesture of love, warmth, and thoughtfulness. A post on Facebook can never replicate the actual feeling of holding a card in your hand. Just like the Christmas tree, the holiday card is a staple of holiday decor. I love seeing the way families have grown and evolved from year to year and I proudly display the cards right in my living room area for my whole family to enjoy. I know for some, sending out the holiday card can be a bothersome task, but I am here to give you some tips to perhaps alleviate some of the stress.
1. To Design or Not Design
You do not need to be a graphic designer to create a great Christmas card, nor do you need to hire one. There are a lot of great websites that have ready made designs for you to use. Just choose a design you like, insert your photos, write your greeting and then let the printer do the rest. My favorites are: MPix.com and minted.com . If you do not have the time to design a card or it just isn’t your thing, then ask your photographer to design your card for you.
2. Layout Tips
When you choose a template, make sure that the template coordinates with the color palette of the photo. Also, you should choose a design that does not distract the eye from the photo. This is especially true for those of you who will be using photos that were taken by a professional photographer using a backdrop with props. The set is already decorated for the holidays, so a classic and clean template would look best.
The amount of images you choose to display is a personal preference. Many people like to create a collage on the card, especially when they get photos taken by a professional. However, too many photos is distracting. Instead, try a template with 1-3 images so that the images really pop. You can always add an additional image to the back of the card.
3. Show the Whole Family
Make your kids the focus of the card, but also share a picture of the whole family. I know….I know…..you feel silly putting your face on your card, but people want to see how the whole family looks! Plus, it's fun to see how the year has treated us as parents.:) A great way to do so, is to sneak a family photo onto the back of the card. You can choose a candid or organic image; everyone does not have to be looking at the camera.
4. People Love Seeing a Good Photo
It's totally fine if you don't use a professional photographer to get your holiday photos done (although I highly recommend it because it's awesome), but do choose a photo that was taken with good lighting. Having the proper lighting and evenly lighting all of the subjects faces is by far more important than the actual location. You can easily head out to your local park or even use your own backyard. Dress the kids in some cute outfits and snap a picture in some open shade. When it comes time to select the images to use on your card, go for the images that display some kind of connection or emotion between family members. Remember, the images with everyone looking at the camera are not always the best images.
5. Try to Save Money on Stamps
Okay, Christmas cards can be expensive by themselves, but when you tack on the cost of stamps, it really gets costly. Stamps are expensive, there's no way around it, but the best way to reduce this cost is to get them to people in person. The two best ways to do this are via work and through social events. Christmas parties can also be a great time to hand out cards.
6. Send Cards Out Before Christmas
The last tip is pretty self explanatory, but it can also be tough to accomplish. Believe me, I know how busy the holiday season can be, but do try and send out your cards on time. Nobody really wants a Christmas card after the holidays have passed and especially a Christmas card after the New Year. Get them sent out so they can adorn the fireplace mantels and refrigerators of your friends and family throughout the festive season. Most people love to receive cards and love to display them in their homes throughout the holidays.
I hope that these tips helped. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. For some more inspiration, here are a few more card templates that I created in my design studio.
If you are interested in a photo session or holiday card design, contact me.