With all of the latest guidance from NY State and the CDC to avoid gatherings, it seems unlikely we will be able to share the holidays in person with our closest friends and family. As an alternative, cards are a thoughtful way to spread some holiday cheer and stay connected with the ones we love and care about.
A great photo card starts with a great photo. You may have some photos in your library you can use (remember those quarantine shots from the spring you may have done on your doorstep?). Perhaps you have a shoot planned with a local photographer. If you don't have a professional photographer on the way, and you are thrifty like me, you can do your own mini photoshoot at home or a nearby park
Regardless of where your photo will come from, all you need to make a great holiday card is one stunning photo and Minted to spread the holiday cheer.
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How To Make the Best Photo Card
In my opinion, less is more. One amazing photo for the front of your holiday card can be more magical than a collage of six. There is nothing wrong with showing just the kids (or the new dog if you have one). You can feature the remaining must-have photos on the back of the card if you want to cover additional milestones or family members.
If you are shooting your own (like I did) then you'll want to do a little planning:
- Set Up First- Get things set up before grabbing your kids, pets and/or spouse. This will make the actual photo taking a lot quicker and more pleasant for all. It will also ensure you get more high quality photos to choose from.
- Get Your Props- Determine if you want to use any special outfits, props or hairstyles. A little styling can go a long way in making the photo feel "holiday card-worthy". So grab those Santa hats, Christmas photo props, dreidels, matching dresses, sparkly pillows or reindeer ears! But don't feel pressured, this is a nice-to-have, not a must-have. Happy faces are more than enough to get the job done.
- Find Your Spot- Choose the location you want to use for your shot and make sure it's photo-ready. Personally, I find photos taken outside come out much better— the lighting outdoors seems to do the heavy lifting for me and I don't need to fiddle with the lights to get the brightness I want. Your backyard or a nearby park will do. If you want to take your pictures indoors then make sure the area is properly lit and clean. Take some sample shots with a teddy bear sit in to make sure the space (no Amazon boxes in the background) and lighting work.
- Get Your Camera Ready- Don't worry, you don’t need a fancy camera (but if you have one, by all means use that puppy). A smart phone is actually a great camera. Sometimes I take shots on both my Nikon and my iPhone and the iPhone shots come out better. The iPhone gives me an instant glimpse of what I captured so I know if I got the shot I wanted or not instantly (it is much harder to view the shots taken on the much smaller DSLR screen). Make sure your equipment is charged up, memory card is inserted (if necessary), and you are familiar with the settings you want to use.
- Get Help- If want a full family shot, ask a friend or neighbor to take the pictures for you (in a mask 6 feet apart of course, they can even use their own phone and send to you). Selfies are cute but are very close up and can be overwhelming on a card. Don't miss out on taking advantage of portrait mode, filters and other features while you are shooting.
- Have Fun- Most importantly, have fun! Don't stress your family out with this picture or all you will get is frowning faces (trust me, I have done it). It's okay to ask the kids to throw leaves, make silly faces, or jump on the bed! Get some cute shots of them candid, in the moment. In fact, sometimes those candid shots come out better than the posed ones (photojournalism anyone?). Throw some music on and enjoy!
- Full Coverage Is a Must- Shoot horizontal and vertical, close-up and far back. You will want these different options to crop later on the computer. It will give you tons of flexibility to use any template you choose. Look at the example at the top of this article. Do you see how much landscape is on the left to accommodate the text? It is best to get a range of shots covered at the time you take the pictures so you don't need a redo or have to give up on your favorite online template later. Also, don't stop the shoot until you know you have the gold!
- Check out the broad selection of festive holiday card options from Minted — they have a ton of unique, stylish designs from the world’s best independent artists. Their cards are top of the line! Pick your theme from the menu of choices including holiday, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and more. To find the right template quickly try filtering— select the number of photos you have, orientation (vertical or horizontal), the size and shape of the card and more. If you want something glitzy, check out the foil pressed cards. You can choose from gold, silver, rose gold, glittery gold, and glittery silver foil.
- Personalize your card and envelope to your liking with your family's name. Take advantage of photo filters, personalization, color schemes and more. Make sure your text is readable against the background.
- Make your life easier and opt for return address printing. You may spend a little more money, but it will save you a ton of time and your cards will be returned to you if you have the wrong address for your friends or family.
- You can get your sender addresses pre-printed. When using Minted you can get FREE addressing of your card. Select “Printed” recipient addressing on the “Envelopes” step, and choose your envelope design. When you get your holiday cards your FREE custom envelopes will come addressed and ready to send. If you are old school and want to address the cards yourself then at least consider these Avery labels that you can print on your own (versus a pen).