Tips for creating holiday photo cards

 

Photo tips for photographing big groups:

  • Take the family photo before everyone has eaten. This will avoid stained outfits and everyone looking tired and stuffed with food.
  • Choose a simple background so the focus is on people's faces.
  • Be prepared with the tripod and background before calling everyone in to take the picture. Families these days won't sit still very long while they wait for the photo to be taken.
  • Once you have everyone placed where you want them, be sure you can see every face
  • Livewellnetwork.com shares an article and video that offers even more tips: For more intimate photos, get on eye level with pets and children.
  • Indoors or in other dark areas, the flash usually only lights up the faces in the foreground while the background is dark. To fix the problem flip your camera to "slow sync" mode. "It purposely slows your camera down," explains Lana Kelley, from Studio 807 . "What that does is when the flash fires it brightens your subject in the foreground, then once the flash is done but the camera continues to take the picture that allows the background to slowly burn through on the picture itself."

Choose and edit your photo:
Sort through your shots to find the photo or photos that work best for your Christmas card. If you do not have good photo editing software, try Picasa a free download from Google.

Edit your photos: remove red eye, crop out the extra space and straighten the frame, whiten teeth, delete blemishes or stains and brighten colors. Most websites that offer photo cards, allow you to edit photos after downloading them to the site, however Picasa and other photo editing software usually has more options and is can be easier to manipulate.

Add the photo to a pre-made frame card or create digital custom photo cards.
Custom photo cards can be made for as little as .32 each on most sites. Usually, single-sided cards are the least expensive. Before ordering your cards, don't forget to take into consideration the postage cost to mail each card.  The cost to mail a standard letter is $0.44. Square or lumpy cards require quite a bit more postage because they have to be cancelled by hand.

Most local stores offer the choice of either downloading photos and creating the card on-line or in-store. Photos can be scanned or taken from a flash drive or CD. Some stores offer same-day, in-store pickup.

Walgreens
CVS
Reasor's

Sam's Club
Wal-Mart
Target
 

Links to websites offering photo cards:
Shutterfly
Etsy
Creative Memories
Tiny Prints
VistaPrint
Kodak Gallery
Hallmark
Ebay


Some places offer extra services including addressing, stamping and mailing your cards for you. Others pre-ship your envelopes in order for you to start addressing your envelopes while the cards are being processed. Most sites sell matching return-address labels.

You can even make postage stamps out of your photos. The U.S. Postal Service   lists some of the sites that create "design and mail" postage.

Check RetailMeNot , PromotionalCodes or CurrentCodes before placing any online orders. These sites search for promo codes being offered at all web-based retailers.

Lastly, don't forget your card etiquette. According to " Holiday Card Etiquette 101 ",  hand sign each card or write a personal note and hand write each address on the front of the envelope. It is okay to use an address label for the return address only. Get started early in order to check this big task off of your "to-do" list.  Mailing them early allows your friends and family to enjoy your card all season long.

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