One of my favorite things about the holiday season is when the cards start coming in. I hang the cards on my wall, and thanks to the popularity of photo cards, before long I have my own little gallery up. It’s great!
Here are some thoughts about what I personally think makes a holiday card really pop!
1. In my opinion, card recipients want to see a clear, beautiful portrait of you and your family/kids/dog, front and center. Choose a design that makes your photo the feature of your card by avoiding designs that take up half the card with sentiments. The sentiments are lovely, of course! but even better is your smile. If you do choose a more elaborate card, use very simple photos (like tight headshots) so that there are not competing design elements, creating a busy, un-peaceful mess.
2. If you’d like your family’s photo to be the featured photo, zoom in on the action - your faces! Sure, you may have gone to the beach this summer and want to share that news, but a beach shot where your family is tiny in the frame just doesn’t feature you the way your card-recipients want to see. Save a shot of your guys burying each other in the sand for the backside of the card, which will contribute to telling a little story about your year!
4. After you have a well-lit, nicely cropped shot of the whole family for the cover photo (or maybe just the kids, that’s cool too), use the back of the card to share photos that tell the story of your family. Avoid similar photos - four pictures of your kids from the waist-up smiling in the same manner is kind of boring. A shot of your daughter playing a game of soccer and another of your son engrossed in a project are more interesting, and for those who haven’t seen your kids in years or perhaps haven’t even met them, well, they’ve just learned something about your child! Also, if you’ve included a nice cover photo of the whole family looking into the camera, you don’t need a replica shot on the backside, so - go candid!
5. For the sake of this exercise, I am using photos taken during a session with me. When using photos like this scenario (all from the same day with the same clothing worn), create variety and visual interest by choosing photos that vary in style, and remember that some of the best shots are of people not looking directly into the camera. Especially if you already have the facing-the-camera-and-smiling shot on the front. If you have some portraits of the kids you’re dying to use, change the crops so they portraits don’t have an identical feel to them, and the layout has some size variation.
In this card sample above, the top right photo was originally shot in the same manner as the bottom left photo. So, to prevent visual repetitiveness, I zoomed the top right portrait in. The other two shots are fun and less formal, bringing in even more personality to the whole collection of shots.
Click on the thumbnails below and roll your mouse over the opened photos to read more tips. Again, these are all made from shoots during my sessions, but I encourage you to add your favorite candid shots from the year to share with your recipients! (I used mpix.com to create these cards samples).