I designed a few mock-up holiday cards from some recent shoots I've been on. These aren't actually going to be used by the clients in this way (although the red one is very close to it's final version). I just think it's fun to do some layout from time to time.
1. Choose quality over quantity. Parents have a hard time with photos sometimes because they love their children and their children are adorable in every photo they see. It's easy to forget that when you make a card with nine photos on it, not only will they be small photos , they are not likely to have much variety to them. Six of them may be of your child making the same expression. In using so many pictures, you miss the opportunity to let the receiver of the card really get an idea of who your child is.
The red card is a good example of how good editing can give you some variety on a card, and teach the receiver of the card something about the person on the card.
2. Variety is good. I think that in most cases, one wonderful shot is the way to go with a card. People who receive the card can take it apart and put the photo on their wall or fridge! But, if you are going to use multiple images, it's nice to have one tight shot (top left), one medium shot (bottom left) and one wider (top right or bottom left).
3. The Perfect photo doesn't always mean the perfect smile. You don't always have to have an image of the child's face in all your photos and they shouldn't be the perfect little smile, in my opinion. The perfect photo shouldn't mean the perfect smile. Choose photos that show your child's character (like top right on the red card). Photograph them reading their favorite book or playing with their favorite toy. Seeing an image with some movement, like the one of Ava clapping (bottom right), is less stagnant. The one of Ava walking away is fun too, because it gives us a different perspective in addition to helping us learn something about the child. Ava loves her bunny and her lamby. We know that now. We have also learned she is now walking!
4. Headshots are our friends. Getting some nice headshot style photos is a great solution to the challenge of photographing a very active toddler and a newborn. Toddlers don't tend to like to sit still, and sitting a newborn up in a chair can sometimes seem very unnatural - after all, they can't sit up on their own yet. When mom Wendy decided she wanted a shot similar to another she liked (the baby lying down and the older child look down at the baby), we gave it a try. Although the baby's profile is really sweet, you can't really see faces. It's a very nice moment between the boys, however, which makes it work. Plus, it's something a bit different from the typical holiday card photo. You solve to issue of not seeing the kids' faces by adding nice, simple headshots. Now, we can see how the boys are growing!