Christmas Card Season is HereI love, absolutely love, Christmas cards. Each year I get excited when December rolls around and my mail box is full of cards from friends and family. Last year I was really on the ball-- my friend Erin from Splendor Photography happened to be in Florida at the same time we were. So she photographed us on the beach. I had my Christmas cards completely done by the end of August!
With no fancy professional pics and no photo shoots scheduled, I decided to try my own version of "DIY Christmas Card Photos" this year. I will preface this mini-tutorial by saying, I am in no way a pro and I absolutely love working with real photographers like Kristie Mills and others who are trained in their craft. But sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do-- and this year that meant taking my own photos. Here is how I did it!
Three Steps to DIY Christmas Card Photos
1. Location- To set the perfect back-drop for your photos, you need to find a place free of visual distractions. Go to a park or a wooded area. Look for trees, colorful leaves, soft grass. You want your backdrop to enhance your family's beauty not take away from it. Avoid cars, driveways, and playground equipment in the shot.
2. Lighting- Since we are amateurs, getting the best photos means getting the lighting right. I don't have Photoshop skills, so I have no idea how to enhance lighting in photo. But I do know how to capture it. Aim to take your photos at sun-up or sun-set. That way you can get the yummy, glow around your family. We took our photos around 4:30 pm. Depending on where you live, you may have to adjust that.
3. Editing- A bit of editing never hurts! I used PicMonkey to touch up the photos. My favorite effects are "Intrepid" and "Dusk" but I always fade them to about 60% so that the colors aren't too crazy. Play around with the exposure and contrast you can find that under the 'Colors' button. I also like to use the 'teeth whitener', 'the blush boost', the 'mascara', the 'eye brightener' and 'the wrinkle eraser'. Don't laugh! I don't use those effects on all my photos. But for Christmas cards pictures-- I want us all to look our best! :)
Other Helpful Tips:
-Get a tripod and use the timer on your camera, that way you can be in the photo too!
-Look on Pinterest to find poses you like. Arrange your family in a way that is flattering to everyone.
-Don't use a flash. Take advantage of the pretty, natural light.
-Wear complimentary colors. Matchy-matchy can sometimes be overwhelming. Instead aim to coordinate.
Printing Your Card
Once you have your photos looking the way you like. Save them at the highest possible resolution. On PicMonkey it has a 'gorilla' icon next to it-- since it is a massive file.
Then find your favorite online photo lab. Or depending on your printer and the number of cards you are sending out, you could try doing them at home.
Last year we used Mixbook and I was happy with the results. But this year, I was really impressed with the price and paper quality offered by Mpix . So I used them. A big advantage of Mpix is that they do not 'color correct'. Which means that all the work you did capturing beautiful light and editing your photos won't be washed away. Mpix prints your photos the way you want them.
Finally, having a good camera helps. I used my Cannon Rebel. If you don't own one, ask a friend if you can borrow their camera or have them come out and take a few photos for you. Remember, you really only need a few great shots!
What does your Christmas card look like this year?
**NO compensation or advertising on this post! I just really like using PicMonkey and Mpix-- so I thought I would pass along the info to you :)
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