11/28/12

DIY Christmas Card Photos

Christmas Card Season is Here
I 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!

Source
Somehow, this year, we didn't get around to scheduling a family photo shoot. I don't know where the time went. But I feel like I looked up from my hot glue gun and BAM-- the holiday season was here.
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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Linking to: Centsational Girl, Home Stories A to Z, Serenity Now, Tatertots and Jello, Positively Splendid, and Too Much Time on My Hands, the 36th Avenue. 
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10 comments:

  1. Those are some great tips to take your own family photos! As a photographer myself, i never seem to find time to schedule anything! I may have to do what you did, and try and take them myself!

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  2. My daughter does this and I love it...love to get them too!

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  3. GORGEOUS family photos!!! I personally love Mpix too because of the "no color correct" option. Great tips! Pinning!

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  4. Thank you for sharing these tips! We all want our family, friends and ourselves to look our best!!

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  5. Wonderful tips and tricks! Thank you so much for sharing. I "pinned" them for future use :)

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. I'm so glad I saw this. In the past that's what I've done, I am also using Picmonkey now that Picnik is no longer. I LOVE your cards. I already have my camera and ipod, now I'm just waiting on the clothes to arrive. :) Thanks for the tips.

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  8. Beautiful catds!
    I also look our photos this year.
    I love mpix.

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    Replies
    1. *edit*
      Beautiful cards!
      I also took our photos this year.
      I love mpix.

      So sorry about that
      (My smart phone isn't smart enough. LOL)

      Delete

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I love to hear from you and will do my best to answer questions and comments by 'replying via email'.
:) Samantha

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