Most families have many traditions they like to complete every holiday season, such as taking kids to visit Santa Claus at the mall, baking Christmas treats together, decorating a tree, visiting family, and so on.
One tradition you might be considering starting this year is creating a holiday photo card that shows a picture of your family. If so, to achieve the results you’re after, there are particular steps it pays to follow.
Give Yourself Time and Plan for Success
The best way to make the whole process less stressful and costly is to give yourself plenty of time to get the job done. Christmas is a busy time of year already, so trying to add in a holiday card project at the last minute won’t make things any easier. You also need to factor in enough time to get the whole family together to take photographs, and then do all the other elements involved in this task. As such, it’s best to start working on your cards ASAP.
Plan out what you need to do in advance, too. Doing this helps you see the order each step needs to be done in and ensure nothing gets forgotten. This planning time enables you to brainstorm creative ideas for the photo staging and design, and put together a list of recipients for the card so you send out enough copies and don’t miss anyone important.
Choose the Right Outfits
When preparing for your family picture, think about what kinds of outfits to ask everyone to wear. You want people’s personalities to shine through, but you also need to have some consistency in the image so it doesn’t appear too busy.
It pays, then, to set a theme, which can be as simple or fun as you like (for example, everyone wearing some kind of white shirt, or everyone dressed up like a Christmas tree!). Do try to ensure all family members feel reasonably comfortable in what they’re wearing. This way, they’ll be better able to sit still for the shoot, and their ease will come across in the pictures.
Also note that the clothing your family wears can be interesting, but it shouldn’t be too distracting, visually. For instance, avoid crazy prints or patterns, especially lots of stripes. You want your outfits to work well with the lighting, too.
Focus the Picture on Who’s In It
It’s nice to set the stage for photographs by tidying and cleaning up, removing ugly furniture or inappropriate artwork, etc., and by ensuring there aren’t any random people in the background of your photographs. However, be careful not to let the setting you choose for the pictures take away from your family.
The images used for your printed or digital photo holiday cards this Christmas need to focus on your group’s faces so recipients can see everyone clearly. When you try to fit in too much backdrop, this generally means no one can see faces properly, or there’s less-than-ideal light cast over people’s heads due to shadows from set pieces. Tightly cropped, simple images make for the most elegant and useful card photos.
It’s necessary to properly edit photographs before you use them in your holiday cards. Thanks to modern cameras and affordable tech tools it’s easier than ever to manipulate pictures to help everyone look their best.
You can make the lighting, colors, and other features work more effectively and even get a different feel from photographs by using filters and the like. Keep in mind that if you hire a professional photographer to take the shots, they’ll likely do the editing for you, which will save you time and effort!
Take Care with the Design
Once you have your family picture ready to go, choose the design and layout of the surrounding card. Whether you opt for a whimsical, funny, retro, traditional, or other theme, make sure it matches the photograph you’ve chosen. Consider style, feel, color, and wording. When you partner the right elements together, the results improve, and you’ll get the impact you’re after.
Take time writing the text for the card and, once done, proof it carefully to be sure it’s free of typos, grammatical errors, and other mistakes. It’s best to have someone else with fresh eyes proofread it for you, too, as they will spot issues you might miss. If you plan to print out your cards and post them, use a quality service provider so that the final product looks professional, and all the colors and details display as they should.
Organizing a holiday photo card is a lovely way to celebrate your family’s past year and love for each other. By following the steps listed above, you should find it a more enjoyable process, and be proud of your card creation in the end.