Every time I send out a birthday invitation for a party or a Christmas card, I am inevitably asked where I got the printing done. To be totally truthful, I feel that it’s not just the printing that is awesome. A lot of thought and work goes into a single printed piece and it starts with an amazing photo. Some photos I’ve used in cards or invitations have been snapshots I’ve taken myself, which have captured a simple moment and have taken zero planning and others have been taken by professional photographers and took a lot of planning, poking, prodding and lollipops. Either way, they are both necessary!
For those of you who are new to this process, I wanted to offer some advice on how to create an awesome piece that people will rave about:
Get started early
In previous years, I have started the process a bit late and have been rushing to get the finished product. Once you place an order, it does take some time to print and ship, so leave yourself ample time to create, proof, order, ship, address and mail in time for the holidays. This year, I’ve decided I’m going to be ahead of the curve (and take advantage of the early bird sales). I received my printed cards on the other day and the box is sitting right here on my desk!
Use your best photo from the entire year
Don’t feel like you need to use a seasonal holiday photo, fresh summer photos are welcome during cold winter months!
Keep it simple
Select natural (human) poses that are crisp and clear. I particularly enjoy photos that catch a special moment and everyone doesn’t have to be looking at the camera smiling like plastic. I also seem drawn to the photo-centric card designs because they showcase my family more than the card design.
Pick a design and photo that reflects your family’s style — don’t try to recreate someone else’s card
The best photos are those that make people say, “wow, that is so you.” You’ll know which photo that is when you see it. Ultimately, the design you choose will depend on the style and composition of the photo.
It’s never too late to start archiving
I always order a couple extras. One for my pin board next to my desk to enjoy year-round and for one for my correspondence archive book. The archive is a 5×7 photo sleeved photo album. As soon as I receive my printed pieces, I add them to my archive so I don’t forget and it so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Years from now, I imagine the book will tell a story in photos year by year. To me, that is the greatest part of all because it’ll be a life of photos, clothing styles and design styles in one flip through a book.
I do owe a huge chunk of kudos to Tiny Prints and Minted.com for the above designs. As a designer-type and lover of aestetically beautifully printed design pieces and photographs, I have to say both their products are among the best in the consumer business and they make it very easy to ‘design’ your own with a template.
Good luck with your holiday endeavors and best of luck to you in checking this one off your list so you can get on with your other holiday preparations, whether it’s hosting family, shipping gifts to far away relatives or preparing to travel yourself.