If you’re a forward thinker, now is the best time of the year to make next year’s personalized photo Christmas Cards. That’s because all of the color, the decorations and the excitement of Christmas is happening right now.
A few years ago, Rochelle took on a Christmas Photography challenge on the photo-sharing site Flickr. The task was to post a Christmas-oriented photo every day from December 1 all the way to Christmas. That sounds pretty easy, but there was more to the challenge. Not only did she have to post a shot every day, the photograph she posted had to be shot that very same day. And that wasn’t easy at all. For one thing, it gets dark pretty darn early in December, so that precious after-work light became even more valuable. And after a couple of weeks, she had to “stretch” her creativity to come up with unique, fun and nicely-produced photographs.
I’m going to tell you a few of the things she learned, and show you how everyday scenes can become wonderful, personalized Christmas cards.
I’m sure you’ve taken a drive around your neighborhood, checking out all of the Christmas lights and lawn displays. Any of these would be perfect for a Christmas card all by itself, but a little thinking about how your camera “sees” colorful lights can make your photo stand out. If you use a fast lens, one with an aperture of f/2.8 or lower, you can shoot a scene slightly out-of-focus and achieve some fun, artistic results.
Using that technique, my neighbor’s reindeer lawn display takes on a whole new dimension. Or, you can use the technique another way by shooting through a rain-soaked window. When you focus on a scene, like a holiday-decorated house, the out of focus rain drops become Christmas lights, all on their own.
But don’t forget when you’re driving around looking at lights to look for simple scenes. Sometimes something simple is much better at telling your “story” than something that is cluttered and busy. This little house with the red door and lights caught my eye, and I wasn’t even thinking about Christmas when I took the photo.
And speaking of telling a story, check out this shot Rochelle took of some neighborhood children coming out to see the mailman. Doesn’t that just make you feel like a kid again; hoping that special present came in the mail?
If you live in the county, like Rochelle and I, you might even be able to peek out your window and find a Christmas card just waiting to happen. We have deer in our yard every day, but when you add a little bit of snow, and some painted-in lights, you’ve got the perfect scene.
And what would Christmas be with children and pets? This photo of a child and Santa is a composite Rochelle put together in Photoshop, and then painted in Corel Paint.
And the shot of our Golden Retriever Jasper was a ball to take…all 37 times. (He didn’t quite get the point.)
If you really want to set a challenge for yourself, you can make photographic “letters” out of a variety of objects, and put them together to make just about any kind of photographic greeting. How’s that for personalized?
And for all of my Roadtrek and Class B friends, I’ve seen your shots of your rigs covered in snow. Wouldn’t that make a great Christmas card too?
Once you’ve got your photos, you have a couple of options for turning them into your own personalized Christmas Cards. You can print them yourself on special “card” stock, or you can have them printed at any number of photo labs, including Costco, Snapfish and Shutterfly. Of course, cards aren’t the only thing you can make. You can put your images on mugs, on calendars; on t-shirts…the sky’s the limit.
I hope this gives you some ideas that you can put to use right now. And Happy Holidays from both of us. I hope you all get the opportunity to enjoy your time with family and friends.