Ordering photo Christmas cards online is now easier than ever. Just pop in your photo, add some text, and your fantastic, most amazing Christmas cards are on their way…Until you actually have them in your hands. The picture is a little grainy, the paper isn’t what you expected and you aren’t as happy as you thought you would be. Follow these 3 tips and I promise (yes, I promise) you’ll avoid unhappy feelings with your holiday cards and you will say “I can’t WAIT to mail my holiday cards.”Tip #1 – Composition and Resolution
To make a great Christmas card, it all starts with the photo. The composition needs to be great as well as the resolution. Let’s start with the composition.
Kodak has a great 10 tip guide to help you when taking your pictures. You don’t need a fancy camera or even an exotic location. Just follow the 10 simple steps and your off to a great start. Also consider clothing. T-shirts with big logos should be avoided as well as mis-matchy (is that even word?—You know what I mean) clothes on Mom, Dad and Kids. Also think about “action shots” instead of the posed shot. Here’s an example:
So, have fun when taking your pictures and experiment with taking shots while the kids are at the playground, the dog is catching the ball or you are all playing in the leaves.
Click on Properties and a window should open with a Details tab. Select the details tab and look for horizontal resolution and vertical resolution. It will say something like 300 dpi next to both.
If your photo says 199 dpi or lower, your photo will not look great printed. Why is this? DPI stands for dots per inch. The more dots you have in a square inch, the more detail you have, thus creating a better photo for print. On your computer screen a 72 dpi photo looks great, but don’t let that fool you—it won’t look so great when printed.With Urbanitystudios, when you load a photo into a design, a little warning will show if you don’t have high enough resolution. A designer also double checks to make sure that your photo will look great when printed. Be aware that many design programs will tell you if your photo will work or not and if you’re unsure how your photo will look, it is a good idea to contact the company and make sure what you have submitted will work.Lastly, check your photo settings on your camera and or phone. The lower resolution photo you take, the more photos you can store, but for your Christmas photo cards, you’ll want to up your resolution settings so that your camera will take 300 dpi photos.
Tip #2 – Paper
The type of paper on which your Christmas card will be printed affects cost as well as look. Many sites offer “Premium” paper. You’ll want to see if that is a matte or gloss finish. A matte finish gives a more elegant and more “expensive” look. If writing a hand written note on your holiday cards is important, check to make sure the paper can be easily written on. Some papers have a coating or finish on them that doesn’t take pen very well. At Urbanity Studios, “premium” means a heavy card stock with a matte finish where you can easily write a personal message directly onto the card stock.
“Photo” paper is another popular option for a finished card. This typically is a less expensive option but you’ll want to also see what type of photo paper the card is printed on. Is it archival quality? Does is easily resist fingerprints? Furthermore, if you want to write notes, photo paper is not a good option as you’ll most likely ruin the finish if you try and write on the card. We use photo paper that top photographers use, matte finish 150-year archival quality and resists fingerprints.
Tip #3- Be Creative
With so many great design programs where you can literally design your card real-time, you can get very creative with your Christmas card. Some ideas include telling a story, including a recipe or a writing a creative salutation.
Tell a story with your photos. If your little girl started kindergarten, your husband rode his bike cross country and your dog is still eating your underwear, share that! Choose a card that can accommodate several photos and add in captions detailing where and when the photos were taken or a “little story” about each member of the family.Make your Christmas card a memento. One of my favorite ideas is to add in a favorite recipe. With the card below, you literally add your recipe within the contents of the card. Recipients can add your card to their recipe folder and be reminded of the year and the family who sent them the great recipe.
Use Christmas classics to create really fun salutations on your card. Instead of “Merry Christmas”, you could say “And to all a good night” or “‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year” or “Ba hum bug to you and yours”.