Photo Card-Making Tips

Christmas cards are as traditional as lights, hot chocolate and presents, and the photos they include are often treasured for years to come. You don't have to hire a studio or professional photographer to get a great family shot for your cards. Renowned family photographer Jennifer Chaney offers these tips for taking your own family photos and creating Christmas cards from them.

Christmas portrait

Start early

Start thinking about your cards in October or November. If you wait until December, you'll be rushing to order, address and mail out your cards.

Also, the best time of day to take photos is early morning or late afternoon, when the sun creates the perfect warm glow. By December, days become shorter and darker, so get your shot in while you still have plenty of time before and after school and work.

Go outside

Nature makes for a beautiful backdrop. Find an outdoor display if you'd like to include holiday decorations in your photo.

Don't duplicate: Coordinate

Have your family dress in outfits that complement and coordinate with each other. Years down the road, your children will thank you for not going matchy-matchy.

Relax and have fun

The best photos are often those that are not perfectly posed. Allow your family to interact and just have fun. You might be able to snap some candids that capture the heart of your family far better than any orchestrated shots could.

Go for quality

Once you have the photo, zero in on the best place to print your cards:

MyPublisher

My Publisher offers a wide variety of card styles and includes free envelopes, envelope liners, return address printing and free shipping. Photo books and calendars are available, too.

MyPublisher

Pros: The print quality is astounding, with excellent color quality and resolution. The company offers three different card stock options so you can get exactly the look and feel you want. Envelopes come with your choice of inside printed liners, and My Publisher will pre-print your return address on the envelopes.

Pear Tree Greetings

Pear Tree Greetings offers cards for all occasions, and its holiday collection is huge. You'll find all kinds of cards, from bright and cheery to religious. The company even offers Christmas-themed birth announcements.

Pros: Innovative ornament-style and magnet-backed cards are perfect for helping the happy recipient display your greeting throughout the season.

Tinyprints

Tinyprints offers more than 400 designs that you can customize on the front and back with photos or text. A professional team of designers and etiquette experts reviews each card before it's shipped.

What we love: The variety of shapes and styles help your card stand out from the stack.

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