How to get your holiday photo cards ready – and out the door! – in time for the holidays | Barbara Bell Photography

Whenever I come up with a new idea – it’s like confetti and glitter and a dance party in my mind.

Confetti on a dark background

It. Is. Fabulous!

Then, of course, comes the work. Before I actually sit down to start the project, I have to go back to the original idea and then start with the end in mind.  Like – what was that first idea that ignited the spark that took hold of my imagination? When I start with the end in mind and then sketch out all the pieces (aka – corral the dance party), I can make the magic happen.

Over the years, I’ve applied this same process to creating our family’s holiday cards. Now, some things to note. We don’t send cards out every year. We don’t always have exciting news. We know our parents have loved to see our dog, Whitby, and then it’s nice if we are in the photo, too. We also love to hear from and see in our mailbox:

  • our friends who are like family,
  • our family who are dear friends,
  • all the children as they get taller and grow older,
  • the pets who come into to our families and
  • all of the fun.

So where does one begin with getting your holiday cards ready?

1. Start with the end in mind.

How many cards are we talking about here? Make a list of your people and their addresses. Has anyone moved? Are they all in the same country? You’ll need to know how many stamps you need for the US, as well as different countries.

2. Choose your card’s style, theme, or even paper!

I like to start with the idea that gave me a spark of interest. Sometimes it’s a theme, a particular photo, or even a card style. Clients sometimes come to me saying, “This is what we want to show on our card.” We’ll go out and shoot so that we can capture what was in their mind’s eye.

Sometimes, the theme is based on colors: are you a strong red and green color scheme? Are you snowflakes and white matting? Are you more silver and blue for Christmas?

Your custom designed holiday cards will show your true personality this holiday season with Barbara Bell Photography.

So many choices! What calls to you? Start there.

Are you a keeping it simple with a flat card? Are you using a folded card so you can write a personal message? Are you using a photo with your card or something you can pick up from a local shop? There are so many choices, and there is truly something for everyone.

3. Use your favorite high quality photo(s).

Whether you choose to use a favorite phone shot or book a professional holiday portrait session, make sure the image itself is of high quality. When you look at the photo, how does it make you feel? Do you smile? Laugh? Remember the fun you had that day. Whatever it does to you, make sure it’s a photo you love.

Are you using your most favorite photo or will you show 3, 4, or more from the past year? There are some fab layouts that show the best of both.

4. Think about the message you want to send to friends with your card.

Are you sending holiday wishes or cheers for a new year? Are you leaving holidays out of the equation and sending your well wishes? Whatever it is, know what message you want to send to your people.

5. Let it rest.

Seriously…take a break…walk away…let it percolate. Come back with fresh eyes. All looks good?  Place your order, and then wait for the magic to arrive at your door.

6. Leverage the help.

When it comes to addressing those envelopes, set aside time on your calendar to sit, sip nog, and address them all

Letters addressed to Santa

OR set up Avery labels (paid link) to print them all out

OR get them pre-printed and ready to go, make it easy on yourself.

(When our clients ask us about addressing cards, we love the pre-printed option because we always want to make our clients’ lives easier.)

7. Finally, sit back and pat yourself on the back.

Oh, and be prepared to enjoy opening your mailbox each day as you see photos and well wishes from friends and family near and far.  In these extraordinary times, it’s nice to find some real mail arrive at your door.  (Ooh, and maybe we can get that dance party started! Whitby’s in.)

Whitby Bell, our black lab, is our parents' favorite face on the Christmas Card.

Barbara Bell Photography creates photographs to inspire families to share their memories.  Contact us today to see if we can help you create an amazing family portrait!