When selecting the best photo for your holiday cards there are many things to keep in mind.

First ask yourself who are you sending this card to? Who do you want in the image? Is this an entire family shot, just you, you and your significant other, or just the kids? The style of photography differs slightly when you’re taking a photo of a group versus an individual, and similarly whether you’re photographing a young child or an adult. You can also coordinate your outfits and photo shoot background with the  colors you are selecting for your Christmas Photo Cards.

The general rules of thumb for selecting a good quality photo are below…

Christmas Photo Cards1 Picking the Best Photo for your Holiday Cards

1. Always choose a recent photo

You want to be as real as possible in your photo, you’re sharing yourself and your family and it feels inauthentic when you can clearly tell the photo was from years ago. You have to be especially careful with children, as they grow so fast: they can drastically change weight, height and facial structure within a few months. You can also tell with adults by fluctuation in weight, hair color changes and graying.

2. Is the photo in focus?

With the age of digital cameras it is so easy to take another photo. If your photo is blurry or out of focus, don’t use it!

3. How is the exposure? Is it too bright or too dark?

This is harder to determine for those not experienced in photography. If you’re not sure put the photo next to a magazine with nice images. Does the photo look much lighter or much darker? Photos can be digitally adjusted within reason but when in doubt, take another photo!

4. Do not use a webcam or phone camera to take the photo

While webcams and camera phones are extremely convenient, they take terrible photos. The lens does not balance the light well, nor is the quality of resolution high enough for professional printing. Always use a SLR or a high quality Point and Shoot Digital camera.

5. Do not save a photo from anywhere online

When a photo is uploaded online the resolution is automatically decreased to 72dpi, which is perfect visual quality for the internet; however, for professional printing a resolution of 300dpi is required. It is always better to send a larger photo; a large photo can be reduced without affecting resolution however you cannot make a small photo larger.

6. Do not use photos that have someone cropped out of them

Even when you crop someone out of the photo, you can still tell they were there –it looks tacky. Don’t do it!

Other Helpful Tips:

  • Smile – be genuine! Have someone make you laugh if you need to.
  • Avoid any photos where the subject is off center unless there is a very good creative reason.
  • Close ups are always nice for a larger balanced view.
  • Be wary of studio photos: sometimes they’re great, but sometimes they can lack the essential quality of a great photo (emotion, passion and creativity).
  • When taking the photo try to capture: intimacy, drama, spontaneity, mood and remember to be creative.

mandi Picking the Best Photo for your Holiday Cards

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