As a Toronto-based family photographer, let me tell you that choosing the right picture for something as important as your Christmas card is never easy. Rarely will you and your family agree on who looks the best in which picture. On the other hand, you may end up loving all of the pictures too.
Either way, the selection process can be overwhelming, to say the least. That’s probably the only thing I dislike about family photography – too many opinions, too little time. But to make it a bit easier for you this year, I have compiled a list of tips on how you can narrow down your selection process for that perfect photograph. Read on and thank me later!
Tip 1: Create a ‘starter album’
This is essentially a collection of all your favorite clicks from the past year. I recommend making this folder early on in January so that you can add to it as the year progresses. The pictures could be from memorable trips, birthdays, anniversaries, or graduation ceremonies, etc – any event you would like to treasure and share with your friends and extended family.
If you don’t have any, fret not! Visit Anchor Studio at 263 Adelaide Street W to book an in-studio family photo-shoot for yourselves. I specialize in outdoor family photography and well, let’s just say crisp wintery sunshine and fall foliage make for an ideal Christmas card backdrop! If you prefer the indoors, try our annual themed holiday mini-sessions in the studio.
Tip 2: Which photo makes you smile?
This is where the fun starts. Or, you might end up needing a tissue or two.
Go through your ‘starter album’ and note the pictures that revive the most memories. Good memories, of course. Christmas cards are no place for negative emotions. Any pictures that make you go “aww” or chuckle would be good to go.
Try to imagine the reaction you want from the recipients of your card. Family photography is all about capturing a moment of fun and candor and that is precisely what you should try and transfer onto it. Once these “magic photos” are sorted, it’s time to move on to the next round…
Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to get critical
Welcome to the hard part! Now that you have the top 8 or 9 pictures sorted, you’ve got to bring them down by at least half. Unless, of course, you want to create a collage on your Christmas card.
Anyway, go over each photo carefully. Are any of them a bit blurry? Are they too similar? Why is your little one looking so uncomfortable in that one? If such questions come up when you’re looking as any of the pictures, I recommend taking them out of the running. After all, the image you eventually pick cannot just be “nice.” It has to be perfect!
By now, you shouldn’t have more than 5 images left. Eliminate further! A tactic often suggested by many Toronto photo studios is determining which of the pictures you might want displayed in your house. So, consider all the little details. A bad background or a shoddy cropping job are a big no-no.
Tip 4: Keep the design of your card in mind
I usually start with the basics: Would you prefer a portrait or landscape card? The layout and dimensions you opt for directly impact the picture. You’d be surprised how many of my family photography clients prefer portraits.
What else does your card feature? Any texts, borders, stamps or illustrations? If yes, where will they go? And also, are you sending the same card to everyone or making two-three different variations? All of these elements must be considered before you make a decision.
Tip 5: A dose of personality
At this point, you ought to have chosen your image and be preparing for the finishing touches. Why not consider a sweet, hand-written message or a brief description or memory of the picture chosen? It’s all about showing that you put in effort into the card. I promise your recipients will appreciate it.
In a nutshell…
Christmas is all about spreading joy and greeting cards are a great way to do that. By picking the right picture and sprinkling some of your own personality in, you are essentially giving your loved ones a snapshot into your life. And if you ask me, what better way is there to wish someone a Merry Christmas and a happy new year?