Monday, December 20
A clever idea can make or break a holiday card photo shoot. From giving children building blocks to play with, or angle wings, props can be a useful tool to getting that perfect holiday picture. In my experience, we parents only have about 5 minutes to shoot a decent photo, after that the children have lost interest and are in danger of being uncooperative at best, at worst, of having a complete meltdown. The best way to get around this is to give them an activity or a prop to get them to cooperate. Lets face it, unless we’re super models, it’s tough for ANYBODY to pose comfortably in front of the camera with somebody saying “smile”. The photo is always much better if they’re smiling already, right? The following photos use props in a variety of ways and get that fabulous shot worthy of any Christmas mantle.
Let it Snow
I know I’ve shown this photo before, but for me, Marc Battaglia’s picture of his kid on a sled with the dog in a harness is one of the best examples of using props that I’ve seen. The caption is great as well. And how much do you love the V of the Geese up in the sky?
This child has building blocks spelling the word “JOY”. I love the Christmas message being already in the photo.
Thsi is an adorable shot of a newborn baby wrapped up like a coccoon with pinecones around him. Very sweet.
This is a beautiful picture of kids with wings for their Christmas card like Raphael’s painting
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luke05olivia/3085953710
Amanda at AC Photography did this great picture of kids asleep in front of the Christmas tree.
Cute kids with antlers and red noses looking just like reindeers.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/naomifrost/3005183436
And the children were all nestled all snug in thier beds. This is a cute idea for taking pictures of kids reading holiday books in bed.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/_juleeln/2104975449
A cute photo of children’s bottoms and the words “As we leave 2009 behind.”
Taken by Sharyn Peavey
Cute picture of a baby in the tub with words spelled out behind him in plastic letters. I think this is a very clever idea for a Christmas card… or any card for that matter. You could spell all sorts of things with these letters, from “Happy Birthday Daddy” to “Please Come to my Party”
I love the Santa legs in this photo shoot, the kid is, of course, going to look up engagingly and all the photographer has to do it shoot. What better prop than Santa?
This photo is taken by Robin Winkles
Cute photo of a little boy with a sign saying “believe” for his family Christmas card photo, the sign takes this card from good to great.
Taken by Robin Winkles
This is a fun idea for props for a holiday shoot, throw a bunch of candy canes on the floor and let the children play
Taken by Robin Winkles
This is a fun card where the kids have tape on their mouths with the Caption, “Silent Night”, it’s a clever idea if your kids are up for it.
Found at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150315070990#ht_8962wt_1141This is a cute idea for a Christmas card shoot with props of a baby in a tub with a teddy bear and a washboard.
Monday, December 13
This is a cute concept for a Christmas card, putting your family or pets inside a snow globe. It’s hard to execute, it takes great photoshopping skills and if you get it wrong the thing looks a little awkward. I found quite a few that were well executed though, so I thought I’d show them to you as inspiration to give it a try.
You can have one of these made on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/listing/37154983
This is a cute snow globe card, it looks like part of it was hand sewn with glitter inside.
Find out more about how she did it at: http://dailyviolets.blogspot.com/2010/11/christmas-cards-already.html
This is a sweet Snow globe Christmas card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonynewell/2123325316/
This is a beautifully executed snow globe holiday card with 2 dogs in the middle. Clearly the creator of this card has a lot of skill with Photoshop.
This image of a man trapped inside a snow globe cracks me up. I love it’s minimalistic approach.
I found it at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/3373940125/
This is a more lengthy photo shop process. The creator of this card goes to great length to explain how it was done at: http://galefraney.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/snow-globe-card-art/
Cute Christmas card of a girl inside a snow globe.
Found at: http://www.eyefetch.com/image.aspx?ID=94355
Found at Awkwardfamilyphotos.com
From Capitol Hill realtor Marlow Harris, who runs the Seattle P-I Capitol Hill blog, and the aptly named “Unusual Life” blog.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashedesign/sets/72157621967769341
Here is another snow globe Christmas card idea made by
Jennifer DeDonato. She used cardstock, ribbon, large glitter, acetate and a sewing machine. Read more about how she did it at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/colorfly/3127004864
If you make a snowglobe card and would like to share it on this page, please let me know.
Monday, December 6
The Brady Bunch image from the opening credits on the show is great inspiration for making a Christmas or Holiday card. Many people are doing it. Some of you may be too young to understand the impact that The Brady Bunch had on the generation that grew up during the 70′s. Back when there were only a few networks, it was a big deal to have an amusing show which was appropriate for groovy young people like myself. This show has a real sense of nostalgia for many other groovy baby-boomers it seems. As I searched, there were loads of cards out there, some better than others. I think that these below are some of the better examples. What makes these cards work in my opinion is having good lighting and a consistent plain background. This is the original opening credit image of the Brady Bunch Show.
This is pretty a pretty cute Brady Bunch Card. I love the pregnant belly in the middle.
found at: http://home.348north.com/archives/our-family/
Again, this is by Theresa Thompson, I’ve shown this card before, but it is such a great Christmas card that I had to include it. I love the fact that she also shows the back of their head son the back of the card.
I love the polk-a-dot background on this Brady Bunch Card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skg/4320130833/
It’s a nice twist on this Brady Bunch image to make it in Black and White.
FOund at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/krissypics/4989302211/
And I love the bright colors on this version of a Brady Bunch photo.
FOund at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bananaketchup/4528973485/
This looks like it’s a Corporate card. I love the idea of doing a funny corporate card in the Brady Bunch theme.
I love the addition of pets in this Brady Bunch Card
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35124656@N07/3279207369/
I love how this guy in the outer photos are all zoning on on the middle guy, It’s a good twist on the Brady Bunch theme.
I think this is all the same person in each square on this Brady Bunch Card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/snelly23/3066701103/
If you have a Great Brady Bunch Christmas card, or any other fun, unusual Holiday card and would like to share it with us, please submit here. Or if you want to browse more clever, creative holiday cards, go to the gallery section in the menu and browse other fun cards in the Family Section, the Pets Section, the Grown up Section, the Corporate Section, the Santas Section, the Kids Section, the Vintage Section or the Illustrated Section. I also have a Book Section where you can see examples of cards in my book.
Wednesday, December 1
A fun way to make a boring beach shot fun for Christmas is to pose with a sand snowman. What better way to winterize a beach photo? Here is one I did once. The kids loved posing with the sand snowman they had helped make (and RE-make every time it collapsed). Hint: bring a spray bottle of water to help keep the sand moist.
Taken by Karen Robert
All it needs is a kid next to itFound at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pamk/2398891839/
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pamk/2371842490/
How do they get the sand to stick together like that?
Taken by Bill Shaw
Sand sculptures at the Gaylord in Kissimmee, Florida
Taken by Robyn at
by Kathy Archbold
found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gracedvornik/4438031887/
Sunday, November 28
I have shown you images before of people writing on themselves in a photo. I think it’s a great way of getting a message across. This time I am posting about writing on the knuckles as if they are tattoos. It’s a concept I am thinking of using for our Christmas card this year. The knuckle tattooing trend was, I think, started by gangs where they tattooed hateful things on their knuckles. I have been seeing photos of all sorts of non-hateful things being written on knuckles and a few fun cards like that as well, so I am thinking that MAYBE my teens wouldn’t mind doing something like that this year. At least they don’t have to stand there and look attractive. I did some research and found the following photos inspiring.
By Jeff Holmes on his Flickr site
Found here on Flickr
Fun idea in a blog by Archie Mcphee
I’m trying out my idea tomorrow for my card. I’ll show you if I am successful.
Wednesday, November 24
We are throwing our annual football party a few days after Thanksgiving. So I scored and found this old vintage photo to make our invitation.
Pretty Mad Men, right? Don’t you love the way the man and the woman are looking at each other? I feel like she’s thinking “don’t even THINK of messing with me buddy”. I feel like just after this shot was taken she ripped him to shreds, resentful after years of being treated badly in the workplace. Anyway, I am going to be making it available to use as an e-card or as a print card on my site when the programmers are FINALLY finished building it. We are very close to making it work, but sadly, it will be ready a tad bit too late to be up for this Christmas. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to throw out ideas for Holiday cards on this blog to get everyone’s creative juices flowing. More to come, in fact, tomorrow.
I know this is a big weekend for taking that family picture for the cards. It is for us. (My kids are so NOT excited). One thing to keep in mind, have a plan before you bring out the camera, give little kids a prop or an activity for the photo. You can give them a sign that says “Merry Christmas” or each kid letters which spell out NOEL, Or you can write something on their t-shirts, hands, or knuckles. You can also do things like put them on a sled on a sand dune, or have them build a sand snowman, or wrap them in Christmas lights. Whatever you decide to try, just think about it ahead of time and then taking the picture will be MUCH easier. Remember, little kids only give you 5 minutes to take the shot. Use those 5 minutes wisely. For more card ideas and inspiration, go to the Card Gallery and take a look at all of the cool cards I’ve been collecting over the years. These will not be for sale on the site, they are other people’s wonderful cards from previous years. On this side of the site I am merely a connoisseur of amazing Holiday cards.
Happy Photos & Happy Thanksgiving
Friday, November 19
And finally, here is my last card that I am posting for now from the Sigler family at weareheavyduty.com. For their 2008 card they used a long exposure camera and light sabers to make Christmas designs, in effect painting with light.
They are so descriptive about how they did it, I thought I should let them tell you how they went about creating this in their own words in case you want to try something similar.
“This large scale light painting of a Christmas tree was made in our backyard. On the ground the tree was 55 feet tall and about 25 feet wide. It appears short and fat because of the angle of the photograph. I had the camera, and video camera, in a stairwell window at the back of our house. I’m at least four storeys (someone asked, that is in fact the correct spelling) in the air because our property drops quite a bit. We are in the mountains. But the back lot is nice and flat. I used rope to lay out the tree and enlisted the family and some conveniently located neighbors to move the lights around.
The kids were in the middle of the tree swinging the light sabers (see below) in circles to make the “ornaments” and Mars walked back and forth to make a “garland.” The Moms (Mary and Jill) made the tree outline by waving two light sabers each as they walked along the rope, invariably racing at the end of each take to finish in time. I used a kitchen timer and called out the remaining seconds.
I wanted to do some light painting myself so I took the tripod and camera outside and made some “Nöels” in green and red. Nöel (Which I now know should be spelled “noël” – oof, embarrassing. I was in the dark!) is way easier than trying to write “Merry Christmas,” backward mind you, in the dark, before the time runs out and the shutter closes. Plus, Nöel is so short I was able to turn the light on and off for each letter, and add the umlaut over the “o.” I put a strip of four of these inside the card, along the top.
We did something similar for the family shot on the back of the card. For this one I used another camera, mounted on separate stand, just for the flash. That way I could move the lights around to make the frame, then get back into position before the second camera flashed, which would make us visible in the photo taken by the first camera. Staggering the timers on the two cameras so that the flash would happen after I was done drawing, but before the shutter closed on the first camera was a challenge. Have I mentioned we were in the dark? The image came out too dark on the card but the original looks good.
This was a fun card to make, but I was stressing about the execution. I mentioned to my friend Gary a couple months ago that I was worried about the logistics and he said something like “only you would have a Christmas card with logistical challenges.” Why do things the easy way? Walk hard.”
Thanks again to the Sigler family for allowing me to show you their wonderful cards. Hopefully I will posting this years card within the next month. Stay tuned. (No pressure or anything Siglers).
Thursday, November 11
I found these great Christmas cards on Flickr done by a guy named Doug Barlow. He has great ideas, he takes great photographs, and on top of that, he has talented photoshopping skills. All these talents are put to good use for the making of his creative and fun Christmas cards.
Here is his card for 2008:
Doug explains how he put it together,
Strobes left and right pointed at a low white ceiling.
2 exposures put together in photoshop. 1 of my daughter and the setting and another of my wife and I
I have so much fun putting together our Christmas cards every year. Our families have come to expect something a little different from us and we usually get a great response.
If you look close you can see the camera remote between my fingers ”
and here is the following year’s card:
Last year (2009) we wanted to make it more about Evinn, so we came up with the concept of her blackmailing santa. Technically the whole family is in the card. My wife is the mommy kissing santa, and I’m the lucky santa
We both loved the idea of Evinn showing the pictures to santa while eating the cookies and milk that she left out for him. She’s at a very manipulative age
This is a composite of a couple of pictures
• Evinn, cookies, milk table and background in one
• hand with pictures (really holding polariods, but pics photoshopped in)
• hand and book (naughty and nice on book photoshopped in)
Strobist: all shots were done with the same set-up, just pieced together so i had more freedom to move things around.
can’t remember my shutter speed, but it was fairly long to let the christmas lights in the background burn in a little.
sb-28 with a makeshift snoot with a white diffuser, behind subject camera left.
sb-25 in a white shoot through umbrella camera right, above, just out of frame”
I can’t wait to see what they come up with this year.
Thursday, November 11
This Sigler Family made their own handmade Christmas card in 2006 using the idea of each of them making a snowman out of different objects which reflects their own personalities. Posted at www.weareheavyduty.com .
In the family’s own words, this is how this card came about.
“Paris had the idea of snow people. We rolled with that and decided to stick with the tradition inside the tradition, individual pieces.
Clockwise from the top left:
Paris used rolled colored paper strips.
Mars obviously used Legos.
Mary worked with yarn and felted the nose and hat. She also broke the mold with a two-ball shorty.
Tracy after a few failed attempts decided to use three lamps, he had made a while ago, for a minimalist, and sort of boring, snow-bot.
Kodak now allows you to put a stamp-sized image on the back of the card. We used a pic of our four hands in the same orientation as the snow folks.
Friday, October 29
I am once again posting a card which I found at www.weareheavyduty.com, (we are heavy duty). This is a website hosted by the Sigler family. The whole Sigler family, Tracy, Mary, Paris and Mars. They show and talk about all of the creative things that they do throughout the year. One of those creative things is make fun, creative Christmas cards. I will be showing you all of their cards for the past 5 years over the course of the next week. This one is from 2005. This is what the Sigler family had to say about the making of it.
“For the 2005 Christmas card Paris suggested “trees.” As time was running out I continued to mention that we needed to get cracking on the cards. When I mentioned it one night at dinner everyone moaned. Frustrated, I said “you can make a tree out of anything!” Then, I grabbed the greens that were left in the salad bowl and quickly threw down a “tree.” I liked it so I got some dried cranberries for the garland and piece of pretzel for the trunk. Everyone got their trees done that night, with Mary’s being the most skillful, and time-consuming.
The backgrounds were removed and the trees were combined on a single white background. This time we had them printed at Kodak.
Clockwise from top left: Tracy, Paris, Mary, Mars”