It hurts me to write the title of this post, “Christmas Cards.” I hate doing Christmas Cards. There, I said it. It is pure torture. I love to receive them and that is only reason I send them. Because who in their right mind would do the following:
- Arrange perfect family photo every year. Must be done during peak season (fall) or during exquisite summer vacation when everyone is tanned and relaxed.
- Make sure all family members are perfect in family photo.
- Pay equivalent of a third-world country GNP for said photo or attempt to do it yourself.
- Agonize over hundreds (or in my case tens) of pictures to pick one. Usually alienate one family member who hates their picture.
- Go shopping for Christmas cards. Again, pay equivalent of a home mortgage payment to buy the really good ones. I’m looking at you William Arthur.
- Get all printed before December.
- Spend all night putting the stupid picture in the card. If that is done for you, then spend all night(s) addressing, stuffing, fighting over whether to send one to crazy Aunt Gertrude or your old neighbor from 1997.
- Go to post office and wait 45 minutes to get the perfect Christmas stamp. No plain “forever” stamps for these puppies; you have already spent an arm and a leg on the card, so stamp has to be a perfect holiday theme.
- Friends receive and either display for two weeks or throw in garbage.
- Merry Christmas. Was it worth it?????
I’m done with this rant and I’m done with my terrible attitude about Christmas Cards. It does not have to be this hard! I have a solution thanks to photographer Cheryl Parish. She calls it “Thinking Outside the Box Christmas Cards.” We collaborated on this story and you will look at this entire process in a whole new way, all the while asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
See this card. Perfection. This is 1% of all cards. All the stars were aligned for them.
Then there was Cheryl Parish’s experience with Christmas picture last year (I’m sure we can all relate):
We went to the beach several times up until Thanksgiving, each time trying to take a picture. Every time something would go wrong: someone would close their eyes, something would be in the background, someone was just “blank.” Over Thanksgiving we went to the beach one last time; this was our last chance to get a picture. It was really windy, one girl had a bad hair day and it was generally HORRIBLE. We were all pale and everyone looked just not good. I finally said, okay, it’s over. I have so many good individual pictures of my girls and I can come up with a way to do this.
So I scoured the internet for different cards and ideas.
Here is an example of what I made. This card featured three children without a picture taken together.
I looked through all their pictures from the year and found the ones with my favorite picture of their faces. Some of them are from the swim team banquet. All of them are pictures where there are other people in the picture.
So we start with the oldest child:
I cropped out her sister.
Then, turned that into black and white.
And for the middle child.
Enlarged her face, and cropped others out of picture.
And finally, the youngest daughter.
Then I took all the newly created individual portraits and put them into a tri-fold card.
So here’s the rundown of what Cheryl did:
- Find good pictures that are on the same scale. You cannot have one big face and one small face.
- Enlarge pictures so that it just focuses on one face.
- Cut and crop picture.
- Change color to black and white. Black and white is so forgiving while color picks up everything.
- If necessary, fade out the background to make it more uniform.
For those of us that are photo-challenged and not masters at Photoshop (i.e. moi), there is hope. Cheryl will be happy to do your Christmas card with just a little work on your end.
Submit two good pictures of each person. The pictures need to be on the same scale (even if they are small it is okay). Again, they do not have to be individual pictures or even professionally done. She would prefer a digital picture, but if you do not have that, she can scan one. She can then find a Christmas card for you according to your style or you can pick one out on your own. This is a lot less painful than hiring a photographer and finding the perfect card.
To contact Cheryl Parish, e-mail her at [email protected] or call (502)387-4211 to set up an appointment. Early Merry Christmas!