Instead of opting for the generic, stiff family photo in front of a backdrop, why not take your holiday cards to the next level? With these suggestions, you can create a card that captures attention with both its contents and aesthetics.
The best part? These tips aren’t necessarily only for holiday cards. All these ideas can be applied to any card — from greetings to just-because!
Take a Good Photo
For a great holiday portrait, photographer and "baby wrangler" Sophie Kormos recommends skipping the traditional posed shot. Instead, Kormos and her husband, Michael (who make up the family-focused, Manhattan-based Michael Kormos Photography), plan an hour or two of activities for the family. Even with a photographer in the vicinity, people largely forget that they’re getting their photo taken, she says, and these candid moments make for truly intimate, telling photographs.
“Good holiday card photos capture the joy and the family — and the love,” Kormos says. "It brings us back to that moment, and the emotion.”
If you'll be taking your own photo, you can use the same photo shoot strategy as Kormos suggests, gathering your family in a comfortable setting and snapping away. You can even search your own pictures to see if you can find one of a moment you’d like to share with everyone. The best photographs are ones that really convey the essence of what was happening, whether it was the first family dinner or the journey home from the hospital with your little one.
Write a Meaningful Message
Keep your messages short, simple, and heartfelt. Wish a happy holiday, ask how they are, give them a quick update on how you and yours are, and close with something personal.
Of course, it's much easier to write this kind of message when you've got a terrific photo. A fun, one-of-a-kind picture opens up the possibilities. The recipient has a glimpse into your life via the photo, but it’s up to your words to deliver the message you want to convey.
You could always choose a standby, such as “Wishing you a warm holiday season,” but since your photo is a little more personal, why not do the same with the message? One tactic is to write something you would actually say, like “Hope the holidays are as great as our trip to the Smokies!” with a nice little story attached to it.
Reflect Who You Actually Are as a Family
The photo is the first thing people see when they get your holiday card. If you’re not known as the family that sits in front of a roaring fire with matching sweaters, there’s no reason to try and make people think you are.
“We like to say a picture is at its best when it makes you feel better,” Kormos says. “A family interacting has more meaning.”
Holiday cards can be as personal and artistic as you want them to be. Who knows — you could even spoof an old family portrait for a fun take on tradition. Get creative and send out cards that show who you really are!
In the end, no matter what your card is like, just the act of sending a greeting says a lot about you. If you can’t make an appointment for a photo or if you don’t have the time to add personal, handwritten anecdotes to each card, there’s nothing to worry about. Just know that sending out a card is a gesture of true kindness that won’t be overlooked.