One of my favorite things about the holiday season is sending cards to friends and family. We never skip a Christmas when it comes to mailing holiday cards! There’s something really special and thoughtful about writing a little handwritten note to those you love, wishing them a Merry Christmas and letting them know you’re thinking of them. This year I opted for modern and minimal holiday cards. Click through to see how they turned out and to get a few tips on taking your own holiday photos.
It sounds crazy because we have so many amazing talented photographer friends, but we’ve never actually paid anyone to take our family photos (aside from our wedding photos which we never got back… but that’s a story for another day). We always do it ourselves. It’s not necessarily because we want to, but rather because we’re usually short on time and have to improvise. It sort of turned into a tradition along the way to take our own photos. As you might guess, most times this can be pretty tricky and comical- making for lots of funny memories!
If you opt to take your own photos, I have five tips for you…
- Use a tripod. Set up a tripod, frame the shot, and adjust the settings before having the subjects enter. This makes things so much easier and your family won’t become annoyed with waiting.
- Use a remote timer. This has been on my wishlist for many birthdays and holidays now, and would save me a lot of running. Typically I set the timer, hit the button, and run to my position… yes- it’s as chaotic as it sounds. I’d highly suggest using a wireless remote that snaps the image from afar. Luckily, we don’t have children to worry about, but the dog gets so excited when he sees me running and this makes it difficult for everyone to stay still and focused.
- Toss something towards the camera. Odds are, if you have dogs or kids, they’re going to have trouble understanding this concept. We like to keep dog treats in our pocket and toss them at the camera, just before the timer goes off… that way Finn looks toward the lens just before the shot is fired. This takes a little practice and sometimes he actually chases the treat, so it works about 50% of the time with a “stay” command. Did you see our hilarious outtake on Instagram? My point exactly!
- Use natural light. I’d recommend setting up your shot outside or in a space that gets a lot of natural light. This means having a faster shutter speed and the subjects aren’t as likely to blur. Low light situations are always tough.
- Have fun with it! We’ve come to find that the best shots are usually the ones in which we end up laughing. The dog is acting crazy or I trip and fall during my dash back to my position- either way it makes for a fun, candid image. Plus, these things never go as planned. You just have to laugh about it and go with the flow!
After the difficult part was taken care of (getting the photo), I turned to Artifact Uprising for a classic, gold-foil card design. Usually I sit down with a stack of envelopes, cards, hot cocoa, and calligraphy pens, with Christmas music blaring in the background. This year, I opted to take the lazy route and address envelopes with a gold metallic marker- but it was equally as fun.
If you guys were wondering about the hot cocoa- I’m sharing my all-time favorite recipe on the blog later this week, so definitely check back for that!
In regards to stamps, I feel like I’m never at the right post office at the right time. I wanted something simple and minimal- like a silver or gold snowflake, but of course that never happens. I made do with the classic red cardinals… they’re far better than the Hawaiian shirt stamps I had to use on our wedding invitations five years ago (no- we did NOT have a destination wedding). Ha! But in the end, it’s the thought and what’s inside that matters.
Do you guys usually order holiday cards, make them, or forego them completely? I’m popping these babies in my mailbox today!