It’s that time of year!
School is in, pumpkins are everywhere and it won’t be air-conditioner season again until Spring (at least, right?!) Time to dig out your boots, flannels and knitted accessories and book a portrait session for your gorgeous family! Because it’s almost time to send out holiday cards. (Yes, Halloween was 2 days ago).
You’ve probably seen a Fall-themed family portrait or two recently on your social media feed. Many folks are planning ahead and getting their family photos taken before the rush of the holidays set in. Hours spent picking the perfect outfits and hiring a professional photographer just to drop a digital file into a pre-made template on the internet… even if they would really prefer that the color was just a bit different, or they could combine the text from one with the design from another.
Whether you prefer a traditional portrait, or something further outside the box, when you have Mischa design a card for you, the results will be EXACTLY what you want. From retouching individual images on the card to finessing the design with you until you love it. WE LOVE helping our clients get creative with their holiday cards and knowing that their friends and family will receive something truly unique.
Here are some cards we’ve designed in years past.
Starting with ours from last year….
We mixed a silly idea that we shot in-studio with a more traditional family photo of us cutting down our Christmas tree (something we do every year at the same tree farm). And one more of our son all dressed up at Thanksgiving (because we think he’s just so darn cute). The card itself is a double-sided, postcard-style on 5×7 card stock. We had our envelopes pre-printed with our return address, as well as the delivery address – making the whole thing pretty darn easy once we found someone to help us add stamps to them all – thanks, mom!
Our friends the Hasseys have been getting their holiday cards done through us for a few years now. Though we won’t spoil this year’s theme or design, here’s a peek at their past cards:
We started out just doing a family portrait update for them. The holiday cards were an afterthought.
When you open so many similar looking cards, a unique idea like this really has lasting impact.
They had such a positive response to their 2011 card, we thought up this concept for 2012. Fancy clothes, with umbrellas & rainboots!
But it wasn’t raining…. so that “rain” is actually a sprinkler set up in their backyard with a little extra help from Photoshop to make it look like it’s coming from the sky more evenly than it was. We used “spot UV” coating on this image so that parts of the card were shiny while others are more matte. The letters in “Merry Christmas”, their umbrellas, and their boots are super shiny and smooth when you hold the card in your hand.
The backside was decided upon while we viewed and designed the card all together. They liked this more candid style photo of the youngest Hassey walking away from the sprinkler set. (it’s a little more obvious that they’re standing in front of a sprinkler here, eh?) The text fit the image and gave us all a chuckle. Holiday card design can be fun!
Night portraits with light painting! We hiked down to some abandoned railroad tracks (as in totally inactive and fenced off – and yes, probably a few No Trespassing signs, though it was really REALLY dark) and brought some fun props to get a totally different style of holiday card image. Each shot took between 30 seconds and 3 minutes of holding reasonably still in the pitch blackness while Mischa ran around like a goof, as each of his ideas came to fruition. These are the images and design we came up with.
In this image, the red & green orbs of light behind the family and the flash on their faces is all done in camera. The text was added during card design.
In this image, “Love” was written in light by Mischa and “The Hasseys” was added in Photoshop. The length of exposure allowed more of the scenery to be visible. Pretty cool stuff.
The concept: Holiday sweaters and musical instruments playing together as a family, with a little nod to Norman Rockwell values. Their sentiment of choice: a quote from the (new) classic Christmas movie, “Elf”. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”.
So, of course we set them up outside their own front door posed as carolers.
Here are a couple of my other favorites from years past:
The Bowie family live on a farm and love their animals, so capturing their style meant fresh air, hay, and – of course – farm animals.
One side is a favorite image of the kids from their session (sitting in the horse corral). The other, a silly photo of the family chasing a chicken around the yard.
Another great example of combining two styles of photography from one session and emulating a template they’d seen and liked, but not quite loved is the Berridge family holiday card from 2011:
One side has a more photo-journalistic style of family photo, with everyone blowing dandelion seeds into the air.
While the other side has a very traditional family portrait in front of the Golden Gate Bridge – without additional text. Something grandma is going to enjoy having on her fridge for months after the holiday season has passed.
Last but not least is one of my favorites because it throws so many of the “rules” for holiday cards out the window. Our dear friends came to us with this idea and we couldn’t have been more excited.
“Could you make us into ogres and have us chasing smaller versions of ourselves?”
Why yes, yes we can:
You may notice that the sentiment is “Happy ______ !”
They loved the card and idea so much that they decided to over-order and use them for more than just one occasion. A fill-in-the-blank card for all manners of correspondence.
On the back, they went about as traditional as these two get, a happy portrait of themselves and space to write a personal note.
Hopefully these card examples have gotten you thinking about possibilities for your own future cards.
We have mini-sessions still available if what you want is a quick appointment on one of three specific dates and locations:
Sunday, November 22nd – Sacramento – Land Park
Saturday, December 5th – San Francisco – Baker Beach
Sunday, December 6th – Sacramento – Old Town
If your style is a little more outside the box and you’ll need more time and flexibility when it comes to location…. do, please call us soon so we can get you on the calendar in time for a super sweet 2015 holiday card that really represents the individual that is you and the uniqueness that is your family.