Using photo filters to enhance your photos

Using photo filters to enhance your photosThese days you don’t have to be a professional photographer to follow the latest photo trends. We all now have the ability to create special effects and filter colors and light with a simple click in our photo editing software—no messing with lenses, filters or film.

These three very different looking photo Christmas cards were created using Pear Tree Greetings’ easy-to-use Personalization tool. After choosing a card and uploading our color photo, we clicked on the photo filter tab and tried two different filters on it, saving each card to see which one we liked best. The first is the original photo; the second was made using the black & white, plus contrast filters; and the third using our vibrance filter.

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Top 10 Family Photo Tips

Family PhotoGetting ready to take the annual family photo for your Christmas cards, New Year’s cards or Thanksgiving cards? We see a lot of family photos, and wonder how our customers manage to take such great ones. To make your photo session easier, we’ve compiled our top 10 family photo tips, especially for those who have lots of family members to organize or little kids to corral.

10. Choose your time carefully
Make sure the kids are fed and rested. We all know what happens when we skip nap time, and even adults get cranky when they’re hungry.

9. Bring toys or treats
Don’t be caught empty handed. You’ll need to take quick action if you have to turn that frown upside down or want to reward good behavior.

8. Set a rain date
If you’re shooting outside, or are hiring a professional photographer, be sure to set a rain date in case someone gets sick or the weather isn’t perfect.

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Family Christmas Photo Ideas – What to Wear for the Family Photo

It’s time to start collecting family Christmas photo ideas if you haven’t already taken that perfect photo. For us, one of the most important (and difficult!) decisions when planning your family photo is deciding what to wear. But it’s worth the effort. Coming up with some sort of theme, even a simple color palette, can turn an ordinary family photo into a portrait worth hanging on your wall—not to mention a beautiful Christmas card!

If you’re having your photos taken by a professional photographer, be sure to ask them for clothing ideas that will work best in the location you’ve chosen. He or she is certain to have a few ideas. To give you some examples, we’ve gathered a few family Christmas photo ideas that we love, focusing on the clothing choices and how they affect the photo.

Light colors
When the whole family is wearing light colors, it focuses attention on the darker colors in the photo, such as facial features, hair color, or the beautiful scenery in the background. We like a mix of light colors, which looks more natural than everyone wearing the same color.
Light Colors
Light colors
Top photo by: Christy Bode Photography
Left photo by: Ashlee Raubach; Right photo by: Ashlee Raubach

Dark colors
The dark colors this family is wearing make them stand out against the lighter sky and field. The dark blue color solidly grounds them and gives them the appearance of a tight unit, which is a nice subliminal message for a family photo.
Dark colors
Photo by: NikkiJamesPhotography.com

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Featured Favorite

Real cards created by real people like you!

Bubbling with JoyThe Lont Family is way ahead of the game. Their Christmas cards are already printed and ready to address, and it’s only October 1st! Says Amber, chief card picker-outer, “I really love all the Pear Tree Greetings’ Christmas card ideas – there are SO many wonderful options to choose from!”

Amber says she chose the Bubbling with Joy Christmas cards “because of the fun layout and graphics and the ability to change the artwork colors to coordinate with the photos. We recently had a fun family photo shoot in downtown Seattle and we knew right away we wanted to display a lot of those photos in our Christmas card.” We love the photos, too, Amber. Very colorful! Continue reading

Modern Christmas cards with vintage-look photos

Holiday photo card ideasLately we’ve seen a lot of unique photo Christmas cards that make use of an age-old technique: the use of antique props or weathered backgrounds to bring a nostalgic, vintage feel to a modern photo.

-A rusty metal sign in the background that makes the subject of the photo (you) look stunningly beautiful in comparison

-An antique picture frame that appears to corral an active modern-day family for a portrait frozen in time

-A vintage, grocery-store scale that proudly displays the birth weight of the new baby sleeping peacefully on top

It’s the juxtaposition of the old and the new, or the ugly and the beautiful that makes the photo interesting and draws your attention to the faces within. So how can you use these vintage photo ideas to make your holiday cards stand out?

If you’re hiring a professional photographer, tell him or her about any vintage photo ideas you have in mind. They most likely have a selection of props and backdrops in their studio that can lend a vintage feel to your portrait. If you’re shooting on location, most photographers have plenty of pre-scouted locations they’ve used, and by letting them know you’re interested in a vintage feel, you’ll be helping them narrow down the options.

If you’re taking the photo yourself, start by looking around your own house. Do you have an antique piece of furniture, picture frame, mirror, or old toy that would make a nice prop? Is there a wall or corner in your house with interesting woodwork? Outside, is there a weathered fence, or exterior wall with peeling paint or wood siding, perhaps? Remember, you don’t need to show all of it, just enough to give a vintage flavor.

If you can’t find anything at home, expand your options. Explore industrial areas, looking for old signage, corrugated metal, stone and brick walls. Explore rural areas for bridges, barns, fences, warehouses, and train or gas stations. Perhaps grandma and grandpa have an old toy or bike of yours, stored in their attic? If your prop has sentimental value, all the better.

Good luck on your hunt. We can’t wait to see the beautiful holiday photo cards our creative customers come up with this holiday season! And if you’re still undecided, read more family photo ideas on our blog.

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