Sending Love Any Time of the Year

While Valentine’s Day may be the usual day to send a love note, I had a different idea this year. I decided to send some love to my family and closest friends by tucking photo strips of my son and his ever-changing faces and poses into a note (I chose Long Distance Love from Pear Tree Greetings). My family and friends enjoyed the randomness of receiving a love note in April, so I wanted to share the idea with you. Below are the steps I did to send some love!
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Photography Tips – Kids Valentine’s Day Photo Shoot

I love sending Valentine’s Day cards. And I love taking photos. So, we decided to have an office Valentine’s Day photo shoot with our own kids. Fun day in the office, right? Then, we decided it’d be fun to make a video to share the results with you—not just our cute Valentine’s Day photos, but also a few photography tips on achieving some of those big smiles we all love. For added fun, we threw in some behind-the-scenes video footage because, as a photographer, I always wonder what the real ‘set’ looks like! So check out the video and the tips below to make your Valentine’s Day cards sparkle. :)

Now here are some photography tips and ideas to help you achieve the actual photos you saw in the video.

Valentine's Day Photo IdeasFor our main background, we painted a 4×4 section of plywood with chalkboard paint. Chalkboard paint wasn’t entirely necessary since we didn’t write on it, we just liked the black background against our garland. And speaking of the garland, you can get it as a free printable! It’s easy to cut out and a fun activity to do with your kids.

Photography Tip: Try placing something on your head and asking the child to blow it off. Just about anything works. I used a paper heart. It should either be something the child will physically be able to blow off, or that with a slight tilt of your head, they’ll think they did! Also setting the child on a box or a crate typically keeps them in one spot, long enough at least for a few quick photos!

Valentine's Day Photo IdeasFor this background, we used two sets of gold metallic curtains, right on top of each other. Inexpensive, and they come in many colors!

Photography Tip: Giving kids a prop like sunglasses allows them to interact and play with something, which keeps them occupied long enough for photos. And even the motions of taking off the glasses can be really cute!

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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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