Throughout the years, I have always loved taking pictures and capturing the little moments. I equally loved editing them when I was done. It was a fun and expressive outlet. I would share those pictures with close friends and family but the majority of them filled my iPhone photo album and didn't go much further. It started to occur to me how much I treasured these pictures and these experiences. So why wouldn't I share them with others?
I felt very vulnerable putting pictures out there. I wasn't a professional. I had only taken one photography class in high school. Most were of my own children and home. Did I even have the right to share them publicly? The conclusion I came to was that the cost of me holding myself back for fear of what other people might think, was much greater than going for it. So I took the leap and Little Nectar was born, which then morphed into this blog. It has proven to be a really wonderful way for me to creatively express.
Holiday cards have been another one of those things I have gradually said yes to over the years. I resisted them for a long time. I didn't feel like I had much worth sharing, but something occurred to me several years ago. One of my most favorite parts of every holiday season is receiving all of your cards. I love seeing your treasured moments. I love that they become this small way of feeling connected to all of you, in the midst of the holiday chaos. And I love being thought of enough to receive something in the mail. So why wouldn't I share that same gift? Photographs are one of the most generous gifts we can offer others. They can also be a wonderful creative outlet.
Holiday cards have become an official tradition in our home. They mark the start of one of the best, most fleeting, times of the year. I try to make the most of it by curling up with a blanket, putting on some Christmas music, and plugging away on them.
I thought I would share some of the things that have worked well for me in preparing and sending them out. I hope some of you will be inspired to honor that which is meaningful, through the gift of photos. If not for yourself then for the people you love, and that love you back.
- Find a print company that you love. My personal favorite is Artifact Uprising. I have used them for prints that have become decor in my home, for the kids' baby books, and now for holiday cards. Their quality is unparalleled. For the next week, you will be able to access 20% off of your holiday cards with the code "CORRI20". The offer expires 12/1/17.
- Decide which photo(s) you would like to use. This year I went for a grid of eight photos. It allowed me to mix and match different pictures I had taken throughout the year that complimented one another. I often get asked about what kind of camera I use and what app I use to edit. About 99% of my pictures are taken on an iPhone 6s (although I just upgraded to an X!!). I use the Artifact Uprising editing app VSCO, and my two favorite filters are S2 and A6. You can download A6 here for free. I will warn you - for those of you (like me), with limited photography experience, there can be a slightly steep learning curve with VSCO. But I promise it's worth the headache.
- Make a list of all the people that you would like to send photos to ahead of time, and then buy up from that number by about 10-20. This will allow you to hold out extras for the people that you receive cards from that you weren't expecting. It will also allow for the handful of people you forgot about at the last minute. Finally, be sure to save one or two for baby books, picture books, etc.
- Every time you get a new address from someone, immediately save it in your phone book. Each year that you go to send them out, you will be so glad that you did. I have made a spreadsheet that makes it even easier to pull up and go when the time comes.
- Invest in a good custom address stamp. For years when it comes to sending our cards out I have regretted not purchasing one of these. Last year after handwriting my own address 125 times (in addition to 125 of your addresses), I vowed I would never do that again. I purchased this one.
- Get them out early. I've done both early and late, and it's so much less stressful to beat the holiday craze. Even if you don't necessarily mail them out until later, order them early. You will never regret this decision.