A Complete Guide to Creating Beautiful Holiday Cards

One of the best parts of the Christmas season is Christmas Cards.  I love sending them just as much as I love receiving them.  It's the only time of year that I check the mailbox regularly and get excited for mail.  I love seeing how everyone has grown and all the creative ideas from everyone.  Although Christmas cards are so much fun they can be labor intensive and pretty stressful to execute from start to finish.  I've created a guide that I've tweaked and perfected over the years so that you can take all the stress out for yourself.  Here are all the steps in creating a beautiful card:

1. Pick a Photographer
2. Pick a Theme
3. Pick Wardrobe
4. Pick a Location
5. Take Photos
6. Search Card Options, Create, and Order

I always start with the photographer because the best ones book up MONTHS in advance.  I seriously get our Christmas card photos on the books in the Spring and I'm always amazed how few options are already left when I start looking for a mutually agreeable date.  If you don't already have a relationship with a photographer you need to start looking for one.  I always ask for recommendations first and then start looking at their body of work online or on social media.  Pick a few that you like and then start looking at their pricing.  Photography can be insanely expensive so you need to find someone within your budget.  You can find newer photographers who are trying to build their business who are charging cheaper prices but are still very talented.  Make sure you ask several questions ahead of time before booking to make sure it will be a good fit.  Here are some questions I think you should ask:

1. Do you have experience with children?
2. Do you have experience with editing and Photoshop?
3. What is your turnaround time for delivering photos?
4. How do you deliver photos?
5. How many photos can I expect to receive?
6. Are all photos delivered raw or edited?

If you are local we absolutely love Melissa Gotelli Photography.  We've used her for many occasions over the years and she is so kind and patient with our family.  We are always so happy with her work!

The next step in the planning process is deciding on a theme.  Some years I have a specific theme and other years I just pick a scenic background and coordinating outfits.  You can check out creative themes I've done in the past HERE.  If you need further theme inspiration check out your favorite influencers on social media or jump into Pinterest.  Once I decide on a theme I start working on the wardrobe.  This is one of my favorite steps because who doesn't love shopping!  I also get a small thrill from putting looks together (lol).  However, although the shopping is so much fun I always start in our closets to save time and money.  Once I see what we have that might already work I start shopping.  I usually buy several options and then start laying it all out to see what looks best together.  Another tip is to decide on looks for the whole family and then send it to your photographer.  They have an eye for what will look best on camera as well as what will work with the location.  Speaking of, now is the time that the photographer and I decide on the perfect location.  If you have a theme let the photographer know so that they can help you with your vision. 

Now for the hardest part...take the photos.  Does anyone else come totally prepared but leave completely shaken?!?!  No, just me????  I go in with the best intentions and the calmest mindset but the kids never want to cooperate fully and sometimes my vision just goes out the window.  There isn't enough bribing in the world to have a completely smooth session.  Luckily, I always get at least a few photos thanks to an amazing photographer.  My tips for taking photos are picking a good time for your kids when you book the session.  Don't plan pictures during nap times or witching hours.  Also do lots of pep talks (read:bribery) in the car on your way there.  Start with the photos that mean the most to you.  That might be a full family photo or a pic of just your kids.  Whatever that is start with that and anything you get after that is gravy.  Another tip for preparing for you photo session is to pick out a few card options ahead of time.  This way if you only like cards with vertical photos you can communicate that with your photographer.

The last step is creating and ordering your cards.  I found Postable last year and am in love/obsessed!!!!!  I love anything that saves me time and Postable makes sending cards a total breeze.  Their motto is, "You click, we lick!"  Can you imagine you order your cards and then do NOTHING after that?!?!  You don't have to stuff, seal, address and stamp.  Postable takes care of every single step for you.  I've literally saved a couple of hours by converting over to Postable I have the best news, you can use code FRESNO for 20% off your order.  

For more wardrobe and styling tips check out a previous post HERE.

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.  Thank you for supporting the brands that have received my stamp of approval.

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