Without question, Ms. Cards Etiquette loves photo cards because they are so personal and can be used for anything from birthday invitations to personal stationery. But, there are some things to keep in mind when choosing pictures for photo cards.
- Make sure you have permission to use the photo. If you did not take the picture, or it was taken by a professional photographer, then you have to get permission from the photographer to make copies of that photograph.
- Fill the Frame! When you choose a picture, it is always a good idea to choose one where the subject — usually a person — is the largest part of the picture. If, for example, you cannot see the subject’s eyes and face clearly, then you probably want to look for another photo.
- Choose Expressions! The best photo card pictures, outside of a formal studio shot, are those where the subject has a distinct expression on his or her face. People like to see others who look surprised or are laughing.
- Use a plain background! A background with a loud pattern or a lot of things happening takes the eye away from the subject. Unless there is something funny in the background, crop out anything that is distracting. A plain background will make the subject stand out all the more.
- Compose that picture. Take an extra minute to really compose your shot. Add some props or rearrange your subjects and take many pictures so you can choose the best one. You’ll find that a few extra minutes will make your pictures much better than if you are a “passive picture taker.”
- Get down on their level! With children or pets, you’ll usually get a much better photograph if you crouch down so your camera is level with their faces. Then, you don’t have the “towering down look” of a giant.
- Vertical and Horizontal: Keep in mind, sometimes taking a vertical picture will better frame your subject than always taking a horizontal shot.
- Get in close! This goes along the lines of filling the frame, but the closer you are to the subject, usually, the better the photograph will be since you can better see the subject.
- Watch your Light: Make sure you don’t have a shadow covering your subject’s face. Also, if your subject has dark hair or is wearing dark clothing, make sure the background isn’t so dark that it “blends in” with the subject. Ideally, your subject will stand out from the background.
- Focus Focus Focus. Sharp images always look better than blurry ones. If the picture is at all blurry at a small size, keep in mind that the blur will get worse as the picture is enlarged into a photo card size.
- Bonus tip: Take lots of pictures. With the memory cards these days, you can take 100’s of pictures in one sitting so you’ll have a lot of pictures to choose from. The more pictures you have, the better chance to find a real gem!
I hope this inspires you to make a wonderful photo card!