When you were younger, did you have a mental “adult list”? A list of things you told yourself you would do/ have/ be good at when you were an “adult”? My list included things like always carry enough cash to tip a valet, have an arsenal of killer cocktails I can make from memory and mail out timely Christmas Cards every year. I can’t say that I am nailing everything on my list, but I started sending out Christmas Cards the first year Daniel and I got married and I haven’t missed a year yet! This year, I am so excited to partner with Minted for our Hudson Holiday card and to share some of the tips and tricks I have picked up that ensure I end up with a card I love and that gets mailed out on time every year!
Daniel and I have used Minted since our first Christmas as the Hudsons. I fell in love with the incredible quality of Minted’s products and what they stand for as a community of independent artists across the country and around the world. I seriously love their holiday card selection so much that I start browsing Minted’s holiday card designs in July.
The main thing I love about Holiday cards is the intentional effort to have a picture taken of everyone together around the same time every year. This year will be our fourth Christmas as husband and wife and it is crazy to look back at how different we look even three years ago! With every holiday card, I ordered a few extra that I enjoy flipping through every year and that I hope our (potential) future children will enjoy looking back on some day.
So, without further adieu, here are my tips for nailing your Holiday Card:
The first year we were married, I was scrambling to get all the cards addressed and in the mailbox before Christmas. Since then, I have made a point of trying to mail my cards the week after Thanksgiving. If I procrastinate, it takes all the joy out of it for me and what is the point of a Christmas card if it isn’t sent with holiday cheer? One of the main things I LOVE about working with Minted is that they offer free addressing. Having Minted do the addressing for me not only looks amazing (their addressing typically ties into the card design), it gives me the time to write everyone on our list a personal note.
All of that to say, plan to order your cards two weeks before you would ideally like to pop them in the mail. You want to give the design team time to send you back your proofs and it’s not to have to rush your order so you can save on shipping!
2. Scope out your favorite holiday card designs on minted.com
I know there are other holiday card providers out there but between the free addressing, high-quality products and reasonable prices (especially with one of their discount codes), I am pretty committed to Minted for life.
Two years ago I had settled on a vertical Christmas picture before I looked at designs and of course, I fell in love with a horizontal design. Thanks to Minted’s awesome design team, we made it work but ever since then, I have made an effort to know what design I am hoping to use before we even take our pictures. If you have a couple designs you love, make sure you send them to your photographer or show them to the friend taking your pictures. For example, if you want to use a design like the one we used last year, you will want to make sure you take photos with plenty of negative space at the top.
3. Consider location & time of day
If you don’t have a family photo from earlier in the year you intend to use for your holiday card, don’t forget that the sun starts setting a lot earlier in the Fall. Most photographers will tell you that the best time of day to take photos is the “golden hour” right before sunset. Once you have selected a location for your holiday shoot, sure you check what time the sun will be setting and plan accordingly. Alternately, if you are taking your photos indoors, try to take them whenever your location is going to get the best natural light.
For this year’s shoot, we went to our neighborhood park, Libbey Hill that we walk Chloe to almost every day. Not only do I love the picture we ended up with for our Christmas card, we now have a collection of photos that I feel perfectly reflect this season of our lives.
4. Wardrobe selection
If you’re like me, you’re shooting for somewhere between matching and clashing. For example, this year Daniel was going to wear this amazing burgundy sweater from J.Crew so I knew anything in the red family wouldn’t work for my outfit. Don’t forget to also keep in mind that busy prints don’t always photograph well!
5. Gather props & distractions
If you plan to include a sprig of holly or perhaps a letter board in your Christmas pictures, make sure you grab it when you are rushing out the door! If you are shooting with small children or pets, don’t forget to bring a treat or toy to keep them engaged. In our case, we brought Chloe’s favorite- string cheese to keep her focused.
6. Relax and enjoy the shoot!
This one seems silly but it is so true! You can go crazy trying to get the perfect shot where everyone is looking, smiling and has their eyes open. Be open to the candid shots taken between the posed ones, those are typically my favorites! The last thing you want is for your whole family to feel so much pressure that they don’t enjoy the process. Not only will that likely reflect in your photos but it will also make it much harder to get everyone excited to participate in the years to come.
I hope these tips were helpful and that I make it onto your Christmas Card list! A huge thank you to the incredible Minted team for sponsoring this post and the talented Juliet Bryant for taking these beautiful photos of our little family! For more of her amazing work and an incredible deal on your holiday photos, click here.
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