In the cards
Whether you’re sending a holiday greeting, a heartfelt thank you, or a simple hello, online photo services make it easy to turn your photos into cards.
Looking for something different? PhotoWorks offers a unique collection, including cards that fold up like a petal, cards with the word Joy cut out of the front, and cards that fold out to reveal multiple messages. You pay a premium for these cards (a single card can cost $4 or $5, depending on the style, and you’ll have to use additional postage for the square envelopes) but you’ll definitely make a statement. Unfortunately, you’ll need to have an abundance of patience when designing the cards. The process was surprisingly difficult, with an unintuitive interface and an annoying bug that kept erasing my latest changes. But the final results were lovely.
If you’re sending out a lot of cards at once, flat 4-by-8-inch prints are an economical way to go. You can buy cards like these at just about any photo service. Sony ImageStation offers a particularly nice selection of templates for just about every occasion—with attractive modern designs that won’t make you wince. This set of 20 baby announcements (which cost $11) looked great and came with a spare envelope.
If you like to keep a stack of note cards around for quick letters and greetings, check out Shutterfly’s attractive set of 3.5-by-5-inch cards. You get 12 cards and envelopes for $10. And everything comes in a handy pouch for easy storage. Shutterfly makes it easy to print borderless photos and even lets you place a small caption over your full-frame image—a nice touch. The site also had one of the easiest, most intuitive processes for ordering cards that I’ve seen.