When I was a kid, during the holidays my mom would buy several boxes of bland holiday greeting cards, inscribe a short message, and nestle a wallet-sized photo of the family into each one.
I continued that tradition myself for a while as an adult, thinking that was what you were supposed to do. But for many years now, I’ve been making my own cards using my digital photos and a photo editing program. This week I’ll show you how I do it.
Sizing It Up
You can print greeting cards of any size, as long as you can fit the paper in your printer–and the paper fits into the envelopes that you plan to use. The easiest kind of card to make is the single-fold variety, in which you take a sheet of paper, fold it down the middle, and open it like a book. To make this kind of card, you’ll need to print one side of the paper, feed it through the printer a second time, and print again.
Let’s assume that we’ll print on 4-by-6-inch photo paper. When it’s folded into a 4-by-3-inch rectangle, that size fits nicely into the small envelopes available at any office supply store.
Resizing the Photo
Open the photo in your favorite photo editor. (I use Adobe Photoshop Elements, but the steps are similar no matter which program you use.) Choose Image, Resize, Image Size, and set the photo dimensions to fit on the front of the card, with a small margin around the edges.
In this case, since the card will be 4 inches tall and 3 inches wide, let’s enter a height of 3.5 inches and let the width set itself automatically to keep the photo in proportion. That will make the picture a little smaller than th card, so there will be a snazzy blank border around the image.
Place the Photo
When you click OK, you’ll see a border around your photo.
Now add text and anything else you’d like, keeping in mind that anything you add to this canvas will appear on the front and back of your card.
What about the inside of the card?
Voilà, homemade greeting cards!
Get published, get famous! Each week, we select our favorite reader-submitted photo based on creativity, originality, and technique. Every month, the best of the weekly winners gets a prize valued at between $15 and $50.
Here’s how to enter: Send us your photograph in JPEG format, at a resolution no higher than 640 by 480 pixels. Entries at higher resolutions will be immediately disqualified. If necessary, use an image editing program to reduce the file size of your image before e-mailing it to us. Include the title of your photo along with a short description and how you photographed it. Don’t forget to send your name, e-mail address, and postal address. Before entering, please read the full description of the contest rules and regulations.
Nicholas writes: “I took this photo using a black backdrop and two strobes. I placed one strobe in back to illuminate the water, and one on the camera to serve as a fill light. I had a partner drop the ball into the water, and I captured the result.”
Alfredo writes: “I was recently at the beach near Manhattan Beach, California, trying to capture an image of the rare atmospheric phenomenon known as the green flash. On September 30, around 6:43 PM, such a flash occurred and I captured it with my Canon Digital Rebel XT. I used an Orion 120mm f/6 refractor telescope and exposed for about 1/500 sec. You can see the little flicker of green atop the sun.”
Congratulations to Gianna and to everyone else who won a Hot Pic of the Week last month. To see all the Hot Pic winners for November, view the slide show. Keep those entries coming!