Dexter + Ann Arbor Photographer Betsy's Photography

Planning Your Family Photo Holiday Greeting Cards

Here are some tips for getting a jump start on your family photo greeting cards this year!


Growing up, my mother always sent out a Christmas letter -- complete with family photo. We would contribute to this family tradition by telling my mom what we wanted to share in the letter. Not all of our input made the cut, but it was definitely a personalized yearly greeting that our family and friends enjoyed receiving.

When my husband and I got married, I knew this was something I wanted to turn into a tradition for us as well. So, every year since we've been married, I've created a holiday greeting card or letter. The first year, I stuck with the format from my childhood: a letter on 8.5"x11" paper, detailing all the new events of the year, and a separate photograph greeting. Do you remember those long envelope-sized photos? They had the greeting printed on the right quarter of the photograph. That's what I did.

But then I discovered the thrill of designing a custom holiday greeting card. A greeting card that can incorporate photos and text. This streamlined the assembly process, saved me time, and looked fantastic!

So, that's what we do to this day. And I offer custom greeting card design services to the families I photograph too. There's something nice about having someone else do the grunt work for you -- just saying "these are the photos I like, and here is what I want it to say."

Tips For Getting Your Family Photo Greeting Cards Done on Time

1 . Plan your family photo in the summer or fall.

There is no reason to be stressed out and trying to get a last minute snapshot of the family for your greeting card. If you have kids, your stress may be reflected in their willingness to cooperate for the photos. And you probably don't want a family portrait with unhappy faces, right?

2. Hire a pro; outsource your picture-taking.

Let's face it, sometimes it is tough to get your own kids to smile for the camera. A non-parent can often elicit better smiles and expect better behavior. I know my mom gave up trying to teach me flute; I just wouldn't listen to my teacher because she was also my mom (sorry mom!).

3. Ask everyone about their highlights of the year.

In our greeting card, everyone gets a little blurb, one or two lines about what's going on in their life. As my kids get older, I'll begin asking them what they want to share -- and an "I don't care" answer means mom gets free reign (kind of)!

4. Have a second set of eyes check your work.

I can't tell you how many last minute typos we've caught over the years, just by having another person look through the text of a card. One year, a relative discovered their card had a typo too late -- and ended up gluing a strip of paper with the correctly spelled word to every card. Not a fun task!

5. Order your cards early - before the holiday rush.

While there's no set date you need to get your cards, I like to finish mine by the end of November, so I can get it ordered at the beginning of December. That way, I can focus on holiday parties, planning, and the like instead of rushing to get our greeting cards out. There has been a time or two where we got caught with too many holiday "to-do" items -- and the greeting card went out as a "New Year" card instead of a Christmas one.

6. Keep in touch with contact information.

It can be hard to keep peoples' contact information straight, with families frequently relocating or changing email addresses. I like to include our mailing address, email addresses, and phone numbers in the card -- that way our friends and family can update their contact book with any changes. Plus, you can share your blog or Facebook profile if there's more you want to share than will fit in a letter or card.



Hopefully these tips have been helpful for you, and perhaps inspiring, even? If you would like to have me create your family's holiday photo greeting cards this year, please contact the studio!