Lakewood Colorado Family Photographer | KW Designs Photography Blog

Why you should have your Christmas card photos taken and ordered before Thanksgiving...

Let's talk family photo Holiday Cards...  I LOVE putting our updated family photo on my Christmas cards to send to family and friends each year.  I recently pulled out my Christmas card stash from years past and was able to see my friends and their children growing up, just from a card!  It's kinda neat, especially if you live states away (and think of them often).

So, everyone around here, in Colorado, is interested in having those beautiful dramatic fall leaves in their background, or a possibly a tad bit of snow....  I totally agree, those are beautiful backgrounds and as a photographer, I can make that happen for you if we schedule with Mother Nature accordingly.  The "Fall leaves colors" lasted in full, about two to three weeks this season.  I was able to book a few family sessions during the height of the color change, but rain and some cold nights made the leaves fall pretty quickly by the end of the 3rd week.  I also have some clients booked for the "first snow" in town...but we are having to shoot these in mid-late November.  We will see if the weather cooperates or not, it's been pretty warm actually for Colorado standards.

This leads me to what I really wanted to write about today.  I recently had a conversation with (actually 3 clients about taking pictures for holiday cards).  They all have awesome ideas for themed photoshoots with matching (and possibly nostalgic) printed cards.  I'm SO excited for these opportunities, as I feel like I get to be a bit more creative AND they are so much fun, and I like to have fun when I'm at a client session!  

We talked about the timing of taking pictures and discussed late November or early December.  In my head I'm saying to myself, "that's late for timing, we are going to create SHOWCASE pieces of art this year".  I will have to set up my lights and backdrop (and/or find the perfect outdoor location), take the photograph(s), process the raw files in Lightroom, edit the final design in Photoshop, take finished edit and merge it into the card design, order and wait for proofing, shipping time, and then hand deliver to each client.  And that can take up to a week or two depending upon how many sessions are in front of you, and how many hours a day I can possibly stay sharp in front of my macbook editing (which can sometimes be so much fun that a few cups of coffee is all it takes, ha ha!)

WHAT?  You are breaking my heart! Awesome ideas for photo holiday cards should be fully appreciated and your family and friends are barely going to have time to take in the creativity of your amazing card!

So, I am proposing my personal timeline for mailing my own holiday cards.  This is just what I try to stick to every year so my own family and friends get the maximized time looking at our personal creation... And you know, days slip away so fast between Thanksgiving and Christmas (because we are all celebrating with family and friends and not exhausted with shopping, baking, and running kids around, right?)  

I take our family photos in late October or within the first 2 weeks of November.  Obviously I edit, crop, or do what I need to to to the pictures and design my own templates, or find a company I would like to do business with for my cards.  I order my cards and have them in BEFORE Turkey Day...Because the mail stops for a few days around that time.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday is when I address, include a personal message, and fancy up my cards for family and friends.  Either the Saturday after Thanksgiving, or on December 1st I'm headed to the post office to mail all of my cards.  

This way, all my family and friends have the full month of December to display and smile at our faces that are miles apart, but always in our heart...

I don't know about you, but usually by the first weekend of January, I'm packing up all my holiday decorations (and all the wonderful cards we've received) and looking for some down time to spend with my little family after the holiday rush.

So, be proud of your card ideas, designs, and the TIME you took to come up with all of that and addressing and mailing all those fantastic cards!  Because for some of us, it's the most mail we receive all year long, but is also the most special in opening cards from some of your best friends, lifelong friends, and family that seem so far away.

And for those families that got so busy and missed the timing for Christmas cards...I LOVE receiving New Years cards in the mail!  I feel like it can be a statement too, since I've started receiving more New Year's cards in the past few years.  I think it lets you focus on your family during December and then surprise your friends with fun, festive New Year's mail a few weeks later!   

But what ever you choose...have fun (and if you have little ones, a sense of humor) in your card pictures.