Among the many things I never "got" until I had a kid? Holiday cards. Every December our mailbox was overstuffed with them, and to me, they just seemed like an extra thing to add to an already overwhelming to-do list. Plus, what was the point when I could see endless snapshots of my friend's kids on Facebook anyway?
Then, Alexa came along- and now, I get it. And am kind of obsessed with it. But where to begin?
Well, lucky for me, Shutterfly asked me to partner with them as their Style Expert for the holidays, specifically sharing tips to help families create that perfect photo that would then land on a holiday card which would subsequently be seen on mantles and refrigerators from coast to coast. Since I am always better at getting tasks done in my professional life than in my personal life, getting that holiday card together all of the sudden became my job- and the timing could not have been better.
The number one lesson learned from my experience? Preparation is everything.
Of course, you should first check out Shutterfly Family Photo Days tool kit- lots of useful info on their about styling from yours truly, but also photo tips from my friend and go-to photographer Ana Schechter (she took our photos, and is truly incredible) and Shutterfly's Card Stylist, Meg Bohnert.
Next, plan outfits. Personally, I picked out some card options first to help me with my color scheme- but many people start with the photo and then track down a card to complement it. Either way w0rks. I knew I wanted to do color blocking- and when I found this cute purple and orange dress at Zara for Alexa, I used that as a starting point. Brian happened to have a great burnt orange sweater, and I had a purple one- and we both wore our favorite pair of jeans, since comfort is key when you are going to be sitting on the floor chasing around a baby in pursuit of the perfect shot.
Still undecided about doing a family photo as opposed to a single shot of Alexa, I also picked out something clean and simple for her so we could have options.
For the shoot, I brought some of her favorite toys- specifically ones that photographed well. Ana had a bunch at her studio- but figured it may help to have things Alexa already knew and loved nearby too.
Doing all this beforehand made the actual picture day infinitely less stressful- and I definitely think that ease came through in the photos. When I am tense, you can tell. No amount of retouching can hide it.
While I am still undecided on the final card, below are 2 options I am kind of loving right now.
Oh, and the coolest thing? Shutterfly allows you to personalize the back of the card, so our beloved Norman won't be left out. I mean, how could we NOT share that handsome face with our friends and family?!
If you are like me and the idea of sending out cards is enough to send you into a place of panic- let me just tell you, it is not as scary as you think. Plus, I truly believe that the more reliant we become on email invites and social media photo sharing, the more meaningful it is to tear open an actual envelope to discover an old-fashioned holiday card.