Holiday images, by email, Facebook or hand made card, are are perfect way to thank clients, revalue friendship and show off personal creativity. New Year is the perfect time, spanning religious preferences and cultures.
It’s easy to put appropriate thoughts of the season into a new image every year. And I do print them myself and mail them – at least to some and then send personal email or Facebook to several hundred. I never forget this courtesy, and am rewarded by loads of thank yous and comments.
This year’s card was a spur of the moment stop. After visiting mountain-dwelling friends, we turned off the highway, impromptu, on a snow-choked side road where we often take wedding parties in the summer for private environmental portraits. A secret spot, easy for brides right on the roadside, with spectacular mountain views of the distant continental divide.
Mother Nature was the artist. Days of sub-zero temperature froze poofy snow meringue on every pine bough. Oncoming dusk painted pastel tones in the clouds. You just don’t ususally see snow like this over every tree in creation, nor the evening light and distant view. Picture perfect. Too good to miss.
And yes, it’s an iPhone pano. I didn’t even have to get out of the car, just turned down the window. Two takes.
Tweaking in Photoshop, my initial take was just to pull in lower quarter tone details, emphasize the sky and eliminate the obvious side of the road at left. I’m not a landscape photographer, and those corrections seemed great, but somehow not enough of an interpretation.
Duplicating the image, I opened the dupe in RAW converter and dropped the clarity to zero. Suddenly the soft, furry focus echoed the furry trees. Remember Thomas Kinkaid’s popularity…
But overall 0 clarity destroyed the background mountains and the foreground tree detail. Simple layering of the sharp and soft images was the answer. A few brush strokes and those details reappeared. A tad of burn on the mountains, and both burn and saturation on the clouds, and done. Final image bordered with a mid-tone grey stroke and very soft drop shadow.
I print 4-up on 13×19 Epson Enhanced Matte paper, flat size 9”x6.25”, to be folded in half. A folding jig from Zutter Scor-it-all (inexpensive) makes this quick and easy. Interior is blank for hand written message – a rarity these days. Cards fit the standard A6 4.75”x6.5” envelope available everywhere.
Don’t forget your logo and contact on the back side. This type of image is great for stock as well.