Expert Tips for DIY Holiday Cards

The holiday season is just around the corner and sending memorial holiday greeting cards has become an expression of creativity, lifestyle and shared family moments. But, when times are tough as they are now, there's no need to spend lots of money on professional family photos.

Dan Creviston of George Street Photo and Video says there are some specific things to keep in mind to ensure that your creative visions don't fall short. In order to save money and take your own professional holiday card photo, he offers the following 9 helpful tips to taking the perfect shot:

1.Beware of background overload: The most enticing subjects can be lost in a busy background. A plate on the edge of a table, bright television set or a pair of shoes next to the stairs will detract from the desired effect. Look for simple, solid backgrounds to keep the focus on your subjects.

2.Avoid patterns: Although that plaid number may seem perfect for your cheerful holiday spirit, patterned clothing distracts the eye and may appear distorted in photos. Instead, settle on a stunning red blouse and keep the focus on you and your family.

3.Find the right light: For a warm glow, shoot your photos in the early mornings or late afternoons – when your shadow is longer than your body. If you are shooting indoors, stand between the subjects and the window for a softer effect.

4.Hold steady: To keep photos from appearing blurry, use a tripod. This will allow you to focus more on catching the perfect smile rather than keeping your balance.

5.Keep clicking: The beauty of digital photography is that you can delete what you don’t like – so click away! Some of the best shots are when subjects are at ease in-between shots. And keep in mind, the longer the photo session, the more agitated people will get. Capture the moment when you can!

6.Reduce red eye: Red eye occurs when the camera flash reflects off the retina, a sure way to ruin a great photo. Ask subjects to look at the corner of the camera opposite the flash, or turn off the flash entirely and use another light source. Always make sure the brightest light source is behind the photographer, and keep in mind that natural light always works best.

7.Keep it natural: The more your photo is posed, the less natural it will look. Think of all the holiday cards you have received that looked posed and made you feel uncomfortable. Don’t do the same, put on music and have fun with your family - the perfect shot will come.

8.Let the kids have fun: Kids are sure to fidget, explore, and play. Instead of propping kids in unnatural poses or reprimanding them during the shoot, embrace their playful side. Give them an activity such as playing with the family pet, hanging ornaments, or stacking gifts – the smiles will come naturally.

9.The final product: options, options, options. Now that your shoot is over, it’s time to incorporate everything into the perfect card. Can’t pick just one photo? Online programs such as Shutterfly allow you to include up to nine photos in a card. Complete your masterpiece with a creative border, color scheme or card format.

# # #

About George Street Photo & Video:

Dedicated to providing affordable high-end photography services with exceptional service and value, George Street Photo and Video continuously makes wedding days unforgettable for couples throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Uniquely setting themselves apart from the competition, George Street offers each customer all high resolution, digital negatives from the wedding, enabling them to print and distribute as they wish. Customers also have the option choose their own photographer and have an unlimited quantity of photos taken during the entire day. George Street proudly offers a full service photography and videography company complete with 20 photographers and in-house photography and videography editing services. George Street is a proud member of the Professional Photographers of America, Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, and the Wedding and Event Videographers Association. They have locations in Chicago, Lisle, and Schaumburg. George Street has appeared on ABC, CBS, WGN and in the Chicago Tribune, Pioneer Press, WedAlert, and more. For more information visit