Of course, the transition wasn’t easy….I remember the day my 3-year-old pulled frozen peas from the freezer and stomped each one into the floor. I also remember the day my 5-year-old got so mad, she put a hole in the wall from slamming the door. Ha! We definitely had a “transition” but hey, what family doesn’t? Imperfections and all, I’m loving this life.
When Justin was born, I was pretty excited to be able to send birth announcements, but you’d think I would’ve been all prepared with my favorite designs well before the baby was born…not so much. That’s the problem with working for a company like Pear Tree – there are ALWAYS new designs, and it was nearly impossible for me to narrow it down.
The most important step for me, besides choosing the design, is choosing the right photos, so I thought I’d share my process and a few photo tips for organizing and editing them with you.
First, I copy all the photos that I might use to their own folder – this keeps everything separated and easy to navigate. Then I start the editing process. I use Picasa, a free service that is really simple to use. There are tons of free systems online – I like this one because it helps to organize and identify the people in the photos. For each of the 10 or so photos that I really like, I do the following:
- Brighten with Fill Light. I love to do this because it removes the imperfections easily and adds a glow to the photo.
- Contrast with Shadows. Depending on how dark or light I want my photos, I’ll play with this until it looks right. With the original photo here on the left, you can see that adding a bit of Fill Light and Shadows really enhanced the image. I don’t do any Cropping at this stage because I may need some of the outer edges of the image for the card.
- Next I might try making it a Black and White photo, which is as simple as a single button. Sometimes there I’ll play with the Fill Light and Shadows again to make sure the photo looks perfect.
- And last, I add a Blur photos to really draw the eye to the moment of the photo rather than the patterns and textures around the edges.
When I’m done, I end up with multiple copies of the photos – the original, the Brightened version, the Black and White, and the Blur. Now I can pick my design! So here were my main requirements:
- By this point it was pretty clear that I had several photos that I loved, not just one single photo, so when I was looking through the cards, I looked to the cards that featured multiple photos on the front and back.
- I love trifolds, so I narrowed my search by clicking on the ‘Tri Fold‘ refinement under ‘Unique Features’ on the left hand side.
- I didn’t want traditional colors, so I refined by the You Pick Color option so I could mix and match my own color selections.
- I wanted to feature the baby and the two older kids. Getting my husband and me in the card would be nice but not necessary, so that meant I’d need at least 5 photo spots so I refined by ‘Collage 4+ Photos‘.
That left me with a few different card designs that I completely loved. This is where it’s fun, because you can really play with the photos and colors to make the card your own. As I played, I found that I didn’t like the black and white photos as much as I thought, but I loved the creamy glow of the color photos and the blur, so those were the photos I started to play with the most.
I loved the stars in this one and that the design was definitely not your traditional birth announcement. Yet ultimately, I felt that my photos were a bit too busy to add to such a bold design. I needed something a bit softer.
The washi-tape announcement was really nice. It was softer and I loved the wood texture. Yet when I put my photos in, it felt too busy. I loved that there were a variety of photo sizes on this card and knew I was getting really close!
The card I ultimately fell in love with was the Sweet Baby trifold. I loved the bright blue and the dark brownish grey. Yet instead of the orange accents, I changed it to the light purple. The bright blue matched my daughter’s shirt and the purple matched the bedding. I LOVED the colors and how it all went together.
I sent out over 100 birth announcements to colleagues, friends, and family and got such a wonderful response back. I feel so lucky to work with a company that makes a priority out of beauty and the appreciation of life’s special moments. I hope you’ll find my photo tips helpful when creating your own birth announcements.