Making Our Christmas Photo Card 2014

The Christmas cards made their debut yesterday.  Entrance.  Debut.  Trip down the chimney.  Trip into the chimney.  I showed the cards yesterday.  That’s more like it.

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Simple (kinda), Fun (mostly), and Hilarious (they make us laugh).  I’d say this was our most successful card year.  Especially since the kids have deemed these cards their “most favorite ever.”  It’s going to be hard to top that next year.  I need to get them involved in Christmas cards more often.

For both cards we used photos I had taken before Halloween when the kids were delighted to play dress up for me and let me take their photos.  That’s rare (at least for the boy).  So I took advantage.  I used a bone colored Savage backdrop and my Nikon D3100 with the 35mm lens.  I used natural light. The dog was just ecstatic to be dressed up.  I mean, what vermin chaser wouldn’t want to be dressed up as vermin or a bacon lover dressed up as a pig?!

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For the superhero card, I chose three photos.  These ones below.  Really, the photos are nothing special on their own. But, BOOM…put them together and you have some superheroes.

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I do not have screenshots of this whole process.  My kids (and I) weren’t patient enough to grab screenshots while we were working on these.  Sorry.  If you can’t follow along with the Photoshop speak, I apologize.  You can just roll your eyes at my rambling.  It’s okay.  I can’t see you.

I used Photoshop to put the three photos together in one photo.  Boy first, girl second, and the dog last.  All three required a bit of titling.  Then I had to paint around the kids and dog to make the background the same.  I did that over the magic scissors thing.  I don’t know why, I just did.  It was easier with the kids and they could help paint a bit.

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I could have put a texture on the photo in Photoshop, but for some reason I brought the photo over to PicMonkey after combining the kids and dog together.  In PicMonkey I inserted my own texture of clouds.  It’s not perfect, as I had to erase it off of the kids and dog.  Patience wasn’t on my side with that, so don’t look too closely.  We then used the Comic Heroes Theme to add the text bubbles and text.  Photoshop has speech bubbles also, but the ones in PicMonkey were much cooler.

So after the addition of some clouds and text, the card was completed.

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Next up was the bacon card.  We thought the girl dressed as a farmer, the dog dressed as a pig, and the boy dressed in his “I love bacon” shirt was pretty funny at the time we took the photo.  It’s even funnier as a Christmas card.  Yeaaahhh, you’ve got to know my family.  Bacon is the best.  That’s why I rarely buy it, except for special occasions.

Again, I brought the original photo into Photoshop.

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I put it on top of a blank file, put the photo into place, and then begin to work to get rid of the wonky backdrop.  I selected a color of the backdrop with the dropper tool.  Then I used the paintbrush to paint over everything except the kids and dog.  Again, not perfect, don’t look too close or long.  I was doing this with 2 kids looking over my shoulder (except for when they were eating lunch).

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Then I brought the photo into PicMonkey to add the text.  That was the fun part.  Originally, the girl was just saying “My two front teeth.”  She wasn’t happy with that…because she doesn’t want her two front teeth for Christmas.  Adding the bacon part made her happy…and that’s true.  The dog part was especially funny since it can mean a whole lot of different things. The girl was like, “Ohhhh, I get it.  He wants bacon.  But he’s a dog dressed as a pig and they make bacon from pigs.”  Yep.  Lots of levels to a funny card.  Sorry if you don’t eat meat.   So we added the text in PicMonkey.  Here’s a screenshot of the finished card in PicMonkey.

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And here’s the finished bacon product.

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Whew.  That was a mouthful.  Now I’m craving bacon.  What about you?  Any cravings?

Photo Christmas Card 2014

Oh.  My.  I have a love/hate relationship with doing Christmas cards.  I won’t get into it.  My husband hears it every year.  The last few years I’ve been so busy that I barely have time to do cards.  I think last year I just posted it on Facebook and emailed it, I never got around to actually mailing it.  I think I did mail it to immediate family.

I said I wasn’t going to do cards this year.  I say that every year.  I haven’t had time to take a “proper” portrait of my kids for a card this year.  I use to do that, take Christmas portraits of them.  But you know what, we’re not “proper” portrait kind of people anyway.  I love some pretty portraits and I love taking them of other people, but my family is not a pretty portrait sitting kind of family.  I think my “outtake” photo card from last year kind of proves that.

So, as I was saying….I told my husband I wasn’t going to do cards this year.  He was fine with that.  But guilt gets me.  So I’m madly printing out photo cards at the moment. Cause a hobby photographer without a photo card is like a Santa without reindeer, right?  Or something like that.

Since we’re not the “proper” portrait kind of people, what did I do for Christmas photo cards this year?  I recycled our Halloween photos.  Okay, okay.  I never got around to actually using our Halloween photos for Halloween.  So now they’re Christmas photos.  I didn’t want them to go to waste.  We went a little crazy and even did 2 cards.  When I say “we,” that means the kids helped me.  They are enamored with these cartoon bubble cards.  They think the cards are hilarious.  Yes, the bacon one is hilarious.  When I texted it to my husband, he responded with “Classic.”  Yes, it’s a perfect description of our family.  We love bacon (at least the kids and I do).  Oh, and my daughter is really missing her two front teeth….for like the last 6 months.  The dog superhero one is hilarious because our dog has a one track mind when it comes to vermin.  And yes, he even killed a squirrel this year…in addition to a few rabbits and a ground squirrel.  Squirrel!

After over 300 words of introduction, let me showcase our Christmas Photo Cards for 2014.

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My next post may be on how we did these cards.  Maybe.  Do you do Christmas or other holiday cards?

Photography Equipment: My Favorite Thing

A prime lens.

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There.  Quick and painless.  My favorite piece of photography equipment is my prime lens.  And I didn’t even have to think about that.  My 35mm prime lens.  A prime lens only has one focal length.

You can get a prime lens for just about any interchangeable lens camera.  My new mirrorless camera has one.  I’m still playing with it, but I have a feeling that will be my favorite piece of equipment for that camera.

I have a Nikon D3100 that came with 2 lens, but not a prime lens.  I got a prime lens about 6 months after getting the camera.  I went with the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for less than $200.  I’ve had the lens since June of 2012.

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To put it simply: I. Love. That. Lens.

It’s on my camera about 85% of the time or more.  I use it for all my newborn sessions.  The 35mm lens is amazing for newborn portraits!  I use the lens for quite a few family sessions (always indoors and quite a bit outdoors).  I use it in my home all the time with my kids.

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Why do I love a prime lens?

  • It’s sharp.
  • It has great low light capabilities.
  • It has beautiful bokeh and blur at the low F-stops.
  • It takes great photos.

You can get a prime lens in quite a few different focal lengths.  35mm, 50mm, and 85mm, just to name a few.  I have the 35mm, which I’ve only mentioned about three hundred and one times.  I’ll see how many more times I can mention that lens.

Why did I choose the 35mm and not the 50mm?  Because I have a crop sensor camera and the 35mm lens is about equivalent to a 50mm on a full sensor camera.  I don’t think you can go wrong with a 35mm or a 50mm, if you’re in the market for a prime lens.  The 50mm is called a “Nifty Fifty” for a reason!  Just make sure you get a lens that works with your camera!

What is your favorite piece of photography equipment?

Portrait Preview: Newborn Princess

Oh my goodness!  This sweet little princess was just perfect in every way.  I’m so happy that I was able to photograph her and capture her newness to this world. She is just a little miracle and blessing!  Oh my, she has got her Daddy’s hair and it’s delightful!  She even gave me the sweetest little half smile that I was able to capture!  Such love!

Take a peek at this pretty princess!

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To her Mommy & Daddy:  What a lucky little princess to get you two as her parents!  It was wonderful to be able to photograph you all (including the big canine sister!).  I’m glad I could get you some photos that you can treasure always.  I’ll treasure the experience!  And a huge thanks to the many assistants that I had, you were a big help!

*Please note, parents were near by at all times for these photos.  Daddy’s finger was holding up the baby’s head for the basket photos and it was edited out in Photoshop.  Always be safe when you are photographing newborns.  Safety first, please.*

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Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister

This little sweetie was nearly 2 months old when I got the privilege to photograph her.  It is always a delight and an honor to be able to photograph a new life.  Such a blessing!  This baby’s sweet momma had some adorable items to photograph her beautiful baby girl in.  It was such a fun time!

Enjoy this dose of sweetness and beauty!

Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Precious Little Sister | Chrissy Martin Photography

That last one with the two big brothers was just that, the last shot that I took.  I adore that photograph, it’s my favorite.  It shows true life!  That little girl is a lucky sister to have two big brothers to watch out for her and help guide her.

Have a beautiful day!

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