It’s the time of year when we all start thinking using family photos in some form of holiday card. You could certainly use a cookie cutter design from your local one-stop shop, but why not put a personal stamp on the occasion this year and create your own? This week I’ll show you how.
As a photographer, I use Photoshop for all sorts of things. However, as a very amateur digital designer, I don’t love it. It’s cumbersome and complicated. I’ve found an easy-to-use program that helps me create digital fabulous in a matter of minutes called Picmonkey. The basic package is free with, and includes a ton of resources. I’ve upgraded to the $30 a year package (which is still super cheap if you make a lot of cards) for the bells and whistles. I create the collages for my website there, and it’s great for cards, too.
Here’s how to make a collage for your card using nothing but the free elements in Picmonkey. Follow along without spending a penny.
First, choose the picture to use as the main image — like this one:
I like to pick unconventional shots as my main image, ones that are more candid. This one shows off the cuteness of the kids, while mom and dad and baby are still in the background.
On the PicMonkey home page, start a collage by clicking on the Collage button at the top. It opens a pop up that allows you to select the images from the folder you want to use.
Next, choose some images, then select a shape for the collage. Change the dimensions at the bottom of the collage to the size you want.
In this example, you select at least four images. Then go to the photo section. If you choose a few extra pictures, it gives you flexibility when laying out the collage. Then, drag the images into the appropriate slots in the layout, like so:
This creates the collage with nothing else. If you wanted to, you could just send this as your card. But you can also greeting text to overlay the pictures.
Now it’s time for a banner. Click on the butterfly icon to see the shapes options, and scroll until you find the banner section.
Choose a banner shape, and then change the color if you like — in this case, I selected a green to complement the trees. I love that I can select a color that already exists in my image. Next up: Click the “Tt” icon, and add some text, such as “Happy Holidays.” Choose the color and font for that, too. If you don’t love the provided fonts, use one that’s on your computer.
I wanted to keep this particular card simple, and since the model’s clothes are more muted, I opted to keep the overall card that way. However, to add some holiday-specific cheer, add a snowflake icon at the bottom and choose from among a few themes.
The SantaLand theme offers some charming effects such as candy canes, Santa and other elements specific to Christmas.
I tend to order 5-by-7-inch cards. To do that, save your collage, then open the design tab and select 5-by-7. To ensure it is the right size, drop this collage onto that size template.
Then you’re done! Picmonkey makes it easy, as it includes so many creative elements and the process is remarkably simple once you’ve chosen the right pictures!
Photo credit: Kristen Duke