Have a “Holly Jolly” Christmas card launch

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If you aren’t in the greeting card or gift industry you might not know that holiday designs start as early as May & June. Since this was our first year in business we felt like we were playing catch up learning the schedules and ropes of industry timing. A lot of things go into a new product launch!

One important part of a launch is obviously the photos. As April and I geared up to launch our holiday collection, we tossed around the idea of using a photographer to shoot or attempting it on our own. The coin toss and our bank account decided that we were going to try it ourselves. With the combination of April’s Nikon D90, A Beautiful Mess’ photography courses & Lightroom actions we were able to give it a go. We even got some great tips from pro food blogger Alexandra Stafford (if you haven’t seen her blog, you must click here. Just don’t do it if you’re hungry 😉

First things first, we knew we needed to get props. In our last product shoot we bombarded our prep tables with trinkets with only few the correct scale to showcase our cards. It seems the giant lobster that we purchased to go with one of our nautical childrens cards actually takes over the picture! 🙂 With that in mind, we went on a field trip to Michaels to scavenge for props that were proportionate to our needs. Even with keeping “small” in mind, it wasn’t until we looked through the lens that we knew what could work. We used an old wooden door frame with white peeling paint as our backdrop. This gave us a perfect combination of an interesting texture and continuity with the wood from our previous collection.

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April was smart enough to recognize that we needed a tripod before we started shooting. Finding one was quite tricky though. It seems there isn’t enough information out there on what kind of tripod to use for overhead shots, and finding one that doesn’t break the bank! We ended up purchasing a Manfrotto 190XPro4. The most important part of this tripod was the 90 degree angle which allowed us to shoot overhead, steady shots. We tethered it to my Macbook Air and were able to remotely shoot/view from the computer. I wish that we had gotten a picture of our tripod, because we had it stacked on boxes to high heaven to get the correct proportion of card and background.

Our biggest challenge and asset was utilizing all of the natural lighting. We shot in my home office, which gets a pretty great amount of light throughout the day. Of course it isn’t going to be the same light all day, so we kept adjusting our angle and our rigged tripod to make it work. Thank goodness for the software we purchased from A Beautiful Mess because it filtered the photos beautifully!

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All in all, we were very pleased with how the collection turned out, and the lessons we learned will help us greatly with shooting our products ourselves in the future. If you are looking to shoot product yourself, just remember your scale!

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