Longbored Surfer

2005.12.06 Christmas Cards

I'm not really keen to Christmas Cards. They're nice to get from others. I enjoy looking at their pictures. I generally struggle to get through the letters, since they're just too long. I'm glad that little Billy is in whatever grade, and that he's doing whatever extra curricular activities. But let's be honest - if I didn't already know these things, then they're probably not that important to me right now. You say that you have some new big news that so-and-so is going to wherever, and will be gone for however long? Okay, that might be big news. But, like I stated before, if I don't already know, then it probably isn't that important. Send me a picture, say something nice and generic (really, I'm serious on that one), and I'll have a good holiday as well. Off I go to have some shortbread.

Maria has been pushing us to do a Christmas card ever since we got married. I don't have anything to say to a bunch of people that I usually don't talk to. If we don't keep in touch, there's probably some reason, and that's not important. If you wanted to know the details of my life, you'd either call me, email me, or come to this dinky web site. If I haven't said it yet, allow me to tell you that I'm glad you're here.

Before I keep going on, feel free to take a look at the first (rejected) product, and the final (winning) design of the Christmas Card. If you think you're going to get a physical copy of one of these photos, you might only want to look at the Rejected one. (Maria didn't like the color of the sepia tone, and thought that the color photos popped out more than they should have)

So, in my attempt to not have to write a letter to a bunch of semi-strangers, I opted for the photo version. I never really put it together that photos aren't all the same proportions. I just figured that they were… but I was wrong. Here's my mental dissection of it:

  • A 4x6 is 50% wider than it is tall
  • A 5x7 is 40% wider than it is tall
  • An 8x10 is only 25% wider than it is tall

Depending on your camera, you may actually be taking pictures for an 8x10, but you're only printing a 4x6 (my camera aims for 33% w/h… so I lose ground if I go for anything but an 8x10). You're actually losing some of your picture when you print it that way. The photo place will probably match up the width of the picture, and cut a little off the top or bottom (or both… I have no idea really). So if you've got a picture that you've framed perfectly, yet you don't print it at full size, you lose out on the deal.

This all came to my attention while making our Christmas card. I had originally just used the full size image, and done all the work on it, while inserting text and other graphics on top of it. Then, I uploaded it to the evil, yet handily convenient Walmart photo lab. I was let into this little secret when I did a print preview.

It defaults to showing you a 4x6. Due to the fact that I had perfectly positioned everything in the picture to take up all of the space, it was easy to tell that I had been robbed of space. I clicked the 5x7 option and I got a bit more space at the bottom, and the 8x10 gave everything I had bargained for.

So, with this in mind, I ended up making everything fit on a canvas that was perfectly 5x7 in proportion. When it came print preview (and printing) time, everything looked perfectly fine. If you're going to be doing your own Christmas card, keep this whole thing in mind, or you might be a little upset come printing time (if you don't do a test run).

I already said earlier what ended up happening for the Christmas card photos. Although between Walmart and Costco I could get 30 free 4x6 prints, I'm going for the 5x7's since they look much nicer. Put it up on your fridge if/when you get one. Don't keep it on there too long though, since nobody likes to see last year's Christmas cards on your fridge.

Tag(s): computers creative home

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