How to Look Good in Your Holiday Photo Card

Hint: You needn't hire a professional photographer (though it can't hurt)

by Genevieve Monsma • MORE Beauty Director
Minted photo
The Monsma Family Holiday Card 2011

It's that time of year again. Just as Memorial Day gives the greenlight to white pants, Thanksgiving signals the crossover to holiday-card season. The most ambitious get their stack in the mail right after the feast. The rest of us? We're still licking envelopes on December 24. Regardless of where you fall on the card-sending spectrum, the photo on your card can still be tops. Just follow these three foolproof tricks:

Black and white hides a host of sins. So you've found a family photo that's pretty good—if it weren't for: Your gray roots. Your kid's acne. The fact that you're wearing red next to your husband . . . in maroon. But fear not. Just upload your photo to a card-creating site. We love Minted.com, but Shutterfly.com, TinyPrints.com and Snapfish.com are also popular. Then opt to "edit" your photo from color to black and white. Voilà! Buh-bye, grays. Acne erased. And everyone in the family is now wearing shades of gray.

Make it matte. There's a reason makeup artists are constantly powdering the noses of their A-list clients. On camera and in photos, excess gleam doesn't look good. So if possible, opt for a card that isn't glossy.

Start cropping. Don't love your thighs? One kid giving another bunny ears? Repeat after us: Crop out what you don't like. You may use either the "cropping" tool available on most photo editing sites or just choose a card that slices off the offending detail. Circles in particular (like this one at minted.com) hide all kinds of unwanteds (upper-arm fat; a teenage son with his hand down his pants). 

To illustrate these tips at work, I've uploaded my own family holiday card, above. Black and white? Check. Matte finish? Check. A crop that hides the fact that my son dribbled chocolate on his shirt? Check. Happy holidays.

Next: Your 2013 Guide to Creative Photo Gifts

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