If you’ve ever sent out or received holiday cards, you know that they’re an easy way to maintain business connections or just keep up with friends and family.

This year, instead of trusting a drug store kiosk, try making your own holiday photo card with user-friendly design tools in Adobe Photoshop.

Choose A Theme

Before you get started, it’s important to determine what message you’re trying to send. If a classic family photo with a generic “Happy Holidays!” works for you, that’s fine. However, you may want to get a little more creative this year.

Use your holiday card to update everyone on personal events. Did you have a baby? Travel to a new place? Finish that renovation?

Include an image that reflects these changes. People will appreciate being kept in the loop.

Or…

Perhaps you’d like to do something comical this year. Go all out and stage a personal version of your favorite holiday movie or take snapshot of the family in homemade tacky sweaters.

Whatever your humor, find a way to stand out in a pile of otherwise basic holiday photo cards.

Design

Once you’ve got the perfect photo, upload the image into Photoshop and let your creative juices flow!

If you have multiple images you want to share, consider creating a collage.

Begin by editing the image using retouching tools available on the sidebar. These features allow you to lighten, filter, sharpen, and even crop your photo. Try not to go too crazy with these. It’s fun to play around with them, but in the end you want the image to look decent.

Consider using a digital wallpaper as the background of your card. You can download fun examples at FreeDigitalScrapbooking.com.

Next, add a banner or border using by using the Shape tools. You may want to create a simple frame or just add a small space for text. Either way, these tools are simple to use and edit, making it easy for your vision to come to life.

Take the time to experiment with coloring and shadowing. These basic effects can make all the difference between “Eh” and “Wow!”

Finally, insert a text box and add your holiday message. You don’t have to be witty, but perhaps take a few extra minutes to think of something original or heartwarming.

Once you’re satisfied with the overall look and feel of the card, save the file and print! Don’t worry if you don’t have a photo-worthy printer, there are several websites who will print your image for cheap. You can even go digital this year and email your design to friends and family!

Once they receive the final product, your loved-ones will be happy to hear from you and surely be impressed with your unique design!

Want to learn about all the ways you can use Photoshop to enhance your images?

Enroll in one of 360training.com’s upcoming Adobe Photoshop classes and become an editing master!