Holiday Cards…before Turkey Day?

Yes folks, it’s the most wonderful of the year for…choosing your holiday cards!  Already?  While procrastination is typically my middle name, a lot goes into a holiday card.  First, we shoot to get that perfect image, then we design, order, and ship.  And that’s before you update your excel sheet with Aunt Edna’s new contact info and then address and stamp all of your envelopes!  There is no time to waste!  Luckily I’ve found a few ways to simplify the process for my clients. In the order of simplicity…

1) I have a storefront on minted, where you can order beautiful cards with many options.  Very few places do an excellent job printing images onto cards, but I believe Minted does.  I designed and printed my daughter’s birth announcements there.  After sifting through hundreds of options, I chose my favorite designs and placed them on my storefront, hopefully making the process speedier for you!  I prefer simpler designs that let the photograph stand out.  Of course, if you enjoy looking through many designs, you can use any design from their website.  So…to make a short story long, you choose the card and personalize it however you like, I upload the photo, they ship, and boom!…cards are done.
2) If you prefer, I can design a card from scratch from you.  My family will tell you that I have a knack for this!
3) If you like to kick it old school, you can order a gorgeous print from me, and place it in a card, either purchased by you, or designed by my amazing graphic designer, Betsy Blazar. Mention Sarah Greig and receive 10% off your order!

To get your brain in holiday mode, here are a few trend alerts for cards this year (courtesy of Strollertraffic.com):

1) Your own handwriting- in this day and age of digital everything, find a way to write a personal note on your cards, even just a signature is nice!
2) Neon. Yes, you heard it here.  I hope this trend doesn’t stick around!  Even if hot pink is the new red, I’d stick to classic colors.
3) Celebrating early or late…Thanksgiving and New Year’s cards are gaining in popularity!
4) Lots of “Merry ____” and “Peace _____.”  Merry Everything, Be Merry, and Peace on Earth are all very popular this year.
5) Colorful Clothes in Photos.  White shirts are out.  Of course, don’t use any crazy patterns or t-shirts that date the photo, but some color is nice.
6) Custom stamps.  The ornament stamps from the USPS this winter are ok, but how great is it to have a stamp with your family photo on it?  Think about your design right down to the envelope, envelope liner, stamp and return address label.  Make those cards their own pretty package!
7) Two sided greetings.  Use all of the card, whether it means putting a little image on the back of the card, or p.s.  Nowadays, everyone who receives a card tends to flip it over and see if there is anything on the back!

And two trends that I have noticed:

-Different shapes are in.  Rectangles are classic, but circles/snowflakes/squares with holes punched in them can serve as cards AND tree ornaments.  Be creative!
-Different paper is very popular.  More and more companies are offering recycled, linen, watercolor, and super gloss paper.  Choose one that goes well with your design or personality.

My best advice: Keep it simple.  All you really need is a gorgeous photo, a simple greeting, and a little personal note for your card to be a winner.  Clean design will enhance and not detract from your photograph.  Most of all, have fun!  Holiday cards are a great way to reconnect with old friends and family.

NY Marathon Sunday

Despite a chilly start, it was a GORGEOUS day in the city today for the marathon.  When I lived in Monterey, I signed up for a half marathon and had to quit training a month before the race due to horrible shin splints- and that was only to run 13.1 miles!  To say that I am in awe of the runners each year is an understatement.  The displays of personality (running with their nation’s flag as a cape, 2 guys running in costume as Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2) and perseverance (gritted teeth, head down but the legs still moving) always make me smile and tear up a little.  Over the past few years, I’ve found a spot that I love to cheer from- 91st Street and 5th Avenue.  It’s at about Mile 24, just before the runners enter Central Park.  At this point, the runners have already experienced the thunderous and encouraging canyon of 1st Avenue, turned west, and as they head down 5th Avenue, the crowd thins somewhat before the park and runners are in need of serious encouragement.

This is also a great spot to take photos.  Marathons are a fun time to play with shutter speed, aperture, focus, movement, and perspective.  Every year I love the aerial shot of the runners crossing a bridge, looking like a massive rainbow streak.  One of my own favorite marathon shots is below.  I used the curb as a tripod and got really low to see the marathon from pavement level.  I love the mix of fall leaves with marathon sneakers. Congrats to all of the 2011 runners- especially my sister-in-law, the speedy Lauren Greig, who ran the race in 3:11:19 and finished 176th among the women runners!

Trick or Treat- Halloween in Manhattan

Happy Halloween!  Raising a child in Manhattan means doing a few things quite differently than I did as a child in the suburbs, and Halloween is one of those very different experiences! Since it’s my daughter’s first Halloween, we had the inaugural taste of trick or treating Manhattan style.  Some kids here don’t even leave their buildings-they just go door to door between apartments-while others walk from building to building collecting candy from the doorman.  Luckily, our street actually closes to traffic and the residents do a wonderful job getting LOTS of candy and decorating their stoops. Though it was past my daughter’s bedtime, we took her for a quick spin around the chaotic yet fun block.  Here are a few photos of her- pumpkin by day and zebra by night.  When photographing children, make note of the background- I always put her on the white couch for a neutral background (but don’t let all of that white trick your light meter!), but for a laugh, I chose a patterned background to camouflage her in her zebra costume.  What was the best costume that you saw on Halloween?

Rocking WPPI and the Photo Plus Expo

I spent much of last week and weekend with lots of energetic professional photographers attending the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) and Photo Plus Expo conferences at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  I usually like I.M. Pei’s work, but the Javits Center is as 80’s as it gets (bad 80’s, not excellent 80’s), and this once revolutionary cage design has seen better days, as evidenced by the leaky roof during Saturday’s October snowstorm (yes, you read that correctly, OCTOBER snowstorm). Architecture aside, it was a great conference and while I only traveled 40 blocks south to attend, photographers came from all over the U.S. and the world to enjoy the three days of seminars led by many leading photographers in the field.  We were greeted with a wild (and overwhelming) trade show floor of cameras, albums, printers, scanners, frames, storage devices, and demonstrations of the perpetual Canon/Nikon battle.  It was fun to see old friends from photography school and hone my knowledge of posing (bride, groom, kids, parents, wedding party), blogging (see, I’m up writing this!), Adobe Lightroom work flow, branding, and marketing. Below shows some fun on the trade show floor…the wonderful Me Ra Koh explains the secret to photographing this little guy.  He was fascinated with the light and loved crawling under the table.  I attended a seminar with Me Ra on…social media and blogging.  Me Ra just released a new book about photographing children and is a frequent guest on The Nate Berkus Show, giving tips to shutterbug moms everywhere.

 

 

 

 

Fall Road Trip- Blue Hill at Stone Barns- NY

With the leaves changing and some Upper West Side cabin fever setting in, my friend Kate and I ventured up to Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, NY to check out the farm and grab a delicious lunch.  Kate and I once had an epic road trip from Montana to Connecticut-3,000 miles of National Parks, too much eating at Subway, and falling in love with the undulating fields of Iowa- but now we’re lucky if we can drive 30 minutes north with our two infant girls. In fact, my email last week to Kate was titled “Road Trip (not the kind we used to go on).”  Though not as famed as the official restaurant on the property (what a place for an event!), the Cafe serves up lots of fresh produce from the 80 acre farm, as well as sandwiches, hot tea, scones, and other deliciousness.  For those of you New Yorkers, they also have a great tiny restaurant in the Village for a fancy night out.  We also shopped around their farmers market, where I snapped away at the gorgeous colors of deep purple beets and fresh wildflowers, and explored some of the verdant greenhouses.

Eventually, we held a portrait shoot with Kate and her daughter Eleanor.  Kate was a great sport- tossing E up in the air again and again to get that perfect laugh in mid-air. Eleanor, only one day shy of her 1/2 birthday, was really hamming it up for the camera.  I just love capturing these mom/daughter moments- I think too often the moms are the ones behind the camera- and life goes by too quickly to miss recording these proud smiles, funny expressions, and serious love!

Here are a few of my favorite snaps.  What is your favorite fall day trip or getaway?