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Real cards created by real people like you!

save the date cardsAndrea and Justin’s wonderful Save the Date cards started with the photo shoot. They had a good friend shoot their engagement photos, and they turned out fabulous! Though they hadn’t thought about a save the date card at that point, the photographer suggested using the framed chalkboard as a prop to incorporate their engagement and wedding dates into the photos–one of the all-time-great save the date ideas! (See our blog post on engagement photos for more ideas.)

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Have fun with engagement photos

We see lots of great engagement photo ideas here at Pear Tree, happy couples filled with excitement, sharing their joy in very creative ways. But the pressure to be creative and stand out while staying true to your personalities can be daunting.

For those who may need a little help getting started, we’ve created a Pinterest board to share the engagement photo ieas we love. Feel free to use our ideas, or create your own board of ideas you love.Unique-engagement-session-Michelle-Gardella-11
Image by: prettylittleweddings.com

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Modern Christmas cards with vintage-look photos

Holiday photo card ideasLately we’ve seen a lot of unique photo Christmas cards that make use of an age-old technique: the use of antique props or weathered backgrounds to bring a nostalgic, vintage feel to a modern photo.

-A rusty metal sign in the background that makes the subject of the photo (you) look stunningly beautiful in comparison

-An antique picture frame that appears to corral an active modern-day family for a portrait frozen in time

-A vintage, grocery-store scale that proudly displays the birth weight of the new baby sleeping peacefully on top

It’s the juxtaposition of the old and the new, or the ugly and the beautiful that makes the photo interesting and draws your attention to the faces within. So how can you use these vintage photo ideas to make your holiday cards stand out?

If you’re hiring a professional photographer, tell him or her about any vintage photo ideas you have in mind. They most likely have a selection of props and backdrops in their studio that can lend a vintage feel to your portrait. If you’re shooting on location, most photographers have plenty of pre-scouted locations they’ve used, and by letting them know you’re interested in a vintage feel, you’ll be helping them narrow down the options.

If you’re taking the photo yourself, start by looking around your own house. Do you have an antique piece of furniture, picture frame, mirror, or old toy that would make a nice prop? Is there a wall or corner in your house with interesting woodwork? Outside, is there a weathered fence, or exterior wall with peeling paint or wood siding, perhaps? Remember, you don’t need to show all of it, just enough to give a vintage flavor.

If you can’t find anything at home, expand your options. Explore industrial areas, looking for old signage, corrugated metal, stone and brick walls. Explore rural areas for bridges, barns, fences, warehouses, and train or gas stations. Perhaps grandma and grandpa have an old toy or bike of yours, stored in their attic? If your prop has sentimental value, all the better.

Good luck on your hunt. We can’t wait to see the beautiful holiday photo cards our creative customers come up with this holiday season! And if you’re still undecided, read more family photo ideas on our blog.

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Autumn inspires colorful Christmas card photo ideas

Fall photos
As we enter into the peak season for beautiful fall foliage, don’t miss this narrow window of opportunity to take advantage of a stunning color backdrop for your holiday photo cards, courtesy of Mother Nature. The warm yellows, oranges, reds and browns of autumn, are eye-catching, flattering to faces, and available only for a limited time!

A path through the woods, a pile of fallen leaves, or the textural interest of dried grasses and blooms in your garden make wonderful backgrounds for your Christmas card photo ideas. Whether it’s a shot of you with your dog, your significant other, or your family of five, the focus of the photo should be your smiling faces, but it’s fun to play with different angles and aperture settings to bring that colorful background into sharp focus (larger f-stop numbers) or to blur it (smaller f-stop numbers). Themomtographers.com has a great explanation of aperture settings if you want to experiment, but check your camera first. Many newer models have automatic settings that achieve the same results.

What if you miss the boat and all the fall leaves are gone by the time you start thinking about Christmas card photo ideas? Don’t worry, there are plenty of fall activities that make great photo opportunities, such as the all-important pumpkin-choosing day, pumpkin carving, raking leaves, apple picking, hayrides—even Thanksgiving if you can wait that long! Since great photos are the key to fabulous photo Christmas cards, the more photos you take, and the sooner you start taking them, the better your selection will be.

Once you have a photo you love, you’ll be ready to start creating your holiday photo cards. Still looking? Read more family photo ideas on our blog. The holidays will be here before you know it!

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Outdoor Photography Tips

Spring is here and we all want to get outside. A winter’s worth of shooting portraits inside is enough to make any photographer go stir crazy. But today the greens are vibrant, flowers are blossoming, trees are budding, and it all makes a great setting for outdoor portraits. All you need is a camera, a subject, and some decent weather!

Shooting in Natural Light
One of the true perks of shooting portraits outdoors is you don’t have mess with studio lighting, flashes or any of that mess. You’re au naturale. Here are just a few outdoor photography tips to keep in mind:

The sun is your friend
Here are a few outdoor photography tips to keep in mind #peartreegreetings #phototips

When shooting in sunlight, keep the sun to the side of the subject. Shooting with the sun directly behind you just results in a squinting model and flat lighting. Shooting with the sun behind the model leaves you either with a correctly exposed background and a face in shadow, or a well lit face and a blown out background. Keep that sun to your side and you’ll get an evenly exposed shot with nice contours on your model. This happy couple on the right wanted an impromptu portrait taken while the cherry blossoms were poking out in Washington D.C.. The sun was a little too harsh and a little too high for our liking, but they were happy.

But so is the shade
Here are a few outdoor photography tips to keep in mind #peartreegreetings #phototips

Shooting in shade is kind of like shooting in a giant softbox. Your light is soft, you don’t have to worry about highlights that are too hot or shadows that are too dark. You can just focus on your model. What a relief!

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Organizing and Digitizing Old Photos for Graduation

How to organize your old photos #peartreegreetings #phototips #organizing

There’s nothing like your child’s senior year of high school to separate the crafty moms from the techies, and the organized from the disorganized. Every time you turn around someone’s asking you for photos — baby photos, sports photos, senior photos, life-size posters made out of your kid’s photos. Aaaack! It’s a total nightmare if you don’t have scrapbooks and photo albums, let alone digital copies. Here’s how to organize your photos and create digital copies you can use for the graduation party and beyond.

Step 1: Editing Your Photos
If you already have all your kids’ baby photos displayed in scrapbooks or photo albums, you may skip to Step 2. But if your photos are stored in shoe boxes and drawers, like mine were, you’ll need a way to organize them. Don’t worry. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. I did it in just a few hours!

  1. Purchase or create a large photo organizer/storage box. Google it. The best ones hold over a thousand photos and have dividers or index tabs inside for organizational purposes. Avoid the ones with snap-close divider boxes inside—a simple card-like filing system is easier to work with.  Continue reading

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Fall photo ideas for creative cards

From picking apples, to carving pumpkins, to the annual Thanksgiving touch football game, our customers had some very creative ways to capture the season in a photo card. Here are some of our favorite fall photo ideas:  Continue reading

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Photography tips for taking great baby photos

Baby AnnouncementsBaby AnnouncementsBaby Announcements
We’ve all received them—birth announcements that look like something out of a magazine. Some of us are fortunate to have the help of a talented photographer, but what if you don’t? Here are a few newborn photography tips for the non-professionals who want that gorgeous photo:

Newborn photography tipsA close up is best.
Remember your baby is the hero! Your loved ones will want to see your baby’s features, and share them with others. A close-up will show just how special your little one is, and how daddy’s nose has been passed on to another generation. Use a nursing pillow if you have one, to prop your baby up for the perfect shot. Cover the nursing pillow with a blanket and place your baby in it for the photo. This makes it much easier to get a good angle of baby’s adorable little face.
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Tips on how to make your Christmas photo great

Nothing makes Christmas photo cards unique, personal, and memorable like including a great photograph. It offers the perfect opportunity to let your personality shine.
Christmas Photography Ideas
While this is all tons of fun, taking a great photo for your holiday photo cards can be more difficult than you might first think. The hardest part is deciding what kind of picture you’d like to take. From formal posed portraits to candid and funny shots, here are a few Christmas photography ideas for taking great holiday pictures for your Christmas cards.

What Comes First, the Picture or the Card?
This question can lead to quite a debate between people who take their holiday photo cards seriously. Some people choose a card that suits a picture already taken while others like to choose their Christmas photo cards first and then take their picture so it matches the card.
Christmas Photography Ideas
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How to take great Fall photos

Capturing great fall photos can be challenging. We’ve all seen rich, colorful, New England fall photos; the white birch trees turning a golden yellow, dusting the tops of white picket fences along winding roads. While we’d all like to be able to capture iconic images like these, the truth is those moments are magical, and the vast majority of us just aren’t magicians. However, there are great fall photos everywhere you turn. To prove it to you I headed out this morning determined to show you how to capture a great fall photo.

I only had one shot of getting today right, and by today I meant a few short hours. The sky was 100% overcast – no sunshine in sight. It was late morning so all that moody mist had long since disappeared. The leaves had started to turn, but the deep reds and oranges just hadn’t yet blossomed. Knowing that the conditions were less than ideal, I needed a subject. I grabbed my black lab, Stanza, and headed out. [Admission: Stanza is well trained. She’ll sit and pose for photos if I ask her to (especially if I have treats in my pocket). But, she’s not ideal. Kids, spouses, friends–they all make great subjects for photographs, and are generally more appealing than a slobbery dog. So, if you have an opportunity to put real people in your photograph, you’re already one step ahead of me!]


Pumpkins, dried corn stalks, and leaves. Incorporate these elements into a photograph and let your background set the mood for you. Keep your subject the primary focus! In this particular occasion, I didn’t have much to work with. I found some yellow and orange leaves on the opposite side of a creek and tried to make do. I knew Stanza wouldn’t sit still unless she was tired, so I let her run around and splash and do all those things labs love to do. Plus, it’d make her a more interesting subject with some wet fur (on a sunny day this would be much more difficult because the water on her coat would end up being blown out highlights). Today, though, a wet dog was a good dog.

I tried some different angles of this shot, but the best ended up being not showing the creek at all. I laid down to change the perspective (I ended up with very soggy knees and elbows), blurred the background, got my subject sharp, and snapped away.

Fall Photo

The key to portraiture is to make your subject work with your background, not compete with it. I knew my background elements weren’t strong, but I introduced enough color to make it seasonal. If I had kept the leaves sharp, the photo would have been too busy. Also, tighten up on your subject and have fun with them! If they are enjoying themselves, you’ll get better photographs (even if your subject is a dog).

What to do when you don’t have anything

The most challenging part of taking great photos is making a photo happen when you just can’t seem to find anything. Today I had adverse conditions, and stripped of my model (who was now rolling gleefully in a pile of dead leaves), I had to make something happen. When you don’t have great conditions, get up close, real close.

These seed pods were interesting to me. They had a sort of wizard-like quality to them and hinted at a rebirth to come after a long winter. I set up shop next to one that had a some color behind it (to warm up the gray of the pod) and snapped this photo.

Fall Photo

If you’re ever lacking fall color, look for moisture. Find a lake, a creek, morning dew, go outside just after a rain–just find colorful leaves when they are wet. As I had mentioned, the red leaves hadn’t turned yet, but I found this cluster of fallen leaves swirling in a pool of water. I ended up precariously about 4″ from the water for this shot, but I got the fall color I was looking for.

Fall Photo

Fall is a great time to take photos. There are always photographs to be taken, but sometimes you have to work a little harder to find them. Hopefully these tips can help you capture some great shots. Remember, you’ll never get great photos unless you go take the pictures. Get out there!

– Wyatt enjoys wearing tweed caps and his size 13 Chuck Taylors, especially while hunting down great photos with his black Lab, Stanza.

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