By Mike Benbow Special to The Herald
For birthdays and big holidays, my niece often impresses me with a handmade card.
There usually is some combination of ribbons, fancy paper, stamped images or something clipped from a magazine.
I’ve always been interested in doing something similar with my photos shot of wildlife or beautiful scenery around the Northwest. My friends around the country always seem impressed with local photos.
And they should be.
There are very few places in the world where you’re a short drive away from desert, mountains, forests, rivers, an ocean and an inland waterway like Puget Sound.
As a result, I’ve never had a problem coming up with interesting outdoor photos as fodder for card material. I just didn’t have either the skill or the time to turn them into fancy cards.
That’s why I was excited not too long ago to find that there are a growing number of companies on the Internet who do the work for you. You can produce custom cards using your own photos and sentiments.
And you can do it quickly and relatively inexpensively too.
A friend recently put together a card at Walgreen’s, saying it didn’t take her any more time than it would have to select a mass produced card from the display rack.
My favorite company so far is Photographer’s Edge (www.photographersedge.com).
If they were to write a book, it would be called “Card Making for Dummies”.
Basically you buy envelopes and cardstock online in a wide variety of styles and colors.
The stock comes with an adhesive strip that you use to anchor a 4-by-6-inch photo that is placed behind a window.
Then you fold the card over to conceal the work and display the photo and you’re done.
The cards have a nice professional look. You can have personal messages or information printed on the front or the back or just write in your own with a pen.
Photographer’s Edge sells a number of other products, including things like shoulder straps to make it easier to carry a photo tripod.
It also has racks for people who would like to make their photography into a home business by selling cards in local retail shops or restaurants.
I don’t think I have the time or the inclination to do that either, but it’s nice to be able to produce cards in a flash with a professional yet personal look.
I like that I can add my own finished prints to cards rather than having the prints made somewhere else.
And Photographer’s Edge has a nice online feature that allows you to preview how your digital photos would look in card stock with different styles and colors.
If you’ve always wanted to see your beautiful landscape or wildlife photos in a good looking card or calendar, and with the holidays approaching, now’s the time to look at the variety of options.
www.photographersedge.com: Envelopes and card stock, printed information available.
mixbook.com: Cards of all sizes, including photo cards, invitations, notecardsand photo books.
www.snapfish.com: A variety of cards through the mail with the added feature of picking them up at Walgreens or Walmart.
www.shutterfly.com: Cards, photo books and invitations.
photo.walgreens.com: Prints, cards, photo books and calendars. Print online and pick up at store.
www.costcophotocenter.com: A wide array of photo products.