The holidays are fast approaching and so is the pressure to send out your annual greeting cards to update family and friends about your fabulous life and beautiful children. We looked at five of the best, most user-friendly options that make it easy to design and send photo cards. Starting with the Apple programs you already have on your Mac or iOS device, and ending with sites you may not be familiar with, here's a walk through a veritable winter wonderland of photo card-making options.
If you already use iPhoto to manage all of your images, it might make the most sense for you to stick to this program. Start out by selecting a photo event with your desired shots. After you’ve found your favorites, click on the Create button located at the bottom right of the window, then select Card. This takes you to a carousel of cards, where you can choose from three different layouts—Letterpress, Folded, and Flat—and more than two dozen design themes. (Depending on your chosen theme, you can include between one and 13 photos on a single card.)
Once you pick out a layout and theme, you can add text, edit your photos within the frame, import new photos, and even add effects like Black & White, Sepia, and Antique to the photos. You can also edit the fonts and the layout of the text in your cards—choosing the paragraph alignment, and the spacing of the lines and letters. When you’re ready to go, just press “Buy Card” and choose how many cards you would like. iPhoto unfortunately does not offer a discount on bulk orders. They will send them to your address in standard or express shipping, after which you will have to label them and send them out yourself. For more information, check out this in-depth guide to making cards with iPhoto.
Pros: It’s the best option we looked at for creating long, story-centered cards with plenty of font options and well-designed layouts.
Cons: The iPhoto program doesn't have the large library of themes that website-based services offer. It also will not send the cards directly to the recipient, or offer discounts on bulk orders, making it much more expensive than other options.
Cost: Flat cards, $1; Folded cards, $1.50; Letterpress cards, $3; Shipping, from $2.50
Apple’s Cards app lets you create and send cards through your iOS device (as long it’s running iOS 5). If you don’t already have cards, you will need to go into the App Store to download it. Once you launch the app, you can choose a photo from your library or take a new picture from directly within the app. You then crop it, add text, and send it to your friends and family. At first glance, Cards seems like an extremely abbreviated version of iPhoto’s card sending option. Instead of offering the postcard and folded card options of iPhoto, Cards only offers Letterpress cards. It has a very small selection of holiday themes, which lacked in much holiday cheer. In fact, some had the exact same design as non-holiday cards, the only difference being a “Happy Holidays” greeting on the front.
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