Everything you need to make an easy, last-minute holiday card

Follow these simple steps to create your own DIY photobooth so you can take your holiday photos at home.
Alternately, you could just print out this pic and send it out to friends and fam. Photo: ISTOCK

So you haven’t made a holiday card yet, and you’re worried that with everything else piling up on your end-of-the-year to-do list, you might have to skip it. That’s fine, no judgment. But if you want, you can still pull it off, if you change your approach.

 

For one, stop thinking you have to send in time for Christmas, when you could make a perfectly acceptable New Year’s card instead. Secondly, you don’t have to get all fancy or hire a professional photographer. You can put together a charming, cheery photo on your own by creating your own DIY photobooth, borrowing a friend (or a tripod) and downloading a decent photo editing app. Here’s everything you need to pull it off. 

 

Grab a friend or a tripod

 

Surely you have a pal who will do you the solid of snapping like, ten photos of you. Give them a couple beers, they give you 30 minutes of their time. If you don’t have any friends or aren’t in the mood to bother the ones you do have, invest in a cheap tripod for your smartphone. For $10.99, Amazon Prime has an “Octopus style” portable and adjustable tripod stand holder for smartphones that you can set up as needed. Then all you need to do is set the photo timer on your phone, which you can do by opening your photo app, tapping the timer icon in the top right and selecting three or ten seconds.  

 

Create your own backdrop

Pick out a blank wall in your home that will serve as the backdrop for your photo. It’s up to you how you want to decorate it. Simple but effective options include taping festive wrapping paper or colorful tissue paper, tacking up a sheath of fabric, hanging streamers, stringing holiday lights, the list goes on. This is where Pinterest comes in! (And if you’re too lazy to do it yourself, you can always order a themed photobooth kit, backdrops, props and all, off Amazon Prime.)

Gather your props

These will depend on your theme, whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, etc, but definitely do not spend much moola on photobooth props. Source Party City, the dollar store, or Amazon Prime to find your goofy wigs, Santa hats, plastic menorahs, 2018 glasses, ball drops, you get the idea.  

Get the lighting right 

Last but not least, you gotta pick out a lighting scheme. Don’t rely on overhead lighting; you’ll need a light source you can aim directly on your photobooth to make sure your photo is bright enough. A tree lamp with adjustable spotlights, as will a work light that you can clamp on to where you need it. If you need to dim the light, you can cover it with a white sheet — just make sure it’s not directly touching the bulb so 2017 doesn’t go up in flames. 

Final edits

Once you’ve taken a photo you don’t hate, you can touch it up on Instagram or with a free iPhone photo editing app like VSCO or Adobe Photoshop Express. You can create a custom holiday card at the photo department of any Walgreen’s, or do it on your phone with apps such as Pic Collage, Greetings, or Just Wink. Print and you’re done! 

 
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