how to ruin your christmas card picture.

The whole Christmas card picture thing is getting a little old. I feel like we need to send a picture -- we have relatives who we don't see often, blah blah blah. How else do we make people's fridges throughout 2011? I will not be forgotten.

But I'm tired of the pictures.

Chuck and I don't really take great pictures together. A lot of it stems from his height issues. He doesn't really fit in a view finder. And if he does, then I'm cut off and, yadda yadda yadda, I just prefer to take then be taken (which is a devastating conclusion for a middle kid to come to).

And besides, who really wants to see yet another picture of us? Most of our friends are sending pictures of adorable babies and toddlers and we have another 43 years before that card goes out. I dunno (yep, dunno) why it seems weird to me anymore. Sending a picture of just us is starting to seem awkward.

Awkward led me to awkward family photos which led me to this:

Really, it was a logical step.

I've had a plethora of questions about this picture, not so much why (because it's expected) but how. Obviously, the tacky/amazing outfits were Value Village finds. Chuck is wearing his Waldo glasses and pants, and apparently my strong Bellevue upbringing carries into thrift store shopping -- the 2nd hand jacket is an old Nordstrom brand original. Holla. My skirt is also velvet, in case you were wondering.

Here is the original picture that my sister was lovingly forced into taking:

And then the photoshopping began. I've never done photoshop step by step so don't hold your breath. Mostly, this is just to show that this kind of awful perfection doesn't happen on accident...

I cropped the original to a 4x6, down to a managable area to mess with and destroy.

I used Photoshop Elements which is baby photoshop for $70. It's all you need unless you are an amazing photographer who does it for a living. Otherwise, own this. Put it on your xmas list.

Next, I ran a Pioneer Woman action called Fresh and Clean. It's basically like running a macro. That didn't help did it? "Actions" are quick ways to edit pictures. Someone goes through and records all the steps to instantly clean a pictures and then lovingly shares it. This action brighten colors and softens skin. My heart beats for it.

I did some fancy, techy stuff next that I won't bore you with, like adjusting shadows and midtones to make everything perfect. Just know it happened.

My face, as always, needed work. I wanted to have too much blush on for an extra sappy face but I didn't want to hassle with actually using make up, so I added pink paint. After I did this,

I cut the pink down to this. I also did this with my lips to make myself look unnatural. It's the look I was going for. My friends may (may) sometimes request makeup changes in photoshop before hitting the blog. Photoshop is a miracle, even though I'm using it for cheesy evil here.
Next, I wanted to blur the whole picture so it was soft and frosty. I overblurred it and then adjusted it back down until it looked horribly perfect.

I ran another PW action here: Lovely and Ethereal. It softens skin, adds a glows, and a bit of blur. It works great on babies, Lucys, and tacky xmas cards.
I also wanted the room to look more festive but at $8 a piece on Thanksgiving, I wasn't about to buy more poinsettias. So, I added more. Here, I selected the one.

And copied him to make two.
Two wasn't enough. So I copied the second one, flipped him vertically, and stuck him in front of me. 3 poinsettias for the price of one. Win.
I needed a little more tacky, so I selected the background behind us, and blurred only it. Nothing is tackier than blurred background that isn't naturally created. Trust me on this.

For the horrible feathered edges, I selected a frame around our picture, feathered it, and then deleted it to show the white background behind it.

Hideous feature.

Add a little text and now that is a Christmas Card picture that I can stand behind.

I would like to apologize, publicly, if any of the following pertains to you:
1. You love holiday sweaters.
2. You love feathered edges on photos.
3. You love over-processing.

Aside from that Merry Christmas from your favorite nerds.


  1. again with the 6:15am post - I'm reporting you. :) Love it. Thanks for spilling the beans.

  2. OK. Can I steal this for our card next year?

  3. This is the best Christmas picture - Jason and I have it on our fridge and it made us laugh and smile :) Merry Christmas!


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