Postcards are a great way to share your memories and thoughts, but sometimes the ones you see in stores are not that exciting or are too generic and don’t speak about your personal experience.
A custom postcard with your beautiful photos on it will make a huge impression on your friends and loved ones. Here are some quick tips to make your own.
Step 1. Fine-tuning the photo.
A good photo postcard starts with a nice photo. Choose anything that has some relevance for you and the recipient: an image from your last trip, your time together with family, a special place, and so on.
Depending on the original image and the subject, you may want to make some adjustments. Use any image editor you feel comfortable with, such as Photoshop or GIMP.
If the photo features a landscape for example, you could increase contrast and saturation to make the postcard more eye catching. If people are the main focus, you could crop the original a little to give the impression of bringing the subject closer to the viewer.
Step 2. Creating the postcard.
Start a new document with 300 pixels per inch resolution and CMYK as the color mode. Both landscape and portrait orientation can work well for postcards, and you can choose either of them depending on your photo.
As for the postcard’s size, common dimensions are 4” x 6” and 5” x 7.” These dimensions work nicely for photo prints as well.
Open your photo and duplicate it to the new document. Adjust placement and size it to fit it to the postcard, making sure to keep all important elements well within the borders to avoid cropping.
Step 3. Making the back.
To make the back, you simply have to create another document with the same specifications as the front of your postcard. Draw the vertical line that will separate the address and the message and place it slightly off center. Then create the four horizontal address guides in the same manner.
Step 4. Home printing.
Glossy paper doesn’t make for great postcards because it’s easily marred by fingerprints. Instead, choose either matte or luster paper. Luster is especially nice because it retains some of the shine of glossy finish but is more practical for handling.
Test on plain paper before printing on your postcard stock to ensure colors, framing, and everything else is as you want it. When you finish printing the front, flip the sheet to print the back of the postcard.
Step 5. Online printing.
Online printing will save you time and money because you won’t have to set up your own printer, buy paper and ink, and test the print job until you get it right.
If time and money are tight, this might be the best solution. These are a few sites that will print postcards with your own photos on them: Print Place and Print Runner. You will just have to upload the pictures and select the preferred format for the postcard.
Step 6. Prints and stickers.
Another simple and fun way to make postcards with your pictures is to actually turn your prints into postcards with the aid of postcard backings.
Postcard backings are cardstock stickers, perfect to stick on the back of your photos. They are easy to apply and come in multi-packs of two different sizes, 4” x 6” and 5” x 7,” which are both standard for prints.
The postcard backings are available for purchase from online retail stores.
Photos are what make the postcard.
Purchasing a postcard to send to your family and friends can be fun, but sending them your own photos is even better. Even if the photo is far from flawless, it will definitely make a unique memento.
Sample photo by Andreas Krappweis. Edited in Photoshop CS5.