How to create a holiday greeting card with iPhoto

Yesterday I explained how to create a great-looking, custom holiday greeting card with your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Today I’ll explain how to do the same with iPhoto. Apple’s consumer-level image library software will help you make a nice holiday card with your own photo(s) and text that grandma and grandpa will love. Plus, working on your Mac is much easier than the  iPhone’s or iPad’s smaller screen.

Here’s how to create greeting cards with iPhoto.

Pick a Photo

The first step is to find the photo(s) you’d like to use. If your family is like mine, getting that perfect image included bribery and/or crying and/or swearing you’ll never do this again and next year we’re hiring a professional photographer for the LOVE OF GOD. While everyone’s trying to calm down, open iPhoto and click the shot you’d like to use. Then, follow these steps.

  1. Click Create in the bottom toolbar. The create menu appears. Select Card.
  2. The card selection screen appears, in all its wooden tabletop goodness.
  3. Select the type of card you’d like: letterpress, folded or flat.
  4. Choose a design option from the 31 (letterpress) or nine (folded and flat) available. Use the drop-down menu or navigation arrows to preview each.

The bottom of the card selection screen provides additional information, like the type, size and cost of your selection. You can also get a thumbnail preview of how it’s going to look. There are a couple type-specific features, too.

First, the letterpress preview includes a video of how those cards are made. It doesn’t affect the creation process, but there it is.

Also, the folded and flat templates have buttons to control orientation (landscape or portrait) and text field color (black or white). Select any of those options by clicking the corresponding icons on the “table.”

Once you’re happy with your selection, click Create.

Customize Your Card

iPhoto offers a lot of customization options. Much more than Cards for iPhone and iPad does. Let’s start with the image(s) itself.

Edit Your Photo

To edit the picture you’ve chosen, click it once to select it. Several options appear. First, you can use the slider to adjust the mask and zoom in on a certain section or pull all the way back. You can also apply a black & white, sepia or antique filter. If that’s not enough, click Edit Photo to produce iPhoto’s full compliment of editing tools.

It’s possible to add more photos at this point. Just click anywhere on the “table” to reveal the selector tool above your card. Click the left side for additional photo options, or click the right to swap text color from dark to light.

The contextual menu also offers several options. Right-click (or Control-click) on your image to reveal options to resize your photo, produce a mirror image, show/hide layout options and more.

Edit Your Message

You can edit the inside (or back) of your card as well. Just click it and the text options appear on that sweet, sweet mahogany surface to the right. There are several fonts, styles and sizes to choose from, as well as color, alignment, kerning (the space between letters) and the space between lines. When you’re done, click the table again to confirm your changes.


Other Changes

Here are a few other options available.

  1. Rename your card. By default, iPhoto names your card with the creation date. If you create many, that’s not very helpful. To re-name a card, double-click its title, type your new name and hit Return.
  2. Browse general information. Hover your mouse cursor over the card’s title to see a drop-down window of information, including the card’s theme, type and size.
  3. Change the theme. You can change the theme at any time by clicking Change Theme in the upper right.
  4. Use the Navigator. If iPhoto can’t display both the front and inside/back of your card simultaneously (it can’t on my 11″ MacBook Air), use the Navigator to adjust your position. It pops up when you click either side of the card and can be repositioned on the screen. It responds to a multi-touch swipe.

Buy It!

When all is looking good, click Buy Card to be brought to the checkout screen. If you’re happy, click Check Out and off it goes.

It’s true that Apple’s cards aren’t cheap, so you might not want to send them to all 70 people on your list. But those who do receive them will appreciate the work you did. Have fun designing your own holiday cards.

Thanks for reading. You’ll find more tech-y “how-to’s” here.

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