Such is the case for holiday cards. Once a year it's catch up time with dozens of folks you rarely see plus the "core set" of recipients.
About five years ago, when I first started shooting photos in digital, we decided to send out a collage of black and white photos from the year. Rather than writing a newsletter, the pictures would tell the story. Since then, every year, we review a year's worth of shots, pick about ten, and then I assemble them in an "artistic fashion." I print a few dozen 4x6 images, cut them from the glossy paper, glue or insert them into blanks cards, etc.
The end result is great and we frame each year's collage for display in the house.
But what a hassle!
This year I made a few changes. First we sat down and reviewed the year's shots in iPhoto and gave those "worthy" a five star rating. I then created a smart album of five star photos and exported them to the desktop.
I did the image assembly on my notebook using Photoshop Elements. I usually use Paint Shop Pro but hey, why not try something new? PE was easy to use and it provided more flexibility with less clicks for collage assembly. I resized and placed the photos on a new "canvas" in PE and saved it as a very hi-res PSD file. I then selected each photo and ran a color remove function on them. Saved it again and now I had a good hi-resolution b&w source image.
Rather than print, cut and glue this year, with the ridiculuous ink and paper prices out there, never mind the time it takes, I decided to look at cardstore.com. At cardstore, you can upload an image and get the cards printed, even mailed, right from there. Nice!
We didn't have all of our recipients in an Excel file, etc. so I went for the "blank card in a blank envelope" option. Maybe next year.
One problem - I uploaded this 1.5Mb image into the cardstore site and it kept telling me it was too low of a resolution. It was close to 3000 pixels across! Nasty bug, so I Ieft, my electronic shopping cart abandoned in the electronic aisle.
Next I tried Ofoto, where we have printed and shared quite a few albums. Sure enough they had a product to print and ship cards, with envelopes. I went for the 5x7 card with a full bleed to the edge. The photo uploaded fine. I added some text on the inside and paid for 40 cards. That was it.
They still need to be addessed and signed but so far it was a major time saver, plus the image is a full bleed to the edge of the card - nice!
Interestingly, the Ofoto site says it is powered by cardstore - although apparently not the part with the image uploading bug.