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Old 08-26-2013, 07:23 AM   #1  
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Default How do you make a "wow" card?

My cards get very few comments. I'm ok with that however I would love to make the kind of cards that would get some honest wows. What would the ingredients be for a "wow" card if you were writing a recipe? I know opinions vary but maybe I could adjust the recipe each person submits and make my own from scratch! Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:44 AM   #2  
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Hmmm... I know what you mean. Some cards just get so much attention! I don't know if it is more a case of personal taste or presentation.

I know it seems that the pictures taken that are close up and well lit set off any card to an advantage, they appear closer, bigger and brighter. The details are easier to see than a photo taken further away. I have stopped posting cards here, using Pinterest instead with my phone. It is easier to take a close picture and way easy to upload to Pinterest than here now. I find anyway.

As far as 'recipes' I don't know if there is one that is a tried and true, as it were. It always seems that the busy, many layered ,lacy, blingy... cards get heaps of comments but they aren't my personal style. My 'wow' card is probably a bit plainer but I seem to need sparkle or bling of some kind on mine.

Not sure that helps you at all!
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:11 AM   #3  
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I was going to say for me, it's always by accident.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:12 AM   #4  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by ceramicat1View Post
I was going to say for me, it's always by accident.
I've noticed that some of my cards that got more comments are sometimes the ones I like the least!

I do agree with CardMaker about bling and sparkle. Also about presentation. I may try the phone camera idea as well.

Keep the ideas coming! I appreciate it and I am taking notes!
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:32 AM   #5  
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I haven't done much stamping or posting lately but I found that challenge cards (SCS and some blogs) and using keywords can help with views and comments. Since there are so many cards uploaded daily, there are some who only look at certain keywords. I only look at CAS (clean and simple) and SUO (SU only). I just don't have time to look at all the cards. I agree with cardmaker2 about close well-lit photos.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:08 PM   #6  
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I've noticed three main things about "wow" cards: one, they are submitted as part of a weekly challenge and so there is a lot of traffic from dedicated followers, and two, they are submitted earlier on in the day of said challenge so more people see them, and three, they look attractive in a thumbnail size in the gallery, which makes people want to see it up close. Sometimes I've looked at a thumbnail image of my cards to gage how balanced it is etc. when I'm feeling stumped over it or if it seems that something's not quite right, and it can really help.

Now as for creating a "wow" card in the first place, well, that's where the magic and mystery is... I know in the (very few!) times I've made something I'm really pleased with, I just know right away that it will be something striking but it's always a bit of a happy accident and I can't really predict how to achieve something like that the next time. There are of course certain artsy 'rules' of proportion etc. that help, but with the cards that make me go "wow" there's always something else too, some kind of originality that really makes me sit up and take notice. I so admire those cardmakers who can consistently turn out amazing stuff and end up on design teams and such, because I know it's a rare gift! Me, I'm happy if I can manage to make one or two nice ones a year.

By the way, Muscrat, I have seen your cards in the galleries and they're great! Life's been getting in the way of me participating in the galleries for a while so I haven't been leaving any comments for anyone, but keep creating and keep on enjoying the thrill of inspiration!
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:39 PM   #7  
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Originally Posted by HallupinoView Post
I've noticed three main things about "wow" cards: one, they are submitted as part of a weekly challenge and so there is a lot of traffic from dedicated followers, and two, they are submitted earlier on in the day of said challenge so more people see them, and three, they look attractive in a thumbnail size in the gallery, which makes people want to see it up close. Sometimes I've looked at a thumbnail image of my cards to gage how balanced it is etc. when I'm feeling stumped over it or if it seems that something's not quite right, and it can really help.

Now as for creating a "wow" card in the first place, well, that's where the magic and mystery is... I know in the (very few!) times I've made something I'm really pleased with, I just know right away that it will be something striking but it's always a bit of a happy accident and I can't really predict how to achieve something like that the next time. There are of course certain artsy 'rules' of proportion etc. that help, but with the cards that make me go "wow" there's always something else too, some kind of originality that really makes me sit up and take notice. I so admire those cardmakers who can consistently turn out amazing stuff and end up on design teams and such, because I know it's a rare gift! Me, I'm happy if I can manage to make one or two nice ones a year.

By the way, Muscrat, I have seen your cards in the galleries and they're great! Life's been getting in the way of me participating in the galleries for a while so I haven't been leaving any comments for anyone, but keep creating and keep on enjoying the thrill of inspiration!
Very good point! I did challenges one summer and found way more interest in my cards, as well as I took more interest in cards others were making.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:37 PM   #8  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by HallupinoView Post
I've noticed three main things about "wow" cards: one, they are submitted as part of a weekly challenge and so there is a lot of traffic from dedicated followers, and two, they are submitted earlier on in the day of said challenge so more people see them, and three, they look attractive in a thumbnail size in the gallery, which makes people want to see it up close. Sometimes I've looked at a thumbnail image of my cards to gage how balanced it is etc. when I'm feeling stumped over it or if it seems that something's not quite right, and it can really help.

Now as for creating a "wow" card in the first place, well, that's where the magic and mystery is... I know in the (very few!) times I've made something I'm really pleased with, I just know right away that it will be something striking but it's always a bit of a happy accident and I can't really predict how to achieve something like that the next time. There are of course certain artsy 'rules' of proportion etc. that help, but with the cards that make me go "wow" there's always something else too, some kind of originality that really makes me sit up and take notice. I so admire those cardmakers who can consistently turn out amazing stuff and end up on design teams and such, because I know it's a rare gift! Me, I'm happy if I can manage to make one or two nice ones a year.

By the way, Muscrat, I have seen your cards in the galleries and they're great! Life's been getting in the way of me participating in the galleries for a while so I haven't been leaving any comments for anyone, but keep creating and keep on enjoying the thrill of inspiration!
Extremely good points! I spend a lot of time CASing because I am not as talented in originality. But these points you've mentioned have helped a lot! Thanks for responding.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:40 PM   #9  
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I don't think there is any rhyme or reason for a WOW card...it just happens now and then. You definitely get more comments if you do a challenge. Everyone in the challenge looks at the other cards in the challenge. Then they try to leave comments for one another. Kind of an etiquette in the challenges. Most of the time I participate in the Teapot Tuesday challenges and I leave a comment on every card. I know that takes a lot of time but it's because of the nature of the challenge I do that. The more cards you make the more often you will turn out one of those wow cards. I have seen your cards in the galleries and you do a great job. I've left comments on your cards. Keep up the good work and I'll see you in the galleries!
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:52 PM   #10  
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thank you for your kind comments. I was hesitant about asking how to make a wow card because I worried that someone might think I was just trying to get comments and that is not my intention at all. I've just seen so many wow cards and wondered if it was something I could ever achieve.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:43 PM   #11  
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My own thoughts...
There's a difference between a WOW card and one that gets a lot of comments, and I know from your last post, Kathy, that you're making that distinction.
I'd agree with Hallupino in that for me, WOW cards just happen. I know I can't sit down and set out to create one. I think two of my 3 most-viewed cards are white-on-white, and that's always striking. But I was just having fun when I made them .
Take out three cards with a lot of views because one was the basis for a sketch challenge, one for a tutorial and one for a TLC challenge, and I can't figure out why some of the other most-viewed cards in my gallery got as many views as they did!!
Maybe you could go to the gallery of someone whose work you particularly admire and sort by number of views (or favourites) and see if you can spot a pattern. Sorting by views (or favourites) gives a more realistic idea of the wow factor than comments.
Daily challenges is definitely where more comments come in, though .
TBH I think the harder you try the less likely you are to achieve it. Just enjoy it when it happens all by itself.
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:22 AM   #12  
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For me, photo editing is key. If I see a card that I really like but it's dark and not edited I will probably skip it. I want to see bright and true colors! If you edit your photos (it's super easy with some automatic settings on some programs) they are likely to look much more attractive...even if your card isn't your favorite! I always add a fuzzy border to mine as well. I think that helps them stand out and I just like the way it looks!
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:55 AM   #13  
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These are awesome points. I need to make a list!

Minders, I agree with the photo editing point. When I made the one layer card (I think it was that one?) for DTGD I posted the first picture because I needed to get it posted and had so much trouble getting a good picture. Then I finally was able to get a good picture and posted that one and liked it much better.

Sabrina, I think white on white really does Wow me...gives that extra elegance to some cards. I need to write this stuff down, but I also need to remember that you can't force it. I think if I have these ideas, though, I can put them together and see what I can come up with.
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:09 AM   #14  
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These are the cards I was talking about. The first one is the bad picture one. The second is a better picture of the same card. I am not the greatest photographer, but I really do need a new camera!
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:10 AM   #15  
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Quote:

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These are the cards I was talking about. The first one is the bad picture one. The second is a better picture of the same card. I am not the greatest photographer, but I really do need a new camera!
I actually just use my phone then edit them...no one will ever know, lol!
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:19 AM   #16  
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Quote:

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These are the cards I was talking about. The first one is the bad picture one. The second is a better picture of the same card. I am not the greatest photographer, but I really do need a new camera!
I like the second one better too ! You should probably just have edited the original upload and replaced it with the second picture. That's what I do if I have to take a night picture and then replace it with a daylight one when I can. (Sometimes I even say it when I'm uploading - "will replace with a daylight picture tomorrow"). And then you don't have duplicate photos in the gallery .


Have you checked out the photo-editing tutorial in Resources: Splitcoaststampers - Tutorials.
Unless it's a truly atrocious camera there's a lot you can with even a fairly *basic editing package - and a good lighting set-up.


*GIMP isn't basic, but it is free and it's practically as good as PhotoShop.
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:34 AM   #17  
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I thought of just removing the one but I was afraid I'd mess something up for DTGD challenge and didn't want to take the chance because I was working on being a Queen! LOL

I have taken some with my phone already and then emailed them to myself. I havent figured out how to post directly from my phone.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:41 AM   #18  
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My DH put a Microsoft Office package on this laptop when he was in seminary so I use Microsoft Picture Manager to get my photos to the right size for posting, but I find I can manage the color/brightness fairly well with just Windows Photo Gallery. Another thing that has helped me a LOT is making a light box in which to take pictures at any time. I used a tutorial like this one to make mine from stuff I had on hand and just had to purchase the lights for it (these were about $8 each at the local hardware store).
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:33 AM   #19  
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How to have a "wow" card?

Most of what I would say is mentioned...but I have a summary that I try to keep in my mind.

One...the picture has to be top-notch. I'm not a master at this point, but I do try. It has to be clear (in focus). It has to have a good exposure (bright, not dark). The colors have to be accurate.

Two...the thumbnail has to be appealing...jump off the page at you...make you want to open it up to see more. Face it, a lot is lost when it goes down to the tiny size. If the original photo at large size is dark, the thumbnail will seem darker. And your photo editing needs to put just the right amount of space around the finished card. Pickletree did a really good tutorial on photographing your cards right here:
http:////www.splitcoaststampers.com/...s-t515388.html
There have been other good tutorials on various blogs as well.

Three...this is just for me, but maybe you respond the same way. I like titles for the card that entice me to open it up! Just sayin'...

Four...and this is a fact, though not necessarily a fun one to deal with. But well known names as cardmakers get more views. Beate gets lots of views on her cards and I'm sure it's because they're always wonderful, but also because of who she is. Same with Biggan, and Jeanne S, and lots more that I could name. HOWEVER, with good pictures and playing the challenges...then you BECOME a "big name".

Five...Do the challenges on the day that they're posted, and post as early in the day as possible.

Six...Post often!

There's my two cents worth. Doing challenges gets you more comments. Good photography gets you more views. Card design gets you more favorites. You don't necessarily get all three on every card!

But I think the photo quality and playing the challenges promptly are your best bet.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:03 AM   #20  
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I think it's really about colors and light of the card that catches the eye (especially if you just seeing a thumbnail in somebody's gallery)... yes, white on white is striking, but you have to see it up close to appreciate it..
Regular light bulbs are usually yellow/warm white and that distorts the colors of your card.
We have cold white light bulbs in our kitchen now, so that's where I take pictures of my cards now and I rarely have to fiddle with color setting when editing.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:06 AM   #21  
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I was also going to say this...

Go to the gallery and see what it is about the thumbnail that makes you want to open it. And see what makes you skip over it. Then you know what makes for an eye-catching card. Because the thumbnail is a make or break issue.

Then once you open those thumbnails what is it that makes that card outstanding to you. Because it isn't an issue of the "right" sketch or colors or anything else. Individual taste figures into the equation more than you think.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:29 AM   #22  
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You know I never really thought about the thumbnails but you are soooo right. I skim down through the gallery and I'm not sure what it is that makes me click to see it closer, but I sure am going to pay attention now! I never thought much about titles, as you can guess by my non-creative ones! You have made some excellent points. Thanks for your input! I have quite the list going!
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Old 08-27-2013, 01:45 PM   #23  
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Great thread...all are very helpful points. I use Picasa to edit my photos and have great luck with it. Don't know or understand what makes a 'WOW' card....a lot is playing in the challenges. So often I post a card that I don't really like that much and it does well and then I post a card that I love and it does so-so with comments so personal preference is a big factor in the scheme of things. Just keep creating and having fun and posting because you love doing it.....
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:23 PM   #24  
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What a great thread. And I agree, sometimes it really just a difference in how well you're able to photograph the card. I have a fancy SRL camera, but lately, I've found the pictures I take with my iPhone are just as good. For me a lot of times the Wow factor is in the technique, especially coloring with markers. And more and more, the clean and simple cards are having a bigger wow factor for me.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:12 AM   #25  
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Kathy, I had a look at your gallery and I would say the main thing you can do to improve your photos is to crop them so that the card fills up most of the space of the thumbnail. That way viewers will see a larger image of the card in the gallery. Your cards only fill up a small part of the thumbnail so they are harder to see.

When I first started posting on SCS, I got very few comments. As I got more involved, I started doing challenges and commenting on others' cards. The challenges definitely resulted in more comments. And it seemed to me it took a while for people to notice me. We all find stampers who make cards that appeal to our personal style and we gravitate to looking at their cards so I get comments from a lot of the same people. Personal taste is a big part of it!

Above all, don't be discouraged and keep on posting!
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:09 AM   #26  
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I so agree, don't give up!
Please remember too, that the number of comments doesn't mean you haven't made a WOW card. I am often so surprised to see fabulous cards in the gallery that have no comments at all.

I find that for the most part, people are commenting less on blogs and here at SCS. There are also seasons when we are all busier elsewhere. I think the previous poster gave great advice and I agree. Pick a challenge to take part in each week (the color challenge is a good one to start with), and leave lots of comments yourself on the cards of those who participate. HTH!
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:30 PM   #27  
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Susan thanks for that idea! I will try to remember to crop my pictures! I hadn't thought of that. I wonder if it would also work to just get it as close as I can to the picture? I'm not sure my camera would do that without blurring, but I'm going to work on the photographing and see how that works. I love how some people stage their cards with cute things in the picture..teddy bears, frames, jewels, and such)
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:30 PM   #28  
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Kathy..you have some lovely cards..I've seen them in the challenge galleries. Another suggestion about taking pictures..I see you usually use a light box..I, too, started out like that..got one from Amazon but the lights that came with it didn't provide enough light. I played around with taking pictures and found out for me that the best ones are done using natural daylight (if possible)...I use a point and shoot digital camera...turn the flash off (close up setting..it's the flower on my camera) and take 6-7 pictures from slightly different angles. For my backdrop I rigged up my Score pal covered with a white or black fabric (came with the lightbox accessories)..it's up against my Cuttlebug and has a box wedged in there to prop up the card which I place on top (clear as mud, huh?)..I take the photo near a window. After my pictures are uploaded I used Picasa to crop and adjust..they have a feature called "I'm Feeling Lucky" that works quite well to do all the adjustment for you. As for that perfect formula..make what pleases you ..the object is to have fun
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:33 PM   #29  
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Now as for a wow card... I think it is that small touch that sends it from ordinary to extraordinary.

Sometimes it is as simple as a white gel pen to highlight an edge.

I have noticed when I go through something like a copic tutorial that my instinct is to stop just short of what would make it wow. That final step.

So yes I agree with everyone, the more you make the better you will get at making a wow card because you will get more comfortable with going that extra step. And embrace the experience of getting to Wow. If I ever get there, I will let you know!
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:25 PM   #30  
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For me a WOW card just sometimes happens. However, after thinking about it, I once told a friend of mine that a lot of pieces makes an interesting card. So, a lot of pieces, an interesting design (look at card sketches on SCS). Also a good contrast of light and dark colors so focal points pop. I also like die cuts used on my cards... even if it's just one.... such as a nestability that you stamp the main image on. Good embellishments help.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:49 PM   #31  
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I've often wondered this too. All I can say is to try and copy the masters. Try copying people who always win challenges like paper crafts magazine blog or moxie fab world, mojo Monday or other big blog challenges and see if you can take from their card elements you like that might jazz up your cards. I do that to some extent but at the same time, I want to be myself and remain original. Chupa (Iwona Palamountain) wins practically everything so I'd start there. The PTI designers are also masters and the PC mag Go-To gals.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:54 PM   #32  
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Originally Posted by peeps321View Post
Kathy..you have some lovely cards..I've seen them in the challenge galleries. Another suggestion about taking pictures..I see you usually use a light box..I, too, started out like that..got one from Amazon but the lights weren't bright enough
You can get task lights with day light bulbs to replace the cheapy ones that don't put out enough light for fairly cheap. I've heard at a hardware store for as little as $15 each.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:56 AM   #33  
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Susan thanks for that idea! I will try to remember to crop my pictures! I hadn't thought of that. I wonder if it would also work to just get it as close as I can to the picture? I'm not sure my camera would do that without blurring, but I'm going to work on the photographing and see how that works. I love how some people stage their cards with cute things in the picture..teddy bears, frames, jewels, and such)
Yes, getting close to the card is important but a sharp image is more important so I find I always need to crop my photo before posting - if I go to close when I'm taking the picture, it will blur. Does your camera have a close-up setting? If so, that will help enable you to get closer.

As for your other comment about staging cards with cute things in the picture - personally I find that takes too much time, and when I'm looking at cards in the gallery, it is just a distraction. Again it comes back to letting your card fill most of the frame so that people can see it in the thumbnail.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:56 AM   #34  
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Yes, getting close to the card is important but a sharp image is more important so I find I always need to crop my photo before posting - if I go to close when I'm taking the picture, it will blur. Does your camera have a close-up setting? If so, that will help enable you to get closer.

As for your other comment about staging cards with cute things in the picture - personally I find that takes too much time, and when I'm looking at cards in the gallery, it is just a distraction. Again it comes back to letting your card fill most of the frame so that people can see it in the thumbnail.
TRUE STORY ABOUT PROP STAGING

There is a blog I follow that stages her cards with props... when I first followed her I kept thinking she was having trouble with her blog and reposting the same post every day... it took me a while to realize that the the cards were changing and the props were seasonal. Especially as I view blogs through a reader and was only getting thumbnails!!!!

Thus, I'm of the K.I.S.S. mentality. At the moment I photograph my cards right beside where I work. I'm working on making a more dedicated space. I have in the past made a collapsible white box out of 12x12 card stock. I just can't be bothered at the moment.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:58 PM   #35  
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Susan thanks for that idea! I will try to remember to crop my pictures! I hadn't thought of that. I wonder if it would also work to just get it as close as I can to the picture? I'm not sure my camera would do that without blurring, but I'm going to work on the photographing and see how that works. I love how some people stage their cards with cute things in the picture..teddy bears, frames, jewels, and such)
the problem with getting closer is you could run into depth of field issues... it's much easier in the long run to be in focus with good lighting ( preferably daylight but, a light box will do) and just crop it, then re-size. that works for me.

sometimes, I stage them but, most of time no. I want the card to be the star of the show.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:31 AM   #36  
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the problem with getting closer is you could run into depth of field issues... it's much easier in the long run to be in focus with good lighting ( preferably daylight but, a light box will do) and just crop it, then re-size. that works for me.

sometimes, I stage them but, most of time no. I want the card to be the star of the show.
I've never figured out how to have my pictures taken in the smaller size, so an added benefit of taking a larger picture and cropping it is that it also gets the size of my picture down to the acceptable size for uploading without having to use the resizing feature.
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:27 PM   #37  
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Cropping with Picasa is super easy....
I use a lightbox...got it on Ebay for $20 and it folds flat...I use Ott lights....
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:36 AM   #38  
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I've never figured out how to have my pictures taken in the smaller size, so an added benefit of taking a larger picture and cropping it is that it also gets the size of my picture down to the acceptable size for uploading without having to use the resizing feature.
Gail, what kind of a camera do you have? usually that's a setting on the camera as far as what kind of a file it will shoot and save. I shoot in RAW and they are huge files, but if I wanted to I could shoot in Jpeg and there are different quality levels for that.

because, its a pain to remember to reset that setting I just shoot everything RAW then turn them into jpegs on export from lightroom to upload things, then you don't run into the issue of hey can you shoot this mug shot and find out later the white balance was off and you cannot fix it or have a file too small to print. I have been there and done that. I know it's more work and people roll their eyes when I tell them I shoot it all RAW but, as a control freak the being able to fix things is a plus later.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:29 PM   #39  
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Here's my list top ten list!

1.Cant force it. It mostly just happens. And sometimes mistakes are the best thing ever!

2.Use neat, crisp, clean images.

3.White on white is almost always appealing.

4.Have an appealing title that would make someone WANT to check it out closer.

5.Have a regular photo spot for taking pictures. Have good lighting.

6.Crop pictures to show only the card if possible. This makes thumbnails say get a closer look!

7.Edit pictures as needed (could use a blur on the edges, etc.)

8.Make colors appealing.

9.Embellishments entice you to look closer. (Die cuts, ribbons, sewing, white gel pens for edging)

10.Special folds and new techniques usually make me want to try something new.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:20 PM   #40  
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I never get comments either and I don't worry about it but right now on my FB page I have the most "likes" for my card I made yesterday and to me it's not a "wow" card LOL!!! so IDK either
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