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1. The first ingredient that one needs for making photographic greeting cards are some photographic images worthy of the task.
One of the nicer things about the digital revolution in photography is that you can put together great pictures right on your computer without all those chemicals. But don't feel that digital is the only way to go, it isn't. An old-fashioned SLR camera still produces great, sharp pictures and the technology is there, if you should choose to scan a negative or transparency and still produce a digital image such as Photoshop Elements, gives you great results. By creative efforts into that split second, when you click the shutter I would think that time spent searching out the subject matter and aligning each composition is more important than photographic manipulation after the picture is taken.
2. Next comes the creation of the photograph on real photographic paper.
Unless you are into mass production, this is the logical way to go. You can do this at home with a specially made photographic printer or you can go to a quality photo lab and have them make the photograph for you. You will probably choose either a 3"X5" or a 4" X6" image. The 4 X6 is probably the most common size and actually, the photo lab is probably the most cost-effective. Their equipment is most likely going to be much better than anything that you are willing to buy, and they can still match or beat what it cost you to print each picture.
For example, let's say you have already purchased a photographic printer. After the cost of the printer the cents for a 4X6 print. If you go to a lab, they will make the same size image for an identical price. Without a doubt, they will produce a sharper image. Of course, there are always those iconoclasts, who might buy a cheap camera, then make their own photograph of a standard photo printer and relish in the fact that it is a "soft-focus" arty product. The key here is to know how to get the desired final product that you want. If you want to make rustic images from a pinhole camera, then is an artistic choice that you are perfectly free to make.
Card Stock and Envelopes
3. I have found that there are two general directions to go with card stock or the actual card that the photograph will be adhered to.
Card stock comes in actual weights. You will probably want to use anywhere from 50 weight up to around a hundredweight stock. The stiff paper will come in varying sizes and colors, so the best solution is to go to the nearest paper supplier and pick out your choice of color and thickness. Always lean towards the heavier stock, for saving money here is not a good way to go. You definitely will want a final product that does not warp or wilt. I often buy my card stock already cut and folded at 15 cents apiece for a 5 X 7 card. For those people, who live miles from nowhere, you can purchase card stock via the internet.
4. A more creative way to go is to buy heavyweight paper.
I have gone to an art supply store and come away with scores of discounted sheets of watercolor paper at very affordable prices. I like to use 90 or 140 weight paper and the larger the outside dimensions are, the more pieces I can cut or tear from one sheet of paper. Once you are in the art store you will probably see many types of paper you can use as backing. Drawing paper, printmaking paper, and even construction paper can be used to make the card, but I tend to shy away from construction paper. This is mainly done because I don't particularly like the color of most of these types of paper. If rice paper catches your eye, remember that this item alone will not make a good card. However, rice paper attached to a card stock as a secondary backing makes a wonderful product. It all depends on how much time you are willing to put into the effort. This principle also applies, when you are buying large sheets of watercolor paper with the intention of producing a half dozen cards or more from each piece of paper. It will take more time to prepare the paper, but the results might be worth the effort.
5. Also, you might be interested in purchasing ready-made cards with windows that you can slide your photograph directly into.
They are simple and create a wonderful final product, but are considerably more expensive than any of the previous options.