Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making Photo Cards

Last February I wrote about the photo cards I make for friends, family and interested folks, the latter for them to use as gifts, thank you cards, announcements, etc. Well, then I realized I owed about a dozen people 10-card box sets, some more than one box.

So I started the process, which is, producing the images, making (4x6) prints, making cards, labelling cards, packaging the cards, and then mailing them. Well last winter after making the ~540 prints and two boxes of cards I gave up. It took weeks to produce 6 prints of about 90 images. And the prints sat, through the spring and then the summer.

And now in the fall and Christmas on the horizon, I decided to finish the project. I realize I could find easy ways to make the cards, mostly paying an on-line company to download images and print the cards. That's the route most photographers take, and some use the photo cards where the print simply slides in or sticks with sticky corners. I don't do that.

I use dry mount tissue and mount each card on blank cards with a heat press. Then put each card in a clear sleeve and then 10 cards in to the box set. It's an intensive process, more less custom making each card from print to card and then into boxes. From beginning to end I estimate the whole process takes about 8-10 minutes per print and card. I've reduced the time by doing some steps in bulk (prints, cutting 4x6 dry mount tissue, etc.), but overall it's still the personal time.

My point? I don't know, but I guess it's about the personal touch. I've always preferred people being people, thinking and doing. Years ago I would do a lot of tasks on the computer manually when the IT folks would say, "We could develop a program or computer tool for that.", and I'd say, "Yes, but by the time you got it done I'd be done, so what's the difference?"

They didn't have an answer except if I had to repeat it, which I did sometimes. And I'd say, "Yeah, but it keeps me in touch of what and why the data or information is important, and I get to look at every bit of the data, words and final product. This worked with the Annual Data Reports when I was senior editor. They liked the hands-on approach, until I got a new boss.

The new boss like the computer approach, and while the system for producing the data and report pages was very much automated by then, I still read every page and tweaked things to make the details right. When I was replaced as editor, that went by the wayside in favor of speed. And as we all know, when you increase speed, quality almost always suffers. And it did and still does (according to friends still there, and has worsened).

So, when I left to start my own photography business and work on the photography projects, I went back to the methods I like, taking the time and doing things manually. Yes, I'm a curmudgeon, but at least I know my work is my work. And while I'm just an ordinary photographer and the cards don't have the "professional" look you find in card stores, I like the images, I produced and printed them, and I made the cards.

And that's what you get, me and my work. Not fancy but good, and always handmade from scratch as the saying may go, from the click of the shutter to the card in the clear sleeve.

No comments:

Post a Comment