What makes a good photo calendar?
What makes a good photo calendar? A photo book or calendar is an awesome gift any time of year. It’s personal and it’s customizable. Many people think that wall or any other kind of calendars are a thing of the analog past, but don’t dismiss them too quickly. Picture calendar is a kind of visual image summary, to arrange all input images on a given canvas, allowing intersection, to maximize visible visual information. To be completely honest, photo calendars are fun and they are excellent gifts. It is always interesting to see how much the cousins have change over in the past year, and how everyone style have changed, and if there is a new family members, calendar is the best gift ever. It’s also a nice way to review the year that’s passed and teach the kids in family about the months and seasons, which is a very important part of understanding the world around us.
We have all seen family photo calendars that are more “fun” than fabulous. Lots of interesting pictures, some good, some not that good and some of them leave us with the question “What I was thinking”. Custom photo calendars are a really great projects to stretch photo project skills and to create unique momentous that everyone in the family can enjoy. The only problem with custom calendar is that it’s self-limiting; there are only 12 pages for telling an interesting family story. But, there is a simple solution for that problem; you can always make a different calendar for every family member.
Also, it is a 5 minutes job to add important days of family members, like birthdays, vacations and anniversaries or some other important day into the calendar. Best yet, photo calendar organizes digital moments that tend to get lost in the cloud, transforming them into physical reminders of an event.
So, the question is how to make an awesome photo calendar? The answer is easy; first step is to choose right photographs. Of course, they can be digital ones, which is much better choice, or they can be old fashioned ones.
In the age of digital cameras, many of us have thousands of photos that not so often make an appearance off our computers or mobile phone. Also, with the rapid development of digital image content, it becomes more and more of a challenge to browse through an enormous amount of images, such as thousands of vacation photographs in a home directory or hundreds of images returned for a query on the internet. Anyhow, to make browsing process more effective, image summarization is crucial. On that way, it will be much easier to find right photos for good and interesting photo calendar. The nice photo calendar should have the next properties:
• Salience maximization. A picture calendar should show as many visible salient regions as possible.
• Blank space minimization. The blank space is the space in the canvas which is not covered by any image. A photo calendar should make the best use of the canvas. Empty space does not look nice on picture calendar.
• Salience ratio balance. Each image in the calendar needs to have a similar salience ratio (the percentage of visible salient region).
• Orientation diversity. The orientations of the images are various. This property is used to imitate the photo collage style created by humans.
Choosing the right photographs is the first step; the next step is choosing the right template. There are samples for numerous occasions, professional purposes, personal purposes, and pure text designs. Of course, numbers of photograph are not an issue here, you can use one or ten.
If you are using multiple photos, you need to make sure that photos play well together. Use a theme or design idea to tie together different photos. Through the year, it is good idea to collect good quality photos of family members you may want to use. The second important rule is to look for the similarities in the images you choose, like clothing, setting, theme or even a creative filter. Remember, each photo is part of the larger overall calendar design. In this case, less is more. Use the fewest photos needed to tell your story in the largest size for an awesome design.
There are few basic rules for a good photo calendar:
• It is important to select photos with sharp focus and awesome contrast. It is good idea to avoid grainy, blurry and poorly exposed images.
• The good idea is to use different photo styles such as portraits, group photos, micro and macro to add scenes and avoid repetition.
• Include photos snapped in a different time of the day, because looks interesting, especially if you have some photos of sunrise or sunset.
• Balance bright with darker tones to avoid a messy, hodgepodge look. Once when you found the balance between chosen opposites, you will have almost guaranteed to bring a very strong impact in your photo calendar.
Once you have all the selections, let them sit for a while (a few days) then go back to them and make changes if necessary. Of course, very important rule is to know your audience, you have to know your audience before you attempt to give them their present, especially if you want to sell your calendar to some other people . Make sure the design of your calendar matches their likes, what they like to buy or they wish to own, age, and gender and of course culture. Once you have your information, photos or illustration, think about how to break it up and put it back together so it reads easily to the viewer. Put pieces of information together like a enigma. You decide how the watcher will read the calendar and on what whey he or she will get the message. Also, it is very important to pay attention to how graphics cooperate with words, pictures and letters.
For office calendar it is good idea to make calendar who make very strong, surreal atmosphere including some kind of enigmatic veil around its core, giving the observer a sense of something hidden and unknown that makes them think about the image in order to realize its true meaning and message of the photograph on calendar. Also, a single word or image can provoke great emotion like love, hate, depression anger and even sadness. You may also add some inspirational quotes to your calendar; it can be very interesting detail in your office, and its can you make you to work better.
Today, it is easy to find interesting template for photo calendar online. The wall calendar in Format A3, but it is possible to choose any format you like. Depending on the template you can portray each month with up to 12 photos, though you can choose to put a different the number of pictures in the template from month to month, that can be very interesting too. Next step is easy; simply drag your pictures into the placeholders on the individual calendar pages. While doing this it is good to switch between collages and single motifs. Again, even if you would rather put a large number of pictures in the photo calendar, featuring fewer means that individual pictures receive more attention. In fact, very nice and important pictures pictures deserve to be placed alone. You also need to ensure that graphics element go together very well; know how you want the reader to get the information. Achieve that with use of color, lines, size and weight of text. Create a path for them to follow; in that case calendar will be fun and interesting to every member of the family.
Harmony is important; too many different colors looks ugly, too many details can be also problematic. Of course, calendars can look coherent if the pictures have a similar range of colors, such as warm autumn light or the cool blue shades winter sky. If you process your pictures using a filter you can also make a similar shade later. Achieve contrast in a variety of ways. Choose opposite colors such as blue and orange or go for black and white instead of color. But, you need to be careful with too much orange and red color. Most sources and artist agree that red and orange can overpower your message. In many Western cultures, red and orange they evoke a sense of warning, urgency, and danger. So, they are not wrong, you just need to use them carefully.
Combine bold, dramatic fonts with thin ones. Or use loud pictures with soft colors. To make it fascinating and interesting, try a range of materials and different fonts. You can also use some illustration over photography, you can also use a drawing made by your child or little cousin. That can be interesting and fun, and your child will be probably happy. Photography may not always suit your needs or you may not have the budget for photography, or maybe you don’t have right photographs. Instead you can create your own drama or characters, or if you know how to draw you may add some illustrations to your calendar. You can open up an entire world designed exactly for your purpose. Furthermore, illustration can be flat or have layers and depth. Of course, a beautiful, dramatic photo may convey your message. Photos lend integrity to your product. It makes it real and viewers can see the quality, but if you don’t have photos, illustrations are just fine.
Also, if you want to make a perfect photo calendar you need to be little bit silly. And you need to have fun. Create a play on words; you may use some silly or childish words. Moreover, you may use unexpected imagery, unless, of course, you have a very serious subject.
Perhaps you want to take a different and not so popular method with your photo calendars and make them unpretentious and more elegant. Using black and white photos is a reliable way to do this. Black and white photos are so classic and beautiful, and printing photos this way makes them look more professional instantly, you can also use some old photographs. This is a good option for certain occasions such as a new baby calendar, an engagement of your best friends or wedding calendar, or a commemoration calendar of some sort.
Of course, I don’t need to mention that any topic that is a little more serious could require a beautiful black and white photo calendar. Life is not always lived on a straight line; life is not always good and happy. Different angles and points on life can make a very exciting calendar, the calendar who will make you to fight. Change the point of view of a photo. Take it from up high or down low. Use words on a diagonal instead of straight line, mix black and red or you can put some “hard” words over photos.
When you use exciting, terrifying photos, drawings and even fonts, you will probably create a serious impact and most certainly get a reaction from the viewer. They’ll be strained in by the emotion and energy. Drama can frequently be accomplished using fewer words too.
The next step is balance, if you want that your calendar looks professional you need to think about balance. Using symmetry, centering and repetition creates balance for the eye. You can balance different colors, weight of illustration and graphics, and amount of text on calendar or you can even mix of them. On the other hand, balance doesn’t mean the calendar has to be perfectly centered, the centered calendar may look to sterile and that is probably not your idea. Is doesn’t mean that to be symmetrical it has to be the same on each half. It means that one side isn’t heavier; it doesn’t cover all of the information or all of the visuals.
If you are a professional or a freelance photographer, making the photo calendar is a great way to earn some money, because everyone loves beautiful photographs on their office desk, wall or above fireplace. The making of professional photo calendar is fun and challenging, but the good news is that you don’t need to much professional equipment. The first step is selecting images; good thing about the field of photography is its variety. Subject, location, technique, and education all vary depending on genre, and there is certainly something for everyone: nature, adventure, portraiture, and food, landscapes, animals, micro, macro or even documentary photography. This diversity provides to a broad range of interests, and if something is interesting to you, probably is also interesting to your potential buyers.
So the first step is to select minimum 12 photographs, try to stay on one genre, mixing genres is not a good idea. The cover of your calendar is really important and challenging because it creates the first impression, and also somehow summarize the entire feels of the calendar. The next step is to choose program to make your calendar. I would like to suggest Adobe InDesign, because the program is relative simple and you can find many interesting templates. There are several places to get templates online, Adobe Exchange, CopyCraft, and many others; also you can always use Google. For professional photography I suggest clean template without any details. You can add some interesting quotes, or something similar.
When the design is done and proof-read, you only need to export a print ready PDF. You can use 40ver for printing, because this program have a PDF Export preset that makes sure all the settings are to their specifications. This includes no compression of the images to make sure they look awesome in the final calendar.
And the final step is selling, it is important to release that without some kind of platform or other way of distribution, it will be very hard for you to sell a calendar. You may try some freelance web sites, social networks, web sites or even local stores. The most important rule is to stay active, it’s essential to have a long term marketing strategy and stays active on it not only when you have a new calendar, but through the entire year, of course you will probably have more job around holidays. You can also give your calendars to some charity organizations, it is nice and that is a huge chance for other people to see your photographs.
So what are you waiting for? Get started now to create beautiful photo calendars that you and your important ones are sure to adore. You’ll be glad you did every time you check your schedule in the year ahead or see a family or friends’ eyes light up!