Tips and Tools
We at Print4missions know what it is like to be in ministry: trying to juggle what God has called you to do with all the details that it takes to stay in ministry. We also know that Prayer Cards are one of those vital details. The last thing you want is to have the process of getting them be more complicated than necessary.
What Goes into a Great Photo Prayer Card?
There are three things that make up a great prayer card. It starts with a good photo, and one that is specifically good for adding text, logos and graphics (especially important for the Full Photo Format). So check out the tips below for help with getting the best possible photo. Secondly, you need a good digital image of your photo. Finally, you need a great design. That’s where we work together to create something that will keep all who see your cards remembering you in their prayers.
General tips about getting the perfect shot
Be deliberate and creative. Think about what would make a good background, what would make for good colors, etc. When you set out on a picture-taking spree, we suggest that you shoot 10 to 25 pictures so that you can be sure of getting a good shot. Vary the distance, setting, poses, or even the times of day – late afternoon is often the very best time to get perfect outdoor lighting.
Choosing a great place to take the photo
Almost any setting that you like will do. If you can find a place that says something about your ministry, such as a famous landmark, a church building, or beautiful and typical landscape, those often make the biggest impression in a photo card. If you want to use the Full Photo Format, make sure that there is a consistently colored background in the picture so that your text shows up well against it.
What is a good background for my photo?
If you are using the text bar, or photo in a frame, you do not have to worry so much about the background of your photo. However, if you are planning on using the classic Full Photo Format, then you will need to be aware of the colors in the background of your photo over which the text and logos will float. Even though we can make your text and logos any color you want, your card will be the easiest to read if the background is either dark with lighter lettering or light with dark lettering. So a picture with lots of sky, a light colored wall, a snowy hill, etc, would all work as light backgrounds, just as a dark wall, lots of trees, shrubs, a night shot, etc, would all make for great dark backgrounds.
Outdoor shots make for some of the most spectacular cards. The lighting is often much better and the setting much more interesting in indoor shots. The only real trouble with an outdoor shot from a prayer card perspective is that the background can often be a mix of light and dark colors. For a Full Photo Card, this can make text very difficult to read. So beware of sunlit leaves, light filtering through trees, and excess clutter. Earlier morning and late afternoon shots are often the best for lighting, and midday shots usually make for much worse lighting. Make sure the sun is not behind you because the lens will overcompensate and make faces all dark. A fill flash may help. Indoor photography is much more difficult without proper lighting equipment. Definitely do not take your picture under fluorescent lights!
Check your photo before you send it
Once you have taken a number of pictures and found one that you like take a good look at it to make sure that it is a good print. Is the lighting fairly even overall especially on the faces? If one face is darker than others, it will become darker in the Prayer Card making process. What about the contrasts, especially between people and the background. Dark hair against a dark background could melt together. In a professional print, many photographers provide a soft light behind the people to eliminate the effect. Remember, a good photo card must begin with a good photo. Conversely, a poor print will make a poor photo card, no matter how much magic we try to work on it. Plan well so that your card can be everything you want it to be.