Show off your photographic skills while giving your family and friends a
useful keepsake that features your images.
My wife and I run a small Day Spa in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and I am responsible for promoting our business. I design all of the advertising and printed materials in addition to being the Webmaster for our Website. Late last year, I was trying to decide what we should do to promote our business in a way that will keep us in front of our clients year-round. A calendar seemed to be the logical choice.
At first I considered going through a traditional offset printer, but when I realized how expensive high-quality, full-color printing is for this kind of project, I decided to consider the next logical step -- using the Internet for delivery to the client and allow viewers to print on demand. There are huge advantages to using this method and it fits perfectly for this project. Because the Internet is such a fluid medium, the calendars can be updated regularly if needed and placed back on the site live within minutes. Another advantage is there's no wasted copies left over at the end of the year and since the viewer is printing their own copy, no printing costs.
You don't have to be in business or advertising to make a really nice calendar though. And even though January is already here, you still have plenty of time to make the most of the year by starting on your calendar now. Even if you give the file out to a few close family and friends, it's still a great way to show off your photographic skills while giving your family and friends a useful keepsake that features your images. The really good news is that this isn't as complicated as it seems and with a little time, you can create something that many will treasure and again, the bonus is that you can do this for pennies.
I had a particularly good photo year in 2006 and have several images that I shot that didn't fit what my normal clients would want, so I decided to use these to make a calendar that would promote my wife's spa and give me the creative outlet for my work that I wanted. I decided that making a free, downloadable Adobe Acrobat PDF file would omptimize image quality while keeping the file size to a minimum. In the first week, the calendar was downloaded 4,000 times, far exceeding our expectations. If you'd like to view and download this calendar as a reference for your work go to: www.elementssalon.biz/calendar.html
The single hardest part of creating a calendar is editing the images. I have thousands of images that I'd shot through the year that would "fit" my calendar and decided to go through these and edit for the very best 12. I decided early in the process that I wanted something lightly consistent, but unique from month-to-month. It sounds more difficult than it really is and I started by making a list of the best images and compared other images to these favorites, keeping an open mind while editing. Don't "marry" yourself to a few favorites and don't be afraid to mix it up a bit by adding and taking away images. I think of this as a "King of the Hill" competition, where the best gets knocked off by the bigger, stronger one. Remember too that the size and orientation should also match. Most image editing programs allow you to specify a crop size, which is ideal for consistency in sizing the final images.
Shoot for accurate color and the highest quality possible. I had decided at the beginning of the design work that I wanted to maintain a high quality image and used a 300ppi (pixels per inch) resolution, which prints well on just about any printer. A little bit of care in prepress preparation will go a long way in giving your images a high quality look and feel. If you don't have an image editor, you can find free editing software at: