*PicMonkey affiliate links used in this post. See full note below.
I recently introduced you to our newest family member, Oliver. Today, I'm sharing how I created birth announcements for him with tips if you want to do your own.
Making your own birth announcements (for free) in PicMonkey...
PicMonkey has countless options of how to go about creating your birth announcement that depends on what look you're going for. Because of that, this will partly take you step-by-step through the process, but will mostly include tips to get the look you want at each step in the process.
PicMonkey has a lot of editing options provided for free. If you like what you see, a Royale subscription is affordable and offers full access to all texts, editing options, etc. You can try it out for a week for free.
Start with inspiration.I like searching on Shutterfly, Pinterest or other sources for baby announcement ideas. This gives me an idea of the type of announcement I want so that I have a better idea of the pictures I need to take. If you find an announcement layout or a photo you really like, go ahead and save it so you can keep the idea fresh in your mind. Keep it simple! If you love a complex look and you're a beginner at this, then go ahead and order from somewhere. If you're new to this, then starting simple will turn out the best.
I love these >> baby photos in the hospital. These served as my inspiration for the photos I took of our baby in the hospital (see below).
|Design Seeds screenshot|
Also think about color schemes. I love using Design Seeds, but you can even pull colors from your photo if you wish. Learn more about how color matching works >> here.
Take photos.Go here >> for tips to take your own with a basic point-and-shoot camera. (Smart phones work, too!) Use lots of natural light (but not direct sunlight), keep the background simple (white or soft colors are usually best for babies), and get up close to capture those sweet baby features. Take them in the hospital or within the first two weeks to get baby at his newest and tiniest. And leave the props to the professionals--they tend to just look awkward if you don't know what you're doing.
You can also make an announcement from a photo already taken. Just choose one that focuses on baby the best with the simplest background--lighting and other things can be edited in the next step if needed. (The photo below with baby sucking on a pacifier is from my Instagram.)
Go to PicMonkey.com and edit photos with Basic Edits, Effects, and Touch Up.These are the first three options in the left sidebar. Basic Edits lets you adjust color, lighting, sharpness and more--I do that first. Touch Up allows you to cover up blemishes and other smaller details--I do that second. Effects lets you put a filter over the photo--I do this as a finishing touch. More on cropping and resizing below.
Use this >> tutorial if you're new to editing in PicMonkey. When working with baby photos, try to keep everything soft and simple. Avoid too much contrast, shadowing or lomo-type effects. It's up to you how much touching-up you do. I find value in using some of these cover-ups so that baby is the focus rather than baby's rashes or splotches; but I also aim to not go too extreme so as to make baby look different than he really is. I personally want to remember him in all of his newness, bruised face and all.
In the example above: I brightened it by going to Basic Edits > Exposure > then increased Brightness and Highlights. I then used Sharpen to make photo a little clearer. I skipped touch ups (since it's not a close up of his face and I didn't see any blemishes worth covering up). Then I finished up with Effects > with Tranquil faded to about 85% which gives a warmer hue. I also like Polaroid which gives a cooler hue. This is just as an example of the editing I usually do.
If you're using photos from a professional shoot that you have permission to use, then go ahead and skip this step (unless you want to make a photo black-and-white or some other simple edit).
Go back to PicMonkey.com and choose 1 of 3 ways to start your birth announcement:
Option 1: Select "Edit" and upload your photo.
This is good for when baby's photo is the whole background, and text is placed directly on top of baby's photo. Be sure to edit the photo however you wish first before adding overlays or text. And get the proportions and size how you want, too. (See "Crop or resive photo" below.)
Option 2: Select "Design" and choose your image size.
This is good for complicated collages that include tilted or framed photos, and it's good for announcements with a background separate from the main photo. Be sure to edit photos and have them ready to add as overlays. I generally size to about 200 pixels per inch printed--more on that under "Crop or resize photo" below.
Option 3: Select "Collage" and add photos.
This is good for collage announcements, obviously. It can be used when you have one photo with a grid of text/backgrounds, or with a collection of photos. You can edit photos beforehand, or they can be edited in the collage by hovering over the image after it's added to the collage, push the blue Edit button in the top left corner of the photo and a few basic editing options will show up.
If you have Royale, you can access all the editing options by selecting Effects, then "Open Image in Editor" at the bottom--when done editing photo, select "Back to Collage" at the top left.
Crop or resize photo.Before adding overlays, be sure to crop or resize the photo with the dimensions you will need if you are printing. If you wait to crop, you'll risk cutting text or overlays out of your announcement. I use the rough estimate of 200 pixels per inch printed to decide what size to make the photo. For example, if the photo will be printed as 4x6, then I edit the photo to 800x1200 pixels. If you're not sure, then start bigger because you can always print smaller if needed.
There are two basic ways to size the photo when in Edit mode:
1. Crop photo. (First option under Edits; shown above.) In the drop-down menu you can select "4x6" or other measurement and crop as desired. I prefer to select "No fixed proportions" at the top; enter desired dimensions (800x1200 for a 4x6 printed photo); check the box next to "scale photo"; then crop photo as desired.
2. Resize photo. (Last option under Edits; shown above.) This works if photo is already the proportions you want OR when using a blank background. For a photo, I enter Change size to: (800 pixels if 4 inches printed) then check the box "Keep proportions." This makes the photo the size I want without cropping it. If you're working with a blank background instead of a photo, don't check Keep proportions and change the image to any size you want.
To resize a collage:
Enter your dimensions in the bottom boxes (800x1200 for a 4x6 printed image) OR move the top and side lines of the collage until it's the size/proportions you want. It's best to choose your collage Layouts first and resize before getting too far in the photo-placing. Moving the box edges later can be a pain when photos are already how you want.
You can create additional photo spaces by dragging a photo over and hovering over the line where you want another photo spot added. Adjust your inside lines how you want them. You can also adjust the white space between photos under Background (the last option in the left sidebar). I like mine to be thin 5-10. You can take that space down to 0 or make it bigger if you like.
In the example above: I edited each of the photos in collage. For the lined textures, I opened a PicMonkey Design background in a separate window. I went to Themes (bottom option in left sidebar) > School U (first option) > Paper under Textures. I saved that, then added it to three of the image slots in the collage. I then saved the collage, opened it in PicMonkey Edits and added my text and overlays. (See finished product below.)
Add text.This is where having inspiration works great for us beginners. Take note of how many or what types of fonts are used, what size they are and where they're placed on the announcement. Especially for us beginners, this will help our end result stay professional-looking rather than a hodgepodge of too many fonts with odd sizes and placements--which can ruin an otherwise great photo.
Keep it simple!
In general, keep to no more than three fonts (two is even better). A serif (has edges), a san serif (clean lines), and a handwritten or scripty. Take note of this when you're looking at your inspiration and how they're used together. This is a huge part of what separates a great announcement from a mediocre one. Text shouldn't be the focus; it should be a subtle compliment to the photo.
Add overlays.I add these after text because text is easier to size and place when nothing is behind it. You can add boxes and select their colors (see more on color-matching >> here), then right click and "Send to Back" if it needs to go behind text. Also, fading it out a bit can help it blend in with the photo. Refer to your inspiration again here to see what types of elements are added, where they are and what colors are used. Us beginners need all the direction we can get :)
For option 2 (designing with a plain background), you'll need to select "Your Own" under Overlays in order to add your photos. Have them already edited, cropped and framed how you want so all you need to do is size, rotate and place. If you're adding a small photo, right click on photo and select "Original Size" than make smaller if need-be. Going larger than its original size will distort it.
In the example above: I added text, using a bunch of "." in a row for the dotted lines and a bunch of "_" in a row for the solid lines. I added a couple arrow overlays. Then, I opened a collage in a different window, closed out all but one image, added a Swatch and saved it. Then, in the photo above, I added the saved swatch as an overlay. I right clicked and Send to Back and made it big enough to cover the whole background, and faded it to 70%. The square photo of baby was edited in a separate window (it's a simple instagram image from baby's 4-week doctor check up). I cropped it so baby's face is the focus. Under Frames I added a simple white frame, then added a drop shadow frame. Then, I added it as an overlay to the birth announcement.
Save. Print. Share.Now, save your image. I like to save it with a simple name and date or other easy-to-read File Name. Especially if e-mailing the photo or sharing it online.
PicMonkey makes it easy to share your image on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other places. I like to e-mail or Facebook message the image individually to give a personal touch when sharing online, then post it generically after it's been shared personally with close family and friends.
You can print it yourself or print it for cheap through Shutterfly, Target or any number of other places. Just remember to print in whatever dimensions you made it for. If you made it to be a 4x6, it won't look right as an 8x10.
Above Inspiration Sources: DistrictNineDesign and BeanPress // announcingyou // Shutterfly
Happy birth announcing!
beginner photo editing
how to color match
using touch up tools
diy christmas cards
pregnancy, birth, baby, and beyond
courageous at home
our shame-free wedding story
monthly dose of simple
*Note: PicMonkey affiliate links used in this post. If you find this or my other tutorials helpful and upgrade to Royale, please consider using one of the links above to do so. Any purchases made through one of these links can earn me a small commission with no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!