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Make Memorable Photo Invitations for Your Party

Written by Sally Charette

You’ve picked a date for your party and you’re ready to announce it to the world. It’s time to get your invitation on! Spend a few minutes taking creative photos and you’ll capture your guests’ imagination and send them scrambling for their calendars to save the date.

Have fun with your photo shoot.
Don’t stress. Once you set it up, take lots of shots from different angles. It’s better to have a couple of dozen to delete than to find you didn’t get what you wanted.

Go for the close-up.
Fill the frame with your subject matter. Be aware of everything in the shot. Nothing’s more disappointing that getting a truly great picture only to notice a pile of magazines cluttering up the background. A piece of black velvet draped over a chair or the removable center board from your table make convenient portable backdrops.

Feel free to mix and match the basics. Use your front door, a favorite bowl, stemware or a friend’s cupped hands to display symbols of the season or event.

Having trouble coming up with a creative way to capture the occasion? Below is a variety of scenarios to help get your imagination going.

  • Christmas: Hang a Santa hat from the doorknob or a wreath hook on your front door. Lace favorite ornaments in a bowl or in a family member’s cupped hands. Dress up a pair of party shoes with a red velvet bow. Put small ornaments, pine cones or sprigs of holiday greens in your favorite stemware and tie a bow around the base.


Ornaments on a clothsline


  • Hanukkah: Position a menorah on a table with a brightly colored tablecloth or scarf and swirl the fabric around the base. Fill a tumbler with small colorful dreidels.
  • Birthday: Place a cupcake with a candle in it in a setting that says something about the person you’re celebrating. Is she an avid reader or writer? Put the cupcake on a stack of books or on a notebook with a pen lying beside it. Crop a photo down to just the birthday boy’s eyes and a birthday hat; get him to look up and to the side for a little added humor. Can’t get him to pose? If he’s a sports fan, drop the hat into the palm of a baseball glove or slip it onto a football propped up in a pile of leaves.
  • Halloween: Prop a broom tied with black and orange ribbons next to your front door. Hang a scary mask on a tree trunk. Get a friend or one of the kids to hold a flashlight covered with red tissue paper under her chin and take a shot using your camera’s low light setting.

Who, what, where, wow!
Of course you need to provide the basics: the occasion, date, time, address and maybe a note about the style of dress. But how about adding a little spice with a humorous or meaningful quote at the top of your invite? A simple Google search for “funny [fill in the holiday] quotes” will help you find plenty of options. For instance, this Christmas-tinged lyric from a Gary Allen song, found on Thinkexist.com: “Let’s be naughty and save Santa the trip.”

The nuts and bolts
If you’re sending invitations via email, you can simply use the images you’ve created as the header in your message. Or you can assemble one picture card and take a photo of it to create a meta invitation.

A standard 4×7 photo fits nicely on a blank A7-size flat invitation. You’ll find flat blank cards and envelopes in neutral, bright and pastel colors online (like these from Darice) or in the stationary aisles of craft, office and discount stores. Packets of card stock specifically intended for invitations frequently come with printing instructions and/or links to downloadable software. Your printer software should also include information about printing your text on various sizes of paper.

While you’re shopping, pick up a packet of photo splits. They’re much easier to deal with than tape. Mount your photograph in the center of the card and slightly closer to the top border than the bottom for a professional look.

About the author

Sally Charette

Sally Charette often scribbles away the predawn hours in coffee houses and all-night diners, which simultaneously satisfies her love of hot beverages, writing and eavesdropping.

Originally from Indiana, Sally is now fully integrated into California life. She works as a script researcher, helping CSI:Miami, Army Wives, Switched at Birth and the occasional feature film stay out of trouble. She regularly travels Southern California and beyond in her pursuit of photography subjects, good food, music and art.

Her blog, Any Given Sundry, reflects her many interests and maybe reveals a little too much about her constant search for novelty. She was a PEN Center/West Emerging Voices fellow and has been in writing workshops, groups or critiquing relationships most of her adult life. The best she's ever felt about being runner-up was the year her first published short story was named "One of 100 Other Distinguished Short Stories" in Best American Short Stories.

Sally lives in the high desert mountains outside of Los Angeles with her husband and a small, deeply devoted flock of birds.