As some of you might know, the Go-to Gals recently spent four wonderful days in Utah at the annual Paper Crafts Magazine Editorial Board Meeting. Since the week of our meeting fell during submissions judging for Holiday Cards & More, we kind of begged to be included in the process.
As we were getting started, our fearless leader Susan Opel gave us instructions on how to handle the printouts of each card. Judging is truly blind since each submitter’s information is printed on the back of each paper. We had to be careful not to lift the papers in case someone across the table was able to peek at the name!
The judging process was really enlightening; I learned so many things about what makes a card stand out. The cards that really popped had photos that were clear, close up, and had really plain backgrounds. Paper Crafts requires a “neutral” background, so those cards that were sitting on doilies, baskets, wire racks, etc. really did not stand out as much. They just looked . . . well, cluttered.
Secondly, it sure seemed like the printer in the office tended to print the cards a bit dark. My advice would be to lighten your photos in your editing program. You don’t want to change the reality of the card, but a little boost would be a good idea. Let me show you an example.
This is a card I submitted that did not get picked up. Watch what happens when I crop it a little tighter and brighten it up.
Isn’t that dramatic? The colors are much truer and the whole card just seems to “pop.”
One other thing I learned during submissions judging was that using product in a unique way really makes a card stand out. Whether it’s a new twist on dry embossing, a fresh color combination, or a really cute paper mix, it’s first impressions that are super important.
Submitters often ask if they have to use the latest product. I think it does help, just because it’s likely the editors haven’t seen it a million times. But honestly, if you use older product in a fresh, innovative way, you are IN!
Overall, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. Yes, I had to watch several of my card go into the “sweep” pile, but when I saw how the editors were careful to choose a mix of both styles and techniques, I really felt okay with it.
I hope you picked up a few tips from this post. Please head over to my personal blog and I will share more photo tips and even show you some things NOT to do. That should fun! Click here to check it out.
Kim Kesti, Paper Crafts Go-to Gal