Valentine’s photos are usually much easier for me to manage than Christmas photos of the family.  Since I didn’t get Christmas cards out last month, I just might send Valentines to everyone on my list this year.

I haven’t decided what the pose will be yet, but I’m playing with some ideas.  Do you have any ideas for Valentine’s day?  I’d love to hear them!

Here are the cards my girls gave to their friends the past two years.

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This shot was a pretty standard set up.  Large aperture with focal point on the glitter heart.  I ran MCP’s Mini Fusion free action for Elements and popped the photo into a card template.   I attached a Hershey’s Kiss over the heart for class distribution.

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The key to getting this photo is to focus on the outstretched hand using a wide angle lens.

What’s a wide angle lens, you ask?  A wide angle is a zoom that goes down to something under 30mm or so.  Or a fixed lens of that size or less.  A lens like a 10-22 or 16-35 would be great.  For the above shot, however, I used my 24-70.

Wide angles make whatever is closest to the lens look larger in proportion to the rest of the image.  That’s what makes the hand seem to pop out of the photo in the Valentine above.

Also, when taking this shot, I stood on a chair and aimed down so that her hand wouldn’t hide those blue eyes.   I used a moderate aperture because I didn’t want to blur out her face too much.

 I cut a slit over the hand in the photo to hold the lollipop, and the kids loved it.  The moms loved it too – this is a great way to spread the word that you are a photographer.  Assuming, of course, that your kids don’t roll their eyes and groan too much when you suggest making a Valentine’s photo for their cards.