Introduction: Smartphone ECards

Learning objective
In this instructable you will explore how to use a smartphone to create an eCard.

Sometimes it's nice to make your own eCard to send to someone to mark a special occasion.

A smartphone with a camera and a photo-editing app or two is all you'll need to get started. I used an iPhone 3Gs with an app called Camera+ (from tap tap tap), but there are plenty of other smartphones and apps which you can use.

This instructable is just my own way of putting an e-card together, so use it to work out whatever suits you best. The aim is to keep it quick, using only your smartphone for fun, then share your e-card instantly.

Go on: make someone's day!

Step 1: Choose a Subject

If you can't think of what to photograph, take a closer look at some of those expensive greetings cards next time you're out shopping.

Think about the person you're sendng your eCard to. Do they like flowers? Kittens? Motorcycles? Or maybe they'll like whatever you like. Perhaps you have a passion for sea shells, or there's something else that already interests you which will look good.

Step 2: Tidy the Shot

-- Get in as close as you can.

-- Avoid distracting backgrounds. 

-- Find the best angle.

-- Shoot in good light.

-- Fill the frame.

The more you work at de-cluttering your picture, the more impact your shot will have.

Step 3: Crop

Use your app to crop your photo. Cutting out irrelevant detail makes the subject stronger.

I chose a square format for this example, but it's up to you what shape you make your pictures.

Eagle-eyed observers among you will have spotted that I also turned the cropped image through ninety degrees. Not all apps have an option to do this. It's usually called rotate. Sometimes rotating a shot can be helpful, so how can you tell? Well, if it looks much better to you one way round than any another, then it's probably worth doing.

If your app can't rotate images, try holding your phone a different way up when you take the shot. It's usually not a big deal anyway.

Step 4: Adjust the Colour

Use your app to get the colour looking right. If it pleases your eye, it's good to go.

Most apps will offer you a range of previews which show how your adjustments will look. Try different ones. Undo and redo any changes until you're happy, then hit the save button to make them stick.

The more cards you make, the faster you'll get at deciding what works best. I used an effect here called Sunkiss''d  to warm up the tulip.

Step 5: Lighten or Darken

The choice of effects is almost endless. I wanted to make the edges of this picture darker, so I chose an effect called Vignette to do that. Your app may have a different names for similar results. Or you may want to go lighter, or black and white, or retro . . . the list goes on almost forever.

Try not to over-do it, or your photo may just give up and die somewhere along the way. Or worse yet, you'll run out of battery after all that processing power has eaten it up!

Step 6: Border With Caption

Adding a border to your image is like having a real picture mounted and framed. There's a wide choice of styles. The main thing is to enhance your photo without competing with it.

Play with what's on offer. If you aren't sure, save lots of different borders, then flip through your camera roll to choose the one that you like best. Practice will soon improve your taste in design.

The caption is also a matter of taste. Different fonts, sizes, colours and layouts can all make or break the final impact of your eCard. Is it for fun? Is it romantic? Is it serious? Follow your intuition. Your gut feeling will guide your choices. If you don't know what to choose at first, don't worry. Simply copy a "real" card you already like. Your own style will develop quite naturally after you've made enough eCards.

The Teacher Contest

Participated in the
The Teacher Contest