More On Moo

Let me say if you are a photographer and you are not using Moo products you have to be crazy. It doesn't matter if you are the family photographer, a top of the game, wedding shooter, commercial, travel, landscape, whatever. Use them. For that matter even if you are not a photographer they are amazing. Come-on 50 or 100 high quality images with two sides of printing for 20 bucks depending on what size you order? Just do it.

Okay here are some things to think about if you haven't used Moo before or even if you have there might be something here for you. I know - I sound like an advertisement. I get that way when I love a product. First off most of you know this but let me cover the basics for those that haven't used them before, then I will get into some finer points for the experts. You get as many different images as cards you buy. Buy 100 cards and get 100 different images. You don't have to have 100 different images, you can have one, or 4 card each of 25. It all depends on how many images you upload. That's on one side. On the other there is a little easy to use designer on the Moo website to put in some text and a logo image and change the color and font and layout around. That other side will be the same on every card.

If you are just starting out use the easy way. Upload your images, leave all the defaults on (like auto-enhance). Design your static second side (you can even make the background of the second side a color that is full bleed). You're done. They look great. I swear I order at least a box of them a month. People love them when they see that they are all different. They tend to keep them too. If you go for the full size business cards the aspect ratio is pretty much the same as 3:2 or your typical DSLR so full-frame images with no crop are fine. You can be very creative with the crops you only need 1039 pixels on the long side for 300dpi and they look fine at half that.

If you go for the mini-cards, my personal favorite, you have to be a bit more adventurous The aspect ratio os a wide or tall pano of 2.5:1. You are way better off applying a crop in Aperture to pre-visualize while you are selecting your images prior to upload. Go ahead and use that ratio to pre-visualize but don't export and upload that if you are just starting out. Just upload and use Moo's cropper. If you want to pre-crop prior to upload you will need to account for bleed and the dimensions are slightly different. The included image at the top of the post is probably about the actual size of a mini-card, I did a search for yellow in my Aperture library and this was the very first image that came up. Shot in 2005 on a 4 Megapixel camera in one of my workshops. I cropped a pano that is not even full width out of a portrait image and there is still more than enough resolution for max quality at that size.

Some general advice is to pick your images while looking at thumbnails of roughly the same size as the cards, maybe even a hair smaller. You would be surprised at how some images either work at a small size or not. Don't be afraid of the mini-cards, almost any image can work you just have to be bold on the cropping. The are tiny so you can really crop in if you want. In many cases things you think are going to work as full size images in that pano don't work The detail is too small for a wide vista of a landscape unless it is rally graphic. When being bold don't rule out a crop that is opposite they way the full size image is shot. In other words a landscape crop on a portrait image and vis a vis.

For you more advanced types out there you can have full control of the layout on both sides of the card as well as text on the front size. Just about anything you can imagine. Just upload PDF's instead of JPEGs. To be honest Photoshop and InDesign are the tools of choice and are actually easier for this if you know how to use them. If you don't Aperture's book tool is perfectly capable of laying out a card design. The trick to using Aperture is to get the custom book layouts to the correct dimensions. If you go back and look at a couple of the posts on Aperture's book tool here you'll know what to do. The other thing you probably want to do is setup your own PDF export service vs. the Apple default. If you go this route TURN OFF image auto-enhance it can do some strange things to your text layouts and simulated spot color.

So what do you use these for besides your typical mini-portfolio or more interesting business card. Here are a couple of things you might think about:

  • For portrait, event, architecture, commercial product, and wedding photographers - use them as give-aways. Take your selects and order a whole box of one shoot for one client. A nice surprise gift. Be creative with the back of the card and make it relevant for the client but don't for get your logo. The boxes these things are so nice you won't believe it. Add a silk ribbon and it may look better than the "real" product you are currently delivering. Client happy = you happy + built in advertising. Do you think they won't give them away for you?
  • Do you have a product? Maybe some sort of craft product - use them as hang tags.
  • Use them as mini advertisements or comp cards for a very specific event/gallery showing/open-house/make-up party/tupperware party whatever. One hundred for 20 bucks.
  • Use them as really nice raffle tickets - I am not kidding here. Stick a number on the front with a photo if you want and use them to draw people to your event - everybody like the chance to win something. Hey maybe they will win one of your prints.
  • Make a montage - I actually got this idea from Moo. They sell a great looking frame that allows you to arrange mini-cards in a structured but free form way that is really cool. I happen to tag all of my images with a predominant color. Typically whatever my first impression is red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta. This way I can search by color and theme and make some really cool art with the cards themselves.
  • Sell them as a product to your existing clients. If you can't see a way to make images of your clients products work using this product you need some serious creative enhancement! Of course you get to do the photography and design. Catering business? Hmmm can you see how your catering friend/client/wife might use these?

I could go on forever - I told you I order a box of these a month for myself. It's fun - 20 bucks. I know you Greenpeace guys will hate me for this but I like the Non-green cards better. I will try to use the "green" version that are actually more expensive for a crappier paper/no coating for a more subtle set of images when I get around to it.  Of course if I had say a "Green Jobs" non-profit as a client that would be a different story.

I am always bugging all of you to print more - this is your ticket if all your images are lonely locked up in your dark computer prison. Let them out.


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