Whether you have a smartphone or a DSLR, you can easily create amazing postcards. Yes, even smartphones! Phones nowadays can take pretty incredible photos that sell; with or without an inexpensive lens attachment. In fact, I prefer to take a photo with my phone when I'm looking to create a digital to physical product.
You can usually create a great looking postcard out of a photo in around 5 easy steps, regardless of which method you use to create the postcard, or which device you use to take the photo. Methods include using specific post card apps, general graphic design apps, and general printing services. The amount of work required of you varies based on the method chosen.
It's pretty amazing how many ways there are to make money from your photos nowadays. Wherever there are opportunities to provide a valuable service to people, you can be sure a website will pop up to make some money off it. Apps and websites that allow you to turn a photo into a custom postcard abound and make it very easy. Keep reading to find out how to turn a photo into a postcard in about five easy steps.
Can a Photo Be Used for a Postcard?
There are a number of websites and apps out there to allow amateur photographers to create and send postcards straight from their phone. In the old days, you had to choose from stock photos at a local convenience store wherever you were traveling, buy it, figure out the local postal system, then put it in the mail.
If you’re like most people, unless you went somewhere for a couple weeks, you probably didn’t even mail the postcard before you left your vacation. If you did, you probably beat it home. As long as you have an internet connection now, though, you can send a custom postcard from your phone in minutes.
There are a variety of websites that offer this service for a very low price. Some of these websites include:
- Vista Print
If you’re more interested in creating postcards to sell (i.e. you’re a semi-professional photographer who travels a lot), there are plenty of services available as well. And with the countless filters and backgrounds available both through apps and through photo ordering services, a beautiful postcard is simple to make yourself.
Apps and Websites for Creating Postcards from Photos
A quick online search can return an array of postcard printing service providers. The top ones are listed briefly in the table below for your convenience; each is also described in more detail in the paragraphs that follow. An important thing to note is that half of these sites (Zazzle, Canva, and Vista Print), specialize in printing bulk postcards, so their single-print options are very expensive.
|MyPostcard||App, pre-made designs, will print, stamp, and mail postcards anywhere in the world||$2 – $10 (per card)|
|Postagram||Inexpensive postcards sent all over the world, simple to use app||$2 – $3 (per card)|
|Zazzle||Bulk print, upload your own photos||$1 – $5 (per card)|
|Canva||Powerful editing options, upload any photo, tons of free designs, bulk printing||$5 – $10 (per card)|
|Touchnote||Offers a number of plans for sending monthly postcards, a la carte options a little more expensive||$3 – $10 (per card or subscription)|
|Vista Print||Upload photo from phone or computer, bulk printing, customizable message||$20 – $50 (per 250)|
MyPostcard.com is the one of several services that will actually mail your completed postcard to anyone, anywhere in the world. MyPostcard offers a simple service; pick a photo on the app, put in a custom greeting or message to your recipient, then put in their address and pay. MyPostcard does the rest, from printing the greeting to putting a stamp on the card.
If you’re looking to send postcards printed directly from photos on your phone immediately, it's not much simpler than MyPostcard. It’s great for people who only have one or two friends or family members they want to send postcards to.
- Able to print and send postcards from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Allows custom prints that use your own personal photos.
- Will mail your postcards to an intended recipient.
- International shipping is included for free.
- Per postcard price can be relatively expensive.
- Notes are printed, not handwritten, so it’s not as personal.
Postagram is similar to MyPostcard. There isn’t an easy to use online portal like MyPostcard; rather everything is done through the app (which is available on the Google Play store and the Apple App store).
Postagram is simple to use; just download the app, create an account, sign in and get started. They have a variety of themes and designs so you can always choose the perfect layout for the occasion. You’re also able to input your own message to fill the postcard, and another cool feature is that the photo itself comes perforated so it can be popped out and saved.
Prices for photos and postcards start at $2 for domestic U.S. shipping, or $3 to ship international (depending on the destination country). You can order just one or ship the same postcard to multiple recipients, and it takes an estimate 5 – 11 days to print and ship. Not bad!
- Easily print postcards from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Photo portion of the postcard pops out for a keepsake, without having to save the whole card.
- Ships anywhere in the world with a personalized message.
- Ships to multiple different recipients with just the click of a button.
- Requires app download.
- Doesn’t print out in a traditional postcard format.
Zazzle is an affordable option to get nice, professional-looking photo postcards for a number of different occasions, including wedding announcements or invitations, birth announcements, or similar types of times when you want a personal touch.
Zazzle doesn’t offer a way to send individual postcards to other people, but if you want to buy bulk postcards with a custom photo, it’s useful. Sending a thoughtful, elegant save the date is very easy with this service; all you need to do is upload your photo and check out. It even offers a tiered discount for buying in bulk!
- Professional, elegant prints for a variety of occasions.
- Variety of layouts and designs to choose from, with no requirement for an upgraded membership.
- Buying single or small numbers of cards is not cost-effective.
- No option to send postcards to individual recipients.
Canva is an app and website that offers both postcard design services (which you can then download and print yourself) or actual printing services. It’s more similar to Zazzle in that it’s tailored more towards individuals who want to print out a larger number of identical postcards, rather than someone trying to print out and mail one or two to close friends.
This service also has a wide variety of different designs and options, but you’ll have to pay for a pro membership to unlock many of them. The pro membership starts at about $10 per month, but you get a number of benefits. Among these are better print quality and the ability to mass produce business-type postcards and items so they come out professional.
Canva isn’t going to mail a personalized postcard to someone for you, but it will enable you to design your own postcards for business use or for any of the other many reasons you may need to send out a large number of identical postcards. There are even templates that allow you to use multiple photos arrayed on one card, if you have more than one you want to use.
- Large number of cool design features.
- Quickly and affordably print custom postcards in bulk.
- Single prints are extremely expensive ($7 – $8 per postcard).
- Many features are locked behind a pay wall.
Another app similar to MyPostcard and Postagram, Touchnote allows you to upload photos, choose a cool design, and mail your postcard to any recipient in the world. Touchnote, however, is designed to be a monthly subscription service; for about $5 you can send two cards per month.
You can upgrade your plan to six cards per month for about $10, and with either of these subscription services, you get access to unlimited designs and extra artwork. If you decide to buy a la carte, you’ll have to pay about $3.19 per card, with a minimum purchase of five cards.
Touchnote is a little more expensive than MyPostcard, but if you see yourself using it on a regular basis, the subscriptions do offer some value.
- Allows a subscription so you can save while sending personalized postcards monthly.
- Large number of designs, templates, and artwork to really customize your cards.
- Allows you to send original, thoughtful postcards to someone straight from the app.
- Subscription service is a bit expensive.
- Price per postcard for a la carte ordering is expensive.
- Minimum order of 5.
- A la carte ordering features only limited designs and artwork.
Perhaps better known for their business printing, like business cards, Vista Print nevertheless offers custom postcard printing as well. Their service will not mail the postcard to someone through the mail but if you have a large number of people you want to send a postcard to, it’s cheaper than the several print-and-mail options.
However, one thing to consider with Vista Print is that they’re a bulk printer, so you’ll have to buy multiple postcards of the same print. They start as low as $.10 per card when you buy 250 (and 250 is the minimum purchase).
Their postcards are more suited to a business application, where you’re mailing dozens or hundreds of prospective clients, but it is an option. Vista Print is also a good option if you’re looking to create your own postcards to sell. Their system is simple to operate and if you’ve got beautiful, custom photos of famous places or landmarks, it’s a good option.
- Cheap option for bulk printing photo postcards.
- Simple to upload photos.
- Only allows bulk purchases.
- Will not mail postcards for you.
- Not many options for postcard designs.
5 Steps to Sending a Custom Postcard with MyPostcard
As an example of the photo to postcard process, the MyPostcard app allows you to send a custom, one-of-a-kind photo postcard in as little as five easy steps.
- Log in to the MyPostcard App.
- Select the product you’d like to print.
- Upload your photo and choose a design template.
- Input your recipient’s address.
- Pay and let MyPostcard do the rest!
It’s as easy as that, and in minutes you can have a customize postcard from anywhere in the world sent to a recipient anywhere in the world. MyPostcard even gives the option to send extra-large postcards to make your gift really stand out.
Printing Your Own Postcards at Home
If you’re interested in creating and printing your own postcards at home, the process to do so is pretty simple as well. You’ll need word processing software (like Microsoft Word) and your own printer, as well as card stock paper and a pair of scissors. Here are the steps to design and print your own postcards from the comfort of your living room.
- Open a new document and select 4×6 inches as the document size. You may need to create your own custom document size to do so.
- Design your postcard by adding your photo to one side, and any text or images you’d like to add to the back side.
- Print the postcard on card stock (you can use glossy photo printing paper if you’d like a photo-like finish on your postcard).
- Cut the card stock to 4×6 in. You can place a border around the printed surface to make it easier to cut, or use a precision paper trimmer to get perfect edges every time.
- Write in a message and address the postcard. You could type out the address if you’re just making one for a single recipient, or just add in the address lines if you have multiple postcards to send.
It’s as simple as that. Any printer available to purchase is capable of printing out postcards, but some printers are more suited to printing photos on glossy paper. If you plan to print out a lot of postcards at home, it may be worth it to get a photo printer. Otherwise, just use your regular at home printer.
There are a number of apps that have the template and printing dimensions pre-set for postcards. You can use Adobe Spark or Canva, both of which allow you to download your postcards to print yourself after you use their software to design them. There are free versions of both, as well as paid versions that add more features.
Tips for Taking Stunning Postcard Photos on Your Phone
If you’re looking to take outstanding pictures to create unforgettable postcards, you’ll need to know how to do that using your phone. Here are some tips for taking great, postcard-worthy photos that you’ll be proud to send to your friends and family.
- Scout out the location beforehand – make sure you know the hours of operation, take a look at previous photos on the internet for ideas, and know the rules for photography.
- Try alternate angles – look for ways to take pictures of famous places and landmarks from angles outside the normal, straight-on vanilla postcard angle.
- Get the best lighting – sunrise and sunset typically give the best lighting for outdoor photos, but if you have to take photos during the day, find something with high contrast.
- Go during the week – touristy locations are usually busier on the weekends, so go during the week especially if you want to avoid getting people in your shot.
- Consider getting a lens attachment (Samsung example) – Amazon has some inexpensive products that will give you a lot of options and take camera-quality photos to another level.
- Play with filters and settings – your camera on your phone is capable of applying different filters to get the perfect shot, or changing settings to make it stand out.
There are plenty of ways you can experiment to take great postcard photos with the phone that’s sitting in your pocket anyway. These days, anyone can be an amateur photographer and take incredible shots in a matter of seconds!
How to Print Postcards to Sell
Of course, there might be several reasons you’d be interested in printing postcards for a business reason. You may be a photographer looking to sell your pieces on Etsy or a similar platform, or perhaps you’re interested in partnering with a local business to sell your wares there.
You may also be a small business owner and you want to send postcards to potential clients, and you’d like to have a nice photo on the front. Either way, getting these postcards printed is simple using services like Vista Print. Simply upload the photo and, since Vista Print is by far the cheapest of the options above for bulk printing, you can get as many as you need.
It’s not only possible, it’s downright easy to make a postcard out of a photo. If you’re looking for a simple way to print and mail a postcard to a close friend or family member from anywhere in the world, look no further than MyPostcard, Postagram, or Touchnote for affordable options. Making unique, heartfelt gifts and souvenirs has never been easier.