Challenge #8: Reviving the summer holiday postcard   

Many of you will remember going on holiday and trawling the local shops to find suitable postcards to send to family and friends back home. The challenge then was to find something that would show off the place you were visiting without it looking too ‘tacky’, before coming up with some suitably cheerful words about the weather.

Now, with the advent of social media, the postcard is pretty much extinct. Only around 10% of people now bother to buy, write and send postcards, opting for social media to share holiday experiences, with nearly 60% of holiday makers updating Facebook while they are away.

Since it is now the summer ‘staycation’ season, and we’re all hopefully in virtual holiday mood, this Challenge goes ‘old school’ and revives the summer holiday postcard. It will, however, not be necessary to go out and buy cards and stamps – instead you are invited to create your own and we’ll post them to everyone on our website without the need for a stamp!

Please submit up to five postcards, created using photographs taken since the beginning of this summer* (1 June onwards). The postcards can be created using an image or images taken anywhere you have visited or will visit during the Challenge period, be it a city, town or village, the countryside or seaside, or a specific location such as a park or building. It could even be the flowers or birds in your back garden, whatever works well for you!

*If anyone is shielding and hasn’t for any reason been able to get out and about to take photographs, then please feel free to get involved using images from your archive.

How to go about it

You can use photoprocessing software such as Photoshop, Lightroom or Luminar to create your postcards, but apps such as Pics Art and others (available on mobile phones and desktop computers) can make some of the tasks involved very simple and straightforward.

Step 1: Look for Inspiration

Some examples are provided below, but you can also use key words such as ‘vintage postcards’ or ‘greetings from’ on your favourite search engine to find additional inspiration. This should bring up plenty of examples and you can also find more ideas on Pinterest, either by adding ‘Pinterest’ to your keywords, or by searching on Pinterest directly. Note that most of the examples you’ll find will feature locations further afield and more exotic than you are likely to have visited recently!

Step 2: Think about the size and aspect ratio of your postcard

Postcards are usually rectangular, at least 31/2 inches high x 5 inches long and no more than 41/4 inches high, by 6 inches long. A 3:5 or 4:6 height:width aspect ratio should work reasonably well, but this is a guide and not prescriptive.

Step 3: Choose your photograph(s) and decide on the layout

Your postcard can feature a scene from anywhere you like – from your back garden to the back of beyond – as long as you’ve photographed it between Monday 1 June and Sunday 9 August (the end of the Challenge period). It can include just a single image or a selection of smaller images. Some postcards have a border, If you decide to include one, choose a colour or style that goes well with the photograph(s).

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Oxford, Historic University City
Greetings from Michigan

Step 4: Decide on the style of your postcard

Coloured or black and white, vibrant or muted? The style and appearance of your postcard(s) is up to you.

You might want to go for a vintage effect, as in these examples:

Windmill, Pier and Lifeboat, Lytham
Windsor from Home Park
Love to all from Porthcawl

…or you might prefer something more modern:

Miami, Florida
Bootham Bar, York

Step 5: Think about your font(s)

The name of the location or landmark is often written in big bold letters. You will have pre-installed fonts on your computer, but you can find additional fonts, free for personal use, at the following websites: 1001fonts; DaFont.

Apps such as PicsArt also make adding text to images very simple and offer a wide choice of fonts that you can add very easily to images.

Lake Michigan
South Carolina, Low Country

In the most elaborate and flamboyant examples, the words “Greetings from” are often in the top left corner in small handwriting-type font, with the name of the location taking up the majority of the space in bolder lettering.

The inside of these bold letters is often decorated with pictures of the area.

Greetings from Chattanooga, Tennessee

Final thoughts before the final step…

In this digital age, it is very easy to stay in touch with people via the internet and social media but it is still a nice feeling to receive a postcard. Perhaps the tradition of posting a postcard is worth reviving – at least for this Challenge, so we hope that you will have a go!

You can make the Challenge as simple or as complicated as you want, depending on the format you choose for your postcard(s) and whether you use photo-processing software or one of the free photo-editing apps, such as Pics Art, that might make life easier.

However you go about this Challenge, we’ll be looking forward to receiving a wide variety of tantalising postcards from near and far(ish).

Final Step: Submitting your images – please read and check before submitting

Please submit up to five postcards no later than midnight on Sunday 9 August to, ideally by WeTransfer. Of course you can also print off your postcards, buy some stamps and send them to your friends!

Please stick to the guidelines for submission as set out for ‘Challenges’ under Submitting Images on the website. In particular, to help the web team, please check that your images conform with the following tick list:

  • Images are JPEG files.
  • Image dimensions are a maximum of 1600 pixels wide or 1200 pixels high.
  • Image sizes are less than 500kb. If not please save your images at a lower resolution until they are.
  • The ‘title metadata field’ includes your ‘image title’ and ‘your name’ in the following way: A favourite York street, Joe Bloggs.
  • There is NO other metadata in the caption or description. (Note to Olympus users, you will have to delete ‘Olympus digital camera’ from the caption field.)
  • Your images are saved with file names as in the following example:  A favourite York street, Joe Bloggs ie as in the ‘title metadata field’ (see above).

If you are not sure please ask so that we can help you. We will acknowledge receipt of your images, so please get in touch if you don’t hear from us.

If you’re not a Club member, you are more than welcome to join in this Challenge. Please feel free to send us up to five postcards and we’ll post our favourites in the Gallery.


Pictures are taken, with thanks, from Creative Commons, with titles, authors and licences as follows:

(1) USA-MASSACHUSETTS choose a country RR, Thereshedances, CC BY-NC-SA 2,0;  (2) South Carolina, USA, Lutrus, CC BY-NV-N 2.0;  (3) US-159214, petit zozio, CC BY0NC 2.0; (4) Pier, Old Lifeboat Station and Windmill, Lytham, Lancashire, mrrobertwade (wadey), CC BY-NC-SA 2.0;  (5) Windsor from Home Park 1, tomylees, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0; (6) Love to All from Porthcawl, Rescued by Rover, CC BY-NC 2.0; (7) USA -FLORIDA swap, Thereshedances, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0;  (8) Amsterdam, Georgie Sharp, CC BY-NC 2.0; (9) England ~ York, erjk.amerjka, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0; (10) USA – MICHIGAN tTag: Choose a Country tag, Theresdances, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0; (11) South Carolina, USA, Lutrus, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0; (12) US-159214, petit zozio, CC BY-NC 2.0; (13) Greetings from Miami Beach, Florida, Boston Public Library, CC BY 2.0; (14) US-23603, salikon, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0; (15) California, xelipe, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Also event thumbmail: postcacrds, petit zozio, CC BY-NC-2.0.