Here is an idea that will make you money and win clients for you in more ways than one.  It’s a Wedding comp card.  It helps you to get noticed and considered for Weddings you might not have even been considered for before because it’s originality.

In the modeling game a comp card (some call a Zed card) provides a small collection of pictures and basic stats on card stock or rigid paper. It is a standard marketing tool that has been around for many years and is still very essential to have today if you are a model. Comp cards are relatively inexpensive and are versatile sales tools but they have been used by models not Brides.

So we try a new twist.  We use comp cards instead of wedding invitations even though they have the same basic information but the comp cards have pictures of the Bride and Groom when they were kids and shots from a walk in the park, at the beach, attending church together, being a pair.  They get mailed to the guests of the Wedding instead of invitations. Thus you the photographer through the use of your tools has taken the invitation sale out of the loop and credited it to your side.

Comp cards give the photographer the ability to show prospective clients ( anyone who is invited and will show it to a slew of other folks, a selection of  pictures from a particular Wedding you have put together for a unique and individualistic approach to a copycat business.

Success is based on doing things that other people don’t. want to do.  This is one way to get you out of the long line of does-its.  Everybody does-it!

The ultimate success of a comp card comes down to the quality of the photographs. The quality of the photographs comes from best possible pictures the parents and the players have on hand and maybe a little Photoshop here and there can make a silk purse from a sows ear.  A couple shots from the days the kids were just kids, cradle shots,  high school graduation, first time arrested, and other moments that we all relate to in life.

Most important are at least one of each of the bride and Groom eye-catching, grab-your-attention-from-across-the-room head-shot of the two for the front of the card.   You can have great photos and a poorly produced comp card and still come out with something useful.

Pricing:  This has come about because of computers, digital imaging, and digital printing. Today you can produce an innovative comp card for what it used to cost to do a cheap business card.

Your digitized photo sizing, cropping, and retouching are normally handled in a ‘Photoshop' type of program. A good scanner helps…  The comp card layout, type, and graphics can be handled in the same type of program or in a page-layout program. This is where your creativity can come in, but because of color-management issues and postscript-error problems, a lot of headaches can arise. 

For those looking for the highest quality comp card production, (full color offset printing,) you may want enlist the services of someone who is knowledgeable on these issues. For those who are trying this on their home computer, and looking to use an ink jet printer, then just start playing around and have fun. Work for a finished 5x7 size is a good idea and Sams Club or Costco will give you volume pricing.

What does a good photograph give you? A photograph produces very smooth, graduate and realistic color. A photo transitions from the high lights to shadows very evenly with no sudden jumps or posterization and carries recognizable detail in both the highlights and the shadows. This is what we would like in the printing of a comp card. We want it as close to high quality photographic print as possible and not break the bank doing it.

Color ink jet comp card printing is something some have tried on their home computers. It can work if you are just doing a few cards. It is true today that some of the better ink jet printers can produce quality as good as a photograph and can print on both sides.

You layout your comp card so it will end up being 5 ½" by 8 ½" final size. This is half of an 8 ½ X 11 inch piece of paper (you are cutting a standard size piece of paper in half). You layout a sheet with two front comp card and another with two back of the comp card, so you end up with a front and a back sheet. You then glue the front and back together and cut in half to make two complete comp cards. 

I think it is best to use a spray adhesive to glue the sheet together. Also, working up some kind of jig to help aline the sheets is helpful. The cost per card for ink and paper can be high and it takes some time to do all of this. So this method is only good when you want just a few cards. But when you are starting out and have the time it may help hold down cost.

Today some of the new high end color laser printer/copiers like the $399.00 Konica-Minolta series or the new Cannons can produce acceptable results. Still, it is not photographic quality but may be close enough for some uses. High end color lasers loose detail in the highlights and shadows, their overall saturation of color (color gamma) is weak, it has a grainy appearance, a loss of overall sharpness and you are limited to none glossy paper stock. Color laser printing is very affordable for doing small runs (50 to 100) of comp cards. This type of comp card is offered by several on line Internet comp card companies or you can take your prepare file to a local service bureau or printer for outputting. The home or office laser printer that I have seen still do not come up to acceptable quality, but that may change in the near future. You can get a 100 Wedding comp cards printed for around or under a $100.