Even though #9 had the most votes with 15, I went with #8 the grayscale version. Why? Here’s how I chose it:
I had just laid out #9 as the card. I was about to sent it to the printer, when I sent the final pdf to my brother to proofread. He was shocked that I was going with this version. From a photographer’s perspective, the lights in #9 are WAY too glaring. But I wanted to use the photo that got the most votes.
Erik was shocked that I was “sacrificing my artistic integrity for popular opinion.” But that’s kinda how I view Christmas cards. They are for the masses. I don’t need to pick what I see as the most artistic card. I pick the card that speaks to the masses. Certainly, from an aesthetic viewpoint, #9 has some glaring lights that compete with the subject of the photo. But #9 also shows a larger part of the story with the alley.
But then Erik made a good point. When printed, there’s some funky circles that are made with the circles in #9. They just look awkward, and I knew that would bother me, so I went with #8, the grayscale version without the lights.
Actually, I do prefer the grayscale version, because it’s a slightly more dark version of the scene. As I mentioned on “photographing in the dark” that it’s interesting to consider that since Christ was born at night, it could have been complete darkness.
Here’s what it says inside the card:
Christ’s birth into this world was very humble. We often forget that being born in a manger is something dirty and smelly. An equivalent today woudl be like being born by a stinky dumpster in an alley under the train tracks.
I hope this photo would shed a new light of understanding of the humility of being born in a manger.