It’s no wonder parents get a bit stressed trying to capture baby’s first holiday on camera. Time is fleeting with little ones, and they have only one “first”—whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, or another holiday that’s important to your family. That’s a lot of pressure, and those picture-perfect moments can seem few and far between.
It’s important to remember, though, that the magic usually happens during unplanned moments. You’ll probably get some drool or other body fluids on the outfit you’ve hand-picked for the shoot. Or maybe baby will sleep through the whole session. Worse, she might just not be in the mood and have a meltdown. It’s all okay—just relax, and baby might follow your cue. Besides, “picture-perfect” is subjective, and chances are, years from now, you’ll relish (and have a good laugh over) that photo of baby having a tantrum.
Need inspiration? We’ve rounded up our favorite holiday baby pics from around the Web. Borrow the tricks and tips that these professional photographers and amateur shutterbugs cleverly put into play, and you’re bound to catch baby in the best possible light (even when sleeping!). Whether you’re looking to share your photo on social media or turn your cutie’s million-dollar-smile into an old-fashioned holiday card, keep scrolling and get ready to say “awww.”
All I want for Christmas
Clear out the clutter in any corner of your living room and turn a plain wall into your insta-backdrop (and canvas for a holiday scene, no matter how simple). This cutie-pie put on his candy-cane socks for the occasion and, with help from the 'rents, injected some self-deprecating humor into the photo shoot.
Photos of wee holiday helpers snoozing are even sweeter with friends! If your babies are sound sleepers, consider placing props around them during naptime to create a holiday photo that’s absolutely dreamy.
Ring around the rosy
Surround baby with a whimsical garland that matches her outfit—or cheeks! This rosy edging creates a holiday-appropriate frame-within-a-picture-frame and also gives baby something to gurgle at.
If you have the luxury of a mild climate, take your shoot outdoors. There’s something about a bow that makes any outfit picture-ready.
A great shot is within reach
Place an iconic Christmas prop at one end of a hall and baby on the other, then snap away as curiosity gets the better of him. Caution: drool happens (as this pic shows—but that’s part of the charm!).
Ready for the festivities!
Be ready to catch your little one’s spontaneous movements, like little hands adjusting a bow tie. We love that it looks like he’s pondering a big holiday moment: When’s the next big meal?
This pic will go down in history
Now’s the time to dress your kids in plush, themed jammies that evoke Rudolph—before they’re old enough to argue with your holiday wardrobe choices. The bright nose hits just the right note.
Few things are more adorable than tiny baby shoes—which is another reason why it’s so fun to take the photo shoot outdoors. The knees socks and moccasins are simply fab.
Give baby’s play kitchen the holiday treatment! This little guy is hoping that by hiding that candle, he’ll get another night of presents!
There’s nothing easier to pose than a baby in a deep sleep. A simple sturdy basket makes the perfect prop for holding him, and the knit cap brings out the sweetness in your little gingerbread cookie.
Away we go!
If baby is awake and willing to tolerate posing for a few quickie shots, try placing him in a baby-sized nook, like this mini-sled. A cap in jolly colors plus festive props guarantee holiday-card worthy results, whether baby decides to smile or try out his “author on a book jacket” look instead.
Floating on a cloud
Did your newborn just waking up and is taking it all in? Zoom in tight to capture not just your sweet baby’s expression, but also her sweet pouty lips and tiny fist.
Dressing twins or siblings in matching Santa’s helpers outfits highlight the contrasts in the details that matter: your kiddies’ different moods, expressions and sweet, cherubic features.
Red-velvet pom-pom shorties plus any baby in any mood equals delightful holiday shot. This little cherub looks like she’s directing the shoot!
The final touches
Sparkly things! Soft puffy trim! Put your little elf to work, and between the novel sights and texture, she’ll be fully engaged and ready for her first holiday action shot.
The first noel
Who’s ready to find out what Christmas thing is all about? This guy. In the week or so leading to picture day, make mental notes on what makes baby laugh (whether it’s a funny toy or noise or face), and have that at the ready when you’re ready to shoot.
Let it snow!
With the magic of photoshop you can place your sleeping baby in a snowglobe-worthy winter wonderland.
What to our wondering eyes should appear but a glittery reindeer baby nestled in a snow bed! We’re guessing visions of sugar plums are dancing in this sleepyhead.
Just like old times
Bet you didn’t know there would be so many options for sleeping babies! Just remember to put your sleeping beauty in something photo-ready before naptime. Here, the striped jammies pair perfectly with the old-timey vibe.
With a holiday bib and bright red suit, this cheeky baby is ready to celebrate. As with the reindeer PJ’s, savor the antler hat for as long as you can!
Published October 2017