Getting great infant and toddler pictures can be challenging. Little ones are often either on the move, spitting up, or crying…just in time for pictures! Since I’m a photo fanatic, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that worked for us and that will hopefully add a little cheer to your Christmas pictures this year.
1. Skip Santa!
WHAT???? NO Santa???? That’s right. If your little one is terrified of Santa…why put yourself through the misery. Besides, I’m sure Santa wouldn’t mind a warm vacation this time of year. There are countless other cute Christmas photo ideas that don’t include Santa Clause. Keep reading. I’m about to share!
2. Open up a bag of Christmas bows. Stick one on her head and let her play with the rest!
We used Christmas bows as a great distraction during last year’s Christmas photos at Portraiture Studios. I threw a whole bag of them into a little red suitcase, and my one year old was in bow heaven! Just be careful because many bows do have staples holding them together. Supervise closely and don’t let them go in the mouth!
3. Bring Some Blocks
Decorative Christmas blocks are great for little hands to hold. Not only do they keep your little one happy and distracted, they also work as a great prop for photos! Some of my favorite blocks can be found at birdsANDblossomsgift.
4. Find a Holiday Mask
By mask, I’m not talking Batman! Many stores have cute holiday masks made to resemble reindeer, snowmen, elfs, you name it! Don’t try to cover your little one’s eyes. That will just lead to tears and possibly even some tiny hand smacks (meaning your little one is doing the smacking!) Simply slip the mask on the top of their head/forehead like you would a headband. This gives a great effect. If you can’t find a mask, holiday headbands with reindeer ears are just as cute!
5. Put them in their PJ’s
While dressing up is loads of fun, staying in their PJ’s can be fun too! Find some cute holiday pajamas and kick back! Your Christmas photo shoot styling is complete! Well, maybe not! If they don’t have footies you may want to throw in some cute slippers. Pinterest was loaded with ideas like this!
6. Rent a Dress???
If your budget is limited, renting a Christmas dress or romper may be the perfect solution for your little girl. One of my favorite brands, Tutu Du Monde, has some amazing dresses that photograph beautifully. I’m even willing to share some from my little one’s closet! Take a peek at her rentable wardrobe (sizes 6 months to 12 years) by joining the “Rent Tutu Du Monde and Dollcake” group page on Facebook.
7. Open up the Christmas lights
Plug in the Christmas lights and trail them around your child on the floor. Supervise VERY CLOSELY! You don’t want these making their way into your infant or toddler’s mouth!!!! It may be helpful to give your little one something to hold in their hands, or if they aren’t crawling yet, place the lights out of reach.
8. Let him play with an wooden nativity set
As I mentioned above, anything that you can do to make picture time “play time” will guarantee you some amazing shots. Wooden or even painted nativity sets photograph amazingly well. They can add more than a little charm and Christmas spirit to your pictures.
9. Find a friendly donkey or a reindeer
You may think I’m kidding, but this is the girl who contemplated renting an elephant for her daughter’s second birthday. Every carnival needs an elephant, right?? My husband boycotted and won that battle. Ah, well. Christmas is the perfect time to take pictures with animals. Many local churches host live nativity sets and walk throughs. Dress your little one up and snap some shots along the way! Check with local photographers and see if any of them are using live animals for their Christmas sets. And, if you want to be even more bold, check with local farms to see if they might have a friendly, photogenic donkey who is willing to pose for a few minutes. This fella from Pinterest didn’t seem to mind!
10. Give them a cookie!
Yep, make them a cookie thief! Strip your little one down to just a cute diaper cover or some red and white striped pajama pant bottoms. Throw on a little Santa hat and hand them a cookie! Carefully place a plate of cookies and a jug of milk with a little sign propped up that says “For Santa Only”. Take it one step further and let your little one hold a bottle of milk too! Lana Sky Photography perfected the idea with this shot!
11. Let them be the Present!
12. Let them Read!
Books are always great props. A classic Christmas tale such as a vintage version of The Night Before Christmas or The Twelve Days of Christmas is another great way to occupy little hands and keep your little one in ONE PLACE for more than 2 seconds! Make it a little less traditional by using How the Grinch Stole Christmas and putting a cute red, white, and blue hat and socks on your little one.
13. Let them Go Sledding!
Find an old fashioned sleigh and let your little one explore! They will want to climb, sit, and stand. Let them have fun! If you have an infant, simply put a fur blanket on the sleigh and lay them down for a cozy shot.
14. Give them Some Plastic or Fabric Ornaments to Hold
Of course you aren’t going to hand your little one a glass ornament for pictures! These days, plastic or fabric ornaments are just as cute! Arrange some on the floor around your little one and then make his day by handing him a few to hold!
These are just a few ways to make your life a little easier and your infant and toddler a little happier during Christmas pictures. Leave a comment with your suggestions and head to the Facebook page to post Christmas pictures of your little one! I might just have a Christmas present for the cutest picture! And, don’t forget to follow The Mom in Me, MD on Pinterest for more great ideas!