There’s always been something magical about the holiday season for me. As a child, I didn’t have much, but the twinkle of lights lit up my eyes with fascination. There’s something special about turning on the Christmas tree lights for the first time and seeing who will put out the most impressive display in the neighborhood. As a photographer, I am constantly seeking emotion and candid moments in my imagery. This time of year elicits an inspiration in many photographers to create unique concepts and bring the joy of the season to life in a single still image.
I’ve been watching photographers post fantastic holiday images in my Facebook group, and it inspired me to reach out to the community and have them share their favorite holiday photos. Some of the submissions made me laugh while others tug at the heart strings. I hope that you will enjoy these half as much as I do.
1.) Lizzy McMillan of Momento Studios
From Lizzy: This image was shot on the floor of my studio with a Canon 5D Mark III and the Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 at about f/3.5. I used the Einstein 640 with an 86″PLM. The perfect little outfit was created and rush-shipped to me by The Knitting Bitty.
This little boy’s mama is a professional baker, and she has been a client for over 10 years. She always lets me play and test out new concepts. I photographed her engagement, wedding, gender reveal, maternity, first child’s first year, and now this baby.
I challenged myself to create art that I haven’t seen on Pinterest or other photographer’s pages. I wanted to create an image that was unique and original and also special for this family. I love that the image captures his mom’s passion for baking and mine for creativity in newborn portraiture.
2.) Aoife Millea of Cleare Photography
Follow Aoife on her Facebook.
From Aoife: I LOVE doing these Christmas elves! I also love using backdrops so instead of posing baby in front of the drop I thought I would make them part of the backdrop through the magic of compositing images together. I love planning out a new set up from the drop, the outfits, how and where I will pose the baby and nailing the light for a believable composite. It is the most rewarding job ever to photograph babies and see my vision come to life.
3.) Katrina Elena of Katrina Elena Photography
From Katrina: This shot was a collaboration with my prop maker friend, Kristy, from Willows Garden- Baby/ Children’s Photo Props and Gifts. She wanted a nice shot of her crocheted Santa outfit that she could use as an example photo on her Etsy store. Kristy had seen other photographers posing newborns on little wing-back chairs, so really wanted to use that prop and have the baby sitting next to a table with a little glass of milk and her crocheted cookies.
I purchased the doll chair on eBay and the tiny tree at a local thrift store. I made the table using a pine wood candle holder glued to a round plaque that I purchased at Michael’s. I stained it using leftover stain from my wood flooring and background. The milk is Elmer’s glue. The rug is a placemat.
I took the photo using a Nikon D700 and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens. It was shot at ISO 200, f/5.0, at 1/200 sec. Lighting was a Nikon SB910 speedlight shot through a 63″, Paul C Buff, white, PLM umbrella with white front diffusion fabric and black outer cover fabric. PocketWizards were used to trigger the flash. A large sheet of home insulation with a matte silver finish was used opposite the umbrella for fill. Two photos were composited together in order to remove the baby’s mom (who was supporting the baby).
I love the shot primarily because the beard is super cute, plus the baby sitting in a tiny chair is adorable.
4.) Lonnie Neufer of Valley Pride Photography
From Lonnie: Rocky is a web celebrity in most photography groups. My 1-year-old Miniature Pinscher is no stranger to the camera; he willingly steps in front of the back drop to give me some of the cutest pictures!! I know he makes people laugh and smile as he works it for the camera, making it that much more meaningful. I didn’t have much spirit coming into this Christmas but he inspires me by letting me do whatever I want. He wanted to be one of Santa’s reindeer this year and he may not have a red nose, but you certainly can’t miss him if he’s barking.”
5.) Amy Sine of Amy Sine Photography
From Amy: The idea for this shoot was that I just wanted to use this adorable hat with a cute chunky baby. Aryn is not all that chunky but the story to go with this photo is too funny not to tell. Aryn rolled backwards in the bowl and it was the slowest fall ever (which you can see the floor isn’t far) and when she hit the floor she yells, “BOOM” and started laughing! That was a first but it was so hilarious.
This is a photo I won’t forget anytime soon. Her parents are friends of mine and they said she rolls off and runs into stuff, and falls all the time so they started saying “boom” when something happens. So now instead of crying, she laughs and yells “boom” anytime she does something like that, unless it hurts.
6.) Abbie Fox of Foxy Photography
From Abbie: This is a picture of my two kids and their elf. My kids are huge trouble makers and think it is hilarious what our elf does so I got them involved in the fun! It is a composite of 3 images. The elf was shot alone and the floor and wall is from that picture. The kids were each taped to the white flooring and I took their pictures on a 7ft ladder. The fact they made the exact faces is one of my favorite things about the picture. This image was so much fun that we decided to do a whole series of shots!
7.) Jenni Rundle of Jenni Rundle Photography
From Jenni: This image was taken at my mother-in-law’s house, and the wonderful children in it are my nephews and niece. To capture an image like this, the most important thing is the amount of lights on the tree. This tree easily has 600 lights on it. All of the other lights in the house must be off. I spot metered off of one of the children’s faces. My settings were F 1.4, ISO 4000, SS 1/60 and I shot using the Nikon D700 and the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art.
By pushing my settings to get the proper exposure, the noise grain is minimal. A steady hand or tripod is necessary. I was telling the kids to look for the hippo in the tree. (There was no hippo, of course!) I also bribed them with a dollar. Hey, whatever works!
Images like this push our creativity as artists. They make us explore the possibilities of our cameras. Pictures like this each year show growth in our children and us in the art we create.
8.) Julian Marks of Picture Your Birth
From Julian: These are my babies. My littlest was 20 months when I took this photo, and he is as busy as can be. This setup worked perfect for him because he could play and it showed his cute personality. My daughter is 4 and definitely suffers from “Photographer’s Child Syndrome.” She is the one who really inspired me to want to become a photographer and she has had to be my model for a few too many sessions in her mind. This one was good for her because I wasn’t posing her and she just got to have fun. This is a composite image where I chose the best 9 from the session and created the outline of the box after lining them all up.
9.) Ana Brant of Ana Brandt Photography
From Ana: I wanted a unique angle that was a bit different than what I have seen out there and what I have done. Holidays are my favorite time of the year. I know how excited my clients are and I love not only shopping for Holiday props, but also creating unique sets for each session. When working with a sibling and newborn, it is just as important to show the connection with the toddler, as it is to show the beauty of a newborn. Getting the closeness of two siblings is what the parents are going to treasure more then anything. Having a nice Holiday set, and being able to capture the love the child has for their newborn sibling, is what my job is all about
10.) Alicia D’Amico of Pure Emotions Photography
From Me: I am feeling quite nostalgic this year. Since losing my mother to cancer in 2004, holidays have been tough on me. Sure, there are good moments to be had, but there’s always that twinge of pain of the moments that both she and I are missing out on. I’m all about creative and unique photos, and that is a huge part of my brand but my favorite holiday photo this season is simplistic and pure. It’s of a mother who is a dear friend of mine, Lola and her fresh 3-month-old baby, Nicky. The light in her eyes and the way she holds him with pride fills my heart with butterflies.
We shot this image at an outdoor Christmas display in Tampa, Florida and utilized natural night in a shaded area. It was shot using the Canon 5D Mark III with Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. F6.3, ISO 800, SS 1/250.
It’s amazing how a timeless image such as this defines a moment in time. The furrow lines on baby Nicky’s forehead and the pride in Lola’s eyes are captured in this singular image and will outlast them to be passed on to future generations. I would give anything to have a portrait such as this with my mother from when I was a baby.
Happy Holidays from my family to yours!
~~~ H A P P Y H O L I D A Y S~~~