Trying to get toddlers to do anything you want can be nearly impossible – and that is extra true when you are trying to capture their cuteness in a photo. But there are a few things you can do to make taking Christmas photos of your toddler go much more smoothly.
I knew months ago that this was going to be our first year sending out photo cards. I definitely didn’t want to pass up the chance to show off pictures of Griffin, the most beautiful boy in the world. (As his mom, I’m pretty sure showing him off is one of my duties. As is knowing he is the most beautiful boy in the world).
Well, before you can have photo cards, you must have photos. And even though we have hundreds of precious photos of the little guy, I wanted to try my hand at taking some cute Christmas photos. These are my top tips for taking fabulous Christmas pictures of your own toddler without even leaving your house.
Give them something to play with.
The first set up took almost no preparation. At bedtime one night, I dressed Griffin in a pair of Christmas pajamas, turned off all of the lights, and plugged in a string of Christmas lights on the floor.
(Disclaimer: Griffin happens to be a most unusual baby who doesn’t put anything in his mouth so I didn’t have to worry about him chewing on the lights and I was right next to him in case anything else dangerous happened).
The lights really captured his attention and made for some cute pictures.
Create a beautiful photo spot.
The second photo shoot was a bit more elaborate. I used a huge navy silk curtain panel that I got for $3 at a warehouse sale. To hang it I simply anchored it to the bookshelves with weights, letting it drape onto the floor. Then I added Christmas lights to the curtain backdrop.
Since I was doing this in front of shelves, I simply draped the lights from various objects on the shelves, letting them hang down. If you are creating your backdrop against a wall instead of shelves, taping the lights to the curtains with dark duct tape should work well too.
My original idea was to take pictures of Griffin with a vintage globe to create a Joy to the World Christmas card. Well….as you know, toddlers are quite unpredictable so that didn’t quite pan out. The pictures were mostly of Griffin either chasing the globe around the room or crawling away from it.
Have an assistant.
When the globe wasn’t working out, we had to go with plan B. I had also grabbed some Christmas garland that was waiting to be hung on the tree as a back up plan.
This is where my assistant (my husband) came in. Griffin had no interest in the garland unless hubby waved it around in the air. That was what finally brought out the smiles.
Choose photos that show some personality.
Let’s face it – toddlers are not great at sitting still and smiling pretty. They are always on the move, always exploring. Instead of fighting it, embrace it. Choose a photo for your Christmas card that shows some personality and tells a bit of a story.
For our own Christmas card, we ended up going with three different photos. Together they tell a story of the joy and wonder Griffin is experiencing this Christmas.
I designed our Christmas cards using Picmonkey and had them printed at Walgreens – this is one of my favorite ways to save major money on Christmas photo cards.
Update – I’m now a proud mama to three lively boys so I’ve had to learn lots more. Check out my latest tips for taking great Christmas photos of your kids right here.