Christmas baby portraits: How I created these ‘Elf on the shelf’ images

Christmas baby portraits

With Christmas coming up, naturally, I have been taking lots of themed Christmas baby portraits these past few weeks. I just adore them!

Parents do too! And, why not?! There’s so much to love! They can be used on personalised Christmas cards. And they make great Christmas presents for family and friends when printed and framed, or used in photo gifts.

Christmas baby portraits are lovely both to give, and to receive. 

Elf on the Shelf inspired portraits

I have particularly enjoyed working on a new concept this year. A creative setup, inspired by the 'Elf on the Shelf' craze.

Elf on the Shelf has increased in popularity, here in the UK, over the past few years. So I thought it would be fun to transform a few gorgeous newborns into little elves and capture them sleeping on their very own 'shelf'. 

I say ‘shelf’ in adverted commas since they were not perched on a shelf, of course. It's simply a clever optical illusion. If you'd like to know how I safely created these Elf on the Shelf-inspired portraits, read on!  

Newborn photography: Tricks of the trade

Now, it's important for you to realize that I would never balance a baby on a shelf or hang them from a height.

Nor would I position them in a basket that was at risk of toppling over. Or in a way that they were required to support their own head in their hands.

That just wouldn't be safe. 

Composite newborn images

All my portraits are taken in the safe, warm environment of my photography studio and the baby’s parents are always close by as well.

‘Composite’ newborn baby portraits like the one above are actually created after the photoshoot. They are essentially one or more photographs combined together using digital editing techniques.

Although the majority of the work is done in the photography studio, editing is an essential element in the success of this kind of image.

How I created the sleeping ‘Elf on the Shelf’ portrait

For the photo above, I setup the shot of the baby resting her head on the teddy bear, while laying on the shelf. The shelf was balanced and securely positioned on a chair, and the baby was held safely in position by the parent at all times.

The final image was achieved when I combined several photographs together. I removed the parents' hand and the chair from the photographs during the digital editing process. Clever huh?

(For more of an insight into this process, take a look at how composite newborn images are created here).   

Clever Christmas baby portraits

Here's another Elf on the Shelf portrait. This one was tricky to setup, but was worth it! 

Although the baby appears to be sitting on the shelf, he was actually lying, safely and comfortably, on his back on the floor.

I deliberately chose the rustic wooden backdrop which looked like the interior wall of a winter log cabin, and then propped the shelf up against his legs and bottom.

To complete the illusion, the props were also carefully positioned alongside him, and stuck down with tape to stop them from falling to the side. Then I photographed the whole setup from above, with my camera looking directly down to the floor. 

Ensuring baby’s safety at all times

Of course, I wanted it to appear as though these babies were really positioned on the shelf. 

But, as with any other portraits that I create that appear to put the baby in a position of potential danger, I can assure you that these are all created 100% safely.

Book your photoshoot today!

These are just a couple of examples of creative portraits that I produce for my clients within my signature newborn photography experience.

If you’d like something similar with your newborn baby, whatever the time of year, please contact me today.


Karen x 

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