Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas With The Cranks

This holiday season I bring you a whole new version of "Christmas With the Kranks", the most favored of holiday movies at my parents house. This "Christmas With The Cranks" involves one very cute, but very unhappy little guy.
Shainna sent us this attempt to do a cute holiday photo with the newest man in her life, check it out:

The Original

Babies in Christmas gear! Let the "ohhing" and "awwing" commence!

The Pinstrosity

"While pregnant, I saw so many cute DIY newborn Christmas pictures.  Since my son was due in November, I was really excited about the idea of trying them!   I even knitted my son a special hat to wear in the photos.  When he was a couple of weeks old, I decided it was time to try one of my favorites, the baby in the stocking picture...Mine didn't quite turn out like that...he didn't fit well in the stocking and got very upset about that. I thought my plush red blanket background would have worked well if anything else had. The lesson learned here is that sometimes, it's just worth it to pay a professional!"

My advice here is only one word, Benedryl. I kid, I kid, (kinda) haha.
 But in all seriousness, there a few things to make this a better experience for all involved. 

-This may seem obvious, but wait till baby is asleep (milk drunk anyone?), if your baby isn't a sound sleeper, you might need help from another individual to prop baby into the stocking. Two is better than one here.
-Measure your stocking before hand, I would even recommend doing a ridiculously huge sized stocking, just to be on the safe side. An added bonus is that it might make baby look even smaller, and well people just love tiny little baby things so I don't think that wouldn't be a bad thing.

In the original it looks like they may have even strategically placed the stocking on top of baby, so that may be an option.
Obviously I don't have a baby on hand at the moment, but if I did I would totally try this out and figure out what works best. 

However I did find a site full of newborn photo how to's! She has some good tips, and way more experience on this topic than I do, check it out:

Marquette has done a few newborn shoots, so once she gets back in town (she is on a photography business trip), I will have to ask her what she does to make sure baby is happy during photo sessions.

 Shainna I think you should keep the photo, it will always be cute reminder of just how little he once was and come with the memories of your brand new little family. 

Happy Monday Pinstrosipeeps!


  1. It definitely looks like the stocking is draped across the baby, rather than him being actually in it. Which, I'd imagine, makes it much easier to keep from waking the tyke.

    1. I'm with you - the first picture looks like the stocking is just resting on his little legs as opposed to the baby being stuffed inside. Creative cropping is what makes most baby photos work.

  2. Well, he was asleep when I started... LOL. Apparently, being forced into a stocking wakes a baby up... Who knew? :)

  3. Aside from finding a large stocking, maybe you could try putting the baby in the stocking, then feeding the baby/putting him to sleep. Also it looks like you need some better light which I know can be hard to find in the winter. Try putting the blanket next to a window. Of course my advice is all theoretical, because I've been wanting to do this with my new little girl, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I better hurry before she's too big!

  4. -love the little hat you knitted for him, Shainna!

  5. In the early days of photography, when an exposure took ages, they used to cover the child's mother with the backing cloth so she could hold the baby and not be seen. Might be worth a try!

  6. My son was 3 weeks old last Christmas and we pretty much got the same result as you...not to mention we couldn't really get him in the stocking :)

  7. I would keep AND use the photo! It's still adorable. :)

  8. Is that a stocking or just a blanket wrapped around baby to look like one? We can only see the very top of it so I have to wonder. There is no way I could have gotten my son in a stocking at that age... Wrapping a blanket around an already sleeping baby to mimic a stocking? That just might work!

    Love your blog!

  9. Also, the baby looks nakey and the inside of commercially bought stockings is pokey and rough. Maybe line the stocking with a blanket?

  10. We just did this with my 3 month old...and by we I mean my wedding photographer who loves to take pictures and never has enough:) Since my baby was almost 9 lbs at birth 3 months ago, there was no way she was fitting in a stocking. She ended up laying the stocking over her, and my baby was awake in a basket (because she never sleeps during the day:) it turned out really cute because she was happy in the warm basket with a blanket under her and the stocking kind of like a blanket on top of her.

  11. We have the same stocking that the original pin used--and it is FREAKING HUGE. Not joking. It's totally cute, but I didn't really pay attention to the dimensions when I ordered online--and had I noticed, I would not have ordered. My almost 7-year-old put it on after we got it, and it went up to his hip. On a 7-year-old!

  12. We did this when my daughter was born seven years ago. We went looking for the largest stocking we could find and she still wiggled so much that we couldn't get it past her knees. We ended up draping the stocking over her. It looked like she was in the stocking, and we got some cute pictures. Putting a baby in a stocking is definitely harder than it looks.

  13. Your best bet is to grab an inexpensive stocking that you don't mine damaging, and you just split it open up the back. Wrap it around baby with the split behind and Viola! Baby in stocking. ;)

  14. I know I'm late on this, but I just found your blog so I'm archiving! So. Two suggestions I have here, 1) slit the stocking down the back, so you can drape and then tuck it around the baby. 2) Someone above mentioned this kinda, I've seen a cutaway of a baby photo shoot, they had dad laying on the floor under the pretty fabric so the surface the baby was on was actually Dad's chest, warm, familiar, heartbeat, all that good happy baby stuff, then mom can do the face time to keep Jr. happy when they're awake.

  15. This has been sitting without comment for a while, but 'tis the season again.

    I have a different point than most of the reviewers to make. The composition in the original is RADICALLY different than the amateur attempt. 1. The original zooms in on the face and hands, always a good idea. 2. Only a tiny bit of the stocking is showing (you really don't need to see the whole thing to get the point), and showing the whole thing inevitably throws the proportion and composition totally off. 3. It is a landscape rather than portrait shot. 4. The baby and stocking are not photographed straight on, but diagonal in the shot, which is more artsy. 5. The imitator photo was a 'snout shot,' meaning that they took the photo from (I think) down by the baby's feet, and it means that we're subtly angled to stare up the poor kid's nostrils. Ouch!

    Aside from this, I would add that the original neutral white fur background was a good idea, but there should be only one fake fur in the shot. If the imitators were going with a fake fur stocking, the background should have been cotton or something similar. It was an overload of fake fur, and the color of both furs was really intense. Too intense, in my opinion. Notice how the contrast wiped out the white strip on the stocking because the rest of the photo is so dark? You can't see any detail on the white strip — it's totally flat white.

    Plus the baby is, of course, light pink and the skin tone didn't totally complement the other colors. In fact, between the colors of the fabric and the lighting (glare!), the baby looks kinda, well… let's say, not shown to best advantage. Skin color and highlights/lighting are important. There wasn't a good balance of light and dark colors in the shot in general, unlike the original, which has lots of restful white space, and colors that all coordinate and photograph well. The lighting is terrific, too, very soft and non-harsh.

    Of all these possible changes, the huge, huge item is that the imitation photo was too zoomed out. The baby was overwhelmed visually by the rest of the shot. If they had gotten in close, the other things wouldn't have been nearly as important. Plus, that super cute hat would have been a point of focus, which is especially important, since it was homemade.

    Fortunately, this is one of the easiest fixes to work on implementing in future shots.

    Better luck next time.

    P.S. I totally agree that they should keep that shot. It will be hilarious when the kiddo grows up! (And in the mean time, too.)

    P.P.S This was a fun one to analyze. The longer I looked, the more I noticed. It's really hard to look at a good photo on its own and see all the reasons it's so good. It makes a big difference to see one that was similar and didn't work out as well. Then you can look at them point by point and see how they differ.


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