Believe it or not this photograph was two years in the making. As so frequently happens in my head, I envision a photograph, (there are some amazing ones to come as yet too) and then I won’t do the shoot until it’s come together in real life as it is in my head, I know there are countless Elf on the Shelf pictures, I wanted to put my own stamp on it and create something timeless and classical – that night time sitting up feeling of when you are a child and waiting for Santa to come. I know babies don’t sit up waiting they are usually up most of the night anyway but you get the gist. I couldn’t find the “right” shelf, and when I did, after 8 long hours at an auction it was finally time to put the pieces together. The wonderful Lianne at Fairy tale photography props, had already made me a larger sized Elf set for toddlers, but I particularly wanted a darker toned image hence me picking the green elfsuit, again as in all the things I use for my shoots, the suit is made of the most beautiful soft yarn. The teddy bear is a silver tag bear. And the tree I collected about 3 years ago. Something about the sparkle and glow from the lantern on the gold just worked so well. The backdrop is by the very awesome Props for Togs. And I think it all came together to match my vision. It may have seemed a bit odd in October making this image but what a timeless image for the parents of this gorgeous little girl.
Here are the before shots, I haven’t edited these in any way at all, as I think it’s good for people to see what they first looked like, how to be safe, and the transformation and magic that takes place in both Lightroom and Photoshop!
I didn’t put the shelf under baby, the reasons being that unless it’s screwed into the floor it could tip towards baby, my shelf is a beautifully vintage piece of Oak that has been turned into a shelf, I needed babies legs against something though for the look to work, so this is a baby bed that I use lots by a brilliant maker in Europe Pedzlem Malowane newborn and child props it’s a solid bed that couldn’t tip and gave me the shadowing as it was dark wood to blend into the shelf. The hardest bit was blending the bear as for some reason my select and mask is playing up in Photoshop since the last update and so this image actually ended up taking me over 5 hours to perfect until I was happy with it. I shot the tree, background and shelf separately without baby in the picture, as baby was laying on her back her little arm was resting on the floor and so it created the illusion she was holding the lantern up.
This is now one of my most requested images at Christmas. I do like to mix things up a bit and so will use something slightly differently, and have this outfit in a different colour too.
People often think newborn photography is expensive, but when you realise just how much work and expense goes into just one photograph to create that unique image that will wow your family for generations then maybe you start to realise why photographers do in fact charge a reasonable amount for their time and talent.
This is my series from last year and we had an older child being held in place he really wasn’t high at all, and Mum had a good grip on him up against a wall. We transformed this cheeky little elf into a photograph with his sister, and the sharpie marker was photoshopped in afterwards, it’s one of my favourite pictures from last year.
Another Props for Togs background, I wasn’t happy with my shelf last year, but it worked for this image.
So when you see these type of images where baby is perched, there is actually a hand in place holding baby in place and the magic is done afterwards. At no time should a baby ever be perched on something their safety should never be compromised. This Mad Hatter hat is by the awesomely talented Puddy Pad Designs – such a creative soul I love her work, the talent of all the makers I use is immense and helps bring that something special to my ideas. It really is a huge collaboration of minds that make shoots like this work. I certainly wouldn’t have the patience to knit or felt or make wooden props.
Just in case you can’t get enough of the cuteness overload! Here are some more cheeky little Elves. Not all Elves like their hats!
This image the hand was photoshopped out holding this little one on.
And yes seriously this photo was this dark it was towards the end of the session and I just whipped this last shot off, no idea what I was going to do with it and the lighting wasn’t great. Next up to the blog will be my fairy sessions, and I’m equally as excited about them. They’ve been so magical for the children.
I believe in magic, I see it all the time in the wonder and the faces of all the children that I photograph. I just love this time of year.