Baby's First Holidays: Photo Tips for the Festive SeasonBy Tracey ClarkWhether you celebrate Baby’s first holidays with your folks or snuggle up with your newborn, these times are filled with memories in the making. Here are some simple photo tips for a picture-perfect holiday—gummy smiles, teary meltdowns and all. Be the early bird (and get the happy-family shot)If you’re expecting company over the holidays, you can be sure that everyone will want their picture taken with the little bundle—with Baby smiling in the middle. One way to be sure of success is to take these pictures early, before the window of baby photo ops closes. It only took one year of a screaming, over-stimulated infant to teach me that if we wanted good photos, we needed to get them taken pre-melt down!Picture it like a reality showEveryone loves the beaming baby in the picture, but don’t let your less-than-smiley little one ruin your photo fun! Baby wants to nap through the festivities? There is no cuter photo than the one of a sleeping child. And when you put together all of the photos from this time, with smiling faces and teary ones, you will tell the true story of Baby’s first holiday. I’ll always cherish the funny moment I captured in a group shot during my daughter’s first Christmas. She was wailing, but with the absurdity of it all, the rest of the group was giggling. Just remember that Add some nostalgiaA fun and easy way to add that timeless holiday look to your photos is by switching your pictures to black-and-white or sepia. Some cameras offer this feature, but you can also create the effect by using simple editing tools like Windows Photo Gallery or Google’s Picasa. It’s usually as easy as clicking a button. Switching from full color will also help simplify your shots, making them feel less busy, not to mention less untidy (a major plus when you haven’t had a moment to tidy your cheerfully chaotic, toy-filled holiday home!). Not all pictures look great in black and white or sepia, so test the effect with some of your holiday photos.Get festiveDecorations, candles and a good meal are important ingredients in brightening our holiday spirits, and there’s no doubt you’ll want to capture them in your pictures. The trick? Try taking a few pictures with the flash turned off for a glowing-baby effect. Just be sure to hold the camera very still, so you don’t end up with a blurry image. For the big picture, mix it up Big group shots and pictures full of festive elements say “holiday,” but they’re only part of the story. The simple, sweet moments matter just as much. Don’t forget to zoom in and get some close-ups of your little baby, so you can capture those subtle nuances of expression that you might miss in group shots. If you have a tiny one, try taking pictures of her face as she gazes at the lights. If the baby’s already a little bit older, capture her checking out the company. By mixing different types of photo - formal and casual, wide angle and close up - you will have a well rounded story of your baby’s first holiday season.Make a baby photo message Why not create your Baby’s First Holidays album cover by dressing him for his photo session in one of the adorable message-emblazoned onesies that are on the market? Imagine your baby wearing the caption, "Baby's First Thanksgiving," “Santa’s Little Helper,” or “New Year 01”! Phrases that capture the spirit of the holiday are a cute and clever way to mark the occasion in your photographs.Start a holiday photo tradition Bringing a new baby into the family means fresh beginnings – just the time to start a holiday photo tradition! In a few years’ time, you’ll have the makings of a fun family album. Simply find something that has a special significance for you and incorporate it into an annual holiday photo of your child. After the birth of our first daughter, we began a tradition of shooting photos of her holding a special Christmas bear; later we incorporated our second child into the pictures. By now, we have a wonderful photo series of adorable pictures that tell a special story of our kids’ growth. Having a baby doesn't mean you can't enjoy the holidays. Just use our real-life guide to beating seven big holiday stressors.Baby's got no chewing power? Give your little one a holiday taste treat with this seasonal baby-food recipe by "Iron Chef" and mom Cat Cora.