Cake Smash Series: How to Prepare for Cake Smash Success

Did you catch the first post in our Cake Smash Series?  It's all about telling a story through your images by varying the angles and details that you capture in your session!  Go check it out here!

cake smash series tips for success.jpg

Whether it's your first cake smash or your hundredth, there are plenty of ways to set yourself up for success before the birthday baby ever comes to your studio.  The last thing you want to happen is to have an inconsolable baby, upset parents, an allergic reaction, or a gallery full of unusable images.  Read on to learn how you can prepare yourself, your studio, the baby, and your clients so that your session runs as smoothly as possible!

Get the studio ready.

Set everything up ahead of time, and make sure that your backdrop stands are secure.  Baby's safety is always your #1 priority during a session.  I use sandbags to weigh down all of my backdrop stands just in case the baby decides to pull on the garlands or the backdrop, and if any decoration becomes too distracting for the baby during the session, I simply pull it out of the set-up mid-shoot so that the baby can focus on the cake and so that we avoid anything falling on the baby.  

While you're setting everything up, don't forget to test your lights!  Set your white balance, figure out your aperture, and make sure that everything is hanging at a height that will fit around the baby when he or she is sitting with their cake.  Look for shadows cast by the decorations onto your backdrop, and use a reflector to bounce more fill light into the set-up to correct this.  

When I set everything up ahead of time, I like to put the cake into the set-up to get a few clean shots of the cake by itself.  This is great for those storytelling images like we talked about in our last post in the Cake Smash series, and it's a wonderful way to really get a feel for what your session will look like -- just add baby!


Enjoy a simple checklist to help you get the studio ready for your next cake smash session!  Print, pin, and share these tips for photographers to prepare for your next successful cake smash!

checklist for photographers to prepare for a cake smash photo shoot

Prepare the parents: Be ready for anything!

From the very first phone call, I let the parents know that the cake smash portion of our sessions last anywhere from 5-20 minutes, and it all depends on the baby!  Some babies love their cake, while others are more hesitant and don't like the feeling of the sticky frosting on their fingers.  Sometimes babies are nervous in a new space and they won't be all smiles during their session.  

I let parents know that it's totally okay and normal if their baby cries during the session, and I reassure them that I will capture a variety of images to tell their birthday story no matter what happens during the session.  I share crying images on social media and on my blog, and I normalize this for the families that I work with.  This way, parents come to the shoot and they are prepared for the worst (a crying baby), but they are pleasantly surprised if their child loves the birthday cake and gives us lots of smiles and laughs!

Of course, be sure to discuss any allergies with your clients before the session!


Share this simple checklist with your clients to help them prepare for their baby's cake smash session!  It gives them advice on what to pack, and what to do ahead of time to set their baby up for a successful cake smash session.

checklist for what to pack for your baby's cake smash photo shoot

What are your TOP TWO TIPS to prepare for
a cake smash session?
Leave a comment below and share your favorites!

 

 

A Greenhouse Maternity Session with Amy & Lo | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer

Sometimes things just come together perfectly, like these two:

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session

Amy & Lo met at the Saratoga racetrack a few years ago on Travers Weekend, and they've been inseparable ever since.  They got married last fall, and reached out to me about planning their maternity & newborn sessions as they eagerly wait for their baby boy to arrive later this summer.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session

When they mentioned finding a location with a more natural feel, I suggested that we do their session in a greenhouse.  Well, as things just come together perfectly, luck would have it that Amy's family owns a local greenhouse and she grew up planting seedlings and watering the flowers right here in this building.  So of course we decided it would be the perfect location for their maternity session!  

Don't you agree?  I'm in love with the soft, diffused light and the beautiful flowers & greenery!  But of course, the real stars of the show are Amy, Lo, and her adorable baby bump!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session

They both have family in Holland, so we had to incorporate these vintage wooden shoes into their session.  I love it when families bring a beautiful & meaningful family heirloom to their sessions for us to use in their portraits!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session
Saratoga Springs NY Maternity Photographer Boston Maternity Photographer Uptown NY Maternity Photographer-12 copy.jpg
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session

Wondering what to wear for your maternity session?  I have a growing collection of gowns in the studio, like this slate blue one below.  These are perfect for our studio mamas, and I am always happy to let you come visit and try a few on beforehand to choose the ones that you'd like to wear during your portrait session!

Amy absolutely rocked the blue gown, and it looked incredible on her.  I love the way it showcases her baby bump and complements her hair & skin.  She's definitely radiant!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Maternity Photographer | Boston Maternity Photographer | Upstate NY Maternity Photographer | Maternity Photographer | Maternity session

Maternity sessions are best done between weeks 28-36.  If you're expecting a little one, I would love to chat with you about adding a maternity session on to your newborn package!  

Enjoy a few more recent maternity sessions on the blog:

Emily's Backlit Maternity Session in the Studio

Waiting for Baby Luca: A Studio Maternity Session

Breastfeeding Babies with Down Syndrome | Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer

Sometimes the stars align and you find yourself exactly where you were supposed to be, surrounded by people that are going to inspire you & change you.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer

That is exactly what happened when Ella Gray Cullen, the founder of the nonprofit Julia's Way, contacted me and together we organized this session on the beach with 10 strong mamas and 10 warrior babies.  

But here's the catch -- all of these babies rock an extra chromosome and happen to have Down syndrome, and we gathered on the beach to celebrate their journeys in nursing and their mamas' journeys in breastfeeding.

I loved every minute of this evening together -- cuddling the cutest babies, hearing their stories, and laughing together as the babies were just being their sweet little selves!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer

From Ella Gray Cullen, enjoy a little peek into the heart behind the photo session that has since begun to inspire a movement to help others reimagine life with Down syndrome, and check out her full blog post here.....

"I was disheartened by hearing from women who had been told that their babies likely wouldn't nurse. Some were told by their doctors or other medical professionals that they shouldn't even bother. My breastfeeding relationship with my daughter is one of the greatest treasures I have and I felt sad to hear women say they felt they couldn't have that just because their child had Down syndrome.
Many, if not most, babies with DS can breastfeed and for those that can, and whose mothers would like to do it, the benefits are immeasurable. Feeding your child is always a personal choice, but some of these women didn't have a choice because of their medical professionals. Somehow, my vision of posting a photo of myself nursing my daughter on my personal Facebook page to create awareness spawned a non-profit dedicated to reimagining life with Down syndrome and suddenly we had 10 women who volunteered their time.
These women nursed their babies and children despite challenges most people could never have imagined including months' long NICU stays, heart failure, open heart surgery, pulmonary hypertension, duodenal atresia, leukemia, prematurity, and hypothyroidism. These women came together to give a gift to new and expectant moms, something many of them feel that they didn't have enough of: encouragement from real moms, like themselves, who struggled through the early and difficult days and eventually met success, usually when they least expected it. We want to say you can do it! We are here cheering you on! and go, mama, go! "
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Upstate NY Baby Photographer | Baby Photographer

You know the most amazing thing that has come out of this evening on the beach?  

It's not that the story has started going viral online, but it's the reaction that so many mamas have had to our posts.  The comment sections have been filled with mothers sharing their own personal journeys, telling us about their little ones with Down syndrome, and giving a glimpse into their breastfeeding journey.  What we love the most is hearing other mothers tell us that they are advocating for their little ones and doing everything possible to open a whole world of possibilities for their babies.  Keep it up, mamas!  You're doing an amazing job!

A huge thank you for all of the shares on our posts, including:
La Leche League USA
Love What Matters
PopSugar Moms
Hanover Wicked Local


JULIAS WAY has big plans to continue the momentum we've gained from the shoot, and part of this advocacy involves an informational video, publishing a book, and spreading the word in medical offices across the country.  Please consider donating to support this cause!


A White & Cream Newborn Session with Matthew | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer

Ohhhhh, sweet Matthew.  There is nothing I love more than a brand new baby, all squishy & soft against a simple, clean white backdrop.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

It's always an honor when a family invites me into their lives to capture their newborn baby's portraits.  What makes it even better is when they come back to me later on with Baby #2.  I first met this sweet family when their first son was born.  (Check out big brother Joey's newborn session here!)  Then when they told me that Baby #2 wouldn't be far behind, I was thrilled to plan their next session with them!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

One of the things that left me awe-struck was just how much big brother Joey and baby brother Matthew look like each other.  Heads full of dark, soft newborn hair.  The same eyes and tiny little chins.  They are so adorable and handsome, all rolled up into such a tiny bundle!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

One of the (many) amazing things about working with families who return to the studio with each baby is witnessing the tiny changes that only I would notice in their family & parent images.  The way that their expressions change from surprise/awe/wonder with the first baby, and settle into an easier, contented joy with the second baby.  You can see it in the way they relax their eyes, their face, their shoulders.  In the way that they are 1,000% more comfortable and natural holding the baby the second time around.  It's like, "Yeah, we're parents now.  We've done this before.  We've got this!"  I love watching that transition!

There is just so much love in these family portraits, and it's multiplied when we bring big brother in to get to know his baby brother!  Family portraits with a toddler and newborn are always tricky, but so, so worth it!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

Telling a Story through your Cake Smash Session Images

I am a storyteller with a camera. 

As a cake smash photographer in Saratoga Springs & Boston, I am all about telling the story of my littlest clients’ first birthday celebrations.   Personally, I love doing this in a classic way with a first birthday cake smash session.  

But it’s not just about making a mess out of the cake.  

As a photographer, your job is to discover and tell a story.  There is an entire story that unfolds when you place a cake in front of a baby, and today’s post will help you discover the key elements so that you can capture the full story in your next cake smash session!


START AT THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY

While you can’t exactly have the words “Once upon a time” to obviously clue us in that this is the beginning of your cake smash, there are so many other ways to visually portray the start of the session and the beginning of the baby’s birthday story. 

I like to start my cake smash sessions with a pull back shot of the entire setup BEFORE the baby is even in the frame.  Capture the cake, the decor, and close ups of the little details.  Capture the perfection before the mess that occurs later on!  I do this while parents are getting the baby ready, and I tell them that I’m just testing out my light — which is true!   Sometimes I take a few test shots while waiting for the family to arrive as well, just to make sure there are no other adjustments I want to make to the setup.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

After those couple of quick shots, the focus is no longer on the decor, and it’s 100% on the baby.  Forget about the decor and watch the story unfold!
 

Get ready for the action

Next we’re ready for the baby!  I explain to the parents where they will place the baby in the setup.  I ask them to place the baby behind and off to the side of the cake just a little bit.  This way, the baby can crawl or walk towards the cake, showing off their new gross motor skills.  It also gives you a great opportunity to capture the excitement, interest, and curiosity on the baby’s face as they see their colorful cake for the first time!

You are on camera duty, and the parents are on baby-chasing duty.  If you keep getting up to position the baby, you are going to miss a lot of incredible shots, so I make sure the parents know that they’ll bring the baby back into the set if the baby crawls (or walks!) away.
 

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

WATCH THE STORY UNFOLD

It’s all about the angles!  Start from far away and move in with your camera to capture the entire scene, and then close ups of the baby.  I like to get really close and capture the frosting on their feet, the little pieces of cake that they’re putting into their mouth, and those tiny fingers grabbing the cake.  

One of my favorite angles to capture in the middle of the shoot is the bird’s eye composition.  I grab my step stool and shoot from up above with my 35mm lens.  I sing, clap, and do anything I can to get the baby looking up at me.  It’s my favorite shot every single time showing those wide and sparkling eyes, their beautiful outfit, and the messy cake that they’ve enjoyed all in one shot.
 

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
saratoga springs cake smash baby photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

FIND A NATURAL ENDING

The image that you use to represent the end of the session may be the very last frame that you capture that day, but I find that the image I choose to show the end often isn’t the very last frame, but one from earlier on when the baby was just over it.  

Maybe they’re crying or crawling away from the cake.  Maybe their big brother or sister came in for a few photos and for a taste of the birthday cake.  Maybe mom’s arms are reaching into the frame to pick up the baby at the end.  Maybe the baby is signing “all done” with their hands all covered in frosting.  Whatever it is, there’s your shot to show the end of the story!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

Some cake smashes last for 20 minutes, and others last for 5 minutes. If you prepare the family to expect this ahead of time, it will be no big deal if the sessions goes a little short because the baby is not feeling it.  Nevertheless, you can still capture a beginning, middle, and end to the story through your images by changing your angles, composition, and looking for storytelling transitions that occur naturally in the session.


Think they're all perfect and filled with smiling, happy babies?  No way!
If your next cake smash session doesn't go as planned, don't worry!  
Check out my favorite blog post that's a compilation of so many recent sessions: 


After the Session

Don't let the story end with that last photo!  Take it to the blog to share behind the scenes pictures, details about planning the session, and tell your readers a little more about what happened in between frames to tell the full story of baby's first birthday cake smash!

What to Wear for your Beach Family Portraits | Cape Cod Family Photographer

The 4th of July means that summer is officially in full swing!  I am looking forward to spending some time on Cape Cod later this month, where I can't wait to get together with so many families for their family portrait sessions!  But of course, there is always that one popular question...

What should we wear for our photoshoot on the beach?

Since our Spring Wardrobe blog post was such a hit, I've decided to share some wardrobe inspiration for your beach session this summer!  Enjoy lots of visual inspiration, plus a couple of simple tips to make choosing outfits for your family session a breeze!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer

Keep it simple.  

Choose 2 colors plus a neutral and weave those into everyone's outfits.  Above you'll see that light blue, navy, and white pull all of the outfits together!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer

You can't go wrong with stripes.

I am a huge fan of stripes for our Salt Air sessions on the beach, and I love how classic and New England-y (we're just going to pretend that's a word!) they look.  When choosing stripes, choose ones that have only 2 colors so that the pattern isn't too busy and distracting -- white & blue are so classic!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer

Enjoy a little pop of color!

Teal & coral go really well together, and they are such eye-catching summer colors that are perfect for a photo session in the warmer months.  Tie the outfits together even more with matching accessories -- a coral bowtie on the baby, or a hat with a teal band on dad.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer

Leave the jeans at home.

At the beach, you want to lighten up and relax.  Heavy and dark jeans just don't make sense in such a relaxed and airy setting.  Choose lightweight fabrics (khaki, linen, cotton) rather than heavier ones.  Shorts are great, too!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer

Glam it up!

If you really want to make it a special experience, check out Rainey's Closet for your daughter (we have an entire post about this incredible rental service for little girls' dresses).  For your own dress, Rent the Runway has fabulous options, and you can also purchase beautiful dresses on Lulu's and even Amazon -- yay for 2-day shipping!  I have a growing collection of gowns in the studio as well -- ask me about it, and I'm happy to bring a dress or two for you to borrow!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer

Choose colors that complement your home decor.

These portraits are going to be proudly displayed on the walls of your home.  Make sure you keep your colors in mind as you plan your wardrobe so that they flow seamlessly into your decorating, enhancing the space rather than looking out of place!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer

Now, wasn't that easy?  Comment below and tell me what's your family's favorite activity to do on the beach!  

A Family Portrait Session in Saratoga Springs Spa State Park - Saratoga Springs & Albany Family Photographer

Oh my goodness, this family is the absolute sweetest and it was such an honor to capture them all together for a family photo session in Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer

I first met Kaley a few months ago at a get-together for local photographers in the Capital Region.  We connected again at a coffee shop where we spent hours talking life, business, and everything in between.  She told me about how her little boy, Remi, took her on a date to Red Robin, got all dressed up, put on a bowtie, told her to put on something pretty, and held the door for her at the restaurant.  He even insisted on paying for the meal.  I mean seriously, how cute!!!!  I fell in love with her adorable son and his amazing mannners on the spot, and I knew that the rest of her family would charm me as well!  

Then we started talking about capturing some family portraits before her exchange student, Daniel, returned to Mexico at the beginning of the summer.  When I was about the same age as Ellis and Remington , my family hosted three exchange students for three straight years.  Then in college I went to live with a family in Argentina, which kicked off a decade of international travel for me!  So of course I have a special spot in my heart for families that take on an exchange student and welcome another family's child into their home like one of their own.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer

We got together for a very fun session at sunset in Spa State Park, right next to SPAC in Saratoga Springs.  It was the perfect summer evening for a relaxed and playful session together, and I loved every moment with this sweet family!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer

Aren't their outfits just perfect?

I always help families plan their outfits before their portrait session, and like most moms, Kaley messaged me and said, "Help!  I have nothing to wear!"

A half hour later she magically pulled together the most beautiful collection of outfits that were already in their closets, and that held so much meaning for their family!  Remi's shorts & suspenders were handmade and belonged to his grandpa, while the floral dress that Ellis is wearing was made by her great grandmother!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer

Are you ready to capture some beautiful & light-hearted memories with your family?  Let me do all the work and plan a worry-free session for your family this summer!
 

Sleepy Newborn Photos - Saratoga Springs & Boston Newborn Photographer

Ask any newborn photographer -- there is nothing we love more than a sleepy, cuddly newborn baby!  Those little baby yawns that come right before they slip into what we lovingly call a "milk drunk" state of sleep are the best!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

So why do photographers love sleepy newborn babies so much?  Well, they are much easier to settle into a pose without stretching or startling themselves awake.  For a baby that is just a week or two old, when they are awake they typically want to eat.  Of course, you didn't hire a newborn photographer to capture dozens of photos of your baby eating, so we like a baby to have a full belly and be nice and settled during their session.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

When a newborn baby is in a deep sleep during a studio session, it's easy to move them from the beanbag to buckets and other small props to curl them up inside of.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

This also gives your photographer the chance to really slow down and zoom in on all of the details that you don't want to forget -- their perfect pout, the flaky newborn skin on their hands, their tiny toes, and that thin layer of downy newborn hair on their back.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

Plus, sleepy newborn smiles are OH-SO-AMAZING!!!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

But do newborn babies need to be asleep during their newborn sessions?
No, of course not!  

I actually love it when they're awake for a few shots so that we can capture their sparkly eyes and intense gaze.  Check out yesterday's blog post filled with so many of
our favorite awake newborn images from recent sessions!
 

Wide Awake Newborn Portraits - Saratoga Springs & Boston Newborn Photographer

I'm going to let you in on a little secret...

Whether it's a lifestyle newborn session at home, or a newborn session here in my Saratoga Springs studio, it's not always guaranteed that the baby will fall asleep!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

Of course, newborn sessions go much more smoothly (and quickly!) when the fresh new baby is asleep most of the time.  We're able to pose the baby into those adorable little curled up poses, wrap them in swaddles, unwrap them, and move them from one setup to another without disturbing them.  

But sometimes, babies are curious little things and they like to see everything that is going on around them -- I swear they must be wondering who this girl with the camera is!  So when we have awake babies during a newborn session, we go with the flow and capture their sparkling eyes and their powerful gaze.  And we hope that they eventually fall asleep by using the million-and-one tricks that I have up my sleeve as a newborn photographer to get tiny little babies to fall into Dreamland!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

I do love it when we get those wide-eyed shots during our newborn sessions, though!  This typically happens more often during our lifestyle sessions at home, and it's a great opportunity to capture some portraits in their crib, and cuddles with mom & dad.  If we're bringing siblings in (especially toddlers) that is always much easier with an asleep newborn, though!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

So many beautiful little babies!  Check back on the blog tomorrow for another post with a few of our favorite SLEEPY newborn shots from recent sessions!


Did you know that the best time to book your newborn session is in the second or early in the third trimester?  We are now booking newborns for August, September, October, and November, and I would love to plan the perfect session with you!  

Using Rainey's Closet Dress Rentals for my Portrait Studio Wardrobe

Can I let you in on a little secret?  It's the way that every little girl can feel like a princess for her portrait session.  It's called Rainey's Closet.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer

Every photographer (and mom!) wants to find the perfect outfit for their portrait sessions.  You want something unique, fun, and just a little bit whimsical.  Something a little bit fancier than your everyday clothing, because photo sessions are a time to have a little fun and experiment with something new!

But that can get a little expensive, especially if you're just going to wear it once, and even more so if your little girl will outgrow it in no time at all.

The solution?  Rent the perfect dress for your session!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer

Rainey's Closet is a boutique rental company, similar to Rent the Runway, but with couture dresses and adorable little outfits for babies, little girls, and even some items for little boys!  Their website is filled with the most popular brands that photograph so beautifully -- Tutu Du Monde, Dollcake, Nellystella, Well Dressed Wolf, Joyfolie...  The list goes on and on!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer

I adore this service because for about $35, you can rent the most perfect dress that will truly make your session that much more magical.  A dress that is perfect for twirling, with little hints of sparkle and lots of movement that looks amazing on camera.  

I have discovered so many gorgeous brands and gowns through this website, and it's definitely a favorite resource of mine that I recommend to all of the families I work with.  Planning a beach session this summer?  Rather than spending $30-40 on a dress at the store that you may or may not love, and one that may or may not photograph nicely, rent one from Rainey's Closet that will look STUNNING for your session and that will make your little girl feel like a princess.

I would love it if you'd use my unique referral code
when you rent from Rainey's Closet!  

It's 141372.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer

Many moms like to send me pictures of the outfits they are thinking of before the session, and then it's so easy to pick one of the dresses from Rainey's Closet to coordinate.  Their colors are soft with lots of neutral tones that will go well with every combination you could possibly dream up.  I have marked dozens of their dresses as favorites, and pinned even more on our wardrobe inspiration boards on Pinterest.  Stuck on outfits?  Start with Rainey's Closet and the rest will come together beautifully!  

For more wardrobe inspiration, check out these helpful links!

Pinterest: Spring Wardrobe Inspiration for Family Portrait Sessions

Pinterest: Beach Wardrobe Inspiration for Family Portrait Sessions

Blog: What to Wear for your Family Portrait Session

Connor's Lifestyle Newborn Session - Boston South Shore Lifestyle Photographer

World, meet Connor.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

This sweet little boy has the most soulful eyes I have ever seen on a newborn. He was wide awake during his lifestyle newborn session at home, and his curiosity got the best of him as he wanted to see everything that was going on around him.  I'm so glad, because it allowed us to capture so many beautiful wide-eyed shots of this handsome baby boy!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

Baby toes are my favorite!  Especially when framed by a white crib in a nursery with such delicious & airy light streaming in.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

The family's fur baby, Mack, joined in on the fun.  I always love when we can incorporate pets into our lifestyle sessions at home because they are such an important member of your family.  While most dogs take some time to adjust to a new baby at home, we always try a little extra hard to get a few shots of the two together.  Those will definitely be the images you are so happy to have many years from now when your baby and your dog are the best of friends.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

Decor & style is such a huge part of our lifestyle sessions, though they of course take a back seat to the emotions that are bubbling over as your family grows from 2 to 3 (or from 3 to 4!).  I love that these sessions take place right in your home, and they show so much of your family's personality as we capture the space that you first brought your baby home to.  The banister on the staircase in this family's home made the perfect frame to shoot through for a few cozy moments in the living room.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - A Lifestyle Newborn Session in the South End, Boston Baby Photographer

Can we please fill all of the nurseries with twinkling stars?  Pretty please?

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

I just loved visiting Baby Chance's family at home for a lifestyle session to celebrate their little boy's arrival.  Their South End apartment in Boston was the perfect mix of industrial and modern, with sweet little touches like the wooden doves on the wall and the light-up stars in the nursery.  We had so much fun together capturing some quiet moments at home as the new mom & dad cuddled up with their baby boy.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

Older babies may not be as easy to pose, but they sure are expressive!  Chance is the happiest baby, and he had so many smiles and giggles for us!  Just look at how joyful and handsome he is!  Even their dog, Tessie, was curious about this little baby that had come into their home.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

I always love parent shots like this one when we are doing a lifestyle session at home.  Pure & simple, it shows what your life is like as a new mom.  These are true, everyday moments that you will live thousands of times, and look back on them to show your child one day how you used to cuddle him in the chair by the window, giving him gentle face massages to help him relax.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

One happy family -- though their dog is still trying to figure out if she's happy about this new addition!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Upstate NY Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer

We have enjoyed so many lifestyle sessions lately!  Be sure to check out a few of our favorites on the blog for inspiration for your own newborn session at home.  

Harrison: A Lifestyle Family Session with Blogger of A Modest Life

Catherine: A Lifestyle Session in Charlestown, Boston

Charlie: A Lifestyle Session in the South End

 

Happy Father's Day! | Boston & Saratoga Springs Family Photographer

Happy Father's Day weekend!

This weekend, I want to give a shout out to all of the dads who are absolutely rocking this whole parenthood thing.  I meet so many amazing families every single week, and I love being able to capture these sweet moments between dads and their little ones.  These little babies are going to grow up and have such a special bond with you, unique from every other relationship in their lives.  Enjoy every second of it, because they won't be this tiny to curl up in your arms forever!

For today's post, enjoy a peek at a collection of some of our favorite images from dads celebrating their first (or second, or third!) Father's Day this year.  Happy Father's Day to all of these amazing men.  Enjoy the weekend!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Saratoga Springs NY Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer Uptown NY Family Photographer-11wm.jpg
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Fatherhood Photographer

A Family Session on the Charles River Esplanade - Boston Family Photographer

Ohhhh, springtime in Boston.  I truly don't believe that there is anything my photographer heart loves more.

Did you know that spring in Boston was how my photography journey first began?  When I first moved to Boston at age 22, I spent all of my free time wandering around the city for hours and hours with my camera in hand.  Spring, summer, fall, and winter.  I wanted to walk every street of that city and capture all of its beauty through my lens.  I can remember so many days spent in the Public Garden, on the Esplanade, and walking through Beacon Hill & Downtown Crossing while finding interesting little stories to capture -- a flower vendor on the sidewalk, a couple waiting outside of a bakery, a reflection in a glass window.  That's how it all started, and how I fell in love with photography!

Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer

Ruoxi's family contacted me about planning a family session to celebrate the end of their year living in Boston before moving back to Singapore.  She really wanted an album filled with gorgeous & classic Boston portraits before their big move.  I was thrilled to be able to spend a fun morning with this family on the Charles River Esplanade, right across the river from the MIT campus where the husband had studied all year.  Plus, all the trees were in full bloom, making this one of my favorite sessions in the city this year.

Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer

Big brother Lucas was so adorable, full of spunk & energy and ready for a big adventure!  His little brother Elliott was eager to do everything that his big brother was doing, and I just loved hanging out with this fun family.  

Aren't the tulips in front of the Hatch Shell the perfect backdrop?

Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer

Of course we had to wander over to the docks, my favorite spot on the Charles River.  I just love that gray-blue of the water in these images!  The wind in the boys' hair makes for some fun energy, too!

Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer-7wm.jpg
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer

Who ever said portrait sessions are all about being serious?  A little fun & games makes it memorable!

Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer
Saratoga Springs Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer

Did you enjoy this session?  Check out these other sessions in Boston!

A Family Session on Newbury Street

A Mom & Her Girls in Beacon Hill

Looking for a family photographer in Boston?  We're now booking through October!  Use the contact tab above and let's chat!

A Pink & Teal Cake Smash in our Saratoga Springs Portrait Studio

One of my FAVORITE things about our cake smash sessions is getting to become fully immersed in the creative side of things while I make each baby's custom birthday set-up.  

When we started planning her daughter's cake smash, Addison's mom told me that she loved our blush pink paper flowers (you know these flowers by now, they're the super popular ones in this post, this post, and this post -- and they're for sale here!).  I wanted to do something unique for her session, and after seeing her inspiration boards that included pops of teal & gold as well as pink, I knew exactly what we would do for a shabby chic cake smash for her baby girl!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

Addison LOVED IT.  When the birthday girl first realized that the sugary confection was just for her, she gave us the most awe-filled look that said, "Really?!?!  For me?!?!?"  And then she dug right in!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

I first met this sweet family from Rutland, VT a year ago when Addison was only two days old.  I visited them in the hospital for a Fresh 48 session to celebrate her arrival, and we captured some of my favorite Fresh 48 moments ever in their light-filled hospital room.  And now she came to my Saratoga Springs portrait studio one year later, all grown up with the biggest smile and the most bubbly personality.   This little girl is pure sunshine, and I loved capturing these family photos of everyone together.  They adore their baby girl, and she very clearly brings so much light into their lives.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

Thank you so much for joining me at the studio for your first birthday cake smash!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer

Did you love this whimsical cake smash? Check out a few of my favorite cake smash sessions here on the blog!

A Butterfly Cake Smash in Saratoga Springs
A Cookies & Milk Cake Smash in Saratoga Springs
"I Love You to the Moon & Back" Cake Smash in Boston
 

Luca James | A Lifestyle Newborn Session at Home with Boston Lifestyle Photographer

I will never grow tired of being invited into a new family's home to capture the quiet moments that naturally unfold as they welcome their baby into their family.  Lifestyle newborn sessions are truly magical, and it's always such an honor to be invited into a family's home to cuddle with their new baby and to celebrate this new chapter of their story.  

World, meet Luca James.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Boston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

He is clearly the coolest baby ever because he has robot sheets.  And also, look at how tiny this little guy is!  Luca couldn't wait to meet his mother, and he arrived early, which meant we got to enjoy his teeny tiny newborn freshness even sooner than planned!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Boston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Boston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Boston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

This little corner of Lisa's home was filled with so much beautiful light.  I always love finding spots in families' homes that have gorgeous light and that truly tell their story.  Lisa has done a lot of traveling, and the walls were filled with pictures from her travels and photos of friends.  She has had such an adventurous life, and Luca James is her next big adventure!    

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Boston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Boston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Boston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

Grandma was visiting, and I couldn't resist snapping a three-generation portrait!  Luca was pretty happy about it, too -- do you see his little wink here?

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Boston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer | Boston Newborn Photographer | Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Boston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

We've had so many lifestyle newborn sessions lately, and it truly makes my heart happy to capture these intimate moments at home!  Check out a few more favorites here on the blog:

Harrison: A Lifestyle Family Session with Blogger of A Modest Life

Catherine: A Lifestyle Session in Charlestown, Boston

Charlie: A Lifestyle Session in the South End

Celebrating Motherhood Sessions with Boston & Saratoga Springs Portrait Photographer

It's hard to believe that we just wrapped up our THIRD year of Celebrating Motherhood sessions!  This was the first year I brought the sessions to Saratoga Springs, and my third year capturing these special moments for our Boston-area mamas.  (Check out the 2015 and 2016 sessions here!)

This year's event was extra special.  In Boston we enjoyed hair & makeup by Tiffany Cantin, HMUA of Six Bay Road Salon.  In Saratoga, Breeanna Nicholas Artistry and Laura Graver pampered our moms with hair & makeup.  

Sweet Ivie was one of our sponsors, providing lots of lovely headbands for the little girls to enjoy, while Simply Made created beautiful bandana bibs and bowties for the baby boys.  And special thanks to Crown City Bread Company for the sweet treats, and Butterfly Baby for goodies in the swag bags for the moms.  And of course, our beautiful and whimsical wardrobe was supplied by Rainey's Closet!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer

Now, let's get to the fun part!

Ohhhh, these moms & their babies were just the sweetest!  I always love capturing these sweet little moments between them, slowing it all down to celebrate the beauty of motherhood and of this sweet but fleeting stage of having little ones at home.  Pampering the moms with hair & makeup always makes them feel extra glamorous, and these moms were such naturals in front of the camera!  They showered their little ones in cuddles and kisses, and we captured so many beautiful moments for them to enjoy!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer

Waiting for baby is always such a special time filled with anticipation & love.  Laura joined us with her son, who is about to be a big brother!  He leaned in close to listen to his baby sister, and he was just the sweetest!  Plus, seriously now... how amazing does Laura look?!?!  She has such a beautiful glow about her!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer

Funny story behind this image below...  So often little kids lean in for a quick peck on the cheek, and they pull back before I can click the shutter.  Laura told her son to "pretend you're a zombie sucking brains out" to get him to slow down for a kiss.  I doubled over laughing, so surprised at this description.  But it worked!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer

Sofia was an only child last year when she came with her mama to our motherhood sessions, and her mom was waiting on Baby #2's arrival.  This year I was so lucky to get to meet her little baby sister, Catania.  Their grandfather was there for moral support, and he truly saved the day by capturing the girls' full attention and getting them to smile for us.  They lit up the moment he walked in the room, and it's clear to see that he shares a very special bond with his granddaughters.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer

And the twins!  Bella and Finley have been coming to me since their newborn portraits, and I was so happy to see these girls at our Motherhood event this year.  Their mama appeared so calm & relaxed, which is definitely a feat for a mama of two little ones under two!  The girls looked like princesses in our dresses from Rainey's Closet, and we had so much fun capturing the sweetest cuddles of them with their beautiful mama.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer

The last time I saw Michael and his mama, he was a tiny six-pound newborn baby!  Now he has such a big personality, filled with smiles and ready to give hugs to everyone in the room.  We had so much fun in their three-generation session, and his mother and grandmother were such a joy to capture together for their portraits!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer

This was Elyse's first year at our motherhood event with her son, after meeting at my DSLR workshop a few years ago.  Her little boy loved being the center of attention, and jumping on the bed was definitely his favorite part!  He curled right up into his mama's arms, enjoying lots of cuddles.  He won't always be this small, and he won't always come looking for hugs and kisses, which is why it's so important to enjoy every single one now while you can!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Motherhood Photographer

Heather came to our event for a three-generation session with her two little ones and her mother, and I loved capturing some sweet moments of all of them together!  Plus, their outfits were beautifully coordinated with the pops of pink and teal that went so well with her maxi dress.  Looking for more tips on how to select outfits for everyone in your family?  Check out this helpful blog post on wardrobe ideas for your session this spring!

saratoga springs family photographer
saratoga springs family photographer
saratoga springs family photographer