7 Tips for your Fall Family Portrait Session | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer

Fall is the busiest season of the year for family portraits, and rightly so! The cooler temperatures, vibrant foliage, and cozy sweaters make everyone want to cuddle up together and capture their family on camera!

I absolutely love this season, even if it is so short-lived. There’s just something so welcoming about the first mug of hot cider, the smell of those cider donuts that you can get at the apple orchard, the crunch of the leaves beneath your feet, and pulling out all of your cozy sweaters and your favorite pair of boots.

With our fall family portrait sessions just around the corner, today we’re sharing a few tips for your next photo session! Read on for plenty of great ideas, and beautiful outfit inspiration for your family photos, too!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography

Always have a rain date.

The season is such a short one, and the weather is unpredictable! I always encourage my families to reserve their session date AND a backup rain date when they book their session. That way if it rains on the day of your session, no worries! We already have your makeup session scheduled on the calendar!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography

Keep these things in the car.

We’re going to be moving around a lot during your session, and you don’t want to have to keep track of anything (besides your kids!). Sunglasses, hair elastics, bulky cell phones or wallets that will show in your pockets, stroller, diaper bag, baseball caps. All of these can stay in the car during your session.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography

Have a favorite family quilt or blanket? Bring it to your session!

Blankets are your best friend for fall sessions. Not only do they protect your clothes from damp grass or leaves on the ground, but they look oh-so-cozy and inviting and they encourage everyone to snuggle up together. Whether you’re sitting on the blanket, or waving it up and down in the air “London Bridge” style while the kids run underneath, blankets and colorful patchwork quilts are one of my favorite accessories for a fall portrait session.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography

Embrace the leaves.

As everyone relaxes in front of the camera and the kids start to let their personalities shine, I like to encourage the kids by telling them that they will be able to have a leaf fight at the end. This always brings out the biggest smiles and laughs, and we capture beautiful portraits of them jumping into great big piles of leaves and tossing them in the air over their heads. Act like a kid and don’t be afraid of tossing the leaves in the air, getting a few in your hair, or laying down in a pile of dry leaves for a very colorful overhead shot cuddling your babies. After all, this is the only time of year we can capture such beautiful scenery with built in props (literally!) falling down around us!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography

Bring your dogs!

Just tell me ahead of time so that we can plan for it, but I love to encourage families to bring their four-legged family members to their sessions. I always recommend taking the dog for a nice long walk right beforehand to tire him/her out, and bringing a leash & treats to use during the session. Have a plan for after we finish with the dog in your photos, too. Will someone come with you to the session to watch the dog while we capture a few photos of you and the kids? Will you be able to tie him up to a nearby tree with a treat for a few minutes?

Layer up, especially the kids!

If your session is in mid-to-late October, it can get a little chilly outside when you’re just wearing light layers! Bulky coats never photograph well, so I always suggest adding another layer like a t-shirt or onesie underneath your kids’ outfits. Just a little something for added warmth that won’t add bulk or show through their clothes. Warm kids are happy kids!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography

Babies and toddlers — plan on September or very early in October!

Speaking of warm kids being happy kids, this is especially true with babies! If your (oldest) little ones are younger than three, I highly suggest scheduling your session for September or early October when it is warmer outside. We can still do a late fall session if there are no other dates available, but we have a better chance of warmer days earlier in the season to keep your little ones happy.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | Fall family photos, 7 tips for fall family photos, fall photos, family session, family photo tips, family session tips, family photography

Looking for some outfit inspiration for your fall family portrait session? Click here to find plenty of what to wear ideas for your family photos!


Save these tips by pinning the image below or any from the post above!

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About Nicole Starr Photography 

Nicole Starr specializes in newborn, baby & family photography and has been serving families in New York and Massachusetts since 2012.  She has a portrait studio in Saratoga Springs, NY for families in the Capital Region.  Nicole also works with families year round at her Attleboro, MA portrait studio, and on location May through October in Boston and on Cape Cod.  Nicole has a clean and classic style, and the studio is filled with neutrals and luxe fabrics.  We use very minimal props to keep the focus on your perfect little baby.  Our sessions are relaxed and fun, and we’ll enjoy an hour together (or up to 3 hours for a newborn session!) laughing, cuddling, and capturing authentic smiles and belly laughs with your little ones.  

What to wear & Where to shop | Cozy outfit ideas for your family portraits this fall

It’s not easy planning for family portraits. You worry about finding the right photographer, choosing the perfect date and a beautiful location. Then you stress about finding something to wear, and you cross your fingers and hope for the best when it comes to your baby’s mood and the weather.

From our very first phone call, I reassure families and I let them know that I will take care of every single one of those worries. We’ll choose a date & time together, and a rain date (just in case!). I’ll share a few of my favorite locations with you that I know are perfect at the time of day we’ve selected, and I’ll also help you find outfits for every single person in your family. You’re even able to wear outfits available at the studio for mamas and babies!

Then during your session I will use every trick up my sleeve to keep everyone in a happy, playful, and relaxed mood. In the end, the whole thing is a piece of cake and you don’t have to worry about a single thing — leave it all to me, and you just relax and enjoy a fun hour with your family!

But of course, the most frequently asked question I always get from families is “What do we all wear?” Read on for tips for cozy outfits for your family’s portrait session this fall.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | What to wear for fall photos, where to shop for fall family photo outfits, fall family outfits, family outfits, family photos, fall family photo session, what to wear, client experience

8 things to look for when planning your family’s outfits for a fall photo session


Layers

Layers add dimension and personality to any portrait, and they also help keep you warm in the fall when the temperature starts to drop! Cardigans, rolled cuffs peeking out from under a sweater, lightweight jackets, boots layered over leggings or jeans, a lightweight infinity scarf. These are all great ideas to add depth and color to your photos.

PRO TIP: Start with a base layer on the kids for warmth — this can be a onesie or shirt underneath their outfit, something that won’t show. Then add their outfit on top! Warm kids are happy kids!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | What to wear for fall photos, where to shop for fall family photo outfits, fall family outfits, family outfits, family photos, fall family photo session, what to wear, client experience
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | What to wear for fall photos, where to shop for fall family photo outfits, fall family outfits, family outfits, family photos, fall family photo session, what to wear, client experience

Rich Colors

Fall is such a vibrant season, and you can add vibrant pops of color to your outfits, too! Plum purple, mustard yellow, navy blue, maroon. These are all gorgeous colors that really pop against other neutrals in your outfits. Plan to use 2-3 colors (including a neutral like white, cream, gray) in everyone’s outfits, and think about what will really pop against the scenery!

PRO TIP: I recommend avoiding neon colors, black, and green.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | What to wear for fall photos, where to shop for fall family photo outfits, fall family outfits, family outfits, family photos, fall family photo session, what to wear, client experience

Plaid

Plaid looks amazing in the fall, and it evokes such a cozy feeling! Plus, if you choose one plaid shirt or dress you can use all of those colors as inspiration for the rest of the family’s outfits.

PRO TIP: I suggest only having one family member with a plaid shirt because two or more can look too busy.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | What to wear for fall photos, where to shop for fall family photo outfits, fall family outfits, family outfits, family photos, fall family photo session, what to wear, client experience

Patterns

Solids look great, but having everyone in solids is boring! Bring in a pattern with a dress or a blouse to add a little more interest and personality to your portraits. Just like with not putting everyone in plaid, don’t put EVERYONE in patterns either because they can clash and just look too busy, taking the focus away from everyone’s beautiful faces. Do a mix of patterns and solids.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | What to wear for fall photos, where to shop for fall family photo outfits, fall family outfits, family outfits, family photos, fall family photo session, what to wear, client experience

Boots

Boots always look amazing in photographs on moms and little girls! For the kids, think beyond their colorful sneakers or casual shoes and find something a little more stylish. You can find lots of cute options at Old Navy and Target in the kids sections, and Gap also has so many adorable ones, too!

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Cozy Knits

Sweater knits look amazing in fall family portraits, especially ones with a little texture. They just invite everyone to snuggle up together! Plan on layering a sweater or two on a few people in your family for the picture perfect look.

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Jeans

If you’re looking for a more casual look, jeans are perfect. A darker wash is the most flattering, and I’d suggest avoiding distressed jeans if they have gaping holes in the knees so that when you sit on the ground your kneecap isn’t showing through at an unflattering angle. We’ll do a few family portraits sitting on the grass and playing in the leaves, so I want you to be comfortable!

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Don’t be afraid to glam it up!

Ruffles, tulle, sequins, a frilly skirt. These all look AMAZING on moms and little girls, and I love when families want to dress up for their portraits! I was so excited when this mama wanted to wear a gold sequin skirt for her session, and it looked incredible against the golden foliage.

PRO TIP: Amazon has a skirt that has become wildly popular for mamas in portrait sessions. Search “chiffon maxi skirt” and you’ll find plenty of colors. The waist is adjustable, and the length changes based on the size. If you’re short, order a Small. If you’re tall, don’t be afraid of ordering the Large or XL for the length. There are tons of colors available, and these look best with a fitted top. Some moms pair it with a white lace long sleeve top (also available on Amazon!). Others like a white t-shirt. Others do a buttoned up chambray shirt tucked into the skirt. Others like a cardigan over a tank top.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | What to wear for fall photos, where to shop for fall family photo outfits, fall family outfits, family outfits, family photos, fall family photo session, what to wear, client experience

where to shop

For mom:
Lulus
Amazon
Rent the Runway (rentals)
J. Crew
Loft
Chicwish
Gap
Old Navy

For the kids:
Cat & Jack at Target
Old Navy
Janie & Jack
Crewcuts by J. Crew
Gap Kids/Baby Gap
Zara
H&M
Amazon
Rainey’s Closet (fancy rentals)
Lulu and Roo
Mini Boden
Hanna Andersson

For dads:
Dads have it easy. Layer on a button down shirt, sweater or vest, and jeans. They probably already have all of this in their closet, or they can choose neutrals or a plaid or patterned shirt from their favorite store to coordinate with the outfits selected for everyone else.


Pin this image or any from the post above for inspiration for your family’s fall outfits!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Delmar NY family photographer | Loudonville NY family photographer | What to wear for fall photos, where to shop for fall family photo outfits, fall family outfits, family outfits, family photos, fall family photo session, what to wear, client experience

About Nicole Starr Photography 

Nicole Starr specializes in newborn, baby & family photography and has been serving families in New York and Massachusetts since 2012.  She has a portrait studio in Saratoga Springs, NY for families in the Capital Region.  Nicole also works with families year round at her Attleboro, MA portrait studio, and on location May through October in Boston and on Cape Cod.  Nicole has a clean and classic style, and the studio is filled with neutrals and luxe fabrics.  We use very minimal props to keep the focus on your perfect little baby.  Our sessions are relaxed and fun, and we’ll enjoy an hour together (or up to 3 hours for a newborn session!) laughing, cuddling, and capturing authentic smiles and belly laughs with your little ones.  

Welcome Home, Barratt | A Lifestyle Newborn Session in Saratoga Springs

These lifestyle newborn sessions steal my heart every single time.  It is such a privilege to be invited into a family's home to celebrate their little one's arrival with them, and I truly adore every moment that we spend together taking a peek into their lives at home with their brand new baby.  

World, meet Barratt.  And, start drooling over his perfectly styled nursery with just the right amount of personal touches.

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This little sweetheart has two "fur-brothers" at home, and the family's dogs made themselves right at home in the nursery during our session.  I always love incorporating pets into our portraits, and lifestyle shoots are the perfect opportunity to bring the whole family together (including those four-legged family members!).

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With a full head of hair and those sparkling, steel blue eyes, this little heartbreaker sure melted our hearts!  These next portraits made it onto his birth announcements and the cover of his linen keepsake album.  How cute is he?!?!

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We have had SO MANY lifestyle newborn sessions lately, and they make my photographer heart so happy!  Check out a few favorites on the blog!
 

Oh The Places You'll Go First Birthday Cake Smash | Happy Birthday, Mallika!

One of my favorite things about being a cake smash photographer is when I get to work with clients who are just as excited about planning their baby's birthday photo session as I am!  

When Mallika's mom first contacted me about her daughter's cake smash, I instantly knew that we would be a great fit.  She had so many beautiful ideas for her daughter's birthday session, and it was really important to her that we create just the right look & style for her cake smash set up.  After many conversations, we decided that what she really wanted was a simple, classic, and minimalist look with a focus on the baby.  That is just my style!  :o)  Bring on the pure white seamless paper!  She also wanted to incorporate the soft colors and a quote from her favorite book, Dr. Seuss's "Oh the Places You'll Go".  

pink birthday girl romper from the stag and the swan, Albany NY photographer nicole starr photography

After I saw a picture of her beautiful little romper from The Stag and the Swan, the whole set came together in my mind and I loved bringing it to life!  I've been dabbling in calligraphy ever since attending a hand-lettering workshop with Sip & Script Boston (check out their page for a fun ladies' night out, and a new alternative to a paint night!).  Creating this calligraphy backdrop was my largest project to date, and I couldn't be more pleased with how it all came together for this charming little girl's birthday.

oh the places you'll go birthday cake smash
oh the places you'll go birthday cake smash with Albany NY photographer, Nicole Starr Photography

The little birthday girl, Mals, sure looks like she loved it too, doesn't she?  

Soft pink birthday girl cake smash, Albany photographer Nicole Starr Photography

One of my tried & true tricks for engaging one year olds during their photo session is to hide puffs in the frosting or on my white flokati rug.  If you are around any babies at all, you know that puffs are everyone's favorite snack and they are always a huge hit with these little ones.  Plus, they blend into the carpet or frosting, are small enough to fit into their tiny hands, and they do not leave a trace of crumbs on their teeth.  They are the perfect photo shoot snack!  

Mallika loved her puffs, and they kept her quite entertained while sitting on my curved bench prop.  I just love that in this photo, she has everything she could ever need -- a helping hand from her mom, and a snack within reaching distance.  Full bellies make for happy babies!  

Mr. & Mrs. and Co. curved bench prop, Albany NY photographer Nicole Starr Photography

This is the face of a girl who LOVES her puffs:

Albany NY cake smash baby photographer

In typical one-year old fashion, it's not uncommon for our cake smash sessions to end with a couple of tears.  After all, if someone gave you an entire cake and let you go to town on it, and then took it away from you just when it was starting to get really fun, wouldn't  you want to cry, too?  I think that these moments are just as cute & frame-worthy as the happy clapping, the bubbly laughter, and the sparkling eyes.  I always make sure to keep shooting when the tears start to come out, and it definitely makes for some fun memories!

Finally, a couple of family photos to celebrate surviving (and thriving in!) their first year of parenthood.  Congratulations, P. family!  Your family is absolutely beautiful, and I am so thankful that you invited me into your lives to capture this milestone for you to enjoy.

Saratoga Springs Family Photographer: A Springtime Studio Session

Kate was the winner of our Launch Day Giveaway with the #NSPrebrand party in January.   We planned her Petite Milestone session in the studio to coincide with her little one's first birthday.  Kate's family has come to me for their portrait sessions since her first pregnancy, and we've photographed her maternity session, Lizzie's newborn portraits, Lizzie's first birthday cake smash, Gavin's newborn session, and now a sweet & simple milestone session just in time for Gavin's birthday.  

I have just loved watching her family grow over the past few years, and seeing the artwork from our sessions up on the walls of their home makes me so happy.  Even though I'm moving to New York soon, I look forward to coming back to continue capturing these moments for them.

brother and sister family photos
family photo shoot

I love everything about the image above.  It's not perfectly posed, they're not both looking at the camera, and you can't even see half of the baby.  But you know what?  It's the perfect moment that shows just how much love this big sister has for her little brother.  It shows that adorable all-in attitude that she takes to giving hugs, and the protective nature that's inherently there for her baby brother.  To me, it's perfect.  

Thank you for such a wonderful session together!  I look forward to seeing your family again soon, Kate!  

Thinking of planning your portrait session?  Contact me and let's chat!  I'm accepting sessions in Saratoga Springs starting in mid-June, and I'll be back in Massachusetts (Boston and Cape Cod) for a few select dates in June, July & August.  I would love to plan a time to create these beautiful memories for your family!