What's the difference between a mini session and a regular session? | 2019 Fall Mini Sessions with Saratoga Springs & Boston Family Photographer

Summer & fall are our most popular seasons for family portraits, and every fall my inbox is flooded with families looking for family portraits for their holiday cards and gifts. Trust me, I get it! It’s such a beautiful time of year in the Northeast, and everyone adores the fall foliage and the vibrant colors that we’re lucky enough to enjoy for just a couple of weeks a year. It’s the perfect season for your family portrait session!

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get from families is, “What is the difference between a mini session and a regular session?” So today, I want to clear that up for you and also give you the details about our availability this fall!

fall family mini session, foliage family photos, fall family photos saratoga springs, nicole starr photography

Let’s start with what is included with each session.

Full Length Family Portrait Session
-client prep guide and wardrobe guide filled with inspiration for your session
-pre-session consultation over the phone or in person
-complimentary use of studio wardrobe for mamas and babies
-location of your choice within 20 miles of 12866
-up to 1 hour of shooting time
-includes immediate family up to 5 people ($25 per additional person)
-gallery reveal appointment after the session to select your favorite images for holiday cards, wall art, gifts, albums, and digitals
-two 8x10 fine art prints are complimentary with your session

Investment: $225 session fee plus your choice of products after the session.
Many different collections are available to fit all budgets.


Mini Family Session
-welcome email and wardrobe guide filled with inspiration for your session
-one specific location chosen by the photographer
-15-20 minutes of shooting time
-includes immediate family up to 5 people ($25 per additional person)
-images delivered via online gallery within two weeks of the session
-5 digital images available for download, with the option to add on additional images, cards, artwork, gifts, and albums

Investment: $275 - $375 depending on location and session type


Mini sessions are perfect for families that are looking for just a couple of beautiful portraits for their holiday cards and gifts, and maybe one or two for the wall. These sessions are short & sweet, and do not require much of a time commitment.

Our regular (full length) portrait sessions are my personal favorite because I love the opportunity to really get to know the families before & during our session, and then visiting with them after the session for their gallery reveal appointment to plan how they want to enjoy their portraits at home and as gifts. These sessions are longer and allow for more variety in the location and in posing, and we also have plenty of time for the kids to warm up to me and the location when they arrive because we are not pressed for time. If the kids need a break for a snack or a quick cuddle, no problem!

The full length sessions also include more help with wardrobe, including access to the studio closet and my help with finding the perfect outfits for your whole family! So many moms (and sometimes dads!) worry about how to coordinate outfits for the whole family. This is probably your first or second time doing this, but me? I’ve done this literally hundreds of times with all of the families I photograph each year. I’m happy to help make this easier for you so that your session is stress-free and that you adore your family portraits!

Full length sessions are perfect if you’re including Grandma & Grandpa and all of the grandkids because we will capture plenty of variety with all of the different groupings of people.

You also want to consider your plans for your images after the session. Do you want one framed family portrait on the wall? Or a couple for your holiday cards and gifts? Maybe a mini session is right for you!

Are you looking for a gallery wall in the living room, a few more in the office, and a couple in the hallway? Do you dream of turning the pages of one of our gorgeous linen albums filled with beautiful portraits of your family having fun? Definitely go with the full length session.

Here’s a peek at a sampling of images from a mini session and from a full-length session. This is not the entire gallery, it’s just to give you an idea of the variety in images included with each type of session.

fall family mini session, saratoga springs mini session, nicole starr photography
fall family mini session, foliage family photos, fall family photos saratoga springs, nicole starr photography

Let’s talk about timing.

I’ve been photographing families since 2012, and every year I hear families tell me how they really want to take their portraits in the fall when the foliage is so pretty. REMEMBER, IT’S THE MOST POPULAR TIME OF YEAR FOR PORTRAITS. DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!!

I stop photographing outdoors before Halloween, so plan ahead! By November, most of the leaves have fallen down and been raked up, and the temperature is usually too cool for little ones to be comfortable outside in just a light sweater. This is why we plan our sessions early in the season.


You want to book your session for September or early October if…

September is when we enjoy the beautiful days of early fall. It’s still warm outside, the sunlight is perfectly golden, and the trees aren’t quite so vibrant yet. If you’re planning on decorating your home with your family portraits, think of the color scheme inside your home. If you have a more neutral style or lots of cool colors (gray, blue), then maybe vibrant orange and red won’t coordinate so well like you would get from a late October session. However, a September session lends itself to more neutral tones and would look perfect on your walls! September (and early October) is also perfect for families who have little ones under age 2 who might be too cold outside in late October when the weather has cooled off. If it’s a family with just the parents and a baby, I’d recommend planning for a session earlier in the fall so keep everyone happy!


And mid to late October might be a better fit for you if…

If color makes your heart do a little happy dance, then you definitely want to plan your family portraits for October! The trees are bursting with reds, oranges, and yellows, and the whole landscape looks like the sunset. These sessions are always some of my favorites every year, and I love when the leaves have fallen down and the kids can have fun throwing leaves in the air and jumping in piles of leaves to hear the ::crunch::. Mid to late October sessions are especially great for older kids, or very easy-going little ones who might not mind the slight chill in the air.

fall mini sessions, boston family photographer

fall family mini session, foliage family photos, fall family photos saratoga springs, nicole starr photography

We’re opening our 2019 fall calendar on Friday, August 23!!!

This is when we’ll begin filling the mini session dates as well as our full length session dates. Our newsletter subscribers will have first dibs on their date & time of choice, and our calendar is already halfway full with previous clients already!

If you’re not on our mailing list, be sure to join so that you can receive early access to our fall session dates! There’s one for our Massachusetts families, and one for our Saratoga Springs/Albany families!


Did you find this blog post helpful? Then you are going to love this next one that is filled with tips on what to wear for your family portrait session this fall!

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What's the difference between a mini session and a regular session?  Tips from Saratoga Springs family photographer Nicole Starr Photography.

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.  

Oscar & Miles: Simple Studio Portraits with Brothers | A Milestone Session at the Nicole Starr Photography Studio

We have been celebrating so many baby milestones in the studio since launching our new Petite Milestone Sessions and Baby Plan for 2018!  Oscar came to the studio to celebrate his first 6 months, and his big brother Miles joined him to celebrate his second birthday! 

I saw Miles last year for his first birthday cake smash, and again in the fall for family portraits when his brother was still teeny-tiny, so it was especially nice to watch the two interact now that they've gotten to know each other for the past 6 months.  One thing is clear: little Oscar ADORES his big brother, and when he's nearby he can't take his eyes off of him!

Albany Baby Photographer  |  Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer  |  Boston Baby Photographer  |  Milestone Portrait Session  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Family Photographer  |  Albany Family Photographer  |  Boston Family Photographer  |  Upstate NY Studio Portrait Photographer

Milestone portrait sessions at 6 months are some of my favorites.  Usually between months 6-8, babies are sitting up solidly on their own.  They have great neck strength and can rock tummy time, enjoying it just as much as they do laying on their backs and playing with their little toes.  Babies are truly perfect, and you know I don't use a lot of props to distract from this perfection.  We keep the focus on the baby and create truly timeless portraits that let your little one's personality shine!

Albany Baby Photographer  |  Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer  |  Boston Baby Photographer  |  Milestone Portrait Session  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Family Photographer  |  Albany Family Photographer  |  Boston Family Photographer  |  Upstate NY Studio Portrait Photographer
Albany Baby Photographer  |  Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer  |  Boston Baby Photographer  |  Milestone Portrait Session  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Family Photographer  |  Albany Family Photographer  |  Boston Family Photographer  |  Upstate NY Studio Portrait Photographer

And boy, did their personalities shine!!!  :o)  

Albany Baby Photographer  |  Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer  |  Boston Baby Photographer  |  Milestone Portrait Session  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Family Photographer  |  Albany Family Photographer  |  Boston Family Photographer  |  Upstate NY Studio Portrait Photographer
Albany Baby Photographer  |  Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer  |  Boston Baby Photographer  |  Milestone Portrait Session  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Family Photographer  |  Albany Family Photographer  |  Boston Family Photographer  |  Upstate NY Studio Portrait Photographer
Albany Baby Photographer  |  Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer  |  Boston Baby Photographer  |  Milestone Portrait Session  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Family Photographer  |  Albany Family Photographer  |  Boston Family Photographer  |  Upstate NY Studio Portrait Photographer
Albany Baby Photographer  |  Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer  |  Boston Baby Photographer  |  Milestone Portrait Session  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Family Photographer  |  Albany Family Photographer  |  Boston Family Photographer  |  Upstate NY Studio Portrait Photographer

Have you been wondering if a milestone session is right for you?  Check out more of our milestone sessions here:
 

Albany Baby Photographer  |  Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer  |  Boston Baby Photographer  |  Milestone Portrait Session  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Family Photographer  |  Albany Family Photographer  |  Boston Family Photographer  |  Upstate NY Studio Portrait Photographer

What to Wear for Your Family Portrait Session this Spring

Do you have a portrait session coming up this spring or summer, and you're wondering what to wear?  OR, have you been putting off a portrait session because you're worried you'll never find matching outfits for everybody?  

Stop worrying, and let me help you!

Long gone are the days of matchy-matchy outfits -- come on, you know what I'm talking about!  White button down shirts and blue jeans on every member of the family, or black tops and khaki pants on every single person.  That style is incredibly dated, and it's no fun at all!  That's not how you normally dress in real life, so why should that be how you dress in your portraits?

When we plan a custom portrait session together, I want to create images for you that reflect who you truly are.  I want to show your personality, your unique style, and to give you artwork that will complement your home decor so that you can proudly hang your favorite memories over the sofa or in your hallway.  I want your portraits will blend in seamlessly and complement your space & your decor.  

This post is filled with ideas on what to wear, and you can find many more looks including easy ways to shop what you see in the images over on our Pinterest board.     Looking for even more ideas, along with some photo inspiration?  Check out this blog post from 2015 to see perfectly styled sessions with some of my favorite clients!


Choose 2-3 colors, including a neutral color, and use a little bit of it in everybody's outfit!  Here we're selecting from shades of blue and gray to coordinate everyone's clothing.

what to wear in family portraits, shades of blue outfits

Keep your fabrics similar!  If mom is wearing a linen sundress, then you don't want dad to be in a sweater and heavy jeans!  Actually, have you noticed that none of these inspiration boards include jeans?  Fitted dress pants look great on dads, and they definitely give your portraits a much dressier, classier look!  Try shaking things up with a look that's a little bit different from your everyday jeans, and you might just love it!  Layers also look amazing in portraits -- a vest on your son will be so adorable over a button down or a T-shirt!

wardrobe ideas for spring family portraits

While I don't recommend everyone wearing solid white, it's a nice addition to any wardrobe compilation!  Here the texture on the dress keeps it interesting, as does the pattern on the little sister's leggings.  Play with patterns and texture to give your wardrobe more personality -- the more you have, the more you will love your images!

what to wear in family portrait session, saratoga springs family photographer

Think of the location we're going to be shooting in, and also think of your complexion & hair color.  Choose a color palette that flatters you and that you feel comfortable and confident in.  Blush and cream doesn't suit everyone, and some women look stunning in vibrant jewel tone colors!  Go with what works for you, and let me know how I can help you pull all of the outfits together!

outfit ideas for spring family portraits, saratoga springs family photographer

Be daring!  Have a little fun with patterns.  Spring is the perfect time to incorporate floral patterns into your outfits for a family portrait session, and there's nothing I love more than seeing a mom completely rocking it in her floral print dress.  If you love it, wear it!  Then choose a few colors from that design and base the other family members' outfits on those colors to coordinate.  Below, we chose the coral, gray, and white from the dress to use in everyone else's outfits.

wardrobe ideas for mom, dad, and kids in family portrait session, saratoga springs family photographer

Last but not least, if we're going to be shooting outside anywhere other than the beach, don't forget the shoes!  Your perfectly styled outfit will look just a little bit "off" when your son's everyday-wear fluorescent green light-up sneakers are paired with his gray & blue vested outfit.  Simple, neutral shoes are best to protect your feet during the session, but be sure everyone tries their shoes on and wears them around for at least 1-2 hours before the day of your session to ensure that they fit comfortably.

After all of that beautiful inspiration, are you ready to book your family portrait session?  We're now booking for the spring and summer, and I would love to capture some gorgeous memories for your family -- perfectly styled, of course!  
 

A Sparkly Simple Studio Session in our Saratoga Springs Portrait Studio

As we move further into 2017, I love that my style is evolving to include even more soft, airy & whimsical session designs.  Give me all of the creams, whites, blush pinks, florals, flowing fabrics, chiffon, and a little bit of sparkle and I am one happy photographer.  Add in an adorable baby and a twirling little girl, and it's pure bliss here in our Saratoga Springs portrait studio.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs, NY | studio session | child's photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs, NY | Children's photographer

When Kahini and Aarnya joined me for their spring portraits here at the studio, I was thrilled to use a few of our sparkly dresses & rompers from the studio wardrobe collection, as well as these beautiful new headbands from Sweet Ivie.  

If you have not heard of Sweet Ivie yet, you must check them out!  The owner of this Etsy boutique lovingly creates the most beautiful felt flower headbands I have ever seen.  Each one has the perfect combination of colors, and they are so wonderfully made that they will quickly become a favorite for special occasions and day-to-day hair accessories for your little girl.  Plus, the nylon headband is super comfy and will stay put on your little one's head without sliding off, and it's stretchy enough to fit all sizes and ages!  Seriously, I kind of want to start wearing their headbands...   ;o)  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs, NY | family photographer

Look at that sweet little twirl!  Kahini looks like a flamenco dancer with the swirl of her skirt and a flower in her hand, don't you think?  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs, NY | Boston MA photographer | children's photographer

While baby sister Aarnya was a little unsure of the camera, we found a few songs and snacks to keep this little girl happy during the session.  You never know how your baby will react during their portrait session, and I always suggest parents come prepared with an easy snack (puffs, cheerios, a bottle) and a favorite song ready to go on their phone.  It does the trick every time to keep babies in a happy mood as they get used to their new space!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs, NY | Child portraits
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs, NY | Boston MA photographer | child's photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs, NY | family photographer

We are now booking springtime sessions at our Saratoga Spring boutique portrait studio.  The studio is fully stocked with dresses, rompers, diaper covers, headbands, backdrops, and adorable little props to complement your little one's session while not overpowering the star of the show -- your child!  Contact me today at hello@nicolestarrphotography.com and let's plan your session!

Family Portraits in our Saratoga Springs Studio

While I spend most of my time in the studio with sleepy little newborns, birthday babies enjoying their first taste of cake, and toddlers who are filled with curiosity & excitement, every now and then I have a family visit me whose children are grown and they want to capture this new stage that their family is in.

The D. family came to me for a family portrait session while both daughters were home from college on break, and I was excited to welcome the girls, their mother, and their grandfather in for a fun and relaxed portrait session together.  Being a small family, they share such a close bond and it was so beautiful to see.  We spent an hour together and they regaled me with stories of innocent pranks the girls used to play on their mother, adventures they've had together, and so many moments that had us all laughing.

Upstate NY family photographer, family photographer, Boston family photographer, family portraits
Upstate NY family photographer, family photographer, mother and daughter photographer

Their grandfather was so excited to tell me all about his daughter & granddaughters, and he was happiest when surrounded by these three beautiful women that he helped raise and shape.  He truly was beaming the entire time, though my favorite story of him came after our session when I received this message about the first time he saw his family's photographs:

"I went out to visit Dad for the long weekend, and you would have gotten a kick out of him.  Jossie texted the images to us while we were at lunch at a restaurant, and he was nearly in tears over them.  But he quickly recovered, and began practically tackling people -  from our waitress to the folks at church and store clerks  – so he could show them the photos on his phone!"  

That just made my day!  

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upstate NY family photographer, NY family photographer, MA family photographer, family photographer
Saratoga Springs family photographer, Upstate NY family photographer, family photographer,
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Thank you for such a wonderful session together, D. family!  I hope your family will enjoy these memories up on the walls of your home for many, many years.

Boston family photographer, family portraits, Upstate NY family photographer
Upstate NY family photographer, family photographer, family portraits, Boston family photographer

Meet Robyn: Nicole Starr Photography's Newest Spokesmama

YOU GUYS!!!!  I've been keeping a secret... a very huge & exciting secret that I dreamt up almost a year ago and that has taken nearly twelve months of planning, designing, connecting, and searching... And today's the day for the big reveal!  

I would love to introduce you to Robyn Racheotes, Nicole Starr Photography's newest Spokesmama.  (WAIT, WHAT'S A SPOKESMAMA?!?!  READ MORE HERE.)

Robyn and I met last spring at our Celebrating Motherhood Event.  She was the first mom to arrive that day, and we hit it off over makeovers and baby cuddles.  

We connected again last summer for a family session on the beach in Harwichport, which coincidentally turned into a pregnancy reveal session when Robyn discovered that she was 8 weeks pregnant at the time we got together.  

After spending a few hours together during her gallery premiere talking about all things babies, pregnancies, gallery walls, interior design, and blogs (she is an amazing blogger with a focus on style, design, and motherhood), I knew that I had finally found the perfect fit for our very first Spokesmama!

Read on to learn more about Robyn & her family!

baby and family photographer in saratoga springs boston

Tell us a little about you & your family.  

We are currently a little family of three, soon-to-be four. We spend our weekdays in Boston, but most weekends we can be found on Cape Cod. We love being by the ocean and we are currently working on updating a little home by the ocean. It’s been a fun project and I can’t wait to share our home with friends and family next summer. 

Nicholas is a fun and busy 15 month old and we have another little boy due in early April. Life is about to get really fun, not to mention hectic. 

What do you enjoy most when you get some mommy-time all to yourself?  

Even though my alone time is very limited these days, I try to carve out moments throughout the day where I focus on my passions and what I enjoy, which includes photography, blogging and searching for interior design inspiration. There are days when I’m not able to slip away, but it’s important to me that I still focus on what I love and my passions. 

Share a favorite image from one of our sessions together, and the story behind what you love about it.

boston saratoga springs newborn baby photographer

My first photoshoot with Nicole, and when we met, was so special because it was a mother’s day session. The shoot documented my first mother’s day as a mom and I will never forget that session.

The smile on my son's face, his excitement and me realizing that even though I’m not perfect, I’m still doing a great job in my new role as “mom”. 

Share a favorite image from your personal family photos, and the story behind what you love about it.

saratoga springs boston family photographer

There are so many great memories in this photo. I was 8 weeks pregnant in this picture and hadn’t shared the news with family and friends yet. We didn’t know the gender and I hadn’t had my first appointment yet. Looking at this picture, our first as a soon-to-be family of four truly holds a special place in my heart.

This picture was also taken on the beach near our home that we had recently purchased. It’s also the beach that my husband grew up going to as a kid and there are so many fond memories of this beach. I look forward to creating new ones as our family continues to grow. 

After visiting your family’s home, I fell in love with the many gallery walls throughout your house.  Why is it so important to you to surround yourself with these memories?  Do you have any tips on creating the perfect gallery wall in your home?

Pictures, similar to a song, can bring you bring back memories and the exact emotion felt in a moment, at event or point in your life. I also think there is beauty in the everyday moments in life and capturing your life through photos can truly tell a story. 

My approach to gallery walls isn't precise or calculated. I play around with different frames, colors and textures and try to mix it up so that it feels natural and not too perfect. Pick a variety of layouts, mix and match and select pictures that you will enjoy looking at daily. I also think making it easy and using companies like Framebridge for custom framing can help pull together a personal gallery wall to fit any décor preferences and style. 

Can you share any tips for other moms to make it easy to print their artwork and get their photos off of their hard drives?  

I am obsessed with printing photos and think that printing is just as important as taking the picture. I love apps like Timeshel where you can commit to have iPhone photos printed and shipped monthly (they also remind you to upload your pictures every month). These keeps you from storing great moments on your phone. The print size is also great for a baby book or scrapbook and they are perfect for framing and gifting photos of your little ones.

I also use Shutterfly as the app is easy to order prints, gifts and make albums. I also enjoy Artifact Uprising and their clean and simple approach to prints. And lastly, Chatbooks because it’s so easy to make a photo book from your phone and it’s the perfect way to pull together a collection, a year in review or gift photos from a special event.

In addition to working a full-time job and being a mom & wife, you also find time to write a blog, www.amodestlife.com!  Tell us a little about your blog, your mission, and the inspiration behind your website that focuses on “Navigating Motherhood with Style”.  Also, I hear that there are some exciting new changes coming for A Modest Life… What’s up next?  

I started my blog back in 2008 (yes, that long ago) and it was right around the time that blogs were starting to take off. I started it with the intent of posting daily and focusing on fashion. I was very committed and would only post occasionally.

I decided that the content was marginal and as my personal life shifted (I got married, had a baby) I thought the content and focus need to be adjusted to reflect my new reality. I decided to rebrand and redesign my blog to include a focus on motherhood.

I’ve been working at slowly over the last few months and I’ve really enjoyed coming up with new content. I have some great posts on the horizon and I look forward to growing my following of moms. 

Interested in learning more about our Spokesmama program?
We're currently accepting Spokesmama applications in
the Saratoga Springs/Albany area, and the Boston area.

Click on the Spokesmama tab above, and email us at
hello@nicolestarrphotography.com.
We'd love to chat to see if this would be the perfect fit for you!  

Colorful Fun at the Fair with Saratoga Springs Family Photographer, Nicole Starr Photography

I am a huge fan of summertime, and also of the amazing and colorful moments all woven together that just scream, "This is what childhood is made of."  Magical, colorful, innocent memories that bring you right back to that summer evening when you were little.  Lemonade stands, carnivals, swimming lessons, sprinkler days, ice cream trucks... the list goes on and on! 

So when Jessi of Lovebug Photography in Rochester, NY, came to visit me for a mentoring session the same week as the Saratoga County Fair, and she told me that her kids would be traveling with her, I knew that we had to spend an evening exploring this amazing space.

Just look at Clark.  Clearly, he was a huge fan of the fair!!

We had so much fun finding little pockets of quiet amidst the chaos, capturing these beautiful moments with such a colorful backdrop.  

Clark & Rosie ran around with hundreds of lights sparkling overhead, the smell of fried dough drifting across the fairgrounds, and fluffy cotton candy tempting us around every turn.  We met a few amazing carnival workers who let us take photos at their game booths, and even got Clark involved in an exciting game or two.  

Plus, aren't their outfits adorable?  Their mom was on point in selecting their wardrobe for this shoot, and I just love how well they combine with our fairgrounds backdrop!

As the new girl in town, I am discovering that fairs are such a huge thing here in New York, and I am so excited about that!  I'm looking forward to joining many more families in this classic & colorful setting that is perfect for family photos and childhood memories, and I can't wait to check a few more fairs out this summer!

Interested in a photo session at your local fair?  Use the contact tab above and send me a message.  I would love to chat and plan the perfect memory-making session for your family!