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!  

The One with All of the Tears | A Collection of our Favorite Crying Cake Smash Images

Alright, let's be real...

I talk with families every single week that are so excited to celebrate their baby's first birthday.  Most moms & dads seem to have this vision of how the cake smash will go.  Of course, this is based on all of the happy babies they see on Pinterest that are smiling, enjoying their birthday cake, and having a grand old time. 

But like I mentioned above...  We're going to get real here in today's blog post because sometimes THIS is what might happen during your cake smash. 

Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,

And you know what?  It's totally normal.  Actually, I love it when this happens just as much as I love it when we have giggling babies that are fascinated with their cake.    (P.S.  I personally think that this is the cutest image I captured of these twins in their entire first year of portrait sessions!)

Crying babies are absolutely adorable, and these are definitely the moments that you want to capture on camera to look back at one day (along with the smiling ones, of course!).  

10, 20, 30 years from now you can look back at these moments with all of the cuteness and none of the noise, and you'll laugh when you remember how your baby reacted to their first birthday cake!

Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,
Clifton Park cake smash photographer, Albany cake smash photographer, Upstate NY cake smash photographer
Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,
Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,

Think about your baby's first year.  There were probably A LOT of tears.  

Too hot, too cold, too hungry, too messy, too tired, too bored, too overstimulated.  You know that there are so many reasons that might cause your little one to shed a few tears, and you know that this is just their way of communicating with you before they have the words to take the place of crying.  

Sometimes during their cake smash session, babies just want to tell you that something is a little different and unknown for them.  

Maybe they've never touched something the texture of frosting.  

Maybe they don't like getting messy & sticky.  

Maybe they can't figure out why they're sitting on the floor to eat rather than in their high chair.  

Maybe they want more puffs or cheerios, or maybe they just want another hug.

Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,
Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,
Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,

Oftentimes, the tears only last a few short minutes or seconds.  A quick little distraction is all a baby needs to turn their mood around, so we bring in a new snack, a favorite toy, or sing a song.  We start dancing, play peek-a-boo, or take a little walk around the studio to look out the windows.  And we get the happy babies back, and your gallery is filled with smiling images!

No, really!  Go see these same babies smiling during their
cake smash sessions in this other compilation blog post here!

 

But I embrace the tears, the temper tantrums, and the fits when they happen.  I always make sure to snap a few quick shots of these moments because 30 years from now when you remember your first few years of parenting, you will remember the moment you held your baby in your arms for the first time.  You'll remember their first smile, their first Christmas, the first visit to Grandma's.  You'll remember those squishy cheeks and what it felt like when they wrapped their tiny hand around your fingers.  You'll remember the sleepless nights, the potty-training, the birthday celebrations.  

And you'll remember the tears, mixed in with all of the good things you'll remember what were the moments that really brought on the waterworks.  

Plus, it's not very likely that your grown child will face plant in her birthday cake when she cries 30 years from now, so you really want some proof to show her that this happened once upon a time...

Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,
Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,
Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,
Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,

Are you wondering why I'm sharing this post with you today?  I want you to know that all portrait sessions (and all cake smashes!) are unique.  We go with the flow and work around your little one's schedule and mood.  There are many tricks that I use in every session to keep babies happy and bring out their vibrant personalities, and we always capture images of your baby smiling and laughing at every single session.  

But if you're really lucky, we might even capture some teary images that will make you smile every time you remember their first birthday.  

By knowing this ahead of time, you'll be prepared for absolutely anything to happen during your session.  We really do go with the flow.  Trust me to capture all of these beautiful moments for you as they unfold.  In the end, you will create memories that make up part of your family's story, and you'll have heirloom portraits to show your children one day.  

Besides, most of the families wind up framing the crying portraits more than the smiling ones anyways, so at least they have my same sense of humor when it comes to working with the littlest of clients in our studio!

Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,
Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,
Newton Cake smash photographer, Albany Cake Smash Photographer, Upstate NY Cake smash photographer, Clifton Park Cake Smash Photographer,

So if your cake smash doesn't quite go like you thought it would, please know that IT IS OKAY.  It is completely normal, and we will love every single image no matter how your baby reacts to their cake.  This session is all about celebrating your little one and showcasing their multifaceted personality, and no matter what happens in your session, we will let their personality shine!

Now that you've enjoyed all of the fussy babies, head on over to this blog post to see these same babies with the biggest smiles during their cake smashes!

Ready to book your cake smash session to celebrate your little one's first birthday?  I'd love to chat with you to plan the perfect session for your baby!  

Please email me at hello@nicolestarrphotography.com and let's celebrate 365 days of your amazing baby together!

Holiday Session Sneak Peeks!

It's that time of year again... holiday portrait season!  We hosted four days of Limited Edition Holiday Portrait Sessions between our Saratoga Springs studio and our Boston-area studio.  So many families brought their sweet little ones to the studio for fun & playful sessions, and I love all of the sparkly and snowy memories that we created together.

boston and saratoga springs holiday photo session

I absolutely loved being able to offer a unique portrait experience to my clients this year with two gorgeous hand-painted backdrops from Heidi Hope's line of artist's backdrops.  I can't even begin to count how many families "ooooooh-ed" and "aaaaaah-ed" when they walked into our studio and saw the set ups for the very first time, or how many moms sent me excited messages before their sessions to plan the perfect outfits for their little ones.  

These were a huge hit with our clients in Boston & New York, and I am so happy to have been able to enhance their experience with these gorgeous set ups! Plus, you know how much I adore creating magical scenes to lend that element of whimsy to our photo sessions, so these were everything I wanted and more!

Tomorrow is the day our galleries go out and families will get to see all of their images for the very first time.  I'm so excited to share these magical holiday memories with everyone, and I can't wait to create their holiday cards & portrait gifts for their families to enjoy!

For now, enjoy our photo overload, and be on the lookout for many more gorgeous holiday memories on our Facebook and Instagram pages in the coming weeks!  Actually, you should head over to our social media pages right this very second to enjoy one MORE sneak peek that isn't shown in this blog post for each family!  

Did you miss out on joining us for our holiday sessions at the studio?  Not to worry!  

We still have a few more openings for holiday sessions in November and the first week of December, and we would love to invite your little ones into our Saratoga Springs photography studio for a playful session that will give you gorgeous images for your holiday cards and stunning artwork for your home.   Email us at hello@nicolestarrphotography.com and let's pick a date!

Making Spirits Bright | Our Studio Holiday Sessions

Fa la la la laaaaaa, la la la laaaaaa. As I type this post, my studio smells like a Christmas tree, tiny lights are twinkling behind me, a peppermint marshmallow candle glows on the table, and Ella Fitzgerald is singing Christmas carols on Pandora.   There are presents to be wrapped, cookies to be baked, and cards to be mailed.  And there's definitely a mug of hot chocolate waiting for me somewhere.  It's mid-December, and our holiday cheer is officially at 100%.

I love the holiday season.  Could you tell?  ;o)   The lights, the traditions, the scents, the cozy foods, the gatherings with friends & family.  There is nothing better than those first few weeks of December when the world is a truly magical place.  These are the weeks when everyone is talking about their elves, Santa, and flying reindeer.  The tree in your living room inspired breathtaking wonder, and the colorful lights in your neighborhood fill your evenings with cheer.  The magic of childhood is more tangible than ever.  That same magic that I adore capturing all throughout the year is on full display this month, and I feel so, so lucky to be able to preserve that for the families that I work with.

boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0002

We hosted our first in-studio holiday sessions, and I had so much fun creating the perfect dreamy set up for our little ones.  We turned the studio into a winter wonderland, a soft cloud-like space where children sat beneath golden stars and told me all about their wishes for Santa and what their elves had been up to lately.  There were giggles, jingle bells, Christmas jammies, candy canes, and songs.

boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0003

boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0005boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0006boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0007

boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0014boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0010boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0012boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0013

Our holiday sessions were short and sweet, and allowed just enough time for a simple rustic set up, too!  After all, I acquired a vintage sled from another photographer over the summer, and I couldn't let a holiday season pass without using it for some adorable photos!

boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0008boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0001boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0004boston child photographer holiday christmas sessions_0015

Wishing you all a magical holiday season!  Take the time to slow down, create memories, and start a new tradition with your family.

Create magic, and inspire wonder.  After all, that's what childhood is all about!

Extraordinary Stories | Photo sessions for the Down syndrome community

As many of you who have been following my Facebook page know, October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  Down syndrome is considered the most common genetic condition, and one in every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome.  According to the National Down Syndrome Society (www.ndss.org), there are more than 400,000 individuals living with Down syndrome in the United States. This month I started a photo & community outreach project to connect with local families whose children have Down syndrome.  My best friend’s son, Zack, was born with Down Syndrome 5 years ago.  I'll never forget the night my best friend told me that her brand new baby boy had DS.  I'll never forget the incredible journey of love, learning, and acceptance that this little guy's family and all of his loved ones embarked on. I'll always be SO thankful for that blessing. We count ourselves lucky to love this little boy who is blessed with an extra chromosome and lots of hugs and kisses to go around.  Because of Zack, I wanted to give back to this community and bring their stories to life through my photographs.

WM zooks-1

This month I decided to offer complimentary sessions to families who have a little one with DS.  When I reached out to this (not so little) community, I was amazed at the overwhelming response from families across Massachusetts and New Hampshire who got in touch with me.  My inbox was flooded with the most amazing, heart-warming stories, and every single one brought happy tears.  They opened their arms to me, welcoming me into their lives and sharing their stories with me.  They allowed me to play with their children, capture their true personalities, and let their little ones shine in the spotlight of my camera.  We shared hugs, giggles, tickles, “peek-a-boo” games and “ready, set, go” races.

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little “extra”.

These children are not defined by Down syndrome.  That extra chromosome is a blessing in disguise, helping the families to love deeper, dream bigger, and advocate more strongly.  Their stories are the ones that deserve to be heard.  Enjoy their stories:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meet Audrey  (age 9)

WM nicole starr photography down syndrome sessions audrey-2

“Audrey is a very funny clever girl who has the most wonderful sense of humor. Her smile can light up a room and she has the most contagious little laugh and the BEST hugs that come with a pat on the back.  Some of her favorite things to do are to sing and dance to her favorite, Taylor Swift. She also loves swimming.  She could literally swing on a swingset for hours. She loves to play with her sisters and is great at bossing her dog, May, around.”   ~Audrey’s mom

Twin sisters, one with down syndrome.
Boston photographer does photo sessions for local families with a child with Down syndrome

“The best part of having a sister like Audrey is the way she brings us and everyone that meets her so much happiness. I like having Audrey as a twin because it makes us unique.”  ~Audrey’s twin sister

Meet Drew  (age 3)

Boston photographer does photo sessions for local families with a child with Down syndrome

“Drew has the ability to make people fall in love with him, his outgoing personality and endless expressions. His sense of humor, curiosity and attention to detail make me smile and fall in love with him even more, if that's possible. He loves to learn, and run around and will no doubt change the outdated perceptions of what it means to have Down syndrome. I will continue to teach him to know no boundaries, and to dream bigger until he reaches the stars!

My experience in the Ds community has changed my life. Quite literally. We were given information on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress while in the hospital after Drew was born. And they were the first organization to reach out to us when we got home. From them, we were connected with our local Ds group, the Morning Travelers, where I've met dozens, if not a hundred families, many who are close friends now. When you find a community that understands, encourages and celebrates similar life journeys, you never want to lose touch. I've been empowered to step outside my comfort zone in many ways by Drew, one being taking the Chairperson role for our local MDSC Buddy Walk! I was honored to address over 3,000 people in our community this past October, 11th and applaud all of them for being a strong community of advocates. Together with the help of the MDSC, we are bringing awareness, inclusion and opportunities to live fulfilling lives to individuals with Down syndrome in Massachusetts and across the globe.”  ~Drew’s mom

Boston photographer does photo sessions for local families with a child with Down syndrome
WM nicole starr photography down syndrome sessions drew-2
Nicole Starr Photography | Boston photographer does photo sessions for local families with a child with Down syndrome

Meet JJ  (9 months)

Cute baby with glasses and Down syndrome

JJ is a very social little boy with big, curious eyes that are made that much cuter by his new glasses.  He is incredibly expressive, and we captured so many of his little faces on camera during our session together.  He loves to laugh and babble, and it’s clear that he brings so much happiness to his mom, dad, and big sister every single day.  This little guy is a fighter, and he had heart surgery at only 2 months old. He rocked our session together — even the tummy time, which you wouldn’t know by looking at the amazing photos that he’s not the biggest fan of.  ;o)

Nicole Starr Photography | Boston photographer does photo sessions for local families with a child with Down syndrome
Nicole Starr Photography | Boston photographer does photo sessions for local families with a child with Down syndrome
Baby with Down syndrome

I just love how he's talking to his little toy in the photo below.  What a sweetheart!

Meet Lucy (2.5 years)

WM nicole starr photography lucy-7

“Well, let me tell you about Lucy... She's very much "a Lucy". She's bright,  hilarious, loving, and clearly the prettiest girl I've ever seen. She loves cats, music, and Frozen! She's incredibly expressive, she's speaking more lately but has about 100 signs.  Sign language has been amazing for her.  She shines brighter than a diamond, and that's what I would most like to capture.

The definition of the name 'Lucy' is 'light', and that's exactly what she is. When we found out that she had Down Syndrome, I can honestly say I was not scared. I have never feared for how her life would be. She's been through so much in her tiny little life, I have no doubt she can and will achieve whatever it is she wants to do. That extra chromosome is part of who she is and I would not give it back for the world. She is exactly the little girl I always knew she would be.”  ~Lucy’s mom

Nicole Starr Photography | Boston photographer gives sessions to families with Down syndrome
Nicole Starr Photography | Boston photographer does photo sessions for local families with a child with Down syndrome

Meet Maeve  (8 months)

Nicole Starr Photography | Boston photographer gives photo sessions to families with Down syndrome

“I found out when I was about 6 months pregnant that there was a 99% chance Maeve would be born with Down syndrome. We found out about her having Down syndrome and the fact that she had a heart defect that would require surgery within a couple of weeks. Needless to say, that was a rough time. But we decided pretty quickly that we would do what we needed to do for her and stayed pretty positive for the rest of my pregnancy so by the time she arrived we were more excited than nervous.

She had open heart surgery when she was about 3 months old. Her first 3 months really just seemed like a lead up to the surgery day. But she did great, she was in and out of Children's in 6 days. And now that it's been months, it almost seems like it never happened. I say a lot that I wish we could go back in time to when we first found out about all of this and tell ourselves "Don't worry. You'll love her like crazy and she'll be awesome."

I guess I'm biased but Maeve really is the best baby. She's happy, super chatty, sleeps well, smiles a lot. Honestly, we don't even think about Down syndrome all the time. She may get to milestones a little later than other kids her age, but for the most part she's just like any other baby. She sleeps, eats, cries, poops, smiles, and makes us laugh every day. She just got her first 2 teeth a couple of weeks ago and in the past week she started sitting up on her own! Something new every day.”  ~Maeve’s mom

holiday photo session
Nicole Starr Photography | Boston photographer does photo sessions for local families with a child with Down syndrome
fall photo session

Meet Liam  (23 days new)

Nicole Starr Photography | Newborn baby boy with Down syndrome

“We love so many things about Liam. His beautiful eyes, that always appear so alert and attentive when he is awake, are adorned with gorgeous eyelashes. He is happy and content to be held and cuddle when he's not eating. He sometimes shows off an adorable pout that may be hard to say no to when he is older.

The first few days were a mix of a lot of different emotions. Much of Liam's arrival was a surprise. I delivered at a birthing center because we wanted an out of hospital experience. My labor moved at a rapid fire pace and only lasted  4 1/2 hours. My husband travels for work and missed Liam's birth by just 2 hours. When I first held Liam in my arms, I had a feeling he might have Down syndrome, but I didn't want to ask the midwife until my husband arrived. I learned later that the midwife noticed physical characteristics right away but decided to wait until my husband was with me to say anything. I will forever be grateful for these first few hours when I was able to meet my son, hold him, and bond with him before I knew he had Down syndrome. I knew him as Liam first, before I knew he had a disability. He was my perfect, beautiful baby boy who I loved immediately and unconditionally. Learning he had Down syndrome did not change any of this.

When my husband arrived we asked the midwife if she thought he had Down syndrome. She explained that she noticed the palmar crease, low set ears, and large space between his first and second toes. Then we discussed being transferred to the NICU to check his heart and lungs. The NICU was an incredibly hard experience as we didn't even want to be in a hospital in the first place.

We drew strength from taking one moment at a time and the love of our family. Our parents flew out immediately to be with us. They shared in our sorrow, but also rejoiced in Liam's arrival. This was so important for me. As a new mom, I so wanted people to celebrate and gawk over my beautiful new baby. I needed to see people delight in his presence. This helped get us through the 10 days in the NICU.

Right now we are still in the process of letting go of some previous expectations we had before we knew he had Down syndrome.  We are making room for new ideas as we begin the journey with Liam. We are trying not to focus on Liam's limitations but all of his potential and gifts.

When I hold Liam in my arms, I just see my beautiful baby boy who is an absolute gift. Sometimes I think, "oh yeah, he also has Down syndrome." But that's never my first nor most important thought when I hold him. I hope this is always the case. First seeing Liam for the amazing person he is, while learning about and embracing all of his unique qualities including the fact that he has Down syndrome.”  ~Liam’s mom

Nicole Starr Photography | Newborn baby boy with Down syndrome
Nicole Starr Photography | Newborn baby boy with Down syndrome
Nicole Starr Photography | Newborn baby boy with Down syndrome

Want to learn more about Down syndrome?  Check out the National Down Syndrome Society's webpage here:  www.ndss.org

Do you know someone who would love this post?  Share it with them!  :o)

25 families contacted me this month about sessions for their little ones with DS.  I'm excited to make this an ongoing project, and I've compiled a list of families that I will be in touch with for photo sessions throughout the year.  Want to share your story with me?  Email me at nicolestarrphotography@gmail.com.  I can't wait to meet your little one and hear your heartwarming story!