FAQ's for Baby Photographers | Saratoga Springs NY and Boston MA Newborn Photographer

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

I’ve been a baby photographer since 2012, and I’ve had the privilege of photographing hundreds of adorable babies & children in New York & Massachusetts.  Before every session I schedule a pre-consultation with my clients, and it’s usually a simple phone call to answer any questions and give them a feel for what the session involves. 

Over the years I’ve answered the same questions dozens of times, so I thought I would compile them into a helpful FAQ post for new clients!



Have a question that I haven’t answered here?  Drop me an email to hello@nicolestarrphotography.com and I would be happy to chat with you!

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

What is the best age to photograph?  I’m worried my baby is too young — or too old!

Our newborn sessions typically take place during the first two weeks after a baby is born.  I usually like to see babies at the studio after day 5 because they’re getting the hang of eating by then, and if your baby had a circumcision he’ll be healed and comfortable on his belly by then.

BUT WHY SO YOUNG?  Well, during those first two weeks your baby is still getting used to life outside the womb.  They are very sleepy and flexible, allowing me to achieve many of those adorable and cozy poses with them all curled up tight.  After two weeks their limbs become more rigid and less flexible, and they are often much more alert as they begin to stretch and explore the space around them.  Baby acne usually arrives between weeks 3-4, so ideally we’ll plan your session before then. 

For milestone sessions, around months 3-4 is perfect because your little one is smiling, reacting to the world around them, and getting used to tummy time with better neck control by then.  I also love love LOVE milestone sessions between months 6-9 when your baby is sitting up unassisted.  When babies are upright they are so happy and content, and their personality just shines.  This is my favorite age to photograph!

For birthday sessions, we schedule these between months 10-13 depending on how soon before the first birthday party you would like your finished artwork!

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

Help!  I have no idea what I want to do with my photos!

I hear this all the time, and many families originally think, “I’ll just get the digitals and decide later on.”  But you know what happens 90% of the time when families do this?  Those JPEGs sit in a file on their computer and never get looked at.  Life gets in the way and the images never get printed for a year, two years, three years.

That’s why I make it a priority to schedule your gallery reveal and ordering appointment within two weeks of your session.  We set aside an hour together to go through your gallery, see what products there are, and find which possibilities are the very best fit for your family!  I want to help you enjoy your images & artwork right away, and to find the best way for your images to fit into your lifestyle. 

Here are a few popular possibilities for what to do with your images besides lose them on a hard drive somewhere:
-Create birth announcements, birthday party invitations, or thank you cards to mail to family & friends
-Enjoy a linen-covered album from your session, or from your baby’s entire first year!
-Decorate the walls of your nursery.  We can even plan your session style to coordinate with the nursery theme and colors.  
-Grandparents love photo gifts.  Let’s give them some beautiful new artwork!
-Hang a large family portrait in a  place that will put a smile on your face every day.


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

Where do your sessions take place?

Most of our portrait sessions are in the studio.  Lifestyle newborn sessions and lifestyle family sessions take place at home — these are relaxed and generally unposed, and I don’t bring props or complicated set-ups with me.  These sessions showcase real life happening in real spaces in your home. 

I love shooting outdoors in the warmer months.  Here in the northeast, that generally means May through October, but for really young babies who are sensitive to temperature changes, I would recommend scheduling between June and September if you’re hoping to head outside.    Warm babies are happy babies, and happy babies make for great photographs!

What do you have in your studio?

Lots of simple backdrops, neutral colors, a few classic props, faux fur rugs, plenty of wraps and blankets, headbands, and handmade tiny outfits.  I do use one studio light for all of our sessions, so you’ll see a big umbrella with a light in it, too.  During our newborn sessions we turn the heat WAY up in the studio so that your little one is comfy, and it’s very toasty in there with our fake fireplace going strong.


nicole starr photography  |  saratoga springs baby photographer  |  Albany baby photographer  |  Boston baby photographer  |  baby photography FAQ

I’m so worried that my child is going to be fussy or cranky!  What happens then?  

Kids and babies are so unpredictable, and I am used to their changing moods.  Most babies act differently on photo day because they’re in a new space, with a new person, and they can sense that their parents are stressed or nervous.  First, I recommend that you stay calm and trust me to capture beautiful images of your baby.  Know that we will go with the flow and do everything possible to keep your baby in a cheerful mood.  If your baby senses that you are anxious, they will feed off of your anxiety, so stay calm!

I have so many tricks for newborns to create an environment that will lull them into a relaxed state.  You’ll see me use heat, wraps, shushing, rocking, and other little tricks to put them right to sleep.

Older babies are easily distracted and I’ll use songs, games, and toys to grab their attention.  If they start to get fussy, a quick distraction with a new toy or song will engage them and make them forget whatever it was they were fussing about in the first place!  Some babies need a break for fresh air, a walk around the studio, a favorite snack, cuddles, or a song on your phone.  That’s okay!  I am always generous with time, and if your little one needs a few extra minutes to settle in we’ll take our time.  Follow my lead, and we’re going to have a great time together!


What if my child is sick the day of the session?

Tell me right away!  Healthy babies are happy babies, and I’m usually able to reschedule your session.  Ideally you’ll tell me as far in advance as you are able (48 hours before is perfect if you notice your little one is coming down with something), but we don’t want to force a baby through a session when you know that he’s cranky because he has a fever.


This is kind of embarrassing, but I’m worried my baby might pee (or poop!) on something in the studio…

It wouldn't be the first time that has occurred!  Poop happens, and it’s nothing to worry about. 

We keep wipes on hand to clean everything up quickly, and everything gets washed and sanitized after the session.  Don’t be embarrassed, and please don’t apologize a million times.  I expect a little mess to happen with every session, and if we get a baby who doesn’t soil something during their session, I consider it a fluke and we were very lucky that day!


Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer  |  Albany baby photographer  |  Boston baby photographer  |  Milestone portrait session

What should my baby wear? 


For studio newborn sessions, you don’t have to bring a thing!  I have everything you need in the studio.  Your images will be classic and timeless with a simple wrap, bare skin, or one of my unique hand-knit outfits that are so tiny and perfectly sized for your baby.

For lifestyle newborn sessions, we’ll also use wraps or pretty swaddles that you have at home.  A classic white onesie is always perfect — the smaller the better.  Because newborns are so tiny, they are swimming in most newborn clothes and all that extra fabric never photographs well, so be sure to try their outfit on ahead of time to ensure that it’s snug and not too baggy.

Milestone sessions are a little bit different.  For 3-4 months we’ll generally just do a few wraps and simple rompers that I have in the studio.  If you have a snug knit outfit (so many cute options at Zara Baby!), send me a picture ahead of time.

For 6 months and up, there are so many cute options for your baby.  Check out Etsy for adorable rompers and overalls in knit fabrics.  Look for neutral colors that aren’t too busy or distracting for the most classic look.  Details like lace, pockets, stripes, texture, and embroidery are always fun, too. 

A note on headbands — babies have tiny heads.  Let’s not overwhelm them with huge puffy flower headbands.  I have petite tiebacks that are the perfect size to complement your baby’s perfect features without being too distracting.  If you’d like to bring something, the smaller the better. 


How about those cute crocheted outfits I see at big box stores and on Etsy?

Okay, I’m going to be really honest with you here….  No.  Don’t do it.  Those crocheted turtles, foxes, and firemen outfits are never the proper size for a newborn baby.  They are always much too big and leave gaping holes when you put them on the baby, plus the crochet stitch doesn’t lie as smoothly to hug a baby’s curves like knitting does. 

Plus I have found that the yarn is usually a very poor quality that causes the poor little babies to overheat, and nearly 100% of the time when you put a baby in one of those hats and diaper covers they get itchy and hot.  They’re fussy and inconsolable within seconds.  I’m sorry to say it, but as cute as they are on the hanger they’re not that cute on a fussy, crying, sweating baby. 

Instead, we can do a tiny prop or accent in your set-up to represent that turtle, fox, fireman (or whatever other theme it is you loved!).  I’ve had babies holding their dad’s police badge, posed on a fireman’s helmet, and snuggling up with a tiny felted animal like a teddy bear or a penguin.  I’ll use the outfits we have in the studio that are high-quality fibers that allow your baby’s skin to breathe, and that are sized perfectly to their tiny bodies.  

Welcome Home, Vivian Jane: A Lifestyle Newborn Session with Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer

Lifestyle sessions always steal my heart.  There is something so magical about being invited into a family's home to capture their quiet moments together as they welcome their brand new baby into the family, and I love visiting them in their space and documenting these moments for them to show their children one day that THIS is the space we brought you home to when you were born. 

Even if they change houses and move states, there is something so amazing about that first home that holds so many newborn memories for them.  The first cuddles, the first smiles.  So many late night feedings, and quiet moments just watching your baby breathe in and out when they're (finally!) asleep.  The walls are filled with stories, and it's always an honor to be invited into their space to capture the beginning of this new love story for their family.

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

Vivian Jane's house was filled with natural light, and we started off in the bedroom with a simple wrap and a knit blanket that I brought from the studio.  Her mom bought a few headbands before the session for a sweet girly touch.  

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

Family portraits are always my favorite during our lifestyle newborn sessions at home.  Tina & Curtis cuddled up on the bed with their baby girl, and we captured some quiet moments of the three of them together.  

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

Are you wondering where in your house we might capture a few portraits?  If you have a sliding door, there's a pretty good chance we'll go there for lots of natural light to flood your portraits!  I love these moments we captured in their living room that show their beautiful bond with their new daughter, and a hint at their style with their furniture and decor showing in the background. 

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
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
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

Check out a few recent lifestyle sessions for some at-home newborn inspiration!

John Aldrich
Connor James
How to Know if a Lifestyle Session is Right for You


 

saratoga springs lifestyle newborn photographer

A Donut Smash for Dylan's First Birthday with Union Square Donuts | Boston Baby Photographer

Who said cake smashes can only include cake?  Dylan celebrated her first birthday with donuts from Union Square Donuts in Somerville, and I'm in love!!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts

This donut smash was such a fun way to celebrate Dylan's first birthday, and I love that her mom came to me with a totally unique idea, inspired to try something new and give her daughter a birthday experience that was extra special to their family -- they are regular Sunday morning customers at their local donut shop, of course!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts

Of course, dad couldn't resist jumping in for a bite!  I always love it when babies get to happy to share their birthday smash food with family, and this is definitely a favorite moment captured from Dylan's session!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts

All of our birthday sessions include family portraits, and one-year olds are so much fun to play with!  Dylan's mom and dad enjoyed cuddles, tickles, and so many sweet little giggles from their birthday girl!  She was just learning to walk at the time of her session, and I am obsessed with the images of her walking with her daddy.  Her expressions are priceless!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Donut Smash Photographer | Boston Donut Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Baby Photographer | Boston Baby Photographer | Union Square Donuts

Did you love this session?  Looking for inspiration for your cake smash?  Check out our blog post with 70+ theme ideas (including food alternatives!) for your baby's cake smash session.

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!
 

A Studio Newborn Session with Tulips - Boston Newborn Photographer

You know how some things were just meant to be, and certain paths were meant to lead people together?  I 100% believe in that, and it rang true with sweet little Brynley Marie's newborn session at our Attleboro portrait studio.

Right before her session I headed to the florist to pick up some fresh blooms for Brynley's session.  After a streak of one newborn boy after another, I was excited to bring some pretty florals in for a baby girl.  I knew I wanted tulips, and there were only two colors there that day: pink or yellow.  I went with the pink, and I'm so glad I did!  Read on to hear the full story.  

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

When Brynley's mother walked into the studio and saw the little setup with our pink tulips, I turned around right as I heard her exclaim, "Oh my god, pink tulips!" 

Although we had never talked about this in our pre-consultation, the fates aligned as Jill told me the story of pink tulips in her life.  When Jill (baby Brynley's mother) was born, her aunt brought her a bouquet of pink tulips in the hospital.  Every year after that, her mother gave her pink tulips on her birthday.  When Brynley was born, the excited new grandmother brought pink tulips into the hospital to welcome her granddaughter into the world.  And then at her newborn portrait session, I coincidentally also had pink tulips for this sweet baby girl!

Truly, it couldn't have been more perfect!

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

We didn't stop with just tulips!  This springtime baby enjoyed lots of beautiful florals in her session, and I am in LOOOOOOOVE with the portraits that we created in the studio.  Brynley was nice and sleepy, which allowed us to capture these sweet poses all curled up and dreamlike.

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

Capturing portraits of the new mommy & daddy is always one of my favorite parts of our newborn sessions.  It's so magical to be able to see yourself through someone else's eyes, capturing the swirl of emotions that you're feeling during your first days as a family of three.  These are portraits that you're going to come back to year after year, when your baby no longer curls up in your arms or comes to you asking you to kiss their boo-boo.  

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

Many years from now when they are all grown up, your baby will have a baby of their own.  And you know what they'll want to see, hear, and know?  What life was like for YOU as a new parent when you welcomed them into your family.  They will want to connect with you and share in this life-changing experience with you.  These family portraits are the very beginning of their story, and they are worth capturing every single time.  

I tell all of the moms & dads that I work with -- get in the picture.  You will never, ever regret it.

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

Check out a few of our recent studio newborn sessions!  

Killian's Cream & Gray Newborn Session

Blake Vivian's Nautical Newborn Session

We are now booking newborns at our Saratoga Springs & Attleboro studios, and the best time to book is during your second trimester.  Be sure to reserve your spot early as we do fill up quickly!

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

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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!

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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!

A Dreamy Session with Newborn Twins | Albany & Saratoga Springs Newborn Photographer

Sometimes miracles come in pairs.

Finley Grace & Bella James

I love photographing newborns.  Absolutely adore it.  But when you bring newborn twins to me?  Oh my gosh, I'm in heaven!

After arriving one month early and spending some time in the NICU, I was so excited to finally snuggle with these baby girls in the studio.  They are just the sweetest little things, and I adored our session together.  Creamy, dreamy, whimsical & soft are my favorite types of sessions, and this one was no exception!  I love the soft, neutral colors that allow the babies to be the focus of the session, the way we had the most perfect light streaming through the studio windows to illuminate these new parents and their love, and the most peaceful little girls that slept the entire time.

twin girls
Nicole Starr Photographer | Boston family photographer

I adore the stunning mama and baby portrait, below.  I recently came across a motherhood quote, and when I read it this photograph immediately came to mind.

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  

She never existed before.  

The woman existed, but the mother, never.  

A mother is something absolutely new."  ~Rajneesh

newborn and mother photo
Nicole Starr Photographer | Boston newborn twins

Love this fun shot of the babies in their daddy's arms!  They won't be that tiny forever, and it's amazing to see and look back on.

Nicole Starr Photographer | dreamy newborn photos
smiling newborn baby
Nicole Starr Photographer | Boston newborn twins
Nicole Starr Photographer | Boston newborn photographer

The best compliment that you can give a photographer is to have an emotional connection to the portraits that we take and the moments that we capture.  The photo below is the one that brought tears to their mom's eyes during our reveal session.  I just LOVE that a photograph can do that, and I'm truly honored that the photographs I take of your children mean so much.  <3  

Nicole Starr Photographer | twin girls

And we'll finish with my favorite shot of Finley & Bella, two little twins all snuggled up together.  I love how they just curl up together and mold their limbs together into one tiny little space.  

Check out other newborn twin sessions here, here & here.

Love the clean and organic look of these photographs?  Me too!  View Lucy's clean and simple newborn session.

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:

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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!