Glitter & Gloves: Pretty but fierce hockey portraits to celebrate a 7th birthday

I was so excited when Samantha’s mom reached out to plan her annual birthday portraits. She told me how Sammy had fallen in love with playing hockey this year, and she really wanted to plan an extra special birthday session for her daughter in her hockey gear with a Tutu du Monde dress.

Ummmm, YESSSSSSS!!!

Of course, I couldn’t resist adding a little extra sparkle and glitter.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player

We had so much fun incorporating her helmet, hockey sticks, guards, and pucks into the session. Sammy loved putting on her tough face and her fierce face, and kept bursting into giggles, too. It was truly the perfect session and such a blast to photograph!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player

Inspired by this fierce and pretty hockey session? Pin this image or any from the post above!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | Hockey birthday session, 7th birthday, hockey princess, Pretty but fierce, hockey player

A Boho and Peony Milestone Session with Corinne

Peonies have long been my favorite flower. We had them on the tables at our wedding, and I even made my own wedding bouquet full of these fluffy pink beauties. I have a vase of faux peonies on our nightstand, and we planted six peony bushes in our front yard when we moved into our house.

This spring I am so excited to use these beautiful blooms in the studio! Corinne came to the studio for a boho milestone session filled with peonies, and I love the dreamy look of her portraits! Her romper & floral crown were the perfect complements to these flowers.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits

She had the cutest little giggle, and I was so happy that we captured this whole-body laugh!

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Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits

Funny faces are my favorite! We always capture the smiles, the serious faces, and the faces filled with wonder… but the ones where they scrunch up their faces into the cutest little expressions always make me smile!

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Baby Outfit Ideas | Wardrobe Inspiration for Your Baby's Milestone Portrait Session

You’re so excited!!! You just booked your baby’s milestone session and you can’t wait to capture their little smile, that tiny curl of hair, and those adorable chubby legs that you love to cover in kisses. These portraits are always some of my favorites

But wait a second… what does a baby wear to a milestone session?!?!

This is probably your first time dressing your baby for portraits (after all, they just wore a swaddle in their newborn photos!), but I’ve dressed hundreds of babies for their portrait sessions and I have plenty of ideas to make it easier for you.


OUTFIT INSPIRATION FOR YOUR MILESTONE SESSION

Flaunt those itty bitty baby features that you love so much.

Babies are only this little for a little while, and their elbow dimples, chunky thigh rolls, and puffy little tummies are the cutest things ever about this stage. Show it off! I recommend avoiding dresses that cover the legs — instead, choose rompers for baby girls to give them room to move their legs and find their toes. For boys, wearing just a pair of pants to show that cute baby belly is so classic. Plus, you’ll see those photos and just want to smooch that perfect little belly!

There’s nothing more classic than a simple white onesie.

I did my son’s monthly photos in a white onesie, and I always suggest clients go for this look when they want a few simple and extremely classic portraits. They make some cute ones with ruffles and eyelet lace details on the sleeves for baby girls if you’re looking for something a little special, too!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits

Go for a pop of color against our all white studio!

Pale blue, lavender, aqua, and pink all look amazing against our white walls, couch, and bed!

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Make sure baby can move freely.

Opt for fabrics with a little stretch so baby can reach, crawl, and wiggle. After all, they’ve been practicing all of these new skills so let them use their whole body and show us what they can do!

Go barefoot.

Yes, baby shoes are cute, but they don’t look cute in photographs because you can only see the soles of the feet. Let’s show off their toes instead!

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Show some skin.

When they’re this little, baby boys & baby girls are oh so sweet with their cute little baby bellies and soft arm rolls. Don’t be afraid to have one of their “outfits” be just a diaper, diaper cover, or a pair of knit pants! We can always use a soft blanket to cover up, too — and to play peek-a-boo!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits

Ruffles & lace.

Both beautiful options in photographs. You can’t go wrong with these sweet feminine details.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits

Consider fabric textures and your baby’s sensitive skin.

Remember when you were a kid and your mom dressed you in a scratchy tulle dress or itchy wool tights? You were miserable. Let’s give your baby the best shot at a happy session by making sure they are cool, comfortable, and content. Use soft fabrics that won’t irritate their skin. Opt for knitted fabrics (think sweater knit, not jersey knit) for a truly beautiful texture in photographs.

Avoid anything crocheted for the best portraits — even though sweet Aunt Sally was so excited to give you that crocheted turtle outfit, I’ve found that these are usually made with cheap yarn that cause the babies to sweat and immediately get a red heat rash on their skin. Then they’re crying and inconsolable the rest of the session. Nobody wants that! Plus, crocheted items don’t usually fall right on their little bodies the way clothing that is knitted can hug them beautifully. Thank your dear Aunt Sally, snap a cell phone pic, and share that with her. ;o)

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits

Neutrals never go out of style.

Avoid anything too busy, bold, or neon. Neutrals look amazing with details like stripes, lace, eyelet lace, smocking, buttons, and knitted textures.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville NY Children’s Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits

Still not sure what to wear? Check out our studio closet filled with beautiful options for your little one! If you’re thinking of wearing a studio outfit, let me know ahead of time what size your baby is and which outfits you have in mind and I will let you know if they’ll fit and get them ready for you ahead of time. Plus, be sure to ask me what’s new in the closet because we’re always adding new pieces for families to enjoy!

Nora's Six Month Milestone Session

Six month old babies are definitely at the top of the list of my favorite things to photograph.

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

Nora came to our Saratoga Springs portrait studio for her milestone session, and she was all about showing off those two adorable new teeth! This sweet baby girl was right on the brink of learning to crawl when we did her portraits, and she was happiest on her tummy while moving her little arms and legs as if she were swimming.

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

Nora’s mama chose a few outfits from our studio wardrobe for her session — did you see that WE HAVE AN ENTIRE BABY CLOSET FILLED WITH OUTFITS for your little one’s portraits? You can show up with just your diaper bag and we’ll do the rest to help you create beautiful portraits with outfits and a style you’ll love!

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

Nora’s big brother Greyson joined us for a few sibling portraits, and he did such a great job getting his baby sister to smile. He is such an amazing big brother!

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

A Pastel Woodland Birthday Session for Karsyn

Karsyn joined me at our Saratoga Springs portrait studio for a magical first birthday session. Her mama asked me to create a floral and rustic woodland scene for the birthday girl, so we used the Lavender Fields backdrop by Heidi Hope Backdrops, along with some birch trees, hanging flowers, and twinkle lights for the perfect scene.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

Like most one-year olds, Karsyn was very interested in playing with the pearl beads that we keep in the studio to keep tiny hands busy!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

We finished with a bathtub splash, and this sweet birthday girl loved the water! She started splishing and splashing all over the place, and she was especially fascinated in the soap bubbles.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Cake Smash Photographer | Boston Cake Smash Photographer | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer  Delmar NY Cake Smash Photographer | Loudonville NY Cake Smash Photographer

Thinking of a birthday session for your baby? Let’s chat!

A 6 Month Studio Session for Baby Charlotte

Charlotte is one of our Baby Planners, and she came to the studio for her 6-month milestone session with the cutest outfits and the most adorable smile!

icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer

I love this age so much! Once babies start sitting up they really start showing off their personalities, and Charlotte was such a gem. She is a very playful baby and she showed us so many different smiles & expressions. It was hard to choose just a few favorites from her gallery!

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icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer

I always love including these shots with mom or dad’s hands reaching in to catch or help support the baby. While some photographers might edit that out or throw the shot away, I love capturing this little moment that shows how you were always there for your baby. You have their back, you always catch them, and you’re watching right over their shoulder as they slowly start to gain independence and try out new skills, ready to help if they need it.

icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
icole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer

Evelyn's Six Month Milestone Session at our Saratoga Springs Studio | Saratoga Springs NY Photographer

I always have such a special time with our Baby Plan families.  I love getting to watch their little ones grow all the way through their first birthday (and beyond!), and little miss Evvie is no exception.  I'm so lucky that she comes to see me at the studio every few months for her milestone portraits!

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

I first met Evvie's family when her mama was pregnant, and we did a maternity session, Fresh 48 session and lifestyle newborn session.  She came to the Saratoga studio for her Christmas portraits, and I got to see her for her 6-month portraits right before my maternity leave began! 

It's been amazing watching this baby girl grow and change, develop a personality, hit her milestones, and hearing all about her first year.  I'm already looking forward to her 9-month portraits this summer!

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

We used our boho floral hoops for a fancy set-up at the end of her session.  How sweet is she?!?!

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

A Bathtub Splash after the Cake Smash - Saratoga Springs NY Baby Photographer

We have the most adorable new prop in the studio, and I think you're going to LOVE it!  It is simple, classic, and just perfect for our littlest clients! 

Just look at this adorable baby-sized bathtub.  Riley LOVED using it after her cake smash session for a little SPLASH (with a rubber ducky, of course)!

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

At this age, I love capturing all of the little details that make your baby so beautiful and unique.  Thick eyelashes.  Beautiful curls that are just starting to take shape.  Perfect little lips.  Finger dimples.  And those adorable leg rolls that you just want to squish and cuddle.

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

Many babies spend the happiest part of their day splishing & splashing in the bathtub.  For them, it's a playground filled with so many giggles and the biggest smiles.  Riley, of course, adored her bath time and she made the biggest splash!  

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Huge smiles.  Lots of happy squeals.  And non-stop laughter as she played with her rubber duckies.  

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

Are you ready to book your SMASH & SPLASH?  What about a petite session with just a baby bath?  Email me and let's chat to plan your baby's perfect session together!
 

Samantha's Sparkly 5th Birthday Session in Downtown Boston | Boston MA Children's Photographer

Samantha's 5th birthday session was the stuff of so many little girls' dreams.

A sparkly dress.  Pretty shoes.  Twinkling city lights.  And all eyes on her with a photographer giving her her undivided attention.  
 

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

I loved helping Samantha's mom come up with an outfit and a location that would celebrate her daughter's spunky personality with a bit of whimsy, right in downtown Boston. 

We met up in the Seaport District with the beautiful Boston skyline sparkling in the sunset, and it was absolutely perfect.  Samantha enjoyed running up and down the walkways of Fan Pier Park, playing a few different games with me and showing off her ballerina twirls.  

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

The silver "5" balloon was the perfect prop for the birthday girl, and it was nearly as big as her!  Thankfully we didn't have too much wind to deal with that evening, and Samantha was able to hug that balloon tight and wave it around.  

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

When our sessions focus just on your little one, we always have time for an outfit change!  Samantha changed into a classic plaid dress and we headed on over to the blue bridge that is famous in this part of the city. 

It was filled with pedestrians leaving work, coming and going in all directions, but Samantha stole the show and carved out her own little space on the sidewalk.  Many of the city-goes stopped to exclaim how adorable she was, and of course she soaked up all of the attention with a great big smile!

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

I love planning sessions that celebrate your little one's personality.  These "Simply Me" sessions are the perfect way to showcase childhood wonder.  From the outfit to the location, we'll have so much fun bringing your vision to life. 

With the winter here, we're now planning sessions through March at your child's favorite indoor locations -- the skating rink, baking cookies in the kitchen, the library, a pretty lobby of your favorite hotel in the city, their favorite burrito shop, or Target.  You name it, and we'll make it happen!

Behind the Scenes of our "Three of Hearts" Cake Smash | Down Syndrome Awareness

Three babies.  Three cakes.  And one very special cake smash.

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes peek into our "Three of Hearts" cake smash with Mae, Harper, and Catherine.  This was such an amazing session with three beautiful babies, that we couldn't help but share a peek into the making of their cake smash images!  Check back later this week for the full cake smash gallery to see the stunning & hilarious moments that we captured together with the birthday girls!

three of hearts cake smash with nicole starr photography, for down syndrome awareness and congenital heart defect awareness

The full story will be coming to the blog later this week, but these three little girls all happened to celebrate their first birthdays three days in a row, and they all underwent lengthy hospital stays and surgeries due to heart complications when they were born in Boston last summer.  These heart warriors pushed through and were all able to successfully breastfeed this year, too!  They also happen to have Down syndrome, and they met for the first time at our photoshoot with Julia's Way in June, just a few short days before they all turned one!

Behind the scenes of our Three of Hearts cake smash with Nicole Starr Photography.  These three heart warriors all happen to have Down syndrome and survived major heart surgeries in their first year of life.  They also share birthdays three days in a row!

Of course, these little heart warriors rocked their Julia's Way onesies before the cake smash got underway.  Just look at how excited Harper is to show off her stylish onesie!

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We had all three moms in the studio for this session, plus the founder of Julia's Way, Ella Cullen, with her little girl Julia Grace.  A huge thank you to our behind-the-scenes photographer and my good friend Jamie of Koss Photography for capturing the event for us!

When designing a setup for these little heart warriors, of course we went with a heart theme!  Catherine, Harper, and Mae rocked the most beautiful tutus and pearl necklaces that perfectly framed their heart scars on their chests.  

The girls all LOVED the camera, and they did such an amazing job during their session!  I went in fully aware of the possibility of three meltdowns, but we didn't have any -- well, at least until the very end!!  Their curiosity & sweet personalities all shone through, and it was such a joy to capture them individually and together on camera!

So what happens when you put three cakes in front of three babies?  

Some babies love it, others hate it.  Some are curious and cover their whole body in frosting -- Harper!!  Others think about face planting into the cake and rock their body back and forth to get their mouth closer and closer to the cake -- Mae!  And others are much more interested in playing with their pearls than actually getting any frosting on their fingers -- Cate!

Follow us on social media to see the first sneak peeks later this week, and we will update this blog post with a link to the gallery post as soon as it goes live!
 

Portraits of Motherhood: Slowing Down to Capture the Moment (Saratoga Springs & Boston Family Photographer)

I just love our motherhood sessions.  Every time that I am so lucky to capture a mama and her babies in front of the camera, it's my absolute favorite experience!  So often moms hide behind the camera, shying away from stepping in front of the lens, focusing instead on just their children and saying that another day, another time, another month, then they'll get in a picture with their children.  For so many moms, it just isn't a priority right now.

But I like to think otherwise.  

I think that motherhood is such a beautiful journey (even the tough bits!), and that you deserve to capture this on camera.  I believe that getting moms in front of the camera with their babies is one of the most amazing gifts that you can give to your children.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer

During every single phone call I have with moms before their sessions, I always tell them how they will be so grateful they spent a few minutes capturing a handful of portraits with their babies, because soon their little ones will grow up.  They won't cuddle up in your arms anymore.  They will no longer fit on your lap.  You'll forget how their cheek felt rested against your shoulder, and the way their tiny hands wrapped around your fingers for comfort.  They'll go out into the world as independent children, then teenagers, then adults.  And that is the moment when you'll be so grateful for these images that take you back in time.  

These images freeze a moment and bring you back to the early days of motherhood filled with chubby baby cheeks, melodic giggles, and that amazing baby scent that you'll be so nostalgic for when they are grown.  These images will remind you of sticky fingers, goldfish cracker crumbs, and boo-boos covered in colorful bandaids.  You'll recall the way they sang their favorite songs in a high-pitched voice, making up the words to the parts they didn't know yet.  You'll remember the way they held their baby brother and sang lullabies while giving their new sibling a kiss on the forehead -- you'll even remember the part where the kiss turned into a toddler tackle because... well, toddlers!!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer

And then one day, when your babies have babies of their own, you will give them these portraits of the two of you.  You'll show them just how tiny they were, how loved they were, and how much happiness they brought into your life.  They will see a glowing and confident mom who was proud to be in a photo with her little one, a mom who put herself first sometimes and made it a priority to capture these beautiful moments with her baby rather than always hiding behind the camera.  

And they will understand, and treasure these portraits that much more when they have a glimpse of you as a new mom.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer

If you've been hesitant about getting in the picture, giving a long list of reasons why you shouldn't be in front of the camera right now... stop.  And think of the even longer list of reasons why you SHOULD step in front of the camera.  

Or, just think of the one reason why, the most important reason in the world: your child.

Motherhood is a crazy beautiful journey, and you're doing an incredible job.  Celebrate it!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs NY photographer | Upstate NY photographer | Motherhood photographer | Boston family photographer

Our popular Celebrating Motherhood Sessions will be on May 6 (Attleboro) and May 20 (Saratoga Springs).  I would absolutely love to see you there!  

Registration opens on April 3, and spots are expected to fill very quickly as this event always sells out within a couple of days.  Be sure to join our newsletter for more info, and follow our Facebook page for announcements and links when registration is open!   

A Tiny Ballerina Session at Boston Ballet School

On a chilly winter morning, I was lucky enough to be invited to Stella's ballet studio to capture some moments of this tiny ballerina in action.  Stella takes beginner ballet classes at Boston Ballet School in Newton, and I always love seeing her mama's posts and videos on Instagram of her little dancer.  

I have always dreamt of doing a tiny ballerina's portrait session in a light-filled ballet studio, so when we started planning Stella's session together and I saw the studio with their gleaming floors, exposed brick walls, and huge windows with natural light streaming in, I was in photographer heaven!

Saratoga Springs Children's Photographer, Children's photographer, Boston children's photographer

One of the things that Stella's mama and I were most excited about with this session was knowing that this tiny dancer will be able to look back at these images in 15 years and see her innocence, curiosity, and budding dance skills from the very beginning.

Saratoga Springs Children's Photographer, Children's photographer, Boston children's photographer
Saratoga Springs Children's Photographer, Children's photographer, Boston children's photographer
Saratoga Springs NY Family Photographer Boston Family Photographer -9 copy.jpg

Stella LOVED running around the studio and showing me her ballet moves -- did you know that she calls her feet a "pizza slice" when moving them into position?!?!  We did a few quick little outfit changes for this tiny ballerina, and my favorites were with her little ballet slippers, simple leotard, and classic wrap sweater & leg warmers.  

Saratoga Springs Children's Photographer, Children's photographer, Boston children's photographer
Saratoga Springs Children's Photographer, Children's photographer, Boston children's photographer
Saratoga Springs Children's Photographer, Children's photographer, Boston children's photographer
Saratoga Springs Children's Photographer, Children's photographer, Boston children's photographer

These next two might be my favorite images from the entire session!  Those little lashes, those tiny toes, and that cute way she has to reach up above her head to touch the barre.  

These are the moments you want to remember when looking back at her early days in ballet lessons.  

These are the memories that will forever come to mind when you watch your ballerina at her recitals 5, 10, 15 years from now and one day much later when she brings her little ones to ballet classes of their own.

Saratoga Springs Children's Photographer, Children's photographer, Boston children's photographer
Saratoga Springs Children's Photographer, Children's photographer, Boston children's photographer

Would you love to plan a Tiny Ballerina session for your little dancer?  Email me at hello@nicolestarrphotography.com and let's plan the perfect session for your ballerina today!  Now booking in Saratoga Springs & Boston.

A Playful Outdoor Fall Photo Session at Larz Anderson Park

This is what happens when you bring two brothers outside for a photo session on a chilly November day:boston child photographer holiday rustic sessions_0002 Giggles, laughter, wrestling, running across the park to warm up, and SO.MUCH.FUN.  Nathan & Noah were an absolute blast to capture on camera, and I am so happy that we fit in a last-minute photo session for these boys in time for their family's holiday cards.

These two arrived to Larz Anderson Park ready to play, and the beauty of our laid-back sessions is that playing is always an option.  It's even encouraged!  I always aim to capture the real you -- your real smiles, your real laugh, and the real way that you elbow your brother in the ribs when you think no one's looking.   ;o)  After all, these are the moments their mom will remember in 20 years, and these are the ones I want her to treasure right now.

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I love the smirk in this photo below!boston child photographer holiday rustic sessions_0006

This next photo was captured after the boys were jumping off the wall, and I'm pretty sure they were trying to fly.  Any mom of boys knows that this is just how your photo sessions go.  So, like any mom of boys, this mom was worried about what we did or didn't capture during our session together.  Of course, I told her that it's not all of the crazy moments that we capture -- though we do get a few of those, too!  It's the millisecond in between, and knowing right when to click that shutter button to capture the photo of her boys that she will have on the wall for the next 20 years.

This one right here.  That's the one.boston child photographer holiday rustic sessions_0003

Are you a parent living in Newton, Brookline, Brighton, JP, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Chestnut Hill and the surrounding neighborhoods?  Check out Macaroni Kid -- Newton-Brookline!  The boys' mother, Ali, runs this weekly e-newsletter and website bringing you a list of local family-friendly events.  There is so much amazing information for families on their website, including DIY projects, recipes, local events & festivals, shopping guides, crafts for your kids, and coupons for some special savings for your family!

Macaroni Kid is also on Facebook, so be sure to follow their page for daily updates for family fun!

Macaroni Kid featured Nicole Starr Photography earlier this fall after hearing about our photo sessions for National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  Check out the featured post here.

Behind the Scenes at Rockin' NDSS Studios

UPDATE:  Our Rockin' NDSS Studios project has been featured in an article on The Mighty!  Check it out here.

Last week's photo shoot at the National Down Syndrome Society in NYC was so much fun!  It was a heart-warming, eye-opening, incredibly collaborative experience that left us all with full hearts, happy souls, and tired bodies.  Overall, it was a huge success and I am truly honored to have played a small part in making this dream become a reality!

You can read my full blog post by clicking here to learn more about these extra special photo sessions, what we're going to do with the photos next spring, and see every single one of our lovely & talented models who rock that extra chromosome.

Here I am sharing many of our behind-the-scenes photos from our two days at the NDSS offices.  We turned their staff's offices into dressing rooms, their hallways into makeup studios and hair salons, and their conference room into a photo studio.  A little imagination goes a long way, and this amazing team of organizers, hair stylists, makeup artists, moms, dads, grandparents, cousins, siblings, models, and photographers truly showed what amazing things can happen when we all work together.

Enjoy a peek into our #rockinNDSSstudios adventure!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0333

Three photographers excited for sessions to begin: me, Sherri Harnisch and Wendy Zook.

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0334
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0335
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0336
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0337
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0338
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0339

Joey, our Slash model out on the streets of New York City!  He really mastered the hard-core rocker look, tattoos (sleeves) and all!!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0340
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0341
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0342
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0343

Lady Gaga and Joan Jett in the makeup studio!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0344
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0345

A little bit of windblown fan action on our very own Mariah Carey!

Sibling love!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0346
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0347
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0348

Katelynn celebrated her 5th birthday by coming to our photo session as Scary Spice!  What a cutie!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0349

Kelly Clarkson and her twin sister.  As a twin myself, you know I always have a special place in my heart for twins on camera!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0350
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0351

Wendy really got our little Pat Benatar to rock out.  We had a full-on dance party in the studio to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" to get this little one in the spirit, and it truly worked!  Her photos are phenomenal!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0352

Our Usher had all the moves once we put on his favorite song.

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0353
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0354

Isn't she the most adorable Tina Turner?  I love the missing front teeth!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0355
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0356
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0357
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0358

Our Buddy Holly was a little uncertain about the camera at first.  His sisters started a dance party with his guitar, and before we knew it, he was rocking out all by himself.  We couldn't resist a few fun photos of his whole family's jam session first, though!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0359

Sara's presidential duties at the NDSS also include custom makeup application.  This little guy was an amazing band member for KISS!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0360

Fist bump with Bob Dylan!

Rock on!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0361
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0362

Mason didn't want to have all the fun by himself, so he pulled his big sister out onto the dance floor at the end of the session.

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0363

More KISS band members and their family's dance party!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0364

Oh my goodness.  This Elvis impersonator was seriously impressive.  Mickey owns multiple costumes, he performs all around town, and he is REALLY, REALLY GOOD at what he does.  I loved watching him when he was totally "in the zone" as Elvis during his shoot with Wendy.

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0365

Teaching his sister and father how to groove.

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0366

The sweetest sisters!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0367

Runaway baby!  Johnny Cash and June Carter.

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0368
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0369

Grace was our youngest model, only 11 weeks old.  I insisted that we capture a few images with her gorgeous mama, and I am sure she is going to treasure these forever!  (Don't worry -- we'll send you a copy of the photos, Celine!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  From the bottom of our hearts.

A huge thank you to every single person that made this event possible, turning it from a dream into a reality.  It was a labor of love, and these two days spent sharing stories, making new friends, and bringing dreams to life were so incredibly worth it.  This was most definitely the most rewarding professional experience of my year, and it's all because of the incredible individuals that came together to make it happen.

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Now that you've had a behind the scenes look at our NYC experience, don't forget to check out our full blog post here on the Nicole Starr Photography page, too!

To see more of this journey, visit blog posts by fellow photographers Wendy Zook Photography and Sherri Harnisch - Picture Taker.

Rock Star Sessions with the National Down Syndrome Society in NYC

UPDATE:  Our Rockin' NDSS Studios project has been featured in an article on The Mighty!  Check it out here.

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

Oh my goodness!  My heart is so full right now!  I am wrapping up 2015 with what has truly become one of the highlights of my year -- and this has been an amazing year already, so that's saying something!

I've spent the past week going through my photos and reliving the brief but incredibly satisfying two days I spent in New York City doing photo shoots for the National Down Syndrome Society.  It was an amazing experience, and I'm still so overwhelmed with all of the smiles, laughter, and bonding that we fit into the little hallways and makeshift dressing rooms and studios of the NDSS offices.

This photo sums it up for me.  It's a behind the scenes look from my dear friend, Wendy Zook Photography, and I love the emotion captured in this moment.  There was so much laughter and so much connection between everyone involved.  In the end, we truly are more alike than different, and I LOVED getting to know each and every person that was involved in our sessions.  (Right here is when Judy told me, "Of course, sweetheart! Don't worry -- I got this!" when I showed her the Mariah Carey look we were going for in her shoot.  Such a doll!)

NDSS Photos 2015-424
NDSS Photos 2015-424

When the National Down Syndrome Society first contacted me about joining them in NYC for an extra special photo shoot, I was speechless and so, so honored.  They had this crazy dream of bringing together a bunch of individuals with Down syndrome, dressing them up as rock stars, and having two days of photo shoots to recreate famous album covers that would be used as posters at their spring gala, their biggest fundraiser of the year.

They wanted me, Wendy Zook Photography of New York, and Sherri Harnisch - Picture Taker of Nebraska to help them bring this dream to life.  For two days, we worked with an incredible team of photographers, organizers, hair stylists, makeup artists, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and models who all came together for our amazing Rockin' NDSS Studios photo sessions.

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ndss (1 of 297)

Our models ranged from 11 weeks new to 50 years old, and came in from all across the state and the country for these once-in-a-lifetime sessions.  They shared their stories, their dreams, their struggles, and their goals.  They taught us about their lives, what they were working hard for, and how much fun they were having in the process.  They studied hard to come prepared with the look, the moves, and the music of their idols.  We watched them make new friends in the group photos, shaking hands and sharing hugs while their families rushed to share their phone numbers to set up a get together.  We had dance parties in the studio, and we definitely rocked out to "Shake It Off" a time or two with our cameras snapping to loosen the models up.

It was SO.MUCH.FUN.

These photos are still a work in progress, and will be turned into posters for the NDSS Gala's fundraising auction next March.  We'll get to see these life-sized rock stars on display at B.B. King's Blues Club in Times Square.  I can only imagine how amazing that nightclub will look filled with all of these smiling rock stars' faces.  :o)  I can't wait to see it in person in March!

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And now, here are the photos you've been waiting for!

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0303

Carter as Justin Bieber

Ben as Buddy Holly

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0304

Caryn as Carole King

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0307

Carson as Janis Joplin

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0308

Auren as Usher

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0310

Emely as Beyonce

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0311

Riley as Marky Mark

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0312

Brennan as Elton John

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0313

Lucas as Kenny Chesney

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0314

Anthony, Race, Sammy & Matthew as The Beatles

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0332

Ryan as Bob Dylan

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0317

Kailani as Tina Turner

Gabriel, Taegon, Luciano & Mason as KISS

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0301

Judy as Mariah Carey

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0320

Kayla as Madonna

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0321
down syndrome photo shoot
down syndrome photo shoot

Francesca & Robby as June Carter and Johnny Cash

Grace as Aretha Franklin

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0322

Luke as Billy Joel

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0323

Joey as Slash

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0324

Amber as Ginger Spice

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ndss (284 of 297)

Katelynn as Scary Spice (This photo was taken on her 5th birthday!)

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0330

Elena as Joan Jett

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0325

Ameliah as Gwen Stefani

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0326

Janissa as Diana Ross

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0327
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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0328

Evelyn as Pat Benatar

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rock and roll ndss photo shoot_0329

Christopher as Elvis Costello

This is one of a three-part perspective on the #rockinNDSSstudios experience. To see more of this journey, visit blog posts by Wendy Zook Photography and Sherri Harnisch - Picture Taker.

And, because I couldn't possibly fit all of my photos into one post, be sure to check out some of our behind-the-scenes photos and fun family moments captured that day at the #rockinNDSSstudios by continuing on to this post.

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Love the photos?   View our original photo project for National Down Syndrome Awareness Month with Nicole Starr Photography right here with our local Massachusetts families.

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.

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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.

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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!

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!