Merry Christmas from Baby Starr | Grayson's Gingerbread House Smash

A few things I’ve learned as a photographer and now first-time mom this year…

Before having a baby I said that I would have a million photoshoots of Grayson this year. My husband joked throughout the pregnancy that he was putting a limit on how many photos I could take of the baby. One thousand photos… PER DAY. ;o) I remember saving a few ideas last Christmas and thinking I would love to do so many of them next December when our little guy was here.

And then I had a baby. Once I went back to work and started juggling work & a baby, I realized that if I didn’t carve out time for documenting my son’s first year it wouldn’t happen. So I started putting it on the calendar and I am so glad I did! Grayson’s first holiday photo shoot is one of my favorites that I have done with him this year, and I am so excited to share it here on the blog!

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Of course it was going to be clean & simple with a very minimalistic look. I adore stripes, and the majority of my closet AND Grayson’s closet is stripes. So Jeff and I picked out this cute red and white striped pajama set for our little guy’s portraits, and I chose a few bottle brush trees for the decor. The gingerbread house was enough to add some color and make it all come together!

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Confession: I had never made a gingerbread house before this one! I scoured Pinterest for ideas and found out that they can really get quite intricate. I stayed up late decorating this little house and listening to holiday music with a Christmas candle burning on the counter. It was one of my favorite nights so far this holiday season! Now I think that gingerbread houses are going to have to become a holiday tradition as our son grows and can start adding his own creative confections to the houses!

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Grayson loved his little gingerbread house smash — even though there wasn’t much smashing that happened because that icing held everything together like cement! He also loved practicing his new favorite skill — blowing raspberries and making us laugh!

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He’s my favorite little elf.

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2018 Holiday Sessions

It’s my favorite time of year! The studio has been filled with twinkly lights, Christmas trees, and plaid accents for weeks now, and holiday music has been playing nonstop on the Alexa. Santa gets mentioned at least once every session, a couple of jingle bells have been my go-to trick to get little ones to look at the camera.

That can only mean one thing…

It’s time to share a peek into our 2018 HOLIDAY SESSIONS!

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We did sessions in both the Saratoga Springs & Attleboro studios, and so many families joined us for lots of festive portraits. As the years go by I tend to favor simpler backdrops that keep the focus on the family with just a touch of festive cheer. This year we had a bit of a farmhouse touch to our holiday backdrops inspired by some Joanna Gaines decor — boxwood wreaths, plaid throws, a rustic hand painted sign, and a wooden ladder, yes please!

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All of the families brought their A-game in CUTENESS! So many Christmas cuddles and lots of adorable smiles!

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The More the Merrier! A Peek at our Holiday Sessions | Saratoga Springs and Boston Family Photographer

I love Christmas.  Every year I look forward to the holiday season because it is filled with twinkly lights, delicious aromas, cozy family traditions, and so much festivity everywhere you look. 

That's why our holiday sessions are always some of my favorite sessions of the year here at our studio.  So many families come and visit, and many are families that I have photographed for years, plus there are always a few new families that I'm excited to meet, too!  This year we did holiday portraits with families in Saratoga Springs and in Boston (at our Attleboro studio), and it was so much fun creating a little holiday magic with these babies and children!

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

Our set-ups were simple & classic this year:

A fluffy red and white bed that was adorable with Christmas pajamas.
And a huge wreath filled with twinkly lights for some family portraits.  

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CUTENESS OVERLOAD with these adorable twins!!

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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!

Jack, Adam & Evan {3 Merry Brothers}

Talk about a kick-start to your Sunday morning!  A few weeks ago I knocked on the front door and had it open to these three merry little boys inside. kornbau (4 of 27)

It was a whirlwind of activity and we went from one thing to another -- homework, toys, drum sets, trophies, snow boots, beyblades, M&Ms...  There was so much LIFE in that home on a sleepy Sunday morning and it was a great way to start the day.  The boys were so much fun and clearly very comfortable in front of the lens of my camera.

kornbau (2 of 27)

I loved catching them in between... in between all of that activity, in between the moments when they were looking right at the camera, in between the "cheese" smiles.  I loved capturing the giggles, the hugs, the silly and confused and amazed expressions, the wonder...

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A few of my faves...

Adam, in amazement, telling me that he can see my "eye" in the lens of my camera.  It was really the shutter, but then he watched it until it "blinked".  And he got his brothers to do the same!  That's quite a simple way to stop three excited brothers in their tracks.  Pure focus, attention, and wonder.  And their bright blue eyes just make you melt!

kornbau (12 of 27)

 

kornbau (16 of 27)

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Jack and his grandmother.

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Adam & Evan.

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And this little mouth here?  How adorable!

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And here is one of my absolute favorites from the day.  I was lying on the floor, clicking away, and when I came home and started processing the photos I just about died laughing when I saw Jack's expression in this one.  Everyone knows the feeling that he's showing here when looking at his little brother.  Too funny!

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And here, boys will be boys:

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kornbau (9 of 9)

 

 

 

'Tis the Season

Fa la la la la la la la la. Awhile back I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with Noah and Ravi and their moms, two teachers from the school I work at.  The playdate buddies were such hams for the camera.  The second I had the backdrop and lights set up, Ravi walked right over there and plopped himself in the middle, intent on showing off for the camera.

Tis the season...

.... for shiny gift boxes to be used as toys.

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.... for sparkly holiday lights and wooden trains.

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noah ravi (1 of 6)

 

.... for The Polar Express.

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.... for December clementines... and one-year olds realizing that the skin doesn't taste so good!

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.... for adorable little boys dressed up in bowties.

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.... for childhood wonder and magic.

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.... for cute footsie PJs.  And for tackling your friends to get closer to the book!  (Noah is practically reading on his own anyways, so it's no surprise here he's clearing the pathway to the story!)

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Hope you're all enjoying this merry season and all that it has to offer!

Happy Holidays!

 

{1 Photo: 32 Days} Part 1

I feel like I need to preface this post with a disclaimer.  I love December.  Everything about it.  What's not to love?  Twinkling lights, pine garlands, sparkling Christmas trees, candles in the windows, nightly baking traditions, lots of holiday gatherings, old fashioned B&W Christmas movies, a nonstop Christmas playlist on Pandora, and an abundance of cheer.  Yes, people may be stressed and frazzled, pulled in too many directions, but there is so much GOOD in the month that it's easy to get a little dazed and distracted by it all and allow yourself to just soak it up and enjoy the merry and bright month that only comes once a year. The Danish people have a word that embodies the concept of all things warm, fuzzy, and comforting:  hygge.  It's a light-hearted concept that they take very seriously, striking the perfect balance between satisfaction and feeling self-satisfied, finding hygge while sitting beside a fireplace in a warm, wooly sweater and sipping on some delicious Danish drink while surrounded by friends and good conversation.  Can you tell now why Denmark is on my bucket list for stamps in my passport?  Basically, the Danes embrace my high-on-December attitude year-round, which is something I think we should all aspire to do.

On that note, here's a creative way I've found to approach the contented state of hygge this season...

There is this amazing website for photographers (professionals, amateurs, shutter clickers, and everyone in between!) called I Heart Faces.  I discovered the site a couple of years ago for their weekly and monthly photo challenges.  This December they posted a photo-a-day challenge with the idea that participants will post one photo each day related to a specific daily theme.  Me being me (the one who is filled with Christmas cheer, dazed by twinkling lights, and all around cheery throughout the month of December).... well, let's just say I was ALL OVER this challenge when I read about it.

december i heart faces challenge

It hasn't been easy finding the time to take and submit a photo every day, but I've managed to make it halfway through the 32 day challenge so far.  I'm quite pleased!  You should check out the other submissions on their I Heart Faces Facebook page for a bit of holiday inspiration.

So here you go, my month in photos.

{Day 1: me}

{Day 1 - me}

{Day 2: elf}

{Day 2 - elf}

{Day 3: what you're reading}  This is one of my all-time favorite and most inspiring quotes from Mary Oliver: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

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{Day 4: shadow play}  Okay, so maybe I cheated here and found an older photo.  This was taken last February on my birthday, an unseasonably warm day that I decided to get in my car and head to the beach.  Beachy, wintry shadows?  I'll take it!

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{Day 5: someone I love}   Another old photo, this one of my best friend's son, Zachary.  Check out her blog here.

{Day 5 - someone i love}

{Day 6: burst of red}  I couldn't decide and I had two entries for this one.  The first is from Provincetown.  The second is from Saratoga on a nighttime adventure in search of a burst of red in their quaint little city.

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{Day 7: the view from here}  And this show why I find Saratoga so quaint and beautiful!  I literally stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the road, mesmerized by the lights.  It's like stepping onto the set of It's a Wonderful Life.  That little house up there?  That's Santa's house.  No, seriously, that's where the kids go to sit on Santa's lap and write him cute little letters.  So sweet.  Every town should have one of those.

{Day 7 - the view from here}

{Day 8: shopping}

{Day 8 - shopping}

{Day 9: decorated}

{Day 9 - decorated}

{Day 10: stripes}  Wrap me up in Christmas lights and call it a night!

{Day 10 - stripes}

{Day 11: on the shelf}

{Day 11 - on the shelf}

{Day 12: sweet}  Wednesday night baking adventures commence!

{Day 12 - sweet}

{Day 13: 'tis the season}  Shaped bokeh.  Again, I am ALL OVER that!!!  No house in my neighborhood is safe from my camera. If you put lights up, they are just begging to be photographed!

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{Day 14: B&W}  Sweet little Genevieve, a beautiful little snow angel.

{Day 14 - B&W}

{Day 15: something yum}

{Day 15 - something yum} (1 of 1)

So there you be.  That's my December, so far.

And if you want to read another post that made me burst out laughing time and time again, check out Kelle Hampton's post about her cup o' cheer holiday season.  The part about the Christmas village and 50 shades of good stuff happening up in that little village inn?  Yeah, she embraces the hygge, too.

Merry & Bright

'Tis the season to be merry, bright, and glistening with all of those gorgeous twinkling lights! One of my favorite things about this season is the lights.  I love the way they look and the magical whimsy that they lend to the night.  If I had my way, every inch of the town would be covered in beautiful white lights and draped in pine garlands... and not just in December!  Nearly everyone that knows me knows that I have a (minor?) obsession with holiday lights and I love photographing them and finding ways to incorporate them into my every day life.  Just a touch of Christmas year-round?  But of course!

(Advertisements seem to be making their way into the links in this paragraph... please ignore until I can correct this issue!  The only link I've added is og Genevieve's newborn session in the fourth sentence.)  So of course I jumped at the chance to do some holiday photo shoots.  This is the first of many.  I was thrilled to travel to six-month old Genevieve's house early on a Saturday morning to play with holiday lights, Santa hats, and a red tutu.  Genevieve was the first newborn that I photographed last spring, so this was an especially sweet photo shoot and I loved getting to capture her as she grows.  Looking back through the photos I found a few cute little facial expressions that she had made six months ago, too!

And now, let's let the lights speak for themselves...

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One of my absolute favorites from the shoot?  This black and white one with the lights shining just so and illuminating beautiful Genevieve's wonderstruck expression.  As a photographer, I draw inspiration from so many places.  Lately I've been admiring the gorgeous B&W photos of the talented Kate T. Parker Photography.  After I processed this photo, which just BEGGED to be in B&W, I took one look at it and saw the inspiration connection.  Love it!  Right now it's topping the charts as my current fave, though that is always changing with each new shoot that I go on  ;o)

As we enter the most wonderful time of the year, remember to pause and appreciate the joy and the wonder of the season.  Stop on a street corner and just soak up the twinkling lights for a few extra seconds.  Breathe in the scents of the pine boughs and the peppermint candles at the supermarket, and appreciate the warm and cozy atmosphere in the kitchen.  Come together and create new traditions, celebrate old traditions, and SOAK IT UP.  Suck the marrow out of life.  Enjoy it.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived...  I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”  ~Thoreau

Aglow

I'm working on three different galleries right now, but this is one photo that stopped me in my tracks that I absolutely love.  More details and photos coming soon, but I was thrilled to get to photograph nearly six-month old Genevieve this past weekend for a light-filled holiday shoot.  So many favorite shots to go through, but this one in particular is just calling out to me right now. Love everything about this image!  Her hand-knitted hat that was passed down from her mother, this little toes curled around the lights, her wonder struck expression, the cozy sweater against the soft blanket, and the way the lighting is hitting her just so.  It's magical.

More holiday photos coming soon.  Remember, if you're interested in scheduling a holiday shoot, please contact me to schedule it by November 28th. Holiday photos, New Year's photos.... this one actually looks like a good one for St. Lucia Day!