8 Tips for your Family Photo Session at the Beach - Cape Cod Family Photographer

Summer is almost here, and I am so excited to welcome so many families to Cape Cod for their family portrait session on the beach!

I have been spending my summers on the Cape for more than 20 years, and I have so many favorite beaches, bike paths, ice cream shops, and more that I love sharing with my clients when they schedule their Cape Cod photo shoot. I love that I know this area inside and out and can give them an inside scoop on where to go, what to do, and what to pack!

So with that in mind, today’s blog post is filled with tips for your family photo session at the beach. Read on for lots of great ideas, plus plenty of beautiful outfit inspiration for your family!


Plan accordingly for traffic.

If you’re coming to the Cape, Saturday and Sunday are typically the heaviest traffic days coming over both bridges. Plan to come early in the morning and make a day of it!

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Baby’s first trip to the beach?

The beach can be a sensory overload for some babies.  Get them used to the sand by letting them play with and sit in sand a few times before your session.  Make sure they have bare legs and feet so that they get used to the feeling of the sand on their skin.  Bring a blanket (neutral colors look best!) if they might need a layer to sit on.

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

What to wear

Colors that you would find at the beach look incredible in portraits — shades of blue, khaki, linen, white, cream, blush pink, lavender, teal, mint, aqua, and gray are my favorites.  We have many helpful blog posts with outfit ideas — check them out here! 

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Keep these in the car…

Sunglasses, hair elastics, cell phone, wallet (bulky things that show in your pockets), stroller, diaper bag, baseball caps or visors.

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Always have a rain date.

I will let you know 4 hours in advance if we’ll have to reschedule due to the weather, but even on cloudy days we can get some great portraits!  This session actually wrapped up minutes before the sky opened up in a thunderstorm!

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Protect your skin.

Try to avoid a sunburn the week of your session.  Especially on your face and nose!

Barefoot is best! 

We’ll leave our sandals at the entrance to the beach so we can walk in the sand easily.

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Embrace the sand & the water, and don’t be afraid to get wet!

I love finishing the session in the water.  Let’s be adventurous and walk in the waves or let the kids splash around a bit.  Bring a towel or a change of clothes for the kids just in case they get a little too excited at the opportunity to splash!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

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Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

About Nicole Starr Photography 

Nicole Starr specializes in newborn, baby & family photography and has been serving families in New York and Massachusetts since 2012.  She has a portrait studio in Saratoga Springs, NY for families in the Capital Region, and she also works with families at her Attleboro, MA studio and on location in Boston and on Cape Cod. 

Our Cape Cod sessions occur from June through September at beaches all over the Cape. Be sure to reach out early to plan your family’s portrait session as these always fill up early in the season!

Thinking of a Fresh 48 Hospital Session? Advice from a Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer

Our Fresh 48 hospital newborn sessions are always the ones that steal my heart and make me melt into a puddle right there in the hallway of the hospital.  

These magical newborn sessions are such a treat because families invite me into their postpartum room just hours after their baby was born to celebrate their little one’s arrival with them.  I could photograph these first moments together as a family all day, every day, and never grow tired of these sessions!
 

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session

Our Fresh 48 sessions are completely different from all of our other sessions, and if you’ve explored our website even a little bit you know that we offer three different types of newborn sessions (studio portraits, lifestyle portraits, and Fresh 48 hospital portraits).  Some families choose to do just one session, while others do two or all three!  Today’s blog post is all about our Fresh 48 sessions so that you can see if this relaxed style of storytelling is the right fit for your family.


A Fresh 48 session is the perfect fit for your family if…

 

You are ready to embrace the unpredictability of having a baby.

Some babies arrive early, some babies arrive late, and very few babies actually arrive “on time”.  
We will pencil your due date in on the calendar a few months before the baby arrives, and I will check in with you beginning at 38 weeks.  We’ll remain in touch right up until the baby is born through quick texts or emails.  I leave enough wiggle room in my calendar during these on-call periods to drop everything and come to the hospital within 24-48 hours after the baby’s arrival for your Fresh 48 session.

But speaking of unpredictability… these sessions are RELAXED.  We truly go with the flow.  I do ask that you let the nurses know ahead of time that we’re planning to close the door to your room for an hour, but sometimes social workers come in for a moment, or your lunch gets delivered mid-session, or an alarm goes off and a nurse needs to come in to check on everything.  That’s okay!  Embrace the unpredictability and know that I will do everything possible to help you create a calm and enjoyable environment within those four walls as you get to know your little baby in front of the camera.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session

You want to capture siblings meeting for the first time.
 

There is nothing more magical than watching your first baby meet your second baby.  I love being there to document these moments for families as their toddler enters the room and is curious (or sometimes not so curious!) about the tiny little baby in the bassinet. 

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session

You value natural, unposed, beautiful, real-life moments. 

These sessions are not about planning the perfect outfits, having a full face of makeup, or making sure every hair is in place.  These sessions are about EMOTION.  We freeze this instant in your lives and celebrate the beginning of this new chapter for your family.  

You’ll look back at these images and remember the weight of your baby in your hands, the feel of them cuddled up against your chest,  the moment your firstborn sang “Happy Birthday” to the baby, and that indescribable joy you felt when looking over at your husband holding your newborn.  These moments are real, raw, and ones that you will never get back.  That’s why I want to slow down time and help you relive them again and again.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session

The grandparents will be traveling to town for the arrival.
 

Everyone loves coming together and celebrating a new baby’s arrival, and grandparents are often a part of these sessions!  We make sure to spend 15 minutes with the grandparents in the hospital room to capture candid grandparent portraits and three generation portraits as you all get to know the new love of your life.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session

You want to remember every little detail about your newborn baby.

Their wrinkly knees, the flaky fingers, that swirl of hair atop their head, and the way their tiny mouth opened into a silent yawn.  You know that these first few days will pass in a blur of appointments, feedings, and so much sleep deprivation, but you don't want to forget a thing.

Trust me to capture your perfect miracle just as they are in this moment, showcasing their tiny newborn freshness at just a few hours old.  These are some of the most important moments of your life, and they deserve to be beautifully documented for your family.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Fresh 48 Photographer | Boston Fresh 48 Photographer | Fresh 48 Session | Hospital Photography Session

Intrigued?  Check out this post where new moms & dads talk about why they chose to document their baby's arrival with a Fresh 48 session!

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Where do your sessions take place?

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

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

What do you have in your studio?

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

What should my baby wear? 


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

What to Wear in Fall Family Portraits | Saratoga Springs NY Family Photographer

While I'm not the biggest fan of pumpkin spice (but only because I don't drink coffee!!), I do love fall soooooooo much.  Apples, crisp leaves, bonfires, lots of pumpkin baked goods, and it's finally time to bust out sweaters, scarves, and my favorite brown boots.

Plus, fall is one of my favorite seasons to plan outfits for photo shoots!  We get to layer so many cozy textures and colors together to really give your family's portraits some personality.  You've been following our "What to Wear" series, you've seen our wardrobe tips for SPRING FAMILY PORTRAITS and BEACH FAMILY PORTRAITS.  Naturally, tis the season to talk about fall wardrobe options for your next photo shoot!  


Choose 2-3 colors plus a neutral, and use a little bit of it in everybody's outfit!  

Here we have gray, plum, and navy, plus neutral cream & khaki.  I love how we're mixing plaids and solids, and how the mom's scarf and daughter's tights add a little bit of texture, too!

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

Accessorize and don't shy away from texture!  

Earrings, a statement necklace, scarves, boots, a belt, or even a second layer with a sweater or cardigan all add more interest to your portraits.  Plus, they help to showcase your unique style and personality!  Different knits and fabrics also give your layers more interest and they look AMAZING on camera.  Don't be afraid to have a little fun when choosing your outfits for your family's portrait session.

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

Think of the location we'll be shooting in, and also of your wall decor.  

You want your colors to complement both.  If your home has mostly neutral colors on the walls, then you may not want bright red or orange in your portraits.  If we're shooting in a grassy area with lots of evergreens, avoid wearing green and instead choose a color that will pop against the trees like purple, cream, or mustard yellow.  

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

Fall colors to consider for your family's portrait session:
Plum
Gray
Navy
Cream
Mustard Yellow
Burgundy
Beige
Brown
Chambray
Khaki


Fun accessories for a little pop of personality:
Boots
Scarves
Statement necklace
Bracelet
Layers: sweaters/cardigans

 

What to Wear for your Beach Family Portraits | Cape Cod Family Photographer

The 4th of July means that summer is officially in full swing!  I am looking forward to spending some time on Cape Cod later this month, where I can't wait to get together with so many families for their family portrait sessions!  But of course, there is always that one popular question...

What should we wear for our photoshoot on the beach?

Since our Spring Wardrobe blog post was such a hit, I've decided to share some wardrobe inspiration for your beach session this summer!  Enjoy lots of visual inspiration, plus a couple of simple tips to make choosing outfits for your family session a breeze!

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

Keep it simple.  

Choose 2 colors plus a neutral and weave those into everyone's outfits.  Above you'll see that light blue, navy, and white pull all of the outfits together!

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

You can't go wrong with stripes.

I am a huge fan of stripes for our Salt Air sessions on the beach, and I love how classic and New England-y (we're just going to pretend that's a word!) they look.  When choosing stripes, choose ones that have only 2 colors so that the pattern isn't too busy and distracting -- white & blue are so classic!

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

Enjoy a little pop of color!

Teal & coral go really well together, and they are such eye-catching summer colors that are perfect for a photo session in the warmer months.  Tie the outfits together even more with matching accessories -- a coral bowtie on the baby, or a hat with a teal band on dad.

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

Leave the jeans at home.

At the beach, you want to lighten up and relax.  Heavy and dark jeans just don't make sense in such a relaxed and airy setting.  Choose lightweight fabrics (khaki, linen, cotton) rather than heavier ones.  Shorts are great, too!

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

Glam it up!

If you really want to make it a special experience, check out Rainey's Closet for your daughter (we have an entire post about this incredible rental service for little girls' dresses).  For your own dress, Rent the Runway has fabulous options, and you can also purchase beautiful dresses on Lulu's and even Amazon -- yay for 2-day shipping!  I have a growing collection of gowns in the studio as well -- ask me about it, and I'm happy to bring a dress or two for you to borrow!

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

Choose colors that complement your home decor.

These portraits are going to be proudly displayed on the walls of your home.  Make sure you keep your colors in mind as you plan your wardrobe so that they flow seamlessly into your decorating, enhancing the space rather than looking out of place!

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

Now, wasn't that easy?  Comment below and tell me what's your family's favorite activity to do on the beach!  

Using Rainey's Closet Dress Rentals for my Portrait Studio Wardrobe

Can I let you in on a little secret?  It's the way that every little girl can feel like a princess for her portrait session.  It's called Rainey's Closet.  

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

Every photographer (and mom!) wants to find the perfect outfit for their portrait sessions.  You want something unique, fun, and just a little bit whimsical.  Something a little bit fancier than your everyday clothing, because photo sessions are a time to have a little fun and experiment with something new!

But that can get a little expensive, especially if you're just going to wear it once, and even more so if your little girl will outgrow it in no time at all.

The solution?  Rent the perfect dress for your session!

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

Rainey's Closet is a boutique rental company, similar to Rent the Runway, but with couture dresses and adorable little outfits for babies, little girls, and even some items for little boys!  Their website is filled with the most popular brands that photograph so beautifully -- Tutu Du Monde, Dollcake, Nellystella, Well Dressed Wolf, Joyfolie...  The list goes on and on!

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 adore this service because for about $35, you can rent the most perfect dress that will truly make your session that much more magical.  A dress that is perfect for twirling, with little hints of sparkle and lots of movement that looks amazing on camera.  

I have discovered so many gorgeous brands and gowns through this website, and it's definitely a favorite resource of mine that I recommend to all of the families I work with.  Planning a beach session this summer?  Rather than spending $30-40 on a dress at the store that you may or may not love, and one that may or may not photograph nicely, rent one from Rainey's Closet that will look STUNNING for your session and that will make your little girl feel like a princess.

I would love it if you'd use my unique referral code
when you rent from Rainey's Closet!  

It's 141372.

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

Many moms like to send me pictures of the outfits they are thinking of before the session, and then it's so easy to pick one of the dresses from Rainey's Closet to coordinate.  Their colors are soft with lots of neutral tones that will go well with every combination you could possibly dream up.  I have marked dozens of their dresses as favorites, and pinned even more on our wardrobe inspiration boards on Pinterest.  Stuck on outfits?  Start with Rainey's Closet and the rest will come together beautifully!  

For more wardrobe inspiration, check out these helpful links!

Pinterest: Spring Wardrobe Inspiration for Family Portrait Sessions

Pinterest: Beach Wardrobe Inspiration for Family Portrait Sessions

Blog: What to Wear for your Family Portrait Session

Through a Photographer's Eyes

In the photography community, we like to play a little game called, "What you see/What I see."  It's simple, really.  It's all about finding beauty & calm amidst the chaos.  It's all about making magic.

We'll take one scene and show it from two perspectives -- first, a quick snapshot on our iPhone to show how it might appear to the naked eye, or to a person who is not a trained photographer.  

what you see client's bedroom for family photo session

Then, our job is to look for beauty and light where you might least expect it.  Gorgeous fields of flowers in a little patch of dirt on the side of the highway.  A perfect golden sunset over an empty gravel parking lot.  A beautiful woodsy scene on a dead end street. 

You never know where you are going to find your most beautiful light during your session, and sometimes our clients look at us like we're a little nuts when they see our locations.  But after seeing the final images?  Then they understand what we were doing!

So, when families talk with me about wanting to do a lifestyle newborn session at home, the first thing I always ask them is, "DO YOU HAVE A ROOM WITH BIG WINDOWS AND GREAT NATURAL LIGHT?"

I don't ask what the wall colors are, I don't ask how big the rooms are, I don't ask where the laundry piles are hidden.  Trust me -- I know there's laundry, I know there's clutter, and I expect it to be there because this is life.  

But also, trust me -- I know how to shoot around that to give you the most beautiful, timeless, and peaceful photos that you are going to adore for many, many years.  

By looking at these images, you would never know that we shot the entire session on the bed with a Pack & Play wedged between the wall on one side of the bed, and an off-camera flash and PLM umbrella on the other side of the bed.  I stepped over a portable changing pad to move from one side of the mattress to the other, and the laundry and toys were tucked away behind me.  And that's totally fine.

Because that's real life.  That's what your house looks like when you have a newborn and a preschooler at home.  That's what your house looks like after you've been up all night with two restless little ones.  That's what your house looks like the morning your photographer rings your doorbell.  And that is perfectly okay.  :o)

So, if you're worried that your house isn't right for a photo session, or you don't have enough space, or you'll never be able to get an area tidy enough... don't worry!  Every single mom & dad worries those same things, and as you can see from this session, all you really need to do is clear off the space on your bed and let us work our magic with the camera.  

Your space is all about YOU and your family, and it is the ideal location for your session.  So let's create some magical memories right there in your home so that you can show your children those photos one day and tell them the story of the day they jumped on mommy & daddy's bed, and the day your oldest sang "Happy Birthday" to his little brother when he came home from the hospital.  Your home is a part of your story.  Let's tell your story together.

That's not so overwhelming now, is it?  :o)  Use the contact tab above and let's plan your lifestyle session at home today!

P.S.  Did you notice one sneaky little change?  I edited the wall color from green to gray in post-processing to give a softer feel to the images and to really showcase this beautiful family & their love.  I feel that their connection really shines with this simple little edit, plus, it gives them timeless images that will match any decor in their home for many, many years.  Pretty cool, huh?  

What to Wear Tips for Family Photos

You asked your friends, you searched online, and now you've finally found the perfect photographer whose style matches your own.  You've set a date and you are eagerly looking forward to your family's photo session.  Now comes the hard part.... what to wear???? Sometimes, searching for the perfect outfits can feel just as challenging as it was when you were searching for the perfect photographer.  But it doesn't need be that way!  Follow these simple tips to rock your family's portrait session, feel confident, be comfortable, and look amazing in every shot!

10 Tips for What to Wear in Family Photos, Nicole Starr Photography
10 Tips for What to Wear in Family Photos, Nicole Starr Photography

1. Coordinate your colors, but don't match them.

Long gone are the days of matchy-matchy outfits.  Why dress everyone in khakis and white shirts, when in real life your whole family never dresses that way?  Show some personality in your photos by picking a few colors that pair well together, and select everyone's outfits based on that color scheme.

2. Look to your home decor for color inspiration.

Not sure which colors to choose?  Look around your home and see if you tend to use bright and vivid colors, or more neutral tones to decorate.  These photos will become artwork that you will display proudly in your home, and you want them to complement your decor rather than compete with it.

WM what to wear springtime photos family

3. Use patterns, but use them sparingly.

I personally love adding a little bit of pattern into the mix.  Plaid, stripes, floral -- you name it!  However, limit the number of patterns so that they do not distract and detract from the image.

4. Avoid logos, characters, and words.

It's that simple.  We want the focus to be on your family's beautiful faces, not on what's written on your daughter's shirt or the minion character on your son's t-shirt.

WM what to wear family photos children

5. Accessorize!

Accessories bring your photos to life.  They add a pop of color, show your personality, and help to tie all of the outfits and colors together.  I love statement necklaces and scarves that are in coordinating colors.  Take a peek in your closet and see what you can add to make your outfit interesting and fun.

WM what to wear accessories in family photos

6. Plan ahead.

As soon as you book your session, start thinking about outfits.  Don't assume that a dress will fit your daughter, or that you'll just grab a clean shirt from your son's closet.  You don't want to find out that her dress is too small and there's a stain on his shirt the day before the session.  I also recommend having your little ones try on the clothes and spend a few (clean) hours in them a few days before the session.  Does that pretty dress have itchy tulle?  And his shoes too tight?  Find out ahead of time so that we're all smiles the day of the session.

7. Avoid all white or all black clothing.

It's easy for the colors to get blown out when you're wearing all white, and the same can happen with black.  So add some texture in the form of scarves, necklaces, cardigans, or a lace layer to liven up your outfit and preserve all of the detail in the final portraits.

8.  Pull it all together.

WM solomon-9

Take all of the outfits (shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, accessories) and lay them all out on the floor together as individual outfits.  Take a photo of them all together on your phone and see how them look next to each other.  Are your eyes automatically drawn to the shirt with neon stripes?  Does that sparkly skirt seem out of place?  Make substitutions so that the wardrobe choices complement each other rather than compete with each other. 

9. Ask for advice!

Send me your photos that you just snapped and ask me what I think!  I always have families texting me photos and emailing me their outfit choices for final opinions.  I am more than happy to help you with this so that you look and feel your best the day of the session.

10.  Finally, think classic.

WM family photo in blue

These photos will be hanging on your walls for many years.  Avoid trendy and stick with the classics while still showing your family's fun personality.

Did you find this post helpful?

Check our our 6 Tips for a Successful Portrait Session with Babies & Young Children to really be ready to rock your family's upcoming session!

Still have questions?  Email me by clicking on the "CONTACT" tab above!