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Welcome to my blog where I document my adventures in travel, style, food and motherhood. 

*Image via Esther Mathieu

Q & A with Nicole Starr

Q & A with Nicole Starr

I'm so excited to share this little Q&A session I had with Nicole from Nicole Starr Photography. As background, Nicole and I met at an event last year and reconnected over the summer months for a Cape Cod session. Nicole and I instantly connected and I immedately felt comfortable picking her brain about how she got started and what resources and networks she leverages to help grow her business. She has introduced me to so many great resources and communities that have helped to grow my blog and following and I'm so grateful for her insight. With that, I wanted to share her story and a little behind the scenes of her growing photography business. Read on to learn more about Nicole, her business and tips for planning a family photo sessions. 

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When did you start to realize that you had a passion for photography and at one point did you realize you wanted to focus building a business?

I’ve always had a camera in my had for as long as I can remember, all the way back to a 110mm camera with Mickey Mouse on it when I was 7 or 8 years old!  I started getting into digital photography as an adult when I began traveling, and I would get back from my trips and find myself absorbed in the candid portraits I captured of people while I was abroad.  One of my favorites was of an accordion player on the street in Sicily, and it’s still framed in my house today! 

Since I used to be a first grade teacher, it was a natural transition to child portraiture!  For me, there is nothing better than documenting new life and the magic of childhood.  I now focus on babies from newborns through the first year, with plenty of family sessions & toddlers mixed in for fun, too.  My business started as a creative outlet that I poured my whole heart into on nights & weekends when I came home from my teaching job, but it quickly grew into something so much more than that.  A few years in I realized I was growing a real business and forming a creative life for myself, so I left my teaching job in June 2015 and began chasing this crazy dream full-time! 

What do you love most about photography and working with families?

I believe that childhood should be celebrated as a magical time.  Childhood (and babyhood!) is so fleeting, and I love being able to slow that down for families and capture them just as they are in this moment.  It’s such an honor when they invite me into their lives to celebrate their little ones, whether it’s through a newborn’s birth, a baby’s first birthday, or just to dance in a field on a Tuesday afternoon with their four-year old. 

Since you work with newborns and kids, can you share one of our funniest moments or odd things that has happened during a shoot?

Hahaha, yes!  Ohhhh, there are so many outtakes and bloopers in photography, and it really is a lot of fun.  My favorite is probably the one time that a mom sat on her baby’s birthday cake…  Parents seem to have this idea that our cake smashes are filled with babies who LOVE cake.  Honestly, that’s not always the case!  I like to prepare families for this ahead of time, because sometimes there are tears as the babies try a new, sticky food for the first time.  I had one birthday boy come to the studio for a cookie monster cake smash, and it turned out that he was afraid of the cake.  After using all of our usual tricks, we decided to just remove the cake from the set-up and capture a few images of him in his birthday outfit and hat.  After putting the cake to the side, his mom went to sit down for a moment and — SPLAT!  She sat right on his cake.  Blue frosting was EVERYWHERE.  But, we had a giggling and smiling baby by then, so we just went with it!

Do you have any tips on how to prep for a family session?

Yes!  Planning your family’s portrait session can feel stressful sometimes. (What to wear?  Where should we go?  Will the kids behave?  What if no one smiles?  Will I look okay in my dress?).  My goal is to take all the stress away by giving you tips for your session and coaching you through each step to make the planning part easy.  Here are a few popular blog posts to prepare for your session!  Pin them now, and read them later!

Tips to a Successful Portrait Session

What to Wear for a Family Photo Session

When you are not behind the lens, how do you like to spend your down time?

I can usually be found working on some DIY project or another (the latest one was building a coatrack for our entryway, and painting our bathroom to de-beige-ify).  I also live in a really cute little town that has so many amazing restaurants, so I enjoy checking those out, too.  Plus I love baking, so when I’m not making our cake smash cakes, I’ve usually got something else going in the oven.  

Any tips for the aspiring entrepreneur or small business owner in terms of early lessons learned?

Oh my goodness, SO many tips!  Whatever dream you’re chasing, definitely get into it because you love it.  If you aren’t pouring your heart into something you truly love every single day, it’s just not going to be worth it.  

Also, connect with others in the industry to find mentors, whether in person or online.  It’s so important to have others to look towards for both business inspiration, and creative inspiration.  Finally, love on your clients.  Treat them like gold and shower them in love because they are the very best resource that you have.  Your business would not exist without them, and when you surprise them by going out of the way to make their life easier or to put a smile on their face, they will not forget your efforts and they won’t be able to stop talking about you to all of their friends.

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Do you have any favorite blogs or IG accounts that you follow?

Let The Kids Dress Themselves is filled with beautiful, inspiring images of everyday families.  I love all of the candid, raw moments on there! { @letthekids}

Kelle Hampton’s blog, Enjoying the Small Things , and is one that originally inspired me to begin capturing childhood through my camera. {@etst}

Project Nursery is filled with beautiful nursery inspiration that I absolutely adore looking at, and I love it even more when I walk into a client’s home for their lifestyle session and their nursery looks like it could belong on this blog! {@projectnursery}

Clickin Moms is filled with resources, articles, and inspiration to get beginners (and moms!) started taking better photos of their children at home.  {@clickinmoms}

Learn more about Nicole here and follower her on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for a daily does of inspiration. 

And, did you guys catch the announcement that I'm a Spokesmomma?! I'm beyond excited to work with Nicole and look forward to sharing more over the coming months. 

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For the Special Lady

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