I love taking pictures! For years I have been the designated “photographer” for my family, being responsible for snapping all the pictures during travels and family events. Even though I enjoyed taking pictures, many times I would end up frustrated with the results and thinking: “why are these pictures not capturing what I am seeing?”
I used a point and shoot for years, but when I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband thought he would solve my picture frustrations with a nice Nikon DSLR as my birthday present that year. I was so excited to get started with my new camera! For sure my pictures would look better now! For sure it would capture what I was seeing! I read the manual several times, practicing while reading; I watched the DVD; I even did a 3h workshop in Boston. Although the pictures were definitely getting better, I was still not 100% happy with the end results.
When I saw that Nicole Starr Photography was doing a workshop on how to use your DSLR, I knew I had to go! I had been following her work online and loved her airy and bright pictures! I enrolled in the workshop and began the journey into, what I like to call, the “Nicole Starr experience”.
If you have worked with Nicole in the past, you know how she is all about the little details. Everything she does, she does well and beautifully. Starting with a pre-workshop questionnaire so she was aware of all the participants’ camera models and what they were looking to get out of the workshop, to creating a Facebook group for post-workshop follow-up. No detail was left behind.
The day of the workshop, I arrived to her beautiful studio and was in awe of the effort she had put into giving us the most wonderful experience. A comfortable space, a beautiful detailed snack table, and personalized gift bags (see pictures below). As soon as I walked in I felt inspired, special, and motivated to learn. The workshop was not like your typical class. Yes, there was an agenda and topics to cover, but the focus was on each of us to leave feeling comfortable with the concepts, but most of all, knowing how to apply them on our own cameras.
I left feeling more confident in my skills and started practicing the next day. Immediately, I saw a difference in my pictures! They had more of the light and blurred background I had been looking for. I felt more comfortable changing settings and, most of all, when the picture wasn’t what I thought it would be, I had an idea of why – the exposure, the aperture, the shutter speed… One of the things I learned that was crucial, was why my pictures were not as blurred out or had the “bokeh” I was hoping for. My kit lens was just no able to deliver those results, since the widest aperture was not “wide” enough. After researching and getting Nicole’s advice, I invested in a small lens with a wider aperture and was just delighted with the results! I was able to capture some amazing Fall pictures of my 2 year-old, with all those Autumn colors and light, which I would have never been able to do before. You can see some on my Instagram account (@thelovingnest).
Attending this workshop was definitely what I needed to become more satisfied with my pictures. I am more comfortable using my DSLR, I love my new lens and the pictures I have snapped with it so far, and I love how Nicole is always available to answer questions and provide feedback to her students even after the workshop has ended.
Since I enjoyed my experience so much, I decided to invite Nicole for an interview here on my blog. Below you can read and learn more about Nicole and her work and hopefully be able to understand why working with her can be so special.
1. Who is Nicole Starr and where did her love for photography start?
I’m a Boston girl, a newlywed, an artist, a former teacher, a DIY-er, and a huge fan of travel. I adore charming details, family traditions, and stories that could go on forever. When I’m not in my photography studio, you’ll find me out chasing sunsets, enjoying the ocean, or sipping a warm mug of chai tea on my back porch.
My love for photography started in my travels. I spent a lot of time traveling through South America & Europe, and many of my photos were of cityscapes. I would come home from my trips and spend hours poring over the photos. I always found myself drawn to the people in the photos rather than just focusing on the scene as a whole — a grandmother in a window over a Venice canal, a couple walking through the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, a little girl with a balloon in the midst of an Argentine festival. I was always looking for the story behind my photographs, so I started focusing my efforts on portrait photography.
2. Can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up in the photography field?
This was a little business that I built on the side while working as a first grade teacher, but after three and a half years of nights and weekends I discovered that it was something I truly loved and wanted to pursue full-time. I looked forward to rushing home after work to edit another session, create magic in Photoshop, design handmade props for my next little newborn, and capture that golden light with another family at sunset. I decided to transition to a full-time photographer this year, opening a studio in our home last winter to prepare for the full-time switch. It’s been the most fulfilling move of my career and I am so happy to have taken that leap!
3. How would you describe your photography style and what is your absolute favorite thing/person/setting to photograph?
My style is airy, whimsical, and filled with light. I believe that childhood is a magical time filled with wonder and curiosity. I always aim to capture this on camera, and our sessions are light and playful to encourage children’s imaginations to shine.
4. I know that you love to give your clients an amazing start to finish experience and invest a lot in the little details. I think that’s what makes you so unique. Can you tell people a little bit more about the Nicole Starr photography experience?
I love tiny little details, and it’s the smallest things that have the biggest impact, in my opinion. I love that you noticed that about me and my style! Hand-written thank you notes, sweet candies, ribbons and camera charms, and the cutest quotes on stickers are just a few of my favorite little details in my packaging.
All of our sessions are customized to make the experience perfect for YOU and your family. I truly try to fill the experience with thoughtful gestures and helpful advice so that the entire process is fun, stress-free, and memorable. We chat before the session to find the perfect location for your kids to play and explore. I give families wardrobe advice and it’s very common for moms to text me a dozen photos with outfits asking for a little advice on what to wear for their photo session. I share helpful links and guides with lots of advice to help families rock their portrait session.
Sessions are light and playful, and after the session families always love seeing a few sneak peeks online to share with their family and friends. Two weeks after every session, I come to families’ homes with their photos to show them the amazing memories we captured on camera. There I help them find the best way to enjoy their photos in their home. After listening to my clients’ needs for 3+ years and adapting my services and product offerings to meet those needs, I am happy to now offer a line of signature products in addition to our ready-to-hang wall art. Albums, keepsake boxes, and mounted prints are some of my most popular products that families love to enjoy with their little ones.
5. You have also been starting some new services like workshops and your Fresh 48 sessions. Would you like to tell people more about your new services?
Now that I have launched full-time, I am so excited to focus on expanding my services to provide a better experience for my clients. One of the new additions to my studio offerings are workshops, and I couldn’t possibly be more thrilled to open our studio doors to teach others who are starting out on their photography journey. After meeting countless moms who told me that they have “a really nice camera” but had no idea how to use it, I decided to create a DSLR workshop for beginners. Our “Beyond the Basics: Shooting Beyond Auto Mode” workshop was born, and it’s been a huge hit!
Another new project that I am excited to launch are our Fresh 48 sessions. These are a new type of newborn session that we book alongside either your studio newborn session or your in-home lifestyle newborn session. A Fresh 48 is done within the first 48 hours of your baby’s arrival, and it’s a magical time when I come to the hospital and capture your family’s firsts on camera — the first feeding, the first diaper change, the first visit with siblings, cuddles on the hospital bed. It’s also a fabulous time to capture those sweet hospital details, and weave them all together to tell your family’s story of your baby’s arrival. It’s such an important milestone for your family, and this magical time truly does pass in a blur. I love slowing it down and capturing all of those moments so that you can have them forever with a Fresh 48 session.
6. Finally, what would you say distinguishes Nicole Starr photography from other local newborn photographers?
For me, this little business is all about building amazing relationships with the families that I work with. I want to tell your family’s story through photographs because you have such an incredible story to tell. I will get to know you and your little ones, and we will have such a fabulous time together that your children will be asking “When can the picture lady come back and play?” (Yes, that actually happens!) I truly want all of the families that I work with to enjoy the highest quality artwork in their homes. I want to give them heirloom products that their children will love and adore for many, many years as they pass them down to their children one day.
Another thing that sets me apart is my training. With newborns, the baby’s safety is my #1 priority and I have spent countless hours in in-person newborn workshops, mentoring, and online training to learn all about newborn safety. If I were bringing my precious little one to someone’s studio, I would only want a trained professional to pose my baby in those sweet little curled-up positions that we all love so much! Hiring a trained professional is essential with those itty-bitty babies. When it comes to the older babies and young children, I have so much experience working in classrooms with children of all ages that parents are constantly amazed at the amount of patience I bring to our sessions. I often get parents exclaiming, “Wow, how did you get him to do that?!” I love that my background in teaching shines in my photo sessions, and that I continue to work with these amazing little ones every single day. I am so grateful for all of the amazing local families I’ve been able to connect with, and I look forward to all of the new ones I will continue to meet on the other side of my lens.