Win a FREE Engangement Session! | CT Engagment and Wedding Photographer

So my regular readers will notice some nice changes around here at the Crystal Starr Blog!  New colors, new logo, new… well, just about everything is new isn’t it?  There have been even bigger changes on my website .  So please make sure you stop in there to check that out too!  In honor of all of the new digs I thought it’d be fun to launch another contest!   My last contest was sort of meant for moms and children so this contest is going to be geared toward my bride’s and grooms!  So you might not be getting married but I bet you know someone who is.  Send them a link so they can get in on the action too!

Here is how this contest will work.  I am looking for engaged couples who plan to get married in the next 1-2 years and would like a free engagement session  All they have to do is click on this link and enter their information to win.

If winning couple decides to book Crystal Starr to photograph their wedding then they will receive the engagement session AND $250 off of their chosen wedding collection.

Pretty simple and lots of fun right? For a little inspiration let’s take a look at a few shots from two of my favorite engagement sessions.


Now, go to to win!  Contest will be open until May 31!

ps.  Engagement session must take place within a 25 mile radius of Hartford CT or travel fees will apply!

Brittany and Tommy! Beach Engagment Session| CT Engagement and Wedding Photographer

It all began with a simple party invitation.  Brittany’s friend was invited to a birthday party and Brittany got roped into tagging along.  Who knew that one night would change the course of her life!  It was just like any other party.  People were hanging out, talking, dancing.  The usual.  Then she spotted this cutie across the room.  They made eye contact and smiled but she didn’t think anything of it.  A few minutes later the cutie made his way over.  He asked her friend if she wanted to dance.  Or at least that’s what Brittany thought.  She began to make her exit to give the cutie and her friend some space.  But wait, what was he saying?  He was asking Brittany to dance with him, not her friend.  She said yes.

That was beginning.  That was how Brittany met Tommy.  After that fateful evening they spent as much time together as possible.  Friend’s hanging out together became opportune times to see each other.  Before anyone knew it they were a couple.  It was as if it meant to be and it always had been that way.  Something remarkable happened between Brittany and Tommy.  Brittany has always held fast to her Christian beliefs and she shared that with Tommy.  Tommy being the perfect gentleman always respected that about her.  In the end Tommy declared his faith in Jesus as well.

Before long Tommy knew it was time.  He’d found the one for him and he wanted her and the world to know it.  So one evening after work he asked her to take a drive.  His buddy had recommended this awesome restaurant and they just had to go check it out!  They climbed in the car and off they went.  Except the restaurant was a lot further away than he led her to believe.  Brittany nodded off and when she opened her eyes she realized they were in Rhode Island!  A whole state away!  Tommy played it cool.  He said he must have just misunderstood what his buddy told him.  Brittany bought it.

They found the quaint little restaurant and much to Tommy’s dismay it looked like a dump!  The outside was just not at all what he had expected.  Brittany was really starting to wonder what exactly her sweetie was thinking dragging her all the way out to Rhode Island for this crazy place.  Thankfully the interior was much better and they did enjoy a fabulous meal.  Afterward Tommy suggested a walk on the beach.  They hopped back in the car and headed for the nearest patch of sand and sea.  The perfect song came on the radio…. “Only You Can Love Me This Way” by Keith Urban.  Brittany cranked it and declared it their song!

Tommy did propose on the beach that day and of course Brittany enthusiastically said yes.  She even stopped a jogger on the beach and asked him to take their picture.  It was a perfect evening.  They are just the absolute sweetest and most perfect couple.

Tommy suggested the beach for their engagement photos. I LOVE LOVE shooting on the beach! Some of the best wedding portraits I ever created took place on the beach.  You can check those out here!  It was a fabulous early April evening.  Though the surf was cold the air was warm.  These two rocked it for the camera!  Of course Tommy could NOT take his eyes off of his bride-to-be.  The way he looked at her…  I’ve seen only a few men look at their loves the way he did.  It really was breath taking.  They are a perfect match.  I have the pleasure of meeting many couples in love.  It is a fabulous perk of my job.  But these two, they have something even above my most loving couples.

Thank you guys for sharing your story and giving me the opportunity to capture your special love.  To see more of Brittany and Tommy’s engagement session please click on the slide show below.


Tips for Your Photo Shoot! What to Wear! Connecticut Portrait and Wedding Photographer!

Do you have a photo shoot with Crystal Starr Photography coming up soon?  Have you thought about booking one soon?  Let me help you have the best possible experience and create photos you will treasure forever!  Let’s begin with the basics.  What should you wear?  What kinds of clothing are most flattering and look best in portraits?  Let’s get into that.

What NOT to wear!

  • Anything you don’t feel comfortable in.  Seriously!  If you aren’t comfortable then you will not look comfortable in photographs.  You will be self-conscious or fidgety.
  • Avoid solid dark colors and solid light colors.  When everyone in the group is wearing all white, all black, all gray, or all navy blue you create photo that is more 2 dimensional, flat, and to be quite honest… boring!  Not to mention very unflattering for everyone.  It becomes difficult for the eye to determine where one person begins and another ends so EVERYONE ends up looking much wider!  No one wants to look wider, trust me.
  • So toss out the white shirts and khaki pants or jeans.  You can do better.  I promise!
  • Avoid tiny stripes or patterns, or logos.  These are distracting and are not picked up well by the camera.
  • Avoid having everyone wearing just the same thing.  Seriously, the matchy matchy look is just not flattering or interesting!

So what SHOULD you wear?

  • Alright, I just massacred all of your ideas didn’t I?  Before you run away screaming keep reading! Bright, bold, saturated colors photograph best.
  • Choose colors that go well together. One way to style your family is to choose one colorful piece of clothing (like Mom’s dress) and coordinate everyone else’s outfits around it.  To be more specific, choose three bright colors and purchase everyone’s clothing around those colors.  Perhaps pink, blue, and yellow are your colors.  Maybe sister has a sweater with those three vivid colors.  Dad has a nice shirt in blue, brother is dressed in yellow, and mom has pink and blue in her attire.  Coordinated and interesting but not totally matching.
  • If we are shooting a large extended family then think in much the same way.  Choose three colors and just invite everyone to go with it.
  • Bold elements are a lot of fun!  A big bold necklace, a wide brimmed funky hat, a brightly colored scarf, big chunky healed shoes, all of these things add so much interest and variety to a photo.  A talented photograph can use these fun things to bring out the best in the photos and they can ensure these things do not overtake the photo.

Below I have a photo of one of the best dressed sessions I’ve ever had.   You can see they are definitely coordinated but each outfit is distinct and if you knew these children then you’d know what they were wearing is what they like and feel most comfortable in.

Confession time!  I stink at coordinating my own family for photo sessions.  I am NOT a shopper!  I cannot STAND malls.  I’d like to hire this Momma to dress MY FAMILY!

I hope this FAQ helps you when planning your next photo session!

Have a fabulous week!

Friday Loves! And of course… the NOT so loves!

Friday again!  How did that happen?  The weeks just fly by don’t they?  The busier you are the faster it all seems to race away.  I really am trying to find the time to stop and smell the proverbial roses as they say.  I think I’ll try to choose one activity each week that makes me SSSLLLLOOOWWW DOWN!  This week I took the time to do something I have been MEANING to do for a couple of months.  Photograph MY OWN CHILDREN!

You know the saying, the cobbler’s children have no shoes?  The photographer’s children have no photos!  I’m always so busy photographing everyone and everything else that my own kid’s get a little lost in the shuffle.  Joyanna is ALREADY 10 months old!  I’ve got to do this while I still can.

Oh, and Mom.. don’t look… these are your mother’s day presents! (You all KNOW she’s going to look right?)  Oh it doesn’t matter anyway, I’m just sharing ONE today!  I’ll share another next week when I post about improving your photos using great light.

So let’s start with some NOT SO LOVES!  Get them out of the way so we can end on a high note.

  • I still can’t get the check from our home owners insurance cashed.  It needs to be Fed Exed across the country.  But FIRST we need to have a notary stamp it.  Ugh!  Like I have time for this nonsense!
  • Repairmen who act like they can’t be bothered.  Look buddy, if this job is too much of a pain for you I can always take my work and my money someplace else!
  • When I go to two grocery stores looking for something simple and neither have what I want.
  • Gas prices… have you SEEN THE PRICE OF GAS LATELY?
  • Diaper rash, ok yes I wrote this one last week.  It’s here again because our problem has not been solved.

Ok, now on the wonderful things!  LOVES!

  • I love love LOVE my new iPhone!  This thing rocks!  I can text like every other person in the world now.  I can answer client emails and Facebook posts on the fly.
  • I LOVE Instagram  It’s this fun way to share snapshots from your iPhone.  I’m having a blast with it and probably getting a little carried away!
  • I LOVE the sessions I’ve booked this week.  Yeah me!  Still crossing my fingers on that wedding I wrote about last week though.
  • I LOVE the photos I captured of my baby girl this week.  Ok so I’m biased.  But I just think she is the most beautiful child!
  • I LOVE my son Noah who completed the entire first level in his math program this week.  Go Noah!
  • I LOVE the couple whose wedding I am photographing tomorrow.  Jeremy and Jen are the coolest.   I consider it a true honor that they asked ME to document their big day.  (A not so love would be the butterflies in my tummy.  It is my FIRST wedding of the season.  It is also the first wedding I will ever shoot where I know MANY of the guests.  Please pray I don’t trip and fall and make a fool of myself.  I’ll never live it down if I do!)
  • Oh! Almost forgot another LOVE!  I LOVE the 50mm 1.4 lens I’ve been renting this week.  I used it to take the photo of my daughter below.  This is on my must buy soon list!  It is just DELICIOUS!  I’m going to rock it out at the wedding tomorrow!

Have a great weekend everyone!  But before I go, here is a quick collage of some of my loves this week!  You’ll see my bride and groom, my baby girl, and my iPhone with an instagram photo.  Take care!