Christmas Tree Minis

Highfields Christmas Tree Farm Highlights

Grafton, MA

I’ve wanted to do themed sessions since I began Carrie Captures, but the thing about dreams is that they take hard work and planning to come to fruition. My first year in Holden, MA I was too overwhelmed with the move and not knowing the area; however, I took notes and made the calls that allowed me to offer both apple picking and Christmas tree sessions in 2022.

Were there some hiccups along the way? Well, one day was a wash because of rain, and some clients rescheduled because of sickness, but I’m 100% planning on doing it again. It was far too much fun not to. I’m also open to any other themes that you’d love to do. Drop them in the comments or E-mail me. Beach sessions anyone?

What is Lifestyle Photography?- Worcester, MA

Lifestyle photography sounded super fancy when I was first introduced to the term: maybe it was because I associated the term “lifestyle” with the 1980’s classic Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous ; however, I quickly learned that “lifestyle photography” is pretty much the opposite of that pretentious snobbery. Lifestyle photography is just capturing everyday moments of life in an authentic way. This is the opposite of “smile at the camera” portraiture that’s been around for years. Instead, photogs are attempting to capture the interaction between family members.

Personally, I’m here for it 100%. I photograph a lot of young children, and I find they’re more into the sessions as well. Lifestyle photographers typically give their clients something “to do”, whether that be play ring around the rosie, have a tickle fight, or slither like snakes (yes, I’ve done this and the photos were AMAZING). Sessions then become an experience and memory in and of themselves, which ads to the preciousness of those photos.

It is a little different from the everyday snapshots that people capture on their cell phones, though, in that we photographers do try to think of ourselves as artists as well. We look at the different angles, the background, and the details to best capture the full scene. Furthermore, there’s a bit more direction that goes into my sessions than simply “dance”. I do pose families somewhat, and then give them prompts to make them interact and play–while being super flexible and not requiring an expected outcome. This better ensures pleasing photos while still having a fun time.

On Making a Pumpkin Head Video

This Halloween loving photog is all about the pumpkin head videos dancing on your screens. I’ve seen all sorts of takes on the theme from cute and sexy to terrifying. I obviously had to make my own because… Halloween! So here are the top 5 things I learned creating a Pumpkin Head reel.

1. Size Matters


It’s true: you have to grab a pumpkin that is large enough to fit your gourd. That means thinking about both length and width. If the pumpkin is too short, you’ll be able to see your chin poking out. If the pumpkin is too narrow, good luck squeezing in your noggin. That being said, you don’t want to grab the largest squash around either. These gourds have a weight that will leave you overly top heavy, especially if you’ll be doing a session with kiddos.


Keep it Simple, Silly. This isn’t really a how to post, but let me say in terms of crafting, this is a pretty low key DIY. While I prefer carving your standard farm grown pumpkin (fully compostable and full of delicious seeds–yum!), others use acrylic pumpkins or paper mache to reduce the mess. Honestly, though if you carve out the pumpkin well enough, there’s not that much mess to be had. My super squeamish kid was willing to model the head, and that says something. Just remember to carve out the bottom and leave the stem, and the grown up should probably be the one holding the big knife.

For more help, you can watch this video by Random Rivals.

3. Think Beyond the Head

Can you carve a pumpkin head and sit in a lawn chair? Sure. Would it be better spiced up with some red wine or spooky props? Probably. It’s totally possible to just put on a pumpkin head and take a few pictures, but putting some thought into the location/backdrop/props beyond the head will yield better results. Do you have a creepy building or stunning scenery nearby? Go there. Bring props. Be silly, scary, or both, but think about the whole picture. My kid wanted to be the headless horseman. I complied. Have fun!

4. Smoke Bombs Make Things More Fun

And a bit more dangerous. My husband actually had to sign for these “explosives” from last year because they are flammable and definitely not kid friendly. They come in a variety of colors, but I chose red, gray, and black as my “creepy” colors for this Halloween session.

5. Music Matters

I love these photos, but I love the reel I made more. Why? Well, image is only one part of the whole video experience. You need the right soundtrack to make it complete. Below are links to my 5 favorite songs to sync your Pumpkin Head videos to. Be warned, they’re quite the selection of ear worms.

  1. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: I Put a Spell on You
  2. My Adventure Book: This is Halloween
  3. Harley Poe: The Hearse Song
  4. Savior Audios: Spooky Scary Skeletons (Remix)
  5. Rosy.Audios: Ghost Busters

Senior Session in Holden, MA

There’s a magical place in Holden that I have a love/hate relationship with. The love is plentiful in that there are wooden bridges, rolling water, tall grasses, a pond, and abundant backdrops all in one local place.

The hate is definitely the name: Trout Brook. The name does absolutely nothing to help me woo clients there. In fact, most immediately turn down the idea. The name seems to conjure images of fish guts and grime, and the view from the road leaves a lot of doubts about what lies inside. I get it. I do. But a little trust can lead to some great results.

I’m so glad this senior believed in me and was willing to give the place a try. Do you see all of the awesome backdrops? Variety, variety, variety. AND there’s even more that didn’t make it into this session. You have to give your photographer some faith. After all, our jobs are to make you look your very best.

Say Cheese, Boston!

Carrie Captures was featured in Redfin’s latest blog post about the most beautiful places in Boston.

Love on the Charles

You know when I try to convince you all to join me in Boston, well, now you see why! This article features some of my favorite places to photograph in the city, but I still have my super secret ones too ;-).

I think what I’m most excited about is that Redfin chose the photo from one of my all time favorite sessions on the Charles River. Something about the sunset and these two just takes my breath away.

Winner, Winner, Charles River-Photography Contest from Worcester Area Photographer

You all may have noticed that it’s no longer winter. There have been a few days this month where I wasn’t convinced; however, after this past weekend I’m fairly certain that we’ve left the snow behind.

Way back in December 2021, I gave away a completely free photoshoot to celebrate the season, and the lovely lady featured here was the winner. We agreed to wait until balmier weather, and scheduled a May Day session. I think it was definitely worth the wait! We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and I couldn’t have asked for more beautiful models. I think this was definitely a win win.

The Winter Storm-Wachusett Area Photography

Some in the east got ice and some got snow. My family and I were fortunate enough to partake in the beauty of both. Every year I try to take my husband on a weekend excursion for his birthday, February 4th, and every year the winter weather follows us for the journey. This year we trekked north to Lincoln, NH and the Ice Castles. Thursday’s warm rains turned into Friday’s winter wonderland, and we were blessed with an icing clad world to explore.

I only managed some cell phone shots of the ice castles, but the lights combined with the fluffy flakes looked like sparkles falling from the sky. My Lisa Frank-loving-inner-child was thrilled, my now 40-year-old husband was delighted, and my child was over tired, stimulated, and excited in the best possible of ways.

The Forest Path, Ice Castles, NH

Driving home on Saturday we saw the fluffy snow change to blinding ice. I dropped the family at home, and went on a solo adventure to capture nature’s show before it melted.

Falls in Rutland, MA

Don’t Mind the Hot Tub

January is a notoriously slow season for family photographers, especially in the northeast. The holidays are over; the weather is unpredictable; and with the exception of the occasional event, photographers get a much deserved rest.

I finally get to explore my new digs a bit. We moved to Jefferson, MA in July, but I was so busy that I only just made it across the street to shoot this rurex treasure. I still haven’t decided if the snow added to the beauty or the eeriness.

Don’t worry about my safety, though. The neighborhood kids assure me that the building is structurally sound. . My nine-year-old neighbor just warns to avoid the hot tub–“it’s where the ghosts and aliens come out”.

Giving Tuesday-Melrose, MA Area Photographer

Kids like to play. They’re less interested in smiling for a camera and more interested in laughing at a poop joke. They like to teach me to count to three when I forget, and mostly they love tickling their siblings (unless they’re tickled back). Kids thrive when given the freedom to express themselves and the boundaries to keep them safe.

The Franklin ECC in Melrose, MA is a preschool that understands these things too. My son adored the school so much that when I was approached by a member of the PTA to do a fundraiser, I jumped on board. This year I gave 40% of all Franklin Fundraiser Mini Sessions directly to the PTA because schools need money to create the types of environments where children shine.

This has been my first year partnering with another organization, but it will certainly not be the last. I’m thinking ahead to 2022. I’m all in.

Ch-ch-ch Changes!!!- New Holden Family Photographer

Some of you may remember me from Ann Leonard Photography. It was a company I began to pay tribute to both of my grandparents; however, since my name is neither Ann nor Leonard, the name became somewhat problematic. I could have become accustomed to being called Ann (it’s a beautiful name), but this year also saw me move from Malden, MA to Jefferson, MA. I figured it was time for a change all around.

So, hi! My name is Carrie Califano, and I am the owner and lead photographer of Carrie Captures. I’m based out of central MA. I love card games, dad jokes, long walks in the woods, and 72 degree days. I’m still the same me, really, just with a new name, web site, and location.