617.501.4008 cara@carasoulia.com
You, Me and the Year That Everything Changed

You, Me and the Year That Everything Changed

Boston Family Photography

Hit Refresh.

No, not on this page.

Let’s Hit Refresh on 2020.

While we didn’t choose it, 2020 has been – for me – the Year of the Refresh. When everything about my business and life came to a halt in March, I wondered what would come next. What would I do about the sessions I had booked the following week, or month? What about my long-time client who was due in May? What about the pre-school photo days and anticipated maternity sessions? Was my business and passion going to collapse overnight?

It didn’t. In fact, 2020 has been the busiest and most exciting time of my career. Despite all the changes, it’s given me the clarity and confidence to keep growing: as a person, mom, wife and photographer. Thanks to the chaos of this year, I know who I am, what’s important to me (see my T-shirt), and what makes working with me an experience you’ll treasure. Read on to learn more.

Boston Family Photography

Boston Family Photography

I’m the photographer you hire for a lifetime.

I’m the one you call when you know that each moment – each stage – is fleeting, and you want to guarantee you never forget it. You call me because you value the intersection of family, relationships, emotions, beauty and authenticity.

When you hire me, you’ll see and feel each of those values in your images. In an instant, your images become keepsakes.

Boston Family Photography

When people ask me about my approach to Boston Family Photography, one word comes to mind: Authentic.

My goal in every session – whether it be with parents-to-be, a newborn and first time parents, a growing family, a family with older kids or the fantastically fun extended family sessions – is to capture the authentic emotions, relationships, and environment at that very moment in time.

Your images are not poses. Your home is not a prop. Your life is yours. I am there to cement that moment in your history.

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You know what I am here for?

To capture JOY.

I want you to see and feel joy and love and connection when you reflect on your images. I want you to see the personalities of each person (and maybe a pet!) in the image. I want your image to speak to you, because that’s the only audience that matters.

Boston Family Photography

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Oh, I know you want to share your joy. I do, too! As a mom of three, I know how much I love to show off my kids and their adorable smiles, pouts, snuggles and more.

Thanks to more than ten years working with my camera, I know how to effortlessly capture the images you want in frames, on walls, in books, and on your cards. I know how to choose a location that offers the opportunity to photograph playful smiles at one spot, but frame-worthy art ten minutes later.

When your images arrive, you’ll appreciate the many, many different styles of images that I’ve taken in just a short time. You’ll save them all, framing the most precious and perhaps creating an album of the rest.

Clients tell me that they love to reflect on them years later: Remember that day?

Yes, I do. And I am thrilled that you do, too.

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Cara Soulia is a Boston Family Photographer who specializes in capturing emotive, authentic images of her clients.  See Cara’s recent work here or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a session today.

Let Your Local Photographer AMAZE You

Let Your Local Photographer AMAZE You

Boston Family Photographer

This is it. This is when I – the photographer who (albeit unwittingly) created the philanthropic project that flooded your in-box and social feeds with the phrase #TheFrontStepsProject – tells you that your #FrontSteps portrait deserves a second take.

Don’t get me wrong! It’s lovely, I’m sure! Funny, maybe? Definitely absolutely and completely memorable, which was the point, right? To capture that moment in isolated time?  But does it show the sheer beauty, love and emotions of your family when you’re not in lockdown?

As a Boston family photographer, on behalf of professional photographers everywhere, I’m telling you that now is the time to circle back with your local photographer and schedule a personalized session for this fall or even this winter!

I guarantee the difference between a quick “2 minute click” and a planned session will amaze you. Wait until you see what a truly talented photographer can do.

Boston Family Photographer

Boston Family Photographer

#TheFrontStepsProject gave all of us (communities and photographers) a chance to connect in stressful times and do what matters most: Support each other and Give Back to those who need extra help. Together we raised over $3.33 million dollars for local organizations and businesses.

The kind and selfless photographers that I met through the project are, like me, back at work. We’re photographing families, newborns, weddings, gorgeous interiors, and more.

And WOW! The images I see posting in my new network of friends are AMAZING! Trust me, you want to make the time to see what your photographer can really do.

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Professional photographers spend years honing their skills. Capturing images that truly shine and tell a story of your family takes a lot more than a few quick minutes.

Oh, and you get more time to prepare. We won’t schedule when your toddler should be napping or in the middle of the workday. You’ll have time to shower and choose outfits. And maybe those deep roots from weeks of quarantine have been fixed or grown out?

With a professional session, you can guarantee your photographer has scouted your chosen location beforehand. Maybe we’ve taken images there before. We know exactly what photographs well and we know when the light is going to be just perfect.

Yes — we know how to snag that perfect holiday photo. In fact, we know how to snag 20 of them so yours doesn’t look like everyone else’s. They’ll make perfect gifts this year.

Boston Family Photographer

One of the things I get to see when meeting photographers from across the globe is that I am not alone in aiming to create authentic, stunning images that showcase your family, but also can serve as a form of art.

Sure, we all love the smiling close-ups. Most photographers can make those happen pretty quickly. But, now that we’re spending a LOT more time in our homes, maybe you’re looking to refresh some tired walls? Go for more than just a smile. Many photographers help clients matte, frame and print your images to they look AMAZING in your home (and yes, on that holiday card…).

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From photographers everywhere, thank you for supporting your community and small businesses.

Cara Soulia is a Boston area newborn and family photographer who specializes in capturing beautiful, natural and colorful moments in a relaxed and candid way.  See more of Cara’s work on her blog or get in touch to find out more about scheduling your session!

A Mother’s Work: Marissa Goldstein, Founder: Rafi Nova

A Mother’s Work: Marissa Goldstein, Founder: Rafi Nova

Meet Marissa Goldstein. She is the Co-Founder of Rafi Nova, a fair trade textiles company based in Needham, MA that produces face masks, pouches and bags out of ethically sourced materials from Hmong artisans in Southeast Asia.

All Photography by Cara Soulia, Boston Family Photographer

Boston family photographer I first met Marissa when her family participated in The Front Steps Project, (a global social mission I co-founded to photograph families on their front steps in exchange for a donation to a local charity).  In exchange for her family photo, Marissa made a donation to our GoFundMe to support the community council in our town Needham, MA.  But because of Marissa’s dedication to supporting her community, Rafi Nova also made a $1000 donation to our causel!  We are so thankful for her generosity. Amazing!!

Boston family photographer

Not only is a Marissa a powerhouse business woman running a fast growing company in a constantly changing marketplace, she is a wife and amazing mama to TWO sets of twins!! To say she is juggling a lot is an understatement! If you haven’t heard of Rafi Nova before, I encourage you to check out their website and watch the video that so beautifully describes their mission of running a fair trade company and their passion for creating products for adventurous families.

The products Rafi Nova makes are beautiful and practical and their materials are ethically sourced.  Their masks are fashionable, super comfortable and are the ONLY ones my family wears! I’m so thrilled to feature Marissa in my “A Mother’s Work” portrait series and to share her inspirational story about how her company began and how it has completely transformed during the pandemic.  

Don’t miss the PROMO CODE at the end of this blog post for 15% off Rafi Nova products!

A Mother’s Work:  Marissa Goldstein | Founder of Rafi Nova

Rafi Nova WebsiteRafi Nova Instagram

Boston family photographer

Tell me the story of how Rafi Nova was born ( what the name means, your mission, etc) Rafi Nova is a social enterprise on a mission to create products that meet the ever-changing needs of families while connecting global communities. Founded as a fair-trade fashion brand to equip adventurous families with sustainably made travel bags, the company shifted focus to face masks to solve the urgent needs of families and communities. Veterans of sustainable product manufacturing, Co-Founders Marissa and Adam Goldstein named the company after their two sets of twins and travel partners: Raya, Efi, Noa, and Eyva.  

You have completely shifted your focus during the pandemic from backpacks to face masks!  How did you decide to make this shift and what has it been like to have such a significant change in your business model?

Our business model has always been centered around the idea of helping communities, so when Covid-19 hit, it became very clear to us that there were communities here in the US that we wanted to help. When our 4 year old daughter Eyva came up with the idea to start making masks, we immediately decided to put our resources towards this effort.  Of course it has been challenging having to shift our business so drastically, but we are incredibly grateful for the success the masks have had. We have added team members, moved into an office space, sold hundreds of thousands of masks, and donated an equally large number. None of this would have been possible had we not changed our focus, so even though the growth has been staggering, it is also exciting.   

Tell me more about how Rafi Nova is donating masks to front line workers during the pandemic. When we first started making masks, frontline workers urgently needed personal protective equipment, so we set up a program where we donated a mask for every purchase made. This was our first step, but we are proud to say we have worked with and donated masks to many other organizations. Since March we have donated over 40,000 masks, and made monetary donations to the NAACP, TransParent, and the ACLU.  

What is the most challenging thing about running your own business and raising a family ( TWO sets of twins!!) at the same time and how do you manage it?

The biggest challenge is without a doubt time – there never seem to be enough hours in the day! It can be near impossible to feel like you are doing a good job being both a business owner and a mother, but I have learned that the best solution is to set my expectations low and not be so hard on myself.  I manage everything by planning ahead as best as possible, particularly when it comes to my children. I am grateful to have an amazing nanny who stays with the children when both my husband and I are at work, and a spouse who shares the load with me as much as possible. I always try to remind myself that I can’t do everything alone, and that it is okay to need help.  

I love that your business is a joint effort between you and your husband (and that you are high school sweethearts!!)  What is it like to work with your spouse – the good the bad the ugly 🙂

Yes, it’s true that we are high school sweethearts – we met when we were both just sixteen and have been together for almost 20 years!  Being in business with a spouse has many challenges, but it has an equally large number of rewards. Although we work together, we made sure to have defined, separate roles so that we do different things within the company. This works for us, because even though we have very different skill sets and views, we also have complete trust in one another. Something that is a challenge for us is the fact that work can easily become 100% of our time. We do our best to establish boundaries and not talk business at home, but it is definitely hard.

What is one of the best pieces of business advice that someone has given you?

I received the best piece of business advice when I was getting my MBA, and the concept is entrepreneurial thought in action. Essentially this means that you should embrace and confront uncertainty rather than avoid it. It emphasizes smart action over planning, and that you need to move quickly and be able to pivot.  This made me realize that while you could spend years planning a perfect business model, you can’t always plan for reality. It taught me to take risks that I could stomach, to be reactive, and to shift my direction if necessary.   

I know you in the past you have lived half of each year in Vietnam. What is the best (or hardest? or funniest) thing about traveling abroad with young children?

The best thing about traveling abroad with young children is being able to show them the world. We can show them people who look different from them, foods that they have never tried before, and new ways of transportation. It gave us the opportunity to come out of our comfort zone as parents, and the entire experience taught them so much more than they could have ever learned in a classroom or from a book.   The worst thing is literally just having to be on an airplane with them for 24 hours, followed closely by the 24 hours of jet lag once we arrived. But as difficult as those two days are, we always remind ourselves that it is only two days, and that they will be over soon. 

I have to ask, what was the first thing you or your husband said when you found out you were having a second set of twins?

When we originally decided to have a third child, we thought that having a single would be easy and allow us to continue on with our lifestyle of travel and adventure. I found out that I was pregnant right before we left Vietnam, and immediately had a strange internal feeling about it being twins despite all the doctors telling me how uncommon it was.  When we saw the ultrasound, we knew exactly what it meant and were initially upset. Going from 2 kids to 4 is a huge jump, and we knew that having twins again would be a major challenge. But we quickly felt guilty for being upset, and began to focus on what was really important to us; having two healthy children!

Is there a promo code I can share with my audience for Rafi Nova products?  

YES! It’s CARA15 

Website |Instagram

Read more features from the A Mother’s Work series here!


Cara Soulia is a Boston Photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, natural images in a unique and artistic way. See more of Cara’s work here or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a photo session. 

Safe and Sound: How to Capture Your Newborn Joy in COVID Times

Safe and Sound: How to Capture Your Newborn Joy in COVID Times

Boston Outdoor Newborn Photography

Beautiful, right?
Love. Joy. The exhilarating – maybe partly from exhaustion! – feeling that your new child has arrived. There’s nothing like it.
Cementing that feeling through authentic images is what I do. It’s what drives me to my camera every day.
And it’s why I won’t let today’s challenges prevent me from capturing those moments for you. I know how to successfully – and safely – photograph your new family from afar. And I know you’ll adore the results.
I promise.

Boston Outdoor Newborn Photography

Boston Outdoor Newborn Photography

Yes, usually newborn sessions are held indoors. Usually I’m up close to you and your newborn, maybe even a sibling or pet! I used to touch some items, like the beautiful blankets that often arrive as gifts or the adorable stuffed toys that add fun to a photo.
But trust me, none of that close-up positioning or staging is necessary to create images that illustrate the amazing early days after a birth.

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Dora Tavel-Sanchez Luz | The Farmhouse & Buttercup

Dora Tavel-Sanchez Luz | The Farmhouse & Buttercup

Meet Dora Tavel-Sanchez Luz, the Co-Proprietress of buttercup and The Farmhouse, two farm-to-table restaurants in the western suburbs of Boston.

Photos by Cara Soulia, Boston Photographer | @carasoulia

Interview and copy by Kristen Collins | @findingforty

Boston Photographer Cara Soulia creates a portrait of Buttercup proprietress Dora Tavel-Sanchez Luz

I’ve known of Dora for several years. She has a low-key and really positive reputation in the Needham (where I live with my family) as a business owner who isn’t just in town to run her restaurant, The Farmhouse, but also to participate and give back to the community.

Like every entrepreneur in my A Mother’s Work series, Dora is much more than just a restaurant owner. She’s a partner, spouse, mother, daughter, sister, friend.

She’s also a Dream Chaser. 

We got together to talk about her life, family and restaurants before COVID-19 turned the world upside down. I’ve held on to this post for over two months, wondering how I could edit it to reflect the realities of today. Rather than change the content, I’ve decided to edit out the timely details that are no longer relevant, but share the post as it was written in March. 

Dora’s story represents that of every local restaurant owner around the world. She spent her entire adult life working to turn her dreams into a reality while raising two children and giving back to her community. 

Today, amidst this crisis, she is working tens times harder to stay afloat. Read on for Dora’s story, and please consider supporting her — and all local entrepreneurs — in the weeks and months ahead. 

The Farmhouse is open for PICK UP and DELIVERY from Tuesday – Saturday. They’re serving family style meals, including their fantastic tacos, as well as beer and wine.

buttercup will be opening it’s PATIO for dine in on Tuesday June 9 for dine in service. Tuesday – Saturday 4:30 – 9:00 pm.

buttercup is also offering PICK UP and DELIVERY from Tuesday – Saturday. They’re offering a wide menu of locally-grown items from Dora’s Sunwashed Farm in Framingham. Also, check out their plans to host an Argentinean Dinner at the farm in August.

A Mother’s Work:  Dora Tavel-Sanchez Luz| Co-Proprietress of The Farmhouse and Buttercup | Photos by Boston Photographer | @carasoulia

Buttercup Website | Buttercup Instagram

Farmhouse Website | Farmhouse Instagram

I’ll never forget the time a few years ago when I first saw Dora. I was having lunch with a friend and noticed a woman bouncing from the kitchen, to the bar, then to the customers at The Farmhouse. Later that day I spotted her wearing mesh shorts and running along on the sidewalk in Needham’s active downtown. Turns out that after the lunch rush, she was logging some miles as she trained for the Boston Marathon. 
 
Having the chance to chat with her for A Mother’s Work was fantastic. Not surprisingly, her story has a lot more depth than I would have expected. But, isn’t that always the case with entrepreneurial women?
 
 
Tell me the story of how your business was born.
 
(She takes a deep breath, then releases).
 
It has been a lot of work, but it’s truly a culmination of a dream that Gabriel and I have had since we met in New York in our early 20s. We were both working at Beppe, one of Cesare Casella’s restaurants, and – like most young adults – trying to find a way to live on our own, pay the bills and keep our heads above water.
 
I was a server and he was a back server. We loved the atmosphere and we thrived on the adrenalin that percolates in a restaurant: the energy that comes along with creating something outstanding from basic ingredients, welcoming and interacting with guests, making it all happen in the back. Restaurants – when managed well – create family. 
 
We fell in love and created dreams together. Opening our own restaurant was on the top of the list.
 
 
Was this always the plan, to be a chef and a restauranteur? Was this your childhood dream?
 
No, like many children and teens, I had lots of dreams. The real question was where would dreams take me.
 
I grew up in Wellesley and had the theater bug. I went to Emerson for college and headed to Los Angeles afterwards to pursue my TV and film career. My interests led me to theater vs. TV/film, so I found my way to Shakespeare and Co. and then New York, where I landed at a small theater company.
 
I was working in restaurants. And my goal was really just to pay the bills. But it turned out that I loved it.
 

I’m going to assume it wasn’t that straightforward…?

Of course not (she laughs).

Gabriel and I married in 2003. We started saving money to open a restaurant in New York. Sophie arrived in 2004 and we found ourselves heading back to Gabriel’s home in Cholula, Mexico. Our “first restaurant” was actually a small business where we cooked lunches for local government businesses. We juggled it with a toddler and another one on the way. 

GianMarco was born in 2007. By then I was back in the Boston area. We worked in a lot of outstanding restaurants in Lincoln, Cambridge, Concord and Boston. I got to know a lot of the local farmers, which inspired me to start my own farm. We pulled it off by purchasing a home built in the 1800s in Framingham. We have a ton of land, so I went crazy growing my own vegetables, most of which end up on tables at our restaurants.

The Farmhouse opened in 2013, and buttercup followed five years later?

Exactly. We had a vision, long before it was trendy, to create a restaurant that was all about living off the land. I used to visit my family farm in Cornville, Maine as a kid, so I’d seen firsthand that farm-to-table was possible. 

Thanks to the strong Needham community, The Farmhouse built a steady clientele early. Gabriel and I worked 24/7 for a few years, but thanks to fantastic staff, we started to find balance between work, home, parenting and everything else.

We decided to divide and expand, opening buttercup in Natick Center almost two years ago. Today, I run buttercup while Gabriel focuses on The Farmhouse. 

What is your greatest motivation with the restaurants?

Many things. I love working. I love being at buttercup and I love the adrenalin that comes with a successful night, a great crowd, happy customers.

I’d say the staff is a huge motivator for me. Since I have been in restaurants all my adult life, I’ve seen businesses that really value their staff and I’ve seen places where they could care less. Restaurant life is hard work. Physical work. Our goal has always been to run businesses where we treat our employees with integrity. Like family. 

 
 

 

What is the most challenging thing about running your own business and raising a family at the same time? 

When the kids were younger, the hardest part was running in so many directions. We were lucky to have a lot of help from my mother and brother, but we were working at top speed. We’d work opposite shifts to make sure one of us was home as much as possible. We worked really hard to be present in the moments of love with my children.
 
I have this great memory of a day when GianMarco was five years old. I had a Vespa. I figured out that I could get 16 heads of lettuce and GianMarco on the bike and get to the restaurant. I remember his little hands. Now I can’t hug him in public because, well, he is 12.
 
With Sophie, I have a beautiful memory of a day with Sophie. She was so small. I was pregnant with GianMarco. We were sitting together and she was eating a peach. I could smell her and sense her peacefulness and smell the peach, too. I’m not sure why that memory is so engrained in my brain, but it’s there. My connections with my children are very strong, even if our lives are busy.
 
 
 
Your kids are teenagers. What’s it like now? Do they come to the restaurants?
 

Things are different now. The restaurants can run themselves if we need to be home, though we both love to be at work. It fuels us and that’s important to us as people.

Our kids are older and really independent, too. Sophie has been running her day-to-day for a long time. Even several years back she was getting herself off to school on her own: making her lunch, getting dressed, getting on bus. I give my kids lots of credit. They make it happen. 

Sometimes the kids help at the restaurant in the evenings. They do everything! Dishes, food preparation, food running, back serving. You name it. GianMarco can cook! 

Otherwise, they’re typical teenagers. Sophie is interested in psychology, art and film. GianMarco is into sports and student council. I feel lucky. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point. In many ways, it’s been for them, but it’s for us, too, and the people we meet along the way.

Website |Instagram

Read more features from the A Mother’s Work series and see more images by Boston Photographer Cara Soulia here.


Cara Soulia is a Boston Photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, natural images of families in a unique and artistic way.  See more of Cara’s work here or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a photo session with a Boston Photographer for your family.