Thatcher Family


Meet Chad, Erika, Olivia, Cole, and Kaia. This family is near and dear to me. I met them at our church and their youngest Kaia is in my small group of girls that I mentor. 3 of them are in the medical field, 2 of have the most amazing voices and love to sing, 3 like to run for fun and 1 loves fishing. In their free time you can find them volunteering at church or vacationing in some of their favorite spots. Check out Facebook or instagram to see more from this session.

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Al & Betty’s 65th Anniversary


As I sat with my Grandma (Betty) this past Saturday, I asked her to tell me the same story she told me years ago. The one of how she and my Grandpa (Albert) met. She told me of the cold winters they had in Hudsonville, MI back in the late 1940s and how she and her friends would walk to Porter’s Pond to ice skate. This is where she met Albert and he asked her to start dating him. Between you and me, I think it was more than the ice skating that intrigued her. After 2 years of dating he proposed. Being a woman of faith my Grandma refused to marry someone who wasn’t a man of God. It was in this moment that she led him to the Lord and they were engaged.

On August 14th 1952 they married and months later they expected their first child thus beginning our family legacy. When asking Grandma how it feels to have 65 years together, She told me “I just can’t believe that the two of us started all of this”. Meaning our abundantly blessed family.


Although we are without many special people in this photo we are blessed as a group of Schepers. Both of them have taught me much about having faith and how to cherish those I meet. I wish many more years of blessings to both of them! Click on the image below to see more from the Anniversary Event.

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Plaggemeyer Family



Meet Joe and Emily and their beautiful kids, Emmia, Aaliyah, Shaylee, Jakob, Emmie and Ismael. Emily babysat me when I was little and is the oldest of the cousins in our family. That’s right, her and I are related. I remember when her and Joe started dating (over 22 years ago!) Their best friends were dating each other and set them up to join them one evening and the rest is history. Together all of them are so fun to be with and just hearing their laughter is contagious in itself.


Session at Rosy Mound Natural Area in Grand Haven.

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Why I chose Honeybook


Interested in Honeybook? Click here to sign up for a FREE 14 day trial! If you like it, this link will get you 50% off your subscription! Feel free to read more about…



Back in January, I decided that it was time to start the year off right and find a way for me to get my life back. I was spending so much time sending e-mails, editing contracts and having that awkward money conversation. What I didn’t realize was that there were places like Honeybook that do all of this for you. In fact I was fortunate to receive help from their team by using all of my previous information and they put it together for me. All I had to do was tweak it.

Now I’m the kind of person that loves to share the things I’m excited about. I think you can tell by now that Honeybook is something that excites me. Today I’m sharing with you all the things I love about it and how it allowed me to do more of what I love in my business.



Their Incredible Workflow

Inside this “tool” you can create custom workflows for all your different project types. I have different types of sessions and because of this their workflows are different. Honeybook allows me to customize each type of session by setting up steps to follow before and after the session.



The Task Management

My favorite part. No more sticky post it’s laying all over my desk.

As you can imagine, having 10+ clients at any given time can be seriously difficult to handle but this tool within Honeybook makes it a total game changer.

Once you apply the workflow to your client you can go to your “TASKS” tool and view what tasks need to be done today (or this week) or indefinitely for every single client, all in one glance.  No more going between 10 different projects on my white board to see what needs to be done for every client. I’m no longer stranded to my desk in my dark windowless basement office.


From your task dashboard, you can see everything that needs to get done, and you can actually do it too.  You can send emails, questionnaires and more right from this dashboard.  And if you set your workflow up with your questionnaire templates and email templates in it and ready to go, then this will only take you a matter of minutes every day (It can all be automated as well but that makes me nervous) I just have to “approve before sending” aka read the draft and make sure I want to send the file, and then hit the check box and off it goes!


The Contact Form

The contact form can be embedded on your website and is completely customizable with questions, font color, font, etc. It looks super clean and tidy on your website which I really appreciate!




I was tired to fumbling through my canned responses in google. In Honeybook I can set e-mail responses and access them easily with the click of a button. The types of templates they have are:

  • Email templates
  • Contract templates
  • Questionnaire templates
  • Brochures



before I was sending questionnaires as a google document, and then a google form. Honeybook allows me to keep the questionnaires for every client within their project and once I create the templates, I can automatically add “Send Questionnaire” to my workflow to gather any information I need from my clients! I love getting to read through their answers and see how I can improve my photography experience with each client.


I’ll be honest, I don’t use Quickbooks because I’m cheap and haven’t put this in my budget yet. I did a 30 day trial and I loved what I was able to do. When I do add this it’ll be so easy because Honeybook integrates with Quickbooks and you can create reports. You can view profit and loss reports, success rate reports, lead reports of where your leads are coming from so you know where to dedicate the bulk of your marketing budget and more.


The Mobile App

Honeybook has a great iOs app for mobile that lets you do everything you can on a desktop with your fingertips.  If I can get Wifi or 3G, I can work from anywhere, and on vacation this was a game changer! Right from my beach chair I was able to quickly check my tasks for the day and send the emails that needed sending. It’s so great for on the go days!


Calendar Integration with Google

I don’t know about you but I live by my google calendar. When I heard that this was available It was one more reason that I had to take the plunge. When you click on the “calendar” tool in Honeybook, you’ll get a view of all your upcoming payments, your booked projects, your tentative projects and your meetings. All color coded and beautiful.  It’s awesome if you’re connected with another Calendar (such as a spouse) and you can see all your upcoming appointments and when payments are happening.


The Pipeline

I love the pipeline on the homepage of Honeybook. At any given time, I can see where all my projects are. I can see who and how many inquiries need to be followed up with, who has to sign contracts, who just paid their retainer and needs to go to the next step, who’s in planning phase and more. It’s so awesome to be able to grasp that information in seconds to do a quick sweep of follow ups to inquiries or contracts sent.



Concierge Service

Honeybook eliminates problems completely, and will walk you through it or even do it for you. They also have live chat available as well as a Facebook page to discuss questions with other Honeybook users.



Nothing feels like more like Christmas morning then when you get an inquiry alert or even better that “Cha-ching” sound of when a payment is made. I love alerts because this keeps me from having to constantly check in to see if everything is running smoothly.


Payments and Invoices

Honeybook automatically sends payment reminders to your clients when something is upcoming or overdue so you don’t have to. This saves me from the awkward money conversation and allows me to do what I love instead, taking photos.

Their payments and invoices make client transactions and communication SO EASY.  Not only can you customize the image header on your invoices, but you can collect credit card payments from your clients so you can get paid instantly and never have to worry about a check being lost in the mail again.

You can customize their payment plans with custom dates, amounts, discounts, tax or no tax, a la carte add ons, etc. as needed and then they can login to their invoice and see when their payments are due and automatically get reminders when they’re coming up! My clients love it!!

For the longest time, I tried to avoid online payments to avoid the fees, but collecting checks added a level of stress I got tired of dealing with.  I know it was kind of a pain for my clients too, so implementing online payments was a big step for me.  (Plus, if they don’t want to do it online, they’re still welcome to send a check!)

Feel free to watch my previous walk through from April of this year to see some of these features in action. Honeybook is constantly making changes to improve their system so you’ll already notice from this blog that the features I mentioned were improved from 3 months ago.

Are you wondering if Honeybook is just for photographers? The answer is no! So many other creative entrepenuers use Honeybook for things like Florists, Artists, Bakers, Hairstylists, Chaplains, DJs, Videographers, etc. I’m here if you have questions. Feel free to post them below, chances are someone else might have them too!


Featured Image by Natalie Franke of the Rising Tide Society who partners with Honeybook.


Deemter Family

They met through their friends, married and years later have 3 amazingly handsome boys. Meeting Tim and Renee for the first time I could tell they were amazing parents who have a lot of love their children. This family enjoys being outdoors and loves golf. Most nights you can find them riding around in the golf cart or chasing one another around. I had fun playing peek-a-boo through the apple trees and hearing about the upcoming school year for the two oldest (Logan and Dylan). Little Levi just soaked it all in as he picked wild flowers for his momma and felt the tall grass through his tiny little fingers. It was such a pleasure meeting them all and I hope to see them again real soon!


A special thanks to Motman’s Orchard for allowing our visit. The boys enjoyed counting the apples and talking about their favorite ones to eat.

Are you interested in a family session? Reach out to Kara by filling out her contact form and instantly receive information on style and pricing. Not ready for a session? That’s okay! Join the e-mail list and stay up to date with specials, sessions and what’s new with Kara Hanes Photography.


Richard’s Birthday : Event


This past weekend we laughed too much, ate too much and celebrated a man who you can see has been blessed. Richard, (one of the biggest Tigers fans) celebrated 70 years with his friends and family on a hot evening in Jenison, MI. I guess you could say that he married one heck of a woman because the desserts made by her were phenomenal! Take a peak and get a glimpse of this wonderful event. Will you wish this guy a happy birthday? Comment below!


See more from this event by visiting the Kara Hanes Photography website.

Are you looking to have an event captured? Contact Kara and receive information on style and pricing. Not ready to schedule? That’s okay. Join the e-mail list and stay up to date on Kara Hanes Photography.


What to wear in family photos

Let’s just admit it: picking out what to wear for family photos is one of the most stressful parts of the process of getting them taken. Did you know that it doesn’t have to be? The next time you schedule your family for photos I want you to remember my…


    1. Think about where you will display prints of the photos. When my family gets our photos taken, the first thing I think of is where I’m going to place them in our home. Will I want them in my living room, hallway, bedroom etc.? This always affects my outfit choices. The color of my room choice for the photos can make a difference in the color scheme I choose for our outfits. I knew I wanted to put the photos we recently had taken in our living room, so I wanted to bring in the grays, blues and a pop of coral from that room into our outfits.
    2. Choose a location that matches your colors. Choosing a location can be tricky because the tones in your background can either compliment your clothing or be a huge distraction. To find the best balance between the colors in your location and the colors in your clothing, check out portrait locations in advance while thinking about the overall color scheme you’re going for. If you’re a reader wanting to see some locations in West, MI you can check out my other post on West Michigan portrait locations. If you’re really concerned about colors getting lost in the background or, on the flip-side, really clashing with the background, a good photographer will always be willing to offer you advice if you tell him or her the look you’re hoping for.IMG_7960
    3. Mom, choose your outfit (or the pickiest family member’s!) first. In our family I’m the toughest critic. I want to make sure I’m comfortable and feeling great during our photo session. In your case, there might be someone else in the family who needs to be the one to feel their best. This is the person who needs to pick out her outfit first. Choose an outfit that the pickiest family member loves and then use that as your starting point. Once that outfit is chosen, start picking out outfits for the other family members to coordinate well with that one.20247764_1470661919659961_8149764829820702203_o
    4. Limit the number of patterns in your clothing. Don’t get me wrong, patterns are a great way to coordinate outfits together because they typically contain a lot of colors that you can match the rest of your outfits too.  However, patterns can be overwhelming and chaotic if you have multiple people wearing them.  If you choose to use patterns, it is best to have one person wearing a pattern and the other family members wearing complimentary solids. Also, skip the characters. Yes, your little one may love their Frozen shirt, but you may want to skip it for the family photo session. Just like patterns, characters on shirts can be pretty distracting.IMG_7973
    5. Coordinate, but don’t match. Having your outfits coordinate does not mean that everyone has to wear the exact same thing.  Having everyone in a different outfit that still coordinates allows for a pleasing photograph. Recently I laid out clothes for my husband and son for a family photoshoot. Both of their shirts were the same color gray, and the shirts just felt like they were missing something. I decided to look for a darker gray for my husband, and transitioned to something similar for my son that gave he and my husband individuality instead of fading into the background.
    6. Keep your clothing low maintenance. Does your little one hate wearing headbands?  Do you love a certain shirt but always find yourself fussing with it?  Make sure you eliminate outfits that could potentially cause problems during your session.  Even though that headband might be darling on your daughter, if she hates wearing it she is going to be miserable…and miserable in your photographs.  Once you show up to your session, the only thing you want to focus on is having fun and being yourself.20247548_1470659302993556_1924092169243457984_o
    7. Have a pop of color. Creatively incorporating color into your family’s wardrobe is a great way to draw interest into your photographs.  Whether you utilize color in someone’s shirt or in a hair bow, having a pop of color can be very pleasing to the eye when you are arranging what to wear for family photos.  Even choosing something as subtle as your earrings to incorporate color can make such a great difference. One thing you’ll want to avoid when adding color is neon. Neon colors can create color casts on your skin.  This means that the bright neon color will reflect on your skin and turn it an unnatural color.
    8. Accessorize. Accessories are a great way of adding interest to your family portraits.  If you are not one who likes using a pop of color in a big way, using accessories like a  great pair of earrings or a necklace is a great way to still add a pop to your photographs.  Accessories are also a wonderful way to incorporate textures and help coordinate your outfits. My favorite store to find the best accessories is Charming Charlie, where you can find jewelry in almost any color. (If you’re not as lucky as me to have one by you, you can also purchase from their online store.20294231_1470662086326611_3208619449138226922_n
    9. Mix textures. Having everyone wear a variety of textures can help create depth in your photographs and is a great way of incorporating a variety of tones.  Some textures you can mix are varieties like cotton, denim, tweed and lace. Wearing different textures is also a wonderful way to portray your personality through your photographs. For example, dressing a little girl in a lace dress can enhance her sweet and precious demeanor, while denim can show off her more casual side.
    10. Plan ahead. Once you book your session, start thinking of the clothes right away. Make sure to try on your chosen outfits to ensure they fit properly, and then set them aside so they are clean and fresh the day of your shoot. If you wait until the day or the day before the session to prepare your clothing, you may run into an issue of clothes not fitting or needing to be dry cleaned.

      Having trouble finding the right outfits for your color scheme or desired look? Visit Polyvore and place clothing and textures together on an online board to find what looks best. Also, visit my Pinterest board for ideas on outfits you can layer together for family photos. Lastly, don’t forget that you can always swing ideas and questions by your photographer before the shoot.
      I hope the next time you plan your photo session my 10 tips on what to wear can be helpful. I’d love to hear your feedback on this post or others. Has this blog post helped you? Do you have something else you want to know? Comment below.


Special thanks to my girl at Katie Cook Photography for our family photos.

Are you interested in scheduling a family session with Kara Hanes Photography? Fill out the contact form and immediately receive information about Kara, her style and pricing information. Not ready for a session? That’s okay, stay up to date with Kara Hanes Photography by joining the e-mail list.


Emmia Plaggemeyer : Senior 2018

“Be yourself and don’t worry what others think about you” Emmia PlaggemeyerMoodboard2

This past week I was hanging with Emmia. She will be entering her senior year at Hudsonville High School this fall while attending classes for Cosmetology. This girl has many talents not only with hair but playing golf and the violin! If you’ve ever been to a concert at St. Cecilia Music Center it’s possible you may have heard her play. She had me all ears. Meeting her for the first time you can see that she has such a beautiful heart and is fun to be with. Emmia I hope your last year of high school is a blast and I pray that you enjoy every minute of it!Moodboard1

Are you interested in scheduling a session with Kara Hanes Photography? Inquire information by filling out a Contact form and immediately receive information and my pricing guide. Not ready for a session? That’s okay. Stay up to date by joining my e-mail list. Here you’ll receive offers and discounts as they are available.


Planning a Senior Session

Do you have someone entering in to their Senior year? Are you overwhelmed and frustrated with all that comes with the “last year” of high school and the pressure is on to figure everything out right now? I thought so. Well today I’m hoping to make your check list just a bit easier. I’m talking about the steps to planning the Senior photo session. I’m hoping to answer most of your questions before you even have to ask. If not, I want you to comment below and I’ll make sure to add it to the list!


CheckMark Initial Inquiry: It’s never too early to start the process. I would suggest reaching out to several photographers to see if they are the right fit. Does the photographer fit with the Senior’s style? Does the Senior connect well with the photographer? Check out testimonials, follow the photographer’s social media platforms. See some of their work. How do they present those who are photographed.

CheckMark The Right Price: Find a photographer that fits your budget? If you absolutely love a certain one, do they have options to make it work within your budget. Are they upfront about the costs or are they hidden. Make sure to ask all costs involved right up front.

CheckMark Yearbook Photo: Most schools want the yearbook photo submitted before Christmas break if not sooner. You’ll want to ask the photographer how long their turn around time is so you can schedule and have your images before it’s due. It’s also good to know your school requirements for this photo before your session. Some photographers will even submit the image of your choice to the school directly.

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Step one: Fill out a contact form. Anything on this form can be changed. This helps me get an idea of what type of session my clients are interested in. Once it has been filled out, he/she will instantly receive a pricing guide that tells them about me, my style and pricing.  It’s also filled with suggestions for locations.

Step two: Brochure. After I receive the e-mail, I will respond with information regarding the type of session along with options for him/her to choose from. Once they’ve picked the date, time and type of session they’ll be ready to start the booking session.

Step three: Proposal and agreement. After the client chooses their brochure options, they’ll receive an e-mail from me with the payment options (30% down and 70% due 1 day before the session) as well as the agreement contract for them to sign. Once the retainer is paid, the session is booked.

Step four:  1 week before the session I will send a questionnaire for the Senior to fill out along with information to get started on the blog post. This is all information to help me get to know them and make their session more comfortable.

Step five: Session. After the session I usually send a sneak peek e-mail 24-48 hours with at least one photo while you wait for your blog post. I also love posting images in my insta-story so make sure to take a peek there!

Step six: Blog goes live. The Senior’s blog post will be posted within a week of the session. This post is highly encouraged to share with friends and family who have patiently been waiting to see images.

Step seven: Gallery. The client will receive an e-mail 2-3 week post session along with information to find their gallery. If a download was purchased this will also include the link to do that as well. If not, the client will have the option to purchase prints or order a download through my site or me directly.

Step eight: 30 days after. I will will follow up with the client to see how they are doing and if they need any additional assistance. At this time I also have offer links to leave reviews and fill out a survey on how their experience has been. I take pride in making sure all of my clients get the best experience so this is crucial information for me.

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I’m speaking to the Seniors and I want to provide them with suggestions on how to get ready. These are completely optional but can be very helpful. I give you my top 10 ways to prepare for our time together.

  1. Lay out which outfits you want to wear. Make sure to keep these simple and give consideration to the color. Think about clothing that shows off your best features.
  2. Avoid wearing distracting jewelry. The photographs should accentuate your face, eyes and personality, not draw attention to your jewelry. Also, jewelry can date a photograph very quickly.
  3. Apply make-up normally and go with a practical hairstyle. Friends and family prefer to remember you as you looked most of your senior year, not just during the period when you had your pictures taken.
  4. Guys look best freshly shaven and their hair, beards or mustache trimmed and shaped.
  5. To avoid lens glair, ask your optician to remove the lenses from your glasses. Most will do this for free if you give them plenty of notice.
  6. Clean your finger nails (this also goes for toes if you’re wearing sandals.) You never know what might show up in your photos.
  7. Personalize your shoot. I invite you to bring favorite props to the shoot, such as sports equipment if you are a team player, musical instruments, or hobby items. You can even bring a favorite portable piece of furniture, such as a lightweight chair or stool. Giving me notice of this is preferred so I can prepare.
  8. Be happy and have fun. Forced smiles can be obvious. If you are not looking forward to this moment, it certainly shows. If it helps, bring a friend with you so that you’re relaxed.
  9. Notify me of blemishes. I do light touch-ups but I wouldn’t want to remove things that are always a part of you. No one likes to discuss acne but please let me know if this is something you want removed in your images.
  10. Make sure you’re on time. Most times I like to schedule near sunset to get the best light. I love spending time chatting with you, hearing your future plans and giving you a one of a kind experience.




Meet Kara

Who is Kara? Are you interested in checking out her Photography? Take the first step by filling out the contact form. Here you’ll instantly receive information on style, pricing and the booking process. Not ready? That’s okay. Feel free to follow her by joining the e-mail list. Here you’ll receive information and specials exclusively to members.

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Hunter Albright : Senior 2018

I met Hunter 6 years ago. As his mom and I were talking about planning this session I couldn’t even believe it was time for him to approach Senior year. This is the time where adulthood takes over and we all learn how to start things on our own. One piece of advice Hunter would give his younger self is “not get lazy at the end of the school year”. I’m pretty sure I’m still telling myself this as an adult.

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Hunter is involved in his church where he leads elementary and jr. high boys. He’s full of energy and loves kids. He’s a great role model and my son loves spending time with him.

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What a wonderful day of fun on Lake Michigan where we visited Portage Point.

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Congrats on your Senior year Hunter. I hope you make lots of memories and enjoy every moment of it!

Location: Inn at the Alpine, The Blue Slipper, and Portage Lake in Onekema, MI

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