The Rose Family

Today I’m welcoming back the Rose Family, Rob, Courtney, Sophia and Sawyer.

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The two of us dreamt of what it would be like to have a family. In fact we practiced many times with her American Girl Dolls when we were at the ripe age of 7 years old. Courtney and I have been friends for as long as we can remember. Many times I look at her daughter Sophia and I brings me right back to those days when the two of us were in Sunday school in our little laced dresses chatting away. This family has been having me take their photos since Sophia was born. I love seeing these kiddos grow and remembering  what they were like for each stage. This year was especially fun because we were all relaxed and had time to enjoy one another’s company. Little Sawyer is celebrating his 4th birthday and if it’s even possible has become more and more cute as the years go on. When asking him who was his favorite he listed off some of my favorite people as well. Papa Lyons, Papa Biondo, Noni, etc. These specific individuals have been a huge part of who I am today and I hope they are able to treasure these moments even more than I do.

 

The Poll Family

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Meet the Poll family; J.R., Jenna, Zach and Audrey. I’ve known this family for a few years. Their son was in my class back when I was teaching preschool. It was such an honor when they contacted me to take their photos. There is nothing I love more than to meet up with old students and families from my teaching days. I knew they were perfect to work with because they are laid back and easy going. They just played I was able to capture their beautiful family interacting together (Even after I stepped in dog poop. Yes this really happened). Thanks again Poll family for hanging out with my on this gloomy day and I hope you have a wonderful fall.


Are you interested in having your family portraits taken? I have a limited amount of time left. Until November 3rd I’m booking sessions and you can find out more about me and my pricing by filling out my contact form. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Expecting Rain?

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Oh rain!

The forecast is calling for rain the date of your session. What do you do? Panic right? Scheduling sessions outside can be a bargain. I usually wait until the day before to check the forecast and ask clients what back up plan they would like to choose. Due to weather being fickle, I allow my clients to wait 2-4 hours before their shoot to make the call about their session. Scared to make that call? Here are some options moving forward;

1. Choose a different start time. If there are not other sessions scheduled we can move your time around. I find most “rainy days” turn out to be some sun and some rain. We can just move you to a better hour. I can’t even begin to tell you when it’s been pouring all day and then when the session time hits, there is a break in the clouds and it’s perfect weather.

2. Do it anyway. Bring your umbrella, some cute rain boots and channel your inner Donald O’Connor and sing in the rain.

3. Turn your session in to a lifestyle shoot. Have me come to your home and photograph you doing everyday things. Bake together, start a fire and roast some marshmallows, brew some coffee (or hot cocoa) and cozy up to a good book. Not only will your house smell amazing but it’ll capture you in every day life. You did your hair and make-up, why not live it up.

4. Studio Session. Come to my studio. I have a small one in my home for small children and families of 4 or less.

5. Reschedule. Please know this is subject to availability and I can’t guarantee the new date will have better weather. (This is especially true as we approach the colder months when the sun is limited and sessions are most popular)

I know it can be stressful deciding what is best. I’m always willing to shoot in a light drizzle but I leave the decision up to the client. I want to make sure he or she is not stressed and is their very best self when I shoot so if they are relaxed about it, I say go for it and see what happens.

Have you done something fun in the event of rain? Comment below. I’d love to read about it.

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Photography by Tekso

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Get my free Portrait Session Style Guide. That’s right, 100% free. Learn tips on how and where to schedule your session. What you should wear and how to get the whole family excited about getting photos taken. Click HERE to get yours today!


Are you interested in having your photos taken? Fill out my contact form and instantly receive information on me, my style and pricing (No obligation to book). Not ready? No problem! Follow me and stay up to date with Kara Hanes Photography (I even have a little freebie for you when you join!)

Koetsier Family

Months ago I had the privilege of meeting Andrea when her kids joined my spring mini sessions. This past week I enjoyed meeting the whole family, taking a stroll on the beach and hearing their beautiful love story.

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4 years ago Andrea met Kevin’s mom at the hair salon. After hearing about her son, Andrea checked him out on Facebook, made the first move and the rest is history! As a family they love to travel and experience new places together. Their newest adventure is camping.

 

Session took place at Rosymound Natural Area and Kirk Park Beach


Are you interested in having your family or kiddo’s story told? Fill out my contact form and instantly receive information on me, my style and pricing (No obligation to book). Not ready? No problem! Follow me and receive Instagram freebies until you’re ready.

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Do I offer Mini Sessions

Dear Kara,

We love your mini sessions! Are you planning to do them this year? If so I can’t wait to sign up.

Sincerely, Past, Present and Future Client.


Dear Client,

I am so happy you love my mini sessions! They take a lot of time and effort to plan, set up, shoot, edit, deliver and enjoy. I love that you appreciate them. I’d love to let you in on a little secret and bit of information on my mini sessions for this year. Feel free to read below. I can’t wait to capture your story this year!

Sincerely, Kara


What is a mini session? This type of photo shoot is a very short, budget friendly shoot where you get a small dose of the photographers session experience.

Before I go in to whether or not I’m offering these I want to talk you through the pros and cons of this type of session. So you can decide if this is the right type of session for you.

Pros of Mini Sessions
-They are short! Great for someone who doesn’t like getting their picture taken.
-You as the client receives a low cost session of images.
-You only get the best photos, so you don’t have to go through a ton of photos and make tough decisions on the few you’ll print.
-You don’t have to decide on a location; it’s already scheduled for you!
-You can use it as a “trial run” with a photographer to see if you like their style and how they work with your family before booking a full session.
-You receive all the digital images that you can use/print
-They are a cost effective way to keep your family photos up-to-date.

Cons of Mini Sessions
-They are short! Not ideal for very shy children who take a long time to warm up to new people. Your time is limited because of the next family/couple scheduled right after you.
-You only receive a limited amount of images from the session whereas you’d receive anywhere between 50-80 from a full-length session. If you’re looking for photos to create an album, or wall collage, a mini session won’t provide you with enough images.
-You won’t get the same “story telling” feel as you would with images from a full-length session.
-You don’t get to select a location that fits your style.
-Mini sessions aren’t as personalized as a full-length session would be.
-You have to be right on time or you lose part of your photo session because of the way these are scheduled.
-It’s hard for the photographer to get to know the real you in only a short amount of time.
-They sell out quickly and you may not get the date/time you’d like!

So you’re wondering…

 

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Does Kara Hanes Photography offer Mini Session?

Talking about finances can always be a difficult conversation to navigate. At this point, my business has grown to a point where I can not offer discounted sessions anymore. I have had to raise my prices over the years to keep up with supply and demand while ensuring each client is getting an experience that is worth every penny.

Although mini sessions make it easier to get all my sessions done in one to two days I’m not a fan of the impersonal connection. Mini sessions are a great way for me to bring in new clients but when past clients continue to do only mini sessions I miss out on catching up with them because the time is so limited. For me I’m all about getting to know them more and investing in our friendship. I’ve invested a lot in making my business the best experience for all clients and at this time I don’t feel that Mini Sessions are the best. This doesn’t mean that I won’t offer them in the future it just means that right now I want to offer more for you.

I would absolutely love the opportunity to work with you and give you the most amazing photos but I understand if your budget doesn’t allow for that. If you need assistance in finding a great photographer please let me know and I’ll give you my personal recommendations!

If you’re interested in knowing more about me, my style and what the pricing looks like I want to encourage you to fill out my contact form and you will immediately receive this info. Sessions book fast for fall so make sure to do it ASAP.

I also love to stay in touch! The best way I like to do this is by having you join me in my private inbox group. Here you’ll be the first to know if anything new is being offered and you can join here and receive some awesome freebies! I can’t wait to meet you friend!

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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…

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    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.

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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.

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DeBlaay Family

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I met Lindsey and her husband Matt when her and I were both pregnant with our girls and teaching preschool. Needless to say we have been great friends ever since. Not only friends but I’ve come to know her extended family and they remind me a lot of my own. Meet the DeBlaays, Mary (also known as Beppe to her grandkids), her sons Chris, Jake, Matt and Mike and their families. I think it’s fair to say that Mary has quite the beautiful family. During this session we continuously laughed, danced and said the magic word *FART* over and over to make those kiddos giggle and bring out their natural smiles (well, mostly the dads). Would you believe me if I told you that prior to this session it was 60 degrees and raining? We lucked out with beautiful mid day sunshine and a little bit of shade at Aquinas college. If you’d like to check out more from this session you can do so at Kara Hanes Photography

Are you interested in scheduling a family session? Send over a contact form and you’ll instantly receive information on my style and pricing information.

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Mommy&Me Sessions

I’m excited to announce my Mommy&Me Sessions. Today is the day that I have opened up the contact form to plan for yours. You might be wondering. What is involved in this session and how is it different from other mini sessions? Well I’m here to tell you that these sessions are special. It’s an opportunity for that Mom in your life to have her story told. Maybe you’re a mom and you have just been waiting for the opportunity to get photos with your kids. You’re a mom to be and you want to document that beautiful belly. Or maybe you’re a son or daughter and you want to give your mom memories with Grandkids to hold on to. Whatever it may be keep reading to see if this is something for you.

 

Get your hands on products from the following vendors:

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Allison Jasperse at Yellow Door Salon

Wild tree with Katie Schepers

Baby Bijou Designs with Caitlyn Dykehouse

Calligraphy from Poppy seed signs

Agnes&Dora with Stephanie Haralson

Lemongrass Spa Products from Linnaea Kemp

and Joy Sparks Designs


Mommy & Me Sessions include: 30 Minutes in the studio (Allendale, MI), up to 5 individuals, 10-15 digital images, social media posts, free digital download, Release to print at your own lab. All for $130. Hurry now, this will book fast. Only May 2017. (Sorry coupons and/or discounts are not accepted with this offer)

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Grandma, Kathy and her younger grandkids.

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 Life isn’t always easy being a mom, show her how much you appreciate her by giving her an heirloom she’ll treasure!

Click Here: Contact Form, select Mommy&Me session and I’d be happy to help you start your planning process.

See more from this session (CLICK HERE)


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This isn’t the type of session you’re looking for? Maybe a gift certificate would be a better option for you. Go ahead and inquire a Gift Card by filling out the contact form here. What to expect from there : Receiving a Gift Certificate Brochure


 

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Want to stay in the loop and see what else is coming up in Kara Hanes Photography? Join me in e-mail list. Here you’ll receive updates, coupons and special offers that are exclusive. Can’t wait to see you on the inside! Click here to sign up.

Organizing Your Photos

When I graduated high school my Grandma gave me an album full of childhood photographs she had kept. These were photos I hadn’t seen and she had hidden away until that moment. We all take for granted (myself included) the fact that we don’t have to print our photos anymore because for a lot of us, it’s right at our finger tips. The biggest thing I’m guilty of these days is taking photos but never printing them.

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(photos from the album my Grandmother gave me)

Yesterday I spent 20 minutes deleting 500 photos off of my phone that were duplicates, blurry, photos and selfies others did when I wasn’t looking. I had already uploaded my favorites to places like Facebook and Instagram. I had over 500 photos stored on my phone. That was just from the past 2 months. Crazy right? I’m pretty sure with social media outlets being a place to put photos it’s a huge reason why we never ever do anything with the photos on our phone. It’s just plain overwhelming. Can I just tell you something?

Less is more.

So if you are overwhelmed with all of your photos – remember that simple truth: less is more. You don’t have to document every tiny moment or every tiny thing. Just the highlights will do. Your kids, your spouse, and YOU will appreciate the gift of quality over quantity if you embrace this!

Here’s my sad truth

4 Years ago we had pushed our computer to it’s limits and it stopped working. You know, that computer that contained the PAST TWO YEARS OF OUR FAMILY PHOTOS saved on the hard drive. As any panicking person would do, I asked around if the hard drive could be recovered. My husband and I decided that we would try putting it in his parent’s computer to see if it would work for recovery. Well this didn’t happen quickly and we waited on it. During this time my In-laws sadly experienced a flood in their basement and the hard drive was destroyed. Now I don’t know what was on the hard drive entirely but I’m thankful that I had printed photos and kept them in albums for a while (until it got costly). Sadly I missed a couple months in there.

I’ve learned my lesson and it’s taught me one thing. BACK UP EVERYTHING!


Learn from me, I’m telling you my new secret

 How I organize our photos.

Step 1. Put a Computer File Folder System in Place (see images below)
Step 2. Gather ALL of your digital images and put them onto that external hard drive, in order by date and folder (I recommend storage with 2 Terabytes).
Step 4. Back them up

Take a peek at my File Folder Organization System

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As you can see, everything is organized by Year, then Month, My favorites, and raw (all the rest).

A few KEY tips for you to remember as you organize your digital photos:

  • Gather all images from all over the place (laptops, phones, computers, CD’s, USB’s, etc) and put them onto ONE harddrive: your new most prized possession!
  • It’s helpful to create the entire file folder system on the Harddrive first, then drag your images into the properly organized folders
  • You have to remember to also back those images up! I use SmugMug to back up my Favorite Images but you can use other platforms like Dropbox and google photos (plus they are free).

Happy Organizing My Friend!

Kara

Oliver Koetsier

Meet Oliver. This past month he celebrated his 1st birthday. He is walking with the help of toys, is super sweet and loves his big sister, Amelia. I hope your day was filled with love, friends and family little buddy!

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Advice to them from dad, Kevin and mom, Andrea. “When you have your own kids someday enjoy the little things because they turn into the big things. Try to remember every smile, hug, cry and temper because they won’t last forever. Love fiercely.”

Check out more of Oliver’s mini session here 


If you’re interested in scheduling a session and would like to know more click here. When you submit a contact form, you’ll receive a list of pricing guides to fit your needs.

Also, receive information, promos, coupons and much more when you join the Kara Hanes Photography e-mail list by clicking here.

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