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?

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 to 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 the best for you.

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. If I’m not the right fit for you, no problem! I’ll help you find a photographer that is. 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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Ashley : Senior

“Love yourself for who you are because that’s all that matters” Ashley, Senior at Hudsonville High School.


Ashley is entering her senior year and is passionate about music. She feels like music has the power to bring people together. After graduation she hopes to attend a four year college for music. Not only does she love music but she also writes short stories. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll get to hear her sing or read one of her books. I hope your year gives you amazing direction towards the amazing talents you have Ash!

Hair and Make-up done by Panopoulos Salon in Grandville

Are you interested in scheduling your senior session? It’s not too late. I’m still booking session in September. Feel free to fill out my contact form and you’ll immediately receive information on me and my pricing. Not interested yet but want to keep in touch for a later time? No problem. Fill out my e-mail form and stay in touch. Not to mention you’ll receive some fun Instagram freebies when you do!




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

Inquire a session


Planning a Graduation Open House?

Whether you just had a baby, preparing for parenthood, have a kid in school for the first time, your child is graduating high school or you just completed college. Well then, this is content for you.


This is my son Caleb at his preschool graduation. We go all out to celebrate life moments sometimes. I laugh because you may find that you’ll have a preschool graduation, kindergarten graduation, a graduation as your child enters middle school, a graduation from high school and then a graduation from college. Do you ever wonder why? It’s because we want to celebrate life’s accomplishments. There can be so much speculation on this topic but it comes right down to the fact that we want to teach our children  education is important and we’re proud of what they’ve achieved. I hope that providing you with this information can help you decide what is most important to you when celebrating this particular milestone.



What is involved in a Graduation Party?


Your guest list will determine if your house and yard are big enough to host everyone. If you have to go to another site, like a hall, you may have to spring for a deposit, tables, chairs, decorations and a cleaning fee. Food could be a factor too. Some halls will let you bring in your own food, while others will require you to use their catering. Find out before you sign a contract. You could even consider co-hosting with a close friend or family member to save on venue costs.


You can spend money on custom-made, upscale invitations to make the event seem more special, or send less expensive postcards (Dazzle & Shutterfly are most used). You could also use an online event invitation and RSVP system, such as Evite, Punchbowl or Anyvite.  This will cover all of the invitation issues, and give the invitees an interactive place to post notes and pictures. Best of all, it’s free. Side note: You may find that other graduates tend to not RSVP)


As the host, you’ll have to pay for the food, such as tacos, pulled pork bbq or chicken. as well as salads, sides and desserts. If you hire a caterer, you can pay per person or per piece, depending on your menu.


If your guests are over age 21, you can serve alcohol but you’ll incur legal liabilities if you do this at your home. Check with your insurance company to find out if you need additional insurance. If you bring your own drinks to an off-site commercial venue, you could get charged a fee to compensate for some of their loss of drink sales. If you offer an open bar, you will have no control over your drink costs and won’t know your final expense until after the event.


Entertainment options for graduation parties usually center around music. Your options including playing a mix of mp3s, hiring a DJ, booking a band, or renting a karaoke setup. The cost of any option varies depending on how long you expect the entertainers to perform and their appearance fees.


You may spend an entire child’s life collecting items you want for their party. Some put endless hours of time the months leading up to it so that they can display memories for guests to see.


A full staff can cut down on your workload, even with a home party. You’ll need a party planner, cook or caterer, wait staff and a crew to set things up before the bash and clean up afterward. someone directing parking can maximize the parking spaces and keep guests off your neighbors’ lawns.

These are all things to consider when planning. Other options could include a small intimate party with close friends and family. You can choose to pay or ask guests to pay their own way.


If you consider having an open house here are what some parents have to say about their preparations.

“I’m in no way an expert or claim to be a good planner. I mailed invites for my friends and family and my daughter did facebook invites for her friends. Most people do NOT rsvp! My daughter wanted Qdoba so we did just the chicken and queso from there. I asked my aunt who has parties a lot what to do. I had family members bring other stuff. You never know how many people are coming, you’ll want extra of everything. It gets expensive for tents, tables, chairs and ice cream machines! My daughter’s open house went well and was fun to have ice cream and toppings. I didn’t love doing all this but my daughter wanted it and she’s a great kid. I’m pretty sure my son will want to take a pay off instead. I think people go way too overboard with graduation parties these days. I tried to keep it as simple as possible. I feel the parents must push their graduates to do thank you notes. I’m so surprised at how many don’t do this.”


“Oh man, this is so not my thing & I’ve done it 3 times…mind you I’m frugle & my husband likes to watch our spending…thats not a great mix for a good party. We usually go to our local park, the only disadvantage is you have to be organized with your food & most food prep is at the house. My husband had access to a grill for chicken that can cook over 100 pieces at a time. We do the grilling at the venue. No issues with bathrooms and parking because it’s all there. I have always sent invitations. My invitation list has the following headings: family, friends, teachers, coaches, church friends/youth leaders, parents of your graduates friends & misc when thinking of anyone that played a role at some point in graduates life. We usually display pictures & memorabilia from the 1st 18 years. I suggests going through some of that stuff that helps with the invite list.”


“I ordered invites from shutter fly and dazzle (these are linked above under invites). If you plan ahead a lot of them will offer free cards and you can get some for free. I did ALL of the cooking myself!! I love to do it! I thought of a theme and collected things throughout the whole senior year on clearance. We also used our garage instead of a tent. Hung white sheets all around the walls and I hung white paper lanterns of different sizes from the ceiling. cheap on the oriental trading site.”


Here is what Graduates are saying


“We chose my location at Grand River County Park because my sister had her open house there and we really liked it!! It has a nice kitchen and a good sized air conditioned room with a playground for kids. I invited people through facebook for now, but there will be picture cards as we get closer that I’ll mail out to my family and close family friends. choosing food is hard. I wanted to pick something that I like, as well as a lot of other people so we’re going with pulled pork and pulled chicken from Gordons since you can buy a big amount there. There will be lots of pictures on picture boards, wallet pictures, I want to do something that all the guests can sign or write a note to me on but I haven’t figured out what exactly to do yet. I’m also hoping to have a dessert table as well.”


“I’m probably am going to send out invitations through the mail to school families, church families, and others who dont go to either. We will get food that I like, but that is easy to do in big amounts. Such as a taco bar or stuff like that where there’s individual items that can be filled separately. If that makes sense. Im not sure where we will get it, but because Gordon Food Service has big bulks most likely there. As for fad items all I know is that my mom has a scrapbook that shes hoping to finish and that will be there. Maybe a guest book so I know who to thank for coming. The thought of graduation has scared me. Going out into a bigger world all by myself is unnerving. But even with all my doubts, I know that God will be with me and provide for me. Whenever I think about graduation and what that means, I usually will distract myself with something else. It’s hard to think about for me. But I know I have to, so if I do, I think about how I want to graduate knowing that I have done the best I can. It makes me want to try harder at my school work and get better grades. There is no stopping graduating and moving on in life, so I have to do the best that I can and prepare myself for my future.”



For the month of June I’m offering a one time opportunity to the first 5 2018 Graduates who schedule a session. Click to View the Senior Pricing Guide That’s a $150 off value!


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Some information gathered by The Nest.

A Special thanks to those who participated!

Matthew- Senior at Jenison

Who doesn’t like a kid with a great sarcastic sense of humor. That’s exactly Matthew! besides hanging at the gym he loves to skateboard. We thought it would be a great opportunity to go downtown Grand Rapids and really capture his personality.


Good luck with wrestling this winter Matt!

Sarah and Nate

Meet Sarah and Nate. These two are high school sweet hearts who met three years ago in band class. The two have been dating for two and a half years. They manage a long distant relationship as Nate goes to michigan tech. My favorite thing about high school seniors and students in college is that they can aspire their dreams. Right now Nate is studying to be a mechanical engineer while Sarah continues attending Zeeland High School. Someday Sarah plans to pursue medical school.


With both of them loving to explore the outdoors Rosy Mound Natural Area could not be more perfect.


The two of them  are the best of friends and someday hope to travel Europe and go backpacking.


I loved you first: but afterwards your love,
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? My love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you contrued me
And loved me for what might or might not be—
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine’;
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine’;
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

Christina Georgina Rossetti
Best of Luck to your future guys. I hope someday we meet again!


Kara Twiest- Calhoun Christian Senior

Meet Kara, She’s a Senior at Calhoun Christian in Battle Creek. I met this girl 10 years ago at her brothers’ wedding and I can’t believe she is already a Senior! This girl loves to play volleyball and has the best name in the world. wouldn’t you agree? I think back to when I was this young and having so many possibilities. Deciding on the rest of your future can be scary but so exciting at the same time. Here’s to you Kara and what your future brings girlie!

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Melissa DeGlopper

Meet Melissa. She’s a senior at Jenison. She has the cutest smirk and a big big heart.







See More of this session at Are you interested in scheduling a Senior session? I’d love to hear from you and give you my pricing guide.