Newell Family

When I first met Dawn it was a few years back. Her and I met in one of the most interesting places, the woman’s bathroom of our church. Now before I lose you I must explain that the two of us were dripping with water from head to toe in our clothes. We had just made the plunge and were baptized. I’d say this was a great time to start a friendship.


Kevin met Dawn while they were living in Ohio through mutual friends. The two fell in love and the rest is history. You can see how much fun the two of them have together along with their sweet kids Kyle and Addison.

Recently I learned that Addison loves gymnastics and being the family clown. Kyle has musical talents. Not only does he love Christian hip hop music, he plays the guitar and will be learning to play the trumpet this fall. Both he and his dad love sports.

Dawn loves to binge watch Netflix but has also taken up running. For many of us this isn’t something we just do for fun. She is doing this for a bigger purpose. She is part of a ministry called Hope Water Project. Her along with many others are running in the Grand Rapids marathon to plant wells in Africa. How does this work? Feel free to check out her page here.

Session took place at Grand Ravines North Park in Allendale, MI

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.

Kara Hanes 4

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…


Kara Hanes 2

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!

IMG_8503 copy


Bekkering Kiddos


My dear friend Michelle and I met this past week at Aquinas college where we played with her 3 kids playing hide and seek while smelling the beautiful flowers. I can not believe how much these kids have grown since the last time I saw them. You can see how much energy these cuties have and all the life they are soaking in. feel free to check out more from the session at

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.



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!




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.

Are you interested in scheduling a family session? Bookings available starting in September. Fill out the contact form and receive information on me and my pricing once submitted. No obligations. Not ready yet? No problem. Join the e-mail list, follow me and receive some Instagram freebies!




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.

IMG_8813 copy

Have an event you want documented? Fill out the contact form and immediately receive information and pricing. Not ready? No problem. Stay up to date with what is happening in Kara Hanes Photography by joining the e-mail list.

Hanes (66)


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.

Are you interested in scheduling a family session? Immediately receive information on Kara and her pricing when you fill out a contact form. Not ready to schedule a session? No problem. Join the e-mail list and stay up to date with what’s going on in Kara Hanes Photography.


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.