DeBlaay Family


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

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Hudson VandenBerg

One of my most favorite things to photograph are newborn babies. This past week I met 4 day old Hudson. Both Hudson’s mom and I go way back. Her and I are both Grandville Alumni (Go Bulldogs!) and recently worked together for a year. When I found out she was pregnant with their second child I was beyond excited (mostly because they have one other fun, adorable boy already).

Dave and Emile VandenBerg along with their son, Welsey welcomed baby boy , Hudson John VandenBerg on April 10th 2017 at 10:55am weighing 6lbs 4oz. with a length of  19.5in. When Emile told me that her favorite thing Hudson did was make faces I knew exactly why in just minutes. This little guys has some adorable expressions. I’d love for you to take a peek and see more from last week’s session.

More photos at Feel free to check them out.

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Should I do a first look?

So, what is a first look anyways? Good, I’m glad you asked. It’s a time for a groom and bride to see one another before the wedding day takes over. Whoa, what? He sees her before she walks down the aisle… that’s crazy talk. No, no, actually it isn’t. Here’s why you should consider doing a first look on that wedding day of yours.


1.) You won’t waste your wedding day hiding from one another. No, serious, I won’t have to hold up a sheet to hide you when you need to use the restroom. We won’t shove your groom into a coat closet to avoid seeing you and you won’t waste precious hours of your wedding day avoiding the person you’re about to spend the rest of your life with. Oh, you think I’m kidding? Why would you want to spend so many hours avoiding each other? Your wedding day is fleeting. Don’t wait until 4pm to get the party started. If you do a first look, you’ll get to spend more precious moments together and you won’t have to hide in a coat closet.

2.) This might be your only chance to be alone together all day. What? You think you’ll get oodles of alone time to bask in the fact that your wedding day is here? Think again. You are going to be documented, surrounded, and consumed with guests, wedding party, vendors, and everyone in between. When will you be able to pull away and just bask in the fact that you are a bride and he is a groom and today you are saying “I do.” When I shoot first looks, I set things up to help the photographic opportunities rock, then I step back and give you a few minutes alone. Whether you talk about what you ate for lunch, cry tears of joy, and make sure your fiancé brushed his teeth is up to you but doesn’t a few minutes alone sound pretty amazing? I think so, too!

3.) It’s take the pressure off. Let’s be honest, men are visual but they could care less about what designer made your dress. Chances are, you are swearing you won’t be nervous on your wedding day. I’m here to call your bluff. It doesn’t mean you are nervous about the actual marriage, it just means you are anxious about making sure the day goes smoothly. Let me tell you this secret: nothing, I mean nothing, will ever take away from the moment when you are walking down the aisle. Your husband won’t be inspecting if you have French or English lace, they won’t care if you went mermaid or trumpet on your dress, they won’t be complimenting the perfect peony arrangement, they will be staring into your eyes. I promise you this, I have never had a first look take away from that moment. If anything, it enhances it because the dude isn’t trying to take in every little detail you’ve been talking about for the last year, he is just basking in the fact that you are his and he is yours. Seeing one another before the ceremony takes the pressure off, gives you time to react, spin, laugh, cry, and hug without a few hundred people watching it happen. Seriously, just think about that.

4.) It’ll ease up your schedule so you can do things like drink a cocktail during your cocktail hour. If they have planned it and they are paying for it, you better believe they will get to sip on their signature cocktail if I have anything to say about it. When you do a first look, you allow time for a lot of the necessary photos to be taken prior to the ceremony. These include: wedding party images, family portraits, and pictures of the two of you. This also allows your wedding party to not feel like the entire time they could be drinking cocktails turned into a photo shoot and it gets you to your cocktail hour so you can spend some quality time with the people who are at your wedding to support you and love you. I mean, there’s nothing worse than an absent bride and groom at their own party. Your wedding day isn’t a photo shoot, it’s a living, breathing phenomenon that just happens to be captured.

5.) You get more portraits on your wedding day! Traditions hold a place in your wedding day, but are you really superstitious. I think the reason most people are afraid of first looks is the fear that they will lose the reaction. We think of all of our girlfriends swooning from the pews as our groom gets choked up, maybe sheds a tear or two, but isn’t that a private moment you want to have to yourself? No, first look I have ever done has made the reaction less exciting. If you do a first look, you will get more portraits of the two of you on your wedding day (trust me, those are the ones you frame!) It breaks up the photos on your wedding day but it also allows you to maximize the time spent with your photographer. Photography is an investment, why not get the biggest bang for your buck? It also helps make your day not feel like a giant photo shoot because it breaks up your photos more and gives you more time to just be present and enjoy the moments without feeling like you need to pose, pose, pose. This isn’t America’s Next Top Model, this is your wedding day. Relax, let things happen, and get even more photos to help you remember every moment.


I know, I know, you thought it was SO romantic when your groom told you he didn’t want to see you until that major aisle moment, but the truth is the tradition of not seeing one another dates back to the days of arranged marriages, when people were fearful if they saw one another before the ceremony, it would offer them a chance to back out and change their minds. You’re not having an arranged marriage, right? Whew. Now that that’s settled, I love to talk to clients about this, I love to share our own wedding day experience, I love to tell the tales of first looks and beautiful days and easy schedules. If you want to talk more about this, holler at your girl but I beg you, plead with you, to at least consider. It isn’t for everyone, but it does work for so many. I have never, ever had a couple regret it… ever. So, should you do a first look? You know how I feel! Did you do a first look? Comment below and tell me about your experience and if you’d recommend it!


Based off the words of entrepreneur Jenna Kutcher

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Michigan Girl- Alpine Motor Lodge

Hey Guys, Let me tell you how much I love Michigan. I’ve traveled around but there is something about that moment you hit the boarder that you just feel like you’re home. As Tim Allen says, “You find yourself in the magic and moments of Pure Michigan” Recently I stayed with my good friend, Tonya and her husband Kevin who run a motel in Onekama called The Alpine Motor Lodge. This place is quaint and perfect for those who love to fish or see the sights. You’ll find that it’s the perfect place just between Ludington and Traverse City. Not to mention the two most amazing people who are there to greet you!

Meet Kevin and Tonya!




Beautiful Downtown Manistee only a few miles away.