MINI SESSIONS

What do you think of when you hear Mini Session? Are you thinking– “affordable, quick, small?” Here in West, Michigan there are all sorts of photographers that pop up letting you know they are offering Mini Sessions. A lot of time this will happen in the busiest season, fall. It’s a great way for photographers to push their clients through quickly. However, it’s a lot of work on our end (The photographer). Yeah we get a fast buck but then we’re spending several hours behind our screens trying to work with what we got in a small amount of time behind the lens.

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Everyone is different and if Mini Sessions are for you, great! If not that’s fine too. Let me tell you why I don’t do Mini Sessions with my family. Days or even weeks before a session I spend time picking out the perfect coordinating outfits. Stressing over whether or not I’ll look good in a certain color or if my kids complain about wearing a specific shirt because it might be itchy. Just when I think I have everything picked out, our family shows up to where we need to be, and then the photographer has maybe 20 minutes to capture who we are and in the best light. Now I believe that some photographers are great at this but if we have one kid that’s in a bad mood, then our entire session is ruined. I’ve felt defeated, stressed, and all around sad. I spend time apologizing to the photographer and then I beat myself up over how I could have prepared my family better. Has this happened to you? Maybe it wasn’t someone’s mood, maybe it was the weather. It was too cold, or it started to rain. Whatever it is, you’re feeling rushed. Does any of this sound familiar?

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(The million dollar shot right here)

I have been guilty of doing Mini Sessions for Kara Hanes Photography but I’ve decided that this is no longer something I value as a photographer. I want to spend time getting to know you, talking with you, finding out what makes you smile because your husband just looked at you a certain way. Maybe it’s Your kid deciding to show their happy emotions a little more because after 20 minutes, they finally think “huh, this lady is actually ok, maybe I’ll smile, grin, or show my personality a bit”. Or maybe it’s been a while and we need to catch up. Whatever it may be, I’m all about getting to know one another and less about being “that lady that pointed a camera in my face”. What do you think? Should we become friends? If your answer is yes then I can’t wait to meet you!

(Making memories with the Koetje Family. There wasn’t any rain on the radar and then all of a sudden it started to pour- waited it out for 20 minutes)

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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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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 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. 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.

      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.

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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.

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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Huisinga Family

Did you know penguins and humans have a lot in common when it comes to marriage and relationships. They fall in love and present a special gift to one another… a pebble. Not just any pebble but one that is just perfect. You may be wondering… Why I’m telling you about penguins? Well Mandy reminded me of this type of love story as I talked with her and John I got to know their’s a little bit. They were both married back when big hair was really in and photography was way different. Remember when you would wait weeks at a time to develop your photos? Well time has changed over the years and John and Mandy have added to the family since. Meet Patrick, Asher and Gabriella. Much like penguins the Huisingas love to be around family and friends and dearly love their children.

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Did you know that once two penguins meet that stay together forever?

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After 6 years it was time to update their memories and I’m honored that I got to help tell their story.

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Something you may not know is that this past Saturday they had held a family election where even the dog had a say in the matter. With today being election day it’s only fitting to announce to you publicly that Madam President Gabriella had won. I do wonder what her first political family move will be… Either way, isn’t she just the cutest?

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