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17 years ago I needed a job. It was the summer vacation of my junior year in high school and my aunt and uncle offered to let me watch my cousin who was only a couple months old at the time. It was that summer that I never knew that could change the trajectory of mine and my cousin’s relationship. I would do little photoshoots on my film camera, I’d crochet little scarves and hats for her– A lot of the time I was watching Dawson’s Creek reruns because let’s face it, babies sleep a lot. Regardless I got to spend a lot of time with her watching her grow and develop new skills.

Fast forward to now. I didn’t even imagine how our relationship would evolve. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Katelyn is my cousin! Over the past 17 years she has been my flower girl, my mentee, and most recently a KH senior. She’s a cheerleader, member of the National Honor Society and Student Council, and she’s the most selfless person I know. If you’ve had the privilege to know Katelyn it would be no surprise to you that she wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sensitive, caring and the most loyal friend.

As she enters her senior year I pray that she continues to find herself and know who she is. College is not far off and I know that she’ll do amazing things. Here’s to you Katelyn. Love you girl!


I’d love for you to leave a comment for Katelyn or maybe a piece of advice as she enters this last year of high school. Once we reach 25 posts I’ll be gifting her an 8″x10″ print of her favorite portrait from this session.

Locations: Grand Rapids (downtown)

Millennium Park the meadows // the downtown market //The JW Marriott Parking ramp // American Storage Logistics.

Locations: Holland, MI

Alpen Rose Restaurant pathway // Anchorage Marina & Yacht Club // Holland State Park

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Katelyn Smith

Photographer, Educator, and Mentor Kara Hanes is sharing the good, the bad, and the beautiful parts about running a photography business. Enjoy coffee and conversation as she dives into everyday life as a business owner and photographer. Listen to guests talk about the industry as you learn from Kara's experiences. Whether you're listening in your car, on a walk with your dog, or deep into your photography editing rabbit hole, let's dive into some light and airy conversations from photographers about every day life.

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI  WEDDING AND SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER