are good at stylizing shoots.
have perfect little models built right into their family.
are kind and helpful and willing to share.
Thank you to Kara May Photography for taking time
to share with us!
You are a California girl originally, so how did you end up in Arizona?
I grew up in a military family (my father was a Navy Doctor) so we moved around a lot. I was born in Pocatello, Idaho and moved to Southern California when I was 3 years old. I was in California (up and down the coast) through High School.
But I attended college in Washington and later got a job in Downtown Seattle, where I met my husband. With his job we moved to South Carolina in 2006 and soaked up small town southern living for 3 years. It was a fun adventure and we met so many great people.
But life had us on the move again. With the banking industry going sour Jeff left the industry and got a job in the only state I requested HE not apply in. LOL.
It was too good to pass up so that’s what brought us to the Phoenix Valley. Jeff’s parents are here so that has been a blessing and the desert is growing on me, thankfully.
I love the ocean, the smell of the salty water so I miss being in Carlsbad, Southern Cali. Luckily, it’s driving distance from AZ and I have some great friends and clients there.
Seattle has so much! I love the culture, the diversity, the many things to do downtown and many of my friends and family. South Carolina was beautiful, quiet, slower-paced and peaceful.
I miss antique shopping there– it’s the best I’ve ever seen!! I miss the many abandoned barns, homes and farms that I could explore. I also miss the friends we made and my loyal clients there, who still e-mail me, making me smile. Lastly, the desert….I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the light.
At first it was a bit of a curse since it was so different from any of the light I’d ever photographed in before. I also love the people here. I’ve met so many great families and formed so many wonderful friendships here. Also, the photographer community has been very warm so I’ve developed great connections with my peers here.
I’m kind of a lighting snob, lol. But seriously I’m very picky about locations because of the light. If the light isn’t great, I avoid those locations. I look for light that streams through hair and envelops my subject. I love hazy warm light. I choose locations that most people would dismiss – there’s nothing really special about them (or so it seems). But to me, it’s about the light and not necessarily the setting.
I began my business in 2004. After I left my corporate job with Microsoft to be a stay at home mom, I needed something for me.
Dealing with financial statements, SEC regulations, and time critical pressures really suppressed my creativity. I didn’t have time for a creative outlet so all creativity went into hibernation. When I had a few months to spend with my newborn son and not be pressured by deadlines my creativity resurfaced. And my passion for photography resurfaced after I dusted of my 35mm Nikon and became reacquainted with it’s possibilities.
Oh gosh, there’s so much I love about it! I think what I love most is interpreting life and moments the way I see it. Making the simplest things pretty. Capturing my family and kids in everyday moments that I’ll cherish forever. Preserving moments and chapters in my client’s life that they’ll now have forever.
Your puppy is named August (and might be the cutest doggy in all of Arizona : ) tell us the story of his name.
This question makes me giggle. I adore our little August! I’ve always loved the name August for a boy. We adopted our little fur ball in the month of August, so it was fitting. His full name is August Saturday May. We got him on a Saturday and of course our last name is May but he was also born in May so it all just makes silly sense.
Dreamhost hosts both my blog and my main site. I have a pro-photo blog. I wanted a blog that I could easily customize. I’m actually in the process of re-branding myself since I’ve had the same logo and look for 3 years.
So I’m going to be changing the look soon. Jared, at ProPhoto has been amazing to work with. I’m not an extremely techi person so Jared has been gracious with answering questions, and helping me with any issues I’ve encountered with my blog.
I think a blog presence is very important. It’s more important than a website for marketing and staying connected. My blog allows me to share my recent work, things that inspire, my thoughts behind the images I take. It’s my small voice and little space in the huge virtual world.
It really fluctuates. I try to blog at least once a week but there are times when more time passes (usually when my business is crazy – I think I need an assistant during these times lol).
In the beginning of my business I shot every day. Now I shoot prob 4 to 5 days a week. If more than 2 days go by and I haven’t picked up my camera, I get restless and have to photograph. I love photographing the little things when I’m just shooting for myself.
I make a lot of my actions since I haven’t found a set that is ‘me’. But there are so many great actions out there!
If you were telling someone to get their very first action or set of actions, where would you tell them to start?
I love the look of natural light – it’s real and soft and ample in the desert. J I like studio lighting because you can manipulate the lights to get the look you want, soft & clean or sharp & dramatic. I would love to play more with studio lighting but I’m spoiled in Arizona with the amount of natural light – even in the sizzling heat of the summer. The light just begs to be used out here in the desert.
I purchased my studio lighting about 5 years ago – I get it out about 4 times a year and use it on select commercial work, for parties with a photo booth at our house, and on location at a clients home. It’s not a primary part of my business but it’s been a good supplement to the variety in my images.
Do your kids get tired of being in pictures? Tell us how you bribe...I mean, work with them to get them to model : ).
LOL – love this question. My kids used to be really hard to capture in front of the camera. As they’ve grown up they’ve learned to love it. Whenever I ask Brielle if she’s up for a photo shoot, 9 times out of 10 she’s giddy with excitement. Bribery works during times when I really need to photograph commercial work – and all it takes is money. Both kids work amazingly for $. It could be as little as $2. It’s magic!
Well I’m addicted right now to Pandora – The Freshman Radio, where my favorite artists are played: Regina Spektor, Rachel Diggs, Adele, A Fine Frenzy, Kate Nash, Ida Maria, Lily Allen and Ellie Goulding. Sometimes when I need to stop working and go to bed, I’m kept at my computer inspired and reeled in by every song I hear. It’s always, "After this song is over I’ll shut down for the night"….11 songs later I’m saying the same thing. ;o)
I wish I had more time to read fellow photographers blogs. There are so many wonderful blogs to be read. I try to visit loyal blog reader’s blogs, pop in and say hi when I can. But for inspiration I look through Magazines, and I’m addicted to Pinterest. When I’m tired, I pin. When I need a work break, I pin. Just before bed, I pin. On my phone when I’m bored, I pin. My husband thinks I need a support group for pinning addicts. He may be right.
Kara, your blog is wonderful because it is different. While many bloggers and photographers seek out a certain niche, you embrace many aspects of life on your blog, and it works beautifully. What made you decide to be different than everyone else? (Maybe you could talk about how you intersperse fashion, sessions and family equally throughout the posts.)
Thank you, I’m glad others see it as unique. My blog encompasses what makes me tick, what I like, what’s happening in my life now, and what I’m working on. So I touch on fashion, my personal life, random posts and client sessions. Since my business is based on life, memories, children & families; I touch on all of those aspects in my own house. I’m a business owner, and a real person too, so I share personal, non-business related moments on my blog as well as business related posts.
It’s funny you ask, I have a photographer friend that lives in the icy state of Alaska and we’ve chatted about how dark it is during the winter and how we find peace and calmness in the darkness. Unlike most people, I come alive in dark & gloomy (strange I know). I think the stillness gets my brain going, that’s why I can’t fall asleep easily at night.
I would definitely have to have a studio and perfect every aspect of studio lighting. I would love to visit Alaska, maybe someday. Seattle, even though it’s not like Alaska, was darker in the winter than any other state I’ve lived in and I loved it. It would get dark by 4:30 in the winter but in the summers it would stay light till 10 pm. It was challenging for me starting my business there and if I still lived there, I think I would need to lease some space for a studio.
The lens I use most is my 24-70 L 2.8 lens. I’m a zoom girl – I just can’t get used to a fixed focal length even though I know the images are sharper and better SOOC in a fixed lens.
Because you do so many shoots for clothing, your Brielle has to be the best dressed 5 year old around. Do you love that? : )
Ha, I love the clothing that Brielle gets from the talented designers I work with. Jeff fears her teen years with her addiction to these wonderful, unique clothing lines.
I have yet to get rid of any that she’s grown out of. I will be selling/donating ones that are too small for her shortly just trying to figure out the best way to do that. Any suggestions? I’d love them ;o)
She picks out most of her clothes and definitely has her favorites. If I get into her room in time in the morning I can pick them out for her. She likes to wear winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter. She’s entertaining.
Tell me about your dream shoot. Where are you? Who is with you? What are you shooting?
Oh wow. My dream shoot. I think it would be documentary in nature. A little different for me. But I would want it to be a shoot that told a true story about life, struggle, endurance and strength.
It would be just me and my subjects; with a lighting crew available as needed. It would BE a shoot spanning several years. I’m envisioning something historic, something forgotten, and something that’s a little taboo. I can’t put my finger on what that would be but I think it’s a story of someone’s life.
Delving and documenting aspects of anguish, joy, heartache, peace, resolution and raw realness. Have I lost you yet? This is what my mind does at night when I’m trying to sleep – churns, imagines, thinks about these things and doesn’t rest. ;o)