Kara May Photography Blog bio picture
  • {The Blog}

    Thank you so much for taking a peek and exploring my blog. I’m Kara May, a portrait and commercial fashion photographer living in Mesa, Arizona. Due to a loyal client-base in the Seattle, Washington area, I also travel limited amounts each year. Please inquire about travel rates if you are interested in booking a session with me in your city.

    Throughout this blog I will be posting previews from recent client sessions, featuring the talent of various clothing designers & products in my ‘Designer Spot’, and sharing a little bit about me and my life outside of photo sessions and commercial projects. I have two busy young children and a loving & supportive husband all of whom I mention throughout my blog. My family provides the inspiration and support I need to evolve in my work behind the camera.

    Thanks again for checking out my blog!

    To receive the latest information, promotions and other happenings at Kara May Photography, click here to sign up for my newsletter.

{‘Dream’ Issue of CHIC Magazine}

I’m excited about this month’s Dream Issue of CHIC Magazine.  It’s loaded with beautiful images and detailed articles.  I was flattered when I was asked to contribute with a tutorial on ‘Beautiful Backlighting’.  I love writing (when I have time) especially when its technical writing about photography.  And I love to teach so this was so much fun for me to do. And finally….being in Arizona, I worship the light for photography here and utilize backlighting for most all of my sessions.   If you’re interested in getting a hardcopy or a digital copy of CHIC magazine you can click here to order.  Hope you enjoy it!

BethJanuary 22, 2013 - 7:46 am

Kara, your web design & photography are exquisite! Loved meeting you yesterday!

mugsie5January 19, 2013 - 10:05 am


Vicki CJanuary 18, 2013 - 10:22 pm

I need to read this article. My backlighting images are not crisp at all. So hard to keep my subject in focus when trying to get pretty backlighting. You’re such an inspiration!

Becka Anne DonnerJanuary 18, 2013 - 10:20 pm

Oh wow Kara! I’m sure this article rocks! You have the most beautiful work! I think you should be in every magazine!

LaylaJanuary 18, 2013 - 10:15 pm

Beautiful images! I didn’t know about this magazine. I will be going to the link and ordering my copy ASAP! EXCITED! Always a pleasure to see your work Kara <3 Layla with Blue Sky

{Vintage Crown}

I love crowns, especially vintage crowns.  When TJF Designs , creator of ‘Confessions of a Prop Junkie’ asked me to work with her on this stunning crown, I was ecstatic!  My mind started racing and I was getting so inspired from this one amazing little crown.  I thought about what I wanted to do.  And for some reason I do my best thinking last minute (literally) when it all comes together.  My mom made Brielle the gorgeous red cloak and Brielle really wanted to wear her new converse boots.  So I added them in to the pile of things to bring to the shoot and gathered a few more things…a tutu, cute lacy leggings, a brush and some hair spray.  Then we raced to the site with the last available amount of light and I feel in love with the scene that Brielle created with those new crazy boots and brilliant vintage crown.  You can find some amazing props and unique, beautiful crowns on Tabitha’s website.  She also has a Facebook Fan Page where she posts recent items added to her store as well as sales and promotions and other business happenings.

KatieFebruary 4, 2013 - 9:18 pm

WOW!!! This is unreal!! Very beautiful and motivating to other photographers..

HallieJanuary 11, 2013 - 3:00 pm

The black and whites are phenomenal!! Awesome work as always!! Brielle is such a gorgeous girl!!

Becka Anne DonnerJanuary 11, 2013 - 1:29 pm

Wow, wow, wow, wow! Love everything about these. I want this whole outfit for my daughter.

Kat GambleJanuary 11, 2013 - 12:00 pm

Get out!! This is a dream session. I’m always left so inspired by your posts and your music. Simply want to stay here a while now. Keep posting please.

LaneyJanuary 11, 2013 - 11:56 am

Flippin amazing!! Pure utter inspiration.

{Bloom Basics Workshop is back} Registration OPEN now!

Stephanie Moore and I are back!  Due to popular demand we are doing another ‘Bloom Basics’, on-line, 3 week course!  We’re so excited!  Registration is a first come first serve.  Seats are limited so reserve yours before it fills up.  If you’re a Bloom Forum Member head over to the forum and sign up.  If you’re not a member you can sign up here.  Please let me know if you have any questions at all.  That’s what I’m here for and no question is a silly question.  Looking forward to meeting you all!

Unsure if this is for you?  Check out what some former ‘Bloom Basics’ students have to say about the course {see the bottom of this post}.

Sample work of former Bloom Basics Workshop attendees.  

Here’s what some of them had to say:

I can’t say enough good things about the Bloom Basics photography course taught by Kara May and Stephanie Moore.  When I started the class, I was a true novice and hadn’t operated my camera on anything more than “auto”.  At the conclusion, I could not only take pictures in manual mode with so much more confidence than I expected, but I could also edit in Photoshop.  I’m able to adjust f-stop, exposure, and shutter speed while taking into consideration lighting and surroundings.  Kara and Stephanie encourage participation and are so helpful in all aspects of the learning process.  Their lessons included many videos so that we could also “see” how things are done, which is very helpful.  They would even answer individual questions with a personal video if you were struggling with some concept.  The class was so much fun, that I didn’t want it to end and I am looking forward to the next class that I can take:)

-Kathy K.


Bloom basics was such a great workshop for me. Stephanie and Kara were amazing instructors. The daily lessons were very easy to follow and then throughout the day and weeks they were frequently on the forum to explain, answer questions, and show examples. They were very available through out the course of the workshop. When I started this workshop I was always shooting in automatic. Now I am shooting in manual and understanding the triangle to doing it!

- Amy P.


I absolutely LOVED the Bloom Basics workshop – the material was presented in a clear way and it built on itself everyday. Even though I read several books about exposure and practiced on my own prior to – it really clicked in the first few days of the workshop. Steph and Kara were amazing – so supportive and ensuring that all questions were answered thoroughly. I learned so much and am so thankful for the experience.

- Sharyn B.


With no hesitation, I can say that Bloom Basics with Stephanie and Kara was life changing for me and for my photography! I was able to learn SO much about the world of photography in such a short time and am forever thankful. Before taking the course, I knew how to shoot in manual, but didn’t completely understand all the concepts associated with shooting in manual and never felt proud of my images. Thanks to the detailed lessons and active instructors, I now fully understand the exposure triangle, have learned what terms like “metering” and “composition” actually mean and feel confident shooting both inside AND outside (even in full sun!). Kara and Stephanie offered such valuable feedback – critiques were honest and helpful EVERY time. I cannot rave enough about both of these talented and caring instructors. What an amazing opportunity for me to have been taught by such wonderful women and photographers! If you are wanting to improve your pictures and experience an amazing opportunity, sign up fast! I wanted to share a shot I have recently taken to document how beneficial this course truly is.

-Katie P


I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your workshop.  I was on the fence about the commitment, since I have two little ones at home and rarely find time to do much of ANYthing for myself.  But was so glad I went with my gut and signed up!  I have had a DSLR since the birth of my first child three years ago, but was never able to find the time to sit down and learn how to shoot in manual.  My photos were just “meh” and I needed someone to just teach me the basic basics to get out of the snapshot rut.  I am definitely one that learns by seeing AND doing, with lots of practice in between, so reading books never really worked when trying to learn a new skill.  Your videos were extremely helpful and the way the class was set up was very easy to follow.   I was able to pop on when I could, as often as my daily schedule could allow.   You were both very good about responding to all our questions very quickly and presented material in a simple, yet very effective way.  But the talent you each have and brought to the class is unbelievable and I feel honored that you shared your tips, tricks and secrets with us!  I have been diligent about practicing since our class ended and have even started a photo project for 2013!  Even well before the workshop was over, I received compliments on the photos that I published on facebook or shared with family.  I feel like I have only scratched the surface, but can thank you for inspiring me and encouraging my enthusiasm for this beautiful art!  And one that allows me to capture precious moments and memories of my family and loved ones along the way.  It really has opened a door and changed the way I see things.  Thank you so much for this wonderful gift!!!

- Brita S.


I loved this online course! Stephanie and Kara were amazing at teaching us “newbies” the proper way to shoot in manual. Their material was to the point and so easy to learn. Often they answered our questions in a videos that would end up benefitting all of us. Their videos are very simple to follow along. When I first started this course I had ZERO experience using my camera in Manuel mode… now that’s ALL I use. I would definitely recommend this. It’s worth every penny!!

- Vanessa A.


Carrie HiggsJanuary 9, 2013 - 3:18 pm

Oh I know this is going to be amazing. Anything you do Kara is top notch awesome!!!

Laney IJanuary 9, 2013 - 3:11 pm

So badly want to learn from you. You’re a true inspiration. Need my SLR camera first, then this will be first thing in my list to do if you offer it again. Wish I had a camera in time for this one. :(

What ______ looks like! December {summarized}

I’m so excited that I was asked to be a part of this amazing group of ladies doing this great monthly project.  So what is this project?  As busy moms and photography business owners we don’t take enough time to document our own families lives.  This project is dedicated to our families, our lives, our passions and whatever makes us happy.  So each month we will be posting ‘What_____ looks like’.  And in the blank we can fill it with whatever we want, it could be our family, it could be the daily things that make us happy, it could be objects.  The options are endless and with that comes a unique spin on what each photographer shares.  At the end of this post I’ll share the link of another talented photographer in this group from there you can click through to complete the circle.

For this first post I decided to recap some of December.  As we all know, December is a very busy month for everyone.  It’s full of parties, celebrations, decorations, twinkling lights, family, baking (which I admit right now, I didn’t do nearly enough of …not a single loaf of eggnog bread this year), late nights, trips to the post office, eggnog and other fun libations, etc.  I didn’t photograph near what I had hoped to this year but I was needing a breather from my camera after busy season.

Here’s a little taste of Christmas at our house:

The kids doing homework by the light of the tree  Instagram pic (below)

A little comp of Christmas from my Instagram feed also

Our very messy Gingerbread houses.  The kids were soooo proud of them.  I laughed (inside) at their final product.  They also made trains and a fire pit.  Can you find the fire pit?    I love their creative mess.  So much fun!!

A little blast from the past mixed with this years photo with Santa when we did the ‘North Pole Experience’.  I LOVE looking at old Santa pics. And Brielle was so entertaining in these.  This years Santa was the scariest and she was her happiest. 

Brielle, Grandma May and me at Brielle’s class play ‘The Gingerbread Man’ .  This is the first time B had a gingerbread cookie .  She decided she liked decorating it more than eating it {not her favorite}.

Brielle spent 3 weeks of December sick.  She had strep throat and pneumonia!  Poor girl.

And we had an elf.  Like many of you this little guy stayed at our house for the month.  This was a night off  for me so when I saw what the elf was doing the next morning….I just shook my head.   Jeff.  All I can say is, Jeff.

Our neighborhood is amazing.  Have I mentioned that before?  This is our first time celebrating Christmas in this house and our neighbors invited us to their tradition of having everyone over on Christmas Eve for food, libations, friends, cheer and Santa!  Santa came in with a HUGE red bag full of gifts for the 20+ kids that were there.  Each child got Christmas PJ’s from Santa as well as a toy.  Seriously?!!  Yes, it was a blast!  Such a great night and so magical and fun for the kids. We have the most amazing neighborhood!

This year Brielle and Tyler handed out ALL of the presents while Jeff and I sat and soaked it all in, just in aw that our kids were growing up and so mature and sweet about making sure everyone had a gift and watching each other open presents.  

The day after Christmas we headed to Seattle to see my family.   The kids were greeted by excited cousins.  And the playing and bonding lasted the whole trip.  This photo was taken just before saying good-bye.  They had a great time with their cousins, Grandma & Grandpa.  

We arrived home on New Year’s Eve. We were a little under the weather so we had to cancel our plans with friends and just laid low at home.  We spent the evening pulling out most every game we had.  Then the kids got this 1,000 piece puzzle out.  The kids helped for about 30 minutes then they realized it was more fun to play under the table than help with the puzzle.  At 9pm we all read books.  The kids wanted to stay up till midnight so bad.  So we told them they could read quietly till midnight knowing they would fall asleep.  At 11 I went to check on them.  Brielle was out and Ty was still reading.  Groggy eyed he said excitedly,’ It’s almost midnight.’  We all read together for the last hour and tried to get Brielle up but she was out!   We promised Ty we’d toast with eggnogg at midnight if he made it.  And that’s just what we did.  He was soooooo sweetly proud of himself for making it to see the ball drop.  Love his sweet spirit.  So this was our December – summarized. 

Now click though to Stacey Woods | Clearwater Family Photographer and see what she’s posting about.  I’m excited to see myself.

julesJanuary 13, 2013 - 9:27 pm

I totally agree with shalonda … these look straight out of a glossy, beautiful magazine. your home and your children are gorgeous! what perfect traditions and memories you have captured for them.

Julie KitnerJanuary 8, 2013 - 7:44 pm

Wow, I love your photography. I’ve been following you for a while and it’s a treat coming to your blog. Keep posting you have so many followers that love to see your work.

Shelley BanksJanuary 8, 2013 - 6:13 pm

Love your tree! All the details are so beautiful!

Shelley BanksJanuary 8, 2013 - 6:11 pm

Love, love, love your tree!

leahJanuary 8, 2013 - 12:36 pm

what a gorgeous holiday you had! super fun family memories. yes, those santa photos are priceless!

Lindsey BergstromJanuary 7, 2013 - 8:51 pm

so glad to have you in the group…what memories of christmas. I love the one of your son and daughter together with her arm around his neck. casual and beautiful. I also so wish I could have helped with those gingerbread houses…they are fantastic. looking forward to seeing next month!

Sarah cJanuary 7, 2013 - 7:48 pm

I am soooooo happy you are in this group! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adore your work and look forward to meeting you in Seattle! I’m so glad your princess is feeling better too! You have such a beautiful home in every sense! Such a gorgeous collection of images!!!

Carrie HiggsJanuary 7, 2013 - 5:32 pm


Summer MurdockJanuary 7, 2013 - 5:31 pm

Those first two images of the glitter and lights…I love. Looks like Christmas morning was awesome at your house…those awesome jammies…love it

Carrie HiggsJanuary 7, 2013 - 5:28 pm

Ah-maz-ing! I love getting a peek into your beautiful world Kara! I love what you’ve captured and I like the lifestyle feel of these! Just beautiful!!

Looks like you had such a beautiful Holiday this year. I love all your decor and your kids look so happy. Glad you joined us this year, I love anything we get to do together ;)

shalondaJanuary 7, 2013 - 2:59 pm

kara your house, your christmas, your beautiful family, heck your life is straight out of a wonderfully gorgeous and perfectly styled magazine…I ADORE IT!!!!! digging the whcc boxes, funny i toss the tootsie pops and keep the boxes this time of the year for wrapping too hahahaha so excited to get to know you more in this group hun xoxo

shannon sewellJanuary 7, 2013 - 2:33 pm

so lovely… making me wish i had my decorations back up ;) and someway, somehow i must get my hands on your gorgeous kiddos and get them in front of my camera.
so excited to be a part of this group- totally inspired :)

Jenny CrugerJanuary 7, 2013 - 2:32 pm

How fun! I loved seeing your family’s Christmas and those PJs are awesome!

TeresaJanuary 7, 2013 - 1:23 pm

Love these!! I wish I had taken more pictures this December! Oh, and the WHCC box on the couch made me giggle. Most of my presents are wrapped in those :)

monica reidJanuary 7, 2013 - 12:48 pm

OH How I need/want to do this thanks for inspiring me!! I love you work been a fan for years! you kids and your family are just gorgeous!! I’m also wanting your living room space SO gorge!

brendaJanuary 7, 2013 - 12:47 pm

could your tree and house be any more gorgeous Kara? I love having a sneak peek of your life and home. And of course you kids are just as gorgeous as ever!!

Stacey WoodsJanuary 7, 2013 - 12:11 pm

These feel so elegant, joyful, peaceful. And your new home is gorgeous! You are blessed, Kara. I especially love the bed-head, sleepy-sweet Christmas morning images, and the “scary” Santa/Elf photos are hilarious. Oh what fun, right? ;) It’s such an honor to have you join us. Happy New Year to you!! xo

amy graceJanuary 7, 2013 - 11:41 am

kara, i love your big and beautiful life. it’s wonderful to see all of the traditions you and your gorgeous family are continuing and starting new. how fun to see the santa pictures side by side, and a family one thrown in :) happy new year to you. i so look forward to getting to know you and your work better in these coming months xoxo

[...] a new year and I’d love to include something fun that I was inspired by fellow photographer, Kara May Photography. She is fabulous and loved her “What______ Looks Like” an inspiring blog post to capture [...]