So there's this girl that I spend a lot of my time with and I'm super excited to introduce her to everyone. Kara(pronounced Car-a)! Some of you may have already been lucky enough to meet her while she's had her hands full carrying equipment and assisting me at a wedding or portrait session, but there's a lot more this girl can and does do to help keep Andrea Mae Photography running smoothly. I met Kara in 2013 at the Amour Affair in Henderson. She was very pregnant and searching for a newborn photographer. I had just ventured out on my own and happened to be promoting my new business at the event. We exchanged information and she booked a session pending the arrival of her first child. The studio wasn't up and running yet so when little Eliza made her appearance I made a house call and set up shop in the family living room. Kara and I had an instant rapport, she was easy and fun to work with, and I think it's safe to say we enjoyed each other's company. Our relationship has gone through quite an evolution since that first meeting back in February of 2013. She has been a fabulous client, a dear friend, caretaker to my son Will, consultant to my business, and now I am very pleased to announce Kara Olson as my assistant.
The year of 2015 was a challenging one for me. Being a small business owner with a growing client base kept me extremely busy, this was definitely not a negative issue - it was exactly what I wanted! However, throw in the role of being a fairly new mom and I was struggling. Both roles are hard enough in their own rights but pair the two and the stress of trying to manage both successfully hardly seemed worth the effort. For a moment I seriously considered putting my dream job on hold to raise our son. Queue: Kara!
Kara has a large and dynamic extended family that is very important to her. Her home reflects the importance of family as well as her love of photography and design. Capturing and displaying family portraits is very important to Kara, making her my ideal client, and she also recognizes it as a fabulous way to document her families growth and changes through the years. In the few short years I have known Kara, she and her husband Nate have had 2 girls, Eliza and Anja, and I have had the pleasure of documenting that growth. During photo sessions for her own family, she would scheme up beautiful sets which morphed into set design for other upcoming shoots I had. I would consult her for design ideas regarding a mini session or a customized theme that was specially requested by a client. In true Kara fashion, she would often say to me "don't spend the money on that prop, banner, or accessory, I can make it." She is unbelievably creative and resourceful which is very beneficial to a small business owner like myself. To our husbands' dismay, we have spent more hours than we can count at Hobby Lobby, returning home with bags of stuff that fill the kitchen table and the craft projects that follow. We have certainly become an unstoppable team when it comes to customized set design and themed sets. If you can dream it, we can create and design it!
Beyond set design, Kara has helped me take Andrea Mae Photography to the next level. We've spent many hours refining my business processes, creating goals for future growth of my business, and revamping/refining my brand. I've mentioned before that being a decision maker is not my strong suit; with Kara in my back pocket, I have been able to push my business towards new heights because of her encouragement and logic to fall back on when doubts or difficult decisions arise. She has been an invaluable part of the growth and changes you may have noticed in the past year.
Kara's number one job and passion is being a stay at home mom. She is a remarkable mother and caretaker that always puts her family first. Before she was a stay at home mother she had a career in the healthcare field as a medical technician working with critically ill patients in a large hospital. I've had the pleasure of seeing Kara in this light on just one occasion and was blown away at her attentiveness and ability to accommodate someone who was struggling. She is clearly a people person and helper whenever possible. These qualities serve as a benefit to being a wonderful assistant when working with clients as she can easily interact and assist with everyone, young and old.
When we are in the studio you might catch Kara drinking coffee (a lot of coffee), something she attributes to her Scandinavian heritage and her lack of sleep from having young children. She might be working on a new set design or preparing orders to be finalized and sent out, helping me with editing a session, or assisting with writing a blog post. She's obviously great with littles, so I often ask her to assist in family sessions and her job is to occupy the kids while I get the adults posed. She is often just over my shoulder coaxing smiles and laughter out of people with her silly antics or making sure those pesky stray hairs are out of people's eyes and straightening a client's clothing so it looks flawless. Her eye for detail is very helpful and although it may be a bit nit-picky it helps to create wonderful images. Beyond those tasks, she also carries a camera or two and is becoming a talented photographer in her own right. She has assisted me with quite a few weddings and other shoots and has the creative vision and potential to be an exceptional photographer. She is starting accept portrait sessions of her own, through my business, if I am unavailable for a specific date that has been requested by a client.
I am proud and excited to announce our partnership, it has allowed me to thrive and progress both as a mother and a photographer, which is exactly what I was in need of. I have become a better business owner and have also had lots more time with my family since bringing her on board. I catch myself saying to people "you need a Kara" but you can't have this one because she is all mine!"