Kari Rae

The Big Announcement | Hearts on Fire by Kari Rae Photography

Today is huge!!! 

I told my husband that I'm so crazy excited to be putting this out in the world that I feel like I'm "having a baby!"  

I'm not having a baby (thank goodness! Two is plenty right now!). But similar to many pregnant women, this has been a dream of mine for a long time.

And after much prayer and dreaming and planning with my husband, we are ready to bring something new into the world. Something that will take a lot of work, but that will also bring so much joy and blessing to the people who are a part of it. Lord willing! 

Whatever the pregnant glow feels like... I'm pretty sure I'm feeling that. ;) 


Yesterday, I posted this... 




Today, you receive the formal invitation!

And the big announcement...


 (insert my giddy-squealing, heart-pounding, palm-sweating, jumping up and down excitement.)


I can't wait to share the full stories, release the website and get this new business venture underway. And I can't wait to see YOU at the launch party! It's gonna be a swell time. 

Until then, I ask that you join me in praying for Jesus to continue leading this business and guiding these dreams. The things He has inspired in us are beautiful, and it's been an awesome journey leading us here. So blessed. So thankful! 


Also, come join our private Facebook group to see what we're up to, where we're headed, and to receive special goodies that will put a spark in your love. (We promise to keep the fire puns to a minimum.)

**The first 100 people added to the group will start off by receiving a FREE custom printable for keeping love alive every day.** 


So You're Looking for a Wedding Photographer; 4 Tips for Getting the Best

Congratulations, you newly engaged lover! You are now ready to start planning what is sure to be one of the most fun, most beautiful days of your life.

But the process of planning such a day can be completely overwhelming, which is why you need to gather your "Dream Team."


When my husband and I were engaged, we set out to build the best team of people who could make the day happen with the most smiles given and the most love shared. Our Dream Team made a world of difference on our wedding day and we owe them a million thank-yous! 


As wedding photographers, we are in the business of storytelling. You have a story that has led you to your fiance, there is a story that will take you to the vow exchange...a story will unfold on the day of your wedding, and a story begins as you drive off together in your getaway car. We have the joy & responsibility of capturing and telling these stories; and we take it seriously (but have a lot of fun doing it!).

Here are some pointers so that you can choose the best wedding photographer for your love story:

0.5. (because this is a great preface) Make this a priority.

A bride's advice: "Make this a priority. Don't settle for a photographer that you're just okay with. Find one that shares and can interpret and enhance your vision. Don't be afraid to get exactly what you're looking for! You are hiring them to capture one of the biggest and greatest days of your life. After all, 50 years from now, it is only your love and your photos that will have lasted."  -Danielle, married 08/12

1. Know your style - then go find it.
There are likely hundreds of photographers in your area. Know (or decide on) your style. Think things like: romantic, fun, genuine, quirky, traditional, eclectic, light & airy, emotion-oriented, detail-oriented, colorful, moody, silly, dramatic, etc.Who are you as a couple and what kind of images will best convey that?
Then... Research is your friend! Go find some artists whose work you adore.

I recently received an e-mail that read, ""Wow, I really love your work. It's my style! Lots of giggles, smiles and laughter. Intimate, romantic, FUN, creative, candids...you seem to capture the best moments!! :)"

When you come across a photographer's work and automatically picture yourself in it, you've found a great match. Knowing your style will help that!

If you talk with some photographers and they don't feel right, don't be afraid to be specific & ask for recommendations. Wedding photographers want clients who "get us" just as much as you want a photographer who gets you - we are happy to recommend another photographer to fit your style!

A bride's advice: "Look for a photographer that does something timeless. Basically something you know you'll look back on 50 years from now and still love it! And of course make sure their work is your absolute favorite because you only get married once!"  -Amanda, married 05/13


2. Go on dates.
And take your fiancé with you ;) Whether you are meeting for coffee, happy hour, a steak dinner, or even just a Skype date, I can't tell you how good and important it is to meet with your potential photographer before booking them!

As a photographer, I want to hear your story, your heart for each other, and your wedding dreams. And as a couple, you'll really want to know who you'll be working with and how/why they do what they do.

     Funny fact: It's very likely that you will spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than anybody else. 

Make sure you like him/her and their way of doing things. :)

A bride's advice :) - "Make sure you feel comfortable with the photographer you meet. If you can't act natural while they're photographing you, then I think that will reflect in your pictures. It's about a feeling more than anything else :-) "  - Andrea, married 09/13

Another bride's advice: "I think it's important to find a photographer that really loves and has a passion for what they do. Of those who are in the business of making a paycheck, find the person who actually loves their job and has an absolute love for people in love!" -Sasha, to be married 07/14


3. Decide how much you value it.

You will get what you invest in.

On Facebook, I asked to hear from married people who were bummed with their wedding photos. The most common response from these disappointed folks was that, "I wish I had hired a professional." or a sentiment about how their hired professional didn't act very professional (i.e. showing up late, never getting their images back, or getting yucky images altogether). I'll say it again folks, you will get what you invest in. Your wedding is not a "let's see if this works" type of event. The documentation of it probably shouldn't be either. ;)

Great wedding photography is expensive. These are going to be some of the most emotional, powerful, and important ones of your life. What happens on your wedding day sets the foundation for your family and generations to come. You can hear more of my thoughts on this here, where I explain how my wedding blessed my foster boys.

If you can't afford the photographer you are dreaming of quite yet, ask about payment plans!
Save up, budget, and prioritize accordingly.
These images will be telling one of the most beautiful stories in your life.

A bride's advice: "Price is always manageable, so don't just hear a dollar amount and be turned off - in the end you will make it happen! :)"  - Sasha, to be married 07/14


4. Take your time, enjoy the ride, and get excited!

You are about to bind your heart and your life with someone you happen to be madly in love with. What a joy! And it's going to be PHOTOGRAPHED, to look back on and remember forever! How exciting!

Take your time finding the best photographer for you, who matches your style and matches your heart toward this glorious union.

Enjoy the process and getting to know a photographer or two; there are some really cool people out there who love telling photographic stories for a living. Have fun meeting them!


I'd love to hear from you. Is there anything you would like to add to this list?  Let's hear it in the comments below! Was it helpful? If so, share it using the buttons at the bottom. :) Happy Planning!


What's In My Bag | Kari Rae Photography

I've been receiving more and more questions recently about my business and work, which is really flattering and a bit overwhelming! So I thought I'd start posting responses for all to see. :) Today's episode: What's In Your Bag?

Camera: Canon 5D MarkII (and Canon 7D, used as a backup)

Favorite Lenses:

-50mm f/1.4 - It's great for almost everything! From details to large shots including a lot of environment, and intimate close-ups (but not too close, it causes quite a bit of distortion since it's a shorter lens). It's super versatile and really light. I love it :)

-70-200mm f/2.8 L - Talk about gorgeous images! The compression on this bad boy is soooo yummy.. and the zoom capability is just wonderful. I LOVE this lens! I use it on every single shoot and all throughout wedding days. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

-135mm f/2.0 L - This lens is really fast, really crisp, and really creamy. I don't use it as often as the other two, but when I do, I adore it. Being a prime lens at 135mm, I am limited to using it when I have enough space between me and the subject. The bokeh is lovely, the creaminess is amazing, and it's got really pretty compression too. It's overall just gorgeous! If I could use it all the time, I might. :)

-24-70mm f/2.8 L - The versatile lens. I used to say that I could use this for an entire wedding, and that's probably still true. It's awesome for family and group shots, dancing, and other wider angled things. Wide-angle looks are not totally my style though, so I don't use it all too often. I only take it to weddings.

-100mm macro L - RING SHOT!!! It doesn't get much better than this lens for rings and details that you want to highlight in macro. Yummy.

Flash/Lighting Equipment:

-Love me some speedlites. The Speedlite 600EX-RT is my flash of choice, and the 580EX was fabulous until it died on me (I got a LOT of use out of it though!). When on my camera, I use the flash for fill light or bounced light off walls and ceilings. Unless it's on the lowest possible option, I wouldn't ever flash straight on to my subject. That's just gross. :) AND that's why the flashes included on your camera should really just never ever ever be used. Just don't do it.

-Photoflex Octodome, with a stand. My not-so-secret weapon. I pair it with my Pocket Wizards (the Mini TT1 and the Flex TT5) for off-camera goodness. I'll also pull out my Tiffen Neutral Density Filter to stop down the light and allow a lower aperture with off-camera flash, even in the brightest sun.

-Reflectors! The Westcott Illuminator Reflector set. My rule of thumb: Never gold, always silver! Unless you prefer the overly fake n' baked look. ;) And the diffuser is great for portraits in a bit of patchy light. It's best to just avoid patchy light whenever possible, but hey..sometimes you've gotta do it!


Th-th-th-th-that's all, folks!  Comment here and let me know what YOUR go-to equipment is, or what's next on your wish list! :) I hope this has helped!

Excited about Branding!

Phew! It's been a long process, but I've finally arrived!! As this little business continues to be blessed (thank you, Lord! And thank you, everyone who has let me photograph you!), it becomes more & more important for me to have great branding.


The journey has been long, and often daunting & confusing, but I feel like I've finally landed in a place that just feels right. And boy, does that feel good!!! When designing all of my branding, I wanted something that would be easy to recognize and reflective of me & my work. So then came the question: WHO IN THE WORLD AM I???


I mean, I know who I am. I really do. I especially know WHOSE I am. But in all honesty, I think He just created me to like everything! (Thanks God. But you sure made branding difficult for me! ;) ) There is so much awesomeness in the world! I'd like to think that there is a place for all of it in my happy heart.


But just like all good things, my desire to have it all in one little package had to come to an end. I had to be really honest with myself about who I was, what my personality is like, what I LOVE, and what I want to be. I started putting together a Pinterest board with everything I liked. (If you happened to be on Pinterest while I was pinning...my apologies ;) I kind of went crazy!)


Here is my favorite part of the story:

I was originally leaning toward a soft color palette with a very lovely feel to it. Then I started noticing my urge to lean toward certain colors..I drug some photos featuring my favorite colors into Photoshop so I could see them all together. I selected the color from each image and made a square of that color, putting them all side by side together. Then I wanted to see my watermark on top, just to be sure it was semi-cohesive. And BAM! The birth of my branding. It happened just like that - on accident (or was it?).


I loved what I saw.

I put it on everything.

And here we are!

Feast your eyes upon my creation, and please let me know what you think!! Enjoy!

My business card.


The CD label.

The front of my Senior Guide :) Seniors, I'm SO excited for you to get this guide! I had a blast making it!

And finally, here was the original inspiration board. Do you see where all the colors came from? Pretty fun!! :)