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July 7, 2015

Recently I had the great pleasure of meeting this little guy. Now, I think we can all just go ahead and agree that the degree of cuteness we’re looking at here is just off the charts.


I was privileged to get to take his family photos on his actual first birthday! What an honor for me! And I came to the conclusion that it’s pretty good to be 1-year-old… particularly good to be THIS 1-year old! Toys, cake, adoring grandparents and parents, dogs, wagons – such fun!










Thanks guys! I had a blast and I can’t wait for you to see the rest of your images and then decorate your home with them!!


  • Kristen says:

    Thank you, Kara, for making his birthday so special and capturing all those great moments! We loved having you as part of it all and can’t wait to have you back soon!

May 17, 2015

There are a lot of out-takes from any given photography session. A LOT. I’m going to share some of those with you at a later time just in case you have ever wondered about how shoots really go. But there is also the occasional photo that just lends itself to be something else, something….sillier. And since I’m a very silly person, here are a few that I have put together for you from a couple of my photo shoots:












I chose here.

May 9, 2015

You’ll see this theme, about real life being beautiful, emerging more and more in my work in the coming months.  I have always loved that photographs can tell stories; even just one photograph all by itself can say so very much.  Somehow though, I seem to have drifted away from what I love most about photography. Please don’t misunderstand, I still enjoy taking posed family pictures and I love the creativity some of my clients have shown in creating their sessions. I think those things are important too, particularly photos of the whole family. But in the hustle and bustle, I discovered that I was leaving out of my work the things that I value the most. The everyday things. The story of what life is/was really like. The beauty of real, un-posed, un-edited, messy, always-changing, glorious life.

Here, let me show you what I mean. Take a few minutes to watch this for me: Real Life is Beautiful.

Soon I’ll be posting more about the Day in the Life Sessions that I’m adding to my list of services.  I’m really REALLY excited to share the sessions I’ve already done and to answer any questions that you may have about the process. If you are as excited as I am and want to know more right away, shoot me an email and let’s talk! ( But be prepared – I can talk/email about this for a LONG time. Seriously. I’m stoked.

More soon….


March 20, 2015

Some of you may know that my husband and I recently traveled to Oregon for spring break. Actually, a LOT of you may know because we could not stop sharing photos on social media. You know why? Because we were having the time of our lives. Seriously. Most fun trip ever. Some city, some beach, some rain-forrest, some sea lions. Sigh…..Oregon was a bubble of delight. And we didn’t even get to see all of it!  You know what we should all be doing? We should be documenting in detail our best trips and then swapping itineraries with each other! I’ve got ours so if anyone else wants to trade, I’m game!

All that to say – why stop the over-sharing now?  Here are a few of my favorite photos from the second-half of our trip.



The forests are magical. Like from a movie. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



One of the yurts we stayed in. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



So alive! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015






Bridge no more. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Banana slug. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



More magic forrest, just a little further north. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



My absolute most favorite person in the world, who let me take a photo of him in a wetsuit when he was all wet and salty from surfing. Such a good sport. And so handsome too! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015







Not exactly like a Florida beach. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



The famous Peter Iredale Shipwreck. Pretty cool. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Our last stop – beautiful Astoria. Washington state is right across the bridge. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Our Astoria hotel and again, the bridge. Both were impressive. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



March 18, 2015

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s amazing. 

Every now and then I get to photograph a baby that is in the BEST MOOD OF HIS/HER LIFE. This happened recently, when I photographed baby Geoff. He was just delighted with everything – the blocks, the camera, his parents, his pants. His delight lasted almost a full hour. Now, lest anyone think that I have figured out how to make this happen, I am sorry to report that I have not. (But when I do, I’ll let everyone know.) Until then – please enjoy the below photos of the cutest, happiest, chunkiest little man in town.

Thank you again and again to Geoff’s extremely cool parents for having me out and of course to Geoff – for reminding me why I have the best job ever.



Happy Baby! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



So so very happy! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015




I mean, he’s really excited about those blocks. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015





Those legs! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015




Those wrists! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015




I love this one because these shoes used to be his mom’s! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Geoff just told a really funny joke. This family is the cutest. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015




March 5, 2015

It’s going to be hard for me to not gush over the wonderful time I had hanging out with these guys for this family photo shoot. This is a fun family. Guys, this is the family who’s house you want to get stuck at during the snowstorm! It’s the cool house! This is the place to be!

You can tell from these photos that they love each other and have a great time together; and that they’re all pretty taken with their newest addition – little Raylan. And who wouldn’t be – come on – those cheeks, that cowboy hat?! Off the charts adorable.

Thank you guys – I can’t wait to do it again soon!!

– Kara



Raylan & Dad ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Raylan & Mom ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Real life is beautiful. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Just the kids. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Just stop it with that cuteness already. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Love. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015








March 1, 2015

I have never had the joy of having a newborn baby in my own home but I have photographed many other people with their newborns and I have noticed something, a beautiful and telling dichotomy.  In most homes, there are usually new baby things everywhere. There should be because babies require lots of stuff and people gets lots of stuff from friends and family (some stuff they need and lots of stuff they don’t know what to do with) prior to the baby’s arrival. I also strongly encourage that people not clean up before I come for a photo shoot. First of all, I know that folks have better and more important things to be doing than cleaning up before a photographer comes for just a few hours. Secondly, you should see my house sometimes! Thirdly and most importantly, I think the so-called-mess and the chaos are such an important part of the story; the true story of when Baby came into our lives and changed everything.

The other thing that I have noticed about photographing a newborn baby at home – whether it is baby number one, or two, or three, or so forth; is the peace that occurs amidst all of the “mess” and upheaval and change.  It is palpable. When I arrive, I greet and chat with the tired but thrilled parents, I survey what rooms have the best light and then, when the parents finally sit down and hold their new baby, that is when the magic happens…peace. The parents forget to worry about the house, about how they look, about the to-do-list and hopefully they forget about me too and they get lost in the tiny, fragile, perfect new life they hold in their hands. I always hope and wait for this moment. It’s an honor to be there for the beauty of real life and to document these fleeting moments. Thank you to everyone who has let me be witness to the beauty of their lives so far, and to the Harrison family, pictured below with their sweet and perfect new baby Eli.

















February 15, 2015

I had the joy of taking photos of this sweet girl last weekend, right before her 1st birthday party. I love this age, because they’re more curious than shy. One year olds are full of wonder and appreciation for the little things around them – rocks and sticks are as interesting as balloons and cupcakes (and all are equally likely to end up in their mouths!). Mae is so good-natured and impossibly cute. And don’t get me started on how much I love chunky baby-thighs! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! S & L – you have an amazing, beautiful baby and I am so grateful that I got to share in this milestone with you!

Thank you! Enjoy your sneak-peek, a few of my favorite black & whites! I can’t wait for you to see the rest of them!

With love- Kara


Getting ready for her photo shoot...

Getting ready for her photo shoot… ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015


What a beauty!  ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

What a beauty! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015



Almost walking on her own! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

What a beauty. Ready for her first cupcake….  ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

What a beauty. Ready for her first cupcake…. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015


Mae isn't sure about the cupcake, but Kuby the dog is!  ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

Mae isn’t sure about the cupcake, but Kuby the dog is! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015


Birthday balloons!   ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

Birthday balloons!


One of my absolute favorites.  ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

One of my absolute favorites. So sweet. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

January 6, 2015

©Kara Johnson Photography 2015 ©Kara Johnson Photography 2015

Dearest DJ,

(Sigh). You’re the cutest.  I am biased of course, being your aunt and all, but I have it on good authority from all of the people that I insist look at photos and videos of you regularly, that you are WAAAAY up there on the cute scale. Maybe they’re just being nice, but how could anyone not get sucked in by those eyes and that grin and those luscious baby-fat rolls?

I like thinking about how much fun we’ll have when you’re a little older and we can do things together like go to the zoo and the park and make big huge messes with paint and mud-pies! I know that after that, there will come a time when no matter how hard I try, I won’t be someone you want to hang out with anymore because you’ll realize that I’m…old. To you anyway. Because you’ll be a teenager. During this period of our lives, when I am the least-cool (second only to your parents) and you cannot possibly voluntarily be seen with me in public; I’ll try to remember my own teenage years. Instead of foolishly attempting to pick out cool music, clothes or educational games for you – I will give you cash and gift cards at birthdays and holidays. This I do solemnly swear. But for now, I’m going to give you the most ridiculous outfits I can and take as many pictures as I can and eat up all of your cuteness and continue to force coworkers, strangers and friends to agree that you are an above-average baby. This I do solemnly swear.

I love you dearest DJ!

– Aunt Kara

©Kara Johnson Photography 2015 ©Kara Johnson Photography 2015

November 30, 2014

A couple of years ago at this time of year, I was not feeling thankful.  I was feeling the deep, intense grief of someone who has lost someone or something. I was feeling alone. I was feeling like no one anywhere could possibly understand my pain and suffering. I was feeling like I would never, ever be able to climb out of the hole of depression that I had fallen into.

I’d like to mention also, that during this time I was surrounded by friends and family who were wonderful. They tried to say all of the right things, they even excused me from having to bring a dish to Thanksgiving. But sometimes – most times – every time, actually – the griever must just let the grief run it’s course. The thing that is the hardest, is that we don’t know how long that course will be. Sometimes it is a sprint, sometimes it is a never-ending marathon. We long for control over our emotions, we want to dominate the pain that is ruining everything; but the more we push against it, the longer our journey to healing will be. It is the worst.

My journey has been a long one and I have wounds that haven’t quite healed. What I appreciate most are the friends and family who are ever-patient with me. Ones who refrain from saying “Why can’t you just get over this already? Isn’t it time to move on now?” even when they don’t fully understand why I can’t do that. I am grateful for friends and family who have matched my rage and sorrow with empathy and love.

I realize that this year some of my dearest friends had hard Thanksgivings and are likely dreading Christmas in a way that I’m familiar with. I’m also willing to bet that I have friends and acquaintances who are having a hard time that I know nothing about. If you are one of those persons, I want you to know that you’re not alone. There are a whole bunch of friends and strangers alike that love you – that are praying for you – that have felt a pain as deep and treacherous as yours and who have survived. You will too. And in years to come, it will hurt a little less. But for now, I’m so, so sorry for your suffering.

Every Thanksgiving social media is bursting with images of what and who people are thankful for. I have hesitated to share some of those images myself for fear that I’m not being totally honest that this time of year is a little hard for me. So here is the full picture – I’m sad, I’m thankful, I’m hopeful and I’m thinking about all of you with love and thanks and hope as well.

Sincerely – Kara

With Thanksgiving



  • Kara, not only has God gifted you with photography and getting REAL pictures of people looking their natural, beautiful selves, but He has gifted you with a wisdom of people’s inside feelings that you also can relate through in your life. Now, just like your photos, you are sharing those thoughts and feelings in well written words. Many years ago, during the struggle with the short life and death of our first son, a very wise and compassionate Christian counselor shared a priceless gift of words with me. He simply said,” there is no right or wrong way to grieve, but you must do it in your own way.” He also taught me that grief is like waves on an ocean: you may think you will drown in the beginning, but as time goes on, you keep swimming along your way in life. The waves will still come, just as strong and powerfully and you think you will drown after all. Still, you keep swimming and as time passes and you learn to trust God and others in your life more, the waves come fewer and farther apart and it still hurts just the same, but you keep swimming…..
    My drowning moments were accompanied by great waves of guilt until one day I was able to left that guilt float completely away. Yes, I still grieve, but I celebrate the lives of my husband, children and our grand daughters. I have also found a way to let God help me celebrate my own life, as it is today. Love and Blessings to you as the Christmas Season nears. And keep taking those awesome pictures of Elizabeth! Warmly, Carol

    • kjohnsonphoto says:

      Thank you Carol, for your beautiful and inspiring words. So many have felt this struggle and not spoken of it – I think it helps us all to share with each other. Thank you for sharing and for your support and encouragement! – Kara

  • Emily says:

    “But sometimes – most times – every time, actually – the griever must just let the grief run it’s course.” Hear, hear! What a lovely post.