our email: thematernallens@gmail.com
follow us on twitter!


{low down, throw down with kara may}

it's late, i know....and i'm sorry!
i totally lost track of the day, time, heck even month! please forgive me :)

kara is an amazing photographer and i'm so excited that she is on our blog today!!!
since this is so late, i'll stop talking...er, typing and let you see all the amazing talent she has for yourself. her work is beeeeeautiful!!

so thrilled to introduce you to kara may!!

name: kara may
business: kara may photography
location: arizona

what's one sentence to describe your photography.
I run a boutique style photography business where colorful, emotional & real images of babies, children, teens and families are captured.

How long have you been doing photography and what got you started? I've been doing photography on and off (I say that since there have been breaks during moves across country and the birth of my children) for 7 years. I've always loved photography and in High School I got my first SLR - it was a Nikon. But then studies and my educational priorities put this passion on the backburner. It wasn't until the birth of my son that this passion resurfaced and became a true priority.

If they made a movie about your life what would it be titled and who would play you? Wow, this is something I've never thought about before. The movie would be titled 'just a girl led by happenstance'. I know most everything we encounter, who we meet, what paths we take, ect. are led by happenstance. So even though that's how most peoples lives are led, each persons path is unique. I was adopted as a baby and the family who adopted me did so based on happenstance. The baby they were supposed to adopt weeks prior went to another family since the doctor who was supposed to delivering the baby was on vacation so there was a mix-up. This was devastating to my adoptive parents, but then they were told about my birthmom and her wishes to give her baby up. Life for both of us changed that day. Since then, I believe all the paths I've taken in life have been by happenstance. The person to best play me I think would be Sandra Bullock since she can be such a goofball but also has a serious side.

What is your greatest post-processing tip that you're willing to share? I use the patch-tool a lot for skin blemishes, on newborns with baby acne, on bruises on kids legs, and maybe to remove a rub-on tattoo a mom couldn't scrub off prior to the session. It's an awesome tool!

If you were given $500 today what's the first thing you would do? I would deposit it into my business account and save it for some new studio equipment. I'm so in need :)

Where do you go to find inspiration?
I have to be by myself to find inspiration. I'm a thinker. I envision what I want in my photographs to inspire me for my shoots. Also, every day things inspire me... weather it's a vintage tea cup, fresh flowers in a vase, a pair of strappy shoes, etc. Most everything I see provides me with inspiration. When i'm with a client I need to be inspired the whole time to get the look, the mood and the style I'm shooting for. So the clients clothing selection, which I guide prior to the session, will dictate and inspire the look we're going for. If a client brings an antique styled sundress for their 3 year old, I become inspired by that and pull my shoot together around that look. Everyday life is inspiration.

What type of sessions are your favorite and why?
I don't have a favorite... they all have positives...but if I had to choose one I would say ages 3 to 5 years old. The expressions I get are genuine, and it's such a playful age. I'm just a big kid so I enjoy this excuse to play and be silly.

What equipment do you use and if you had only one lens to use what would it be? I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D 12.8 MP Digital SLR,Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L,Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens, Canon EF 50mm f1.4 And if I could only use one lens it would be the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
Shooting for a clothing catalog with a strict deadline and in the middle of summer in the deep south. The heat & humity alone made this challenging not to mention the bugs bites, the thunderstorms and keeping smiles on everyone's faces as we worked quickly on these shoots.

What was your first paid session like? Were you nervous? Did it turn out?
My first paid session was for a client with a two year old. I was stressed, anxious and felt like I was going to puke before the session. During the session thankfully, everything went smoothly. I even got in the water up to my thighs to get a shot of my subject sitting on the dock of a lake. Looking back on it now, I wonder if I was high on adrenaline putting faith in steadiness and not thinking about the fact that I was new to the industry (and I should know more before attempting such a thing) and I could've easily lost my balance and ruined my equipment. But I wanted the shot. ;-)

What is at the top of your wish list right now?
Displays. Displaying my work around my house, my office and my studio (both my office and studio are in my house). We've been in this house since September and I'm waiting for the perfect idea to hit me to outfit each space with samples of my work. There's so much to choose from as far as products to showcase and images to select. So it's still at the top of my list, and I'm slowlymaking progress on figuring out what I want and where - it's the commitment part that really deters me lol.

Who's the first photographer that comes to mind and why?
I don't know why Galen Rowell was the first one to come to mind for this question. My dad grew up with Galen Rowell, they graduated from Berkeley High School together and remained friends until Galen's death in August of 2002. His work and dedication to photography and nature is so admirable. In the early seventies he sold his automotive business to delve deeper into photography getting his first break with a cover story for National Geographic. He's was a highly published photographer in his 30+ years in the industry. An inspiration to many.

Tell us the best advice you've ever received.
Don't let fear dictate your future and your success. Of course I still let fear get in the way of many things, but I'm congnizant of it and try to overcome my fear by conquering it. I almost left the photography industry when I was about a year into it since I feared failure. I was being asked more and more to do various projects and I was so afraid and overwelmed by the thought of failing that I told my husband, with tears running down my face, that I didn't want to continue with my business. It took a few weeks of thinking, reflecting and talking me through it to convince me to keep my business. I let fear dictate too much in life so this advice is now my mantra.

What photography based organizations do you belong to?
Professional Photographers of America, National Association of Professional Children's Photographers, Wedding & Portrait Photographers International and I've honestly lost track of some others. Isn't that bad?

What moment in your life makes you smile every time you think about it?
A personal moment would definitely be the birth of my children (no suprise - what mom doesn't feel this way lol). And a professional moment that makes me smile is hearing from my clients after they've seen their gallery - the tears and emotions the images bring out make my efforts completely worth it in this profession. It never gets old and it always makes me smile.

If you had an entire Saturday to do what you wanted what would you do?
I would get up at about 8 (I can faintly hear my husband laughing at this) and go to the gym. Then when I got home I'd have breakfast with my family - waffles and eggs are a weekend favorite in the May house. Then I would go antique shopping with friends. Meet my family for lunch and then have an adventure with my husband and kids. They love geocaching so we would fit a few of those in, go to the park, drive to a lake and swim, have adventures. Then we would go out to dinner at a Mexican Restaurant (my husband knows the best ones to take us to). After dinner we would come home, get out pillows & blankets on the floor and get into our 'comfy's' in the great room for a family movie night. This to me is an ideal Saturday.

favorite word: love (according to my son) :)
least favorite word: Fat - it's banned from our house ;-)
what turns you on creatively, spiritually and emotionally? Moody, summer thunderstorms; reading stories in bed with my kids on a stormy night; Music by a Fine Frenzy, One Republic, Jason Mraz,Tori Amos, & Amy Seeley
what turns you off creatively, spiritually, and emotionally? Being sick stiffles my creativity; Negativity turns me off emotionally; narrow-mindedness turns me off spiritually.
what sound/noise do you love? The sound of a storm (I think this is a theme with me) and my children peacefully sleeping.
what sound/noise do you hate? doors slamming - it's always bothered me. Thankfully my kids don't slam doors except on rare occasions ;-)
what's your favorite thing to say when you get mad? Nothing at all...I get quiet and keep busy.
what profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Cinematography - So fascinating and somewhat paralleled creativity as photography but more senses are captured.
what profession would you not like to do? Anything related to accounting and auditing. That was my life before children and I won't ever go back. Hard to believe I was once a corporate auditor and a financial analyst - so opposite from what I do now. I feel free now but I was trying to choose wisely in college which led me to the corporate world. Glad I did it but I don't want to go back, I've lost all the brain cells related to my previous career positions during my pregnancy and they never came back {giggle}.
if Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 'You believed with your heart' {giving me two thumbs up and motioning me to come in}.


  1. Her work is fabulous!! Great interview! <3 it!

  2. Wow!! She's amazing!

  3. Wow, I usually have more words to say about personal interviews, tonights leaves me speechless. Thank you for tonights low down.. not only do her words that you so carefully shared with us speak to me but her portraits do as well.

  4. Love your work, those images make me smile, absolutely gorgeous!

  5. LOVE her work! And man, she is goooorgeous!

  6. <3 Thank you so much Maternal Lens girls! I'm excited to be a part of your amazing blog!!

  7. Gosh I think I like her the best out of everyone you've shown (although all are good!) I wish Kara would have shared more post processing tips b/c they are amazing!

  8. The colors in her photos are just amazing!! Wow!

  9. Kara is so amazing.. LOVE her work!!! Everytime I see her images I am awed, and she's super sweet too!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Great interview, Kara! I am one of your biggest fans. :)

  12. Gorgeous work. Love the interview!

  13. Great interview Kara! Your work is always stunning.

  14. great work, very nice.. I love when you add some texture in to your images


want our button on your blog? copy and paste the code below: