Each week, I will be bringing you an inside look at some of the amazing people in the Omaha Metro Area. The “Get To Know” series will introduce you to, or help you get to know better, some of the business professionals, business owners, and people making a difference right in our own backyard.
This week, we are going to Get To Know Kara Johansen, the Graphic Designer and Photographer at Get Kara’d Away and Studio J! I went to high school with Kara and found out about her photography business while doing the first Get To Know feature. She’s been married for almost 8 years to her husband Aaron. They have a 6 year old daughter and two wonderful Stepsons who are 11 and 13.
How did you get into photography and graphic design?
I went to college originally for web design and was doing web design when I was offered a college teaching position. I planned on teaching web design but was given graphic design courses to teach instead. So I worked around the clock to learn graphic design well enough to teach it. Along the way I found it to be a true passion of mine. After I started doing graphic design I started to grow a huge interest in photography. One day I decided to go buy a camera and see what I could do with it….. and here we are!
When did you start Get Kara’d Away and how did that all come about?
I had been doing graphic design and web design for about 10 years and had always had a dream of getting into photography. In 2011 I decided it was time to follow that dream. I have taught college level graphic design courses for over 10 years and the teacher in me comes out with photography too. I enjoy helping other photographers and watching them grow. I opened a studio for Get Kara’d away to use, but decided to also rent it out to other photographers so they too, would have a place to shoot when the weather is not ideal or their clients are looking for indoor photography. The studio is located in downtown Council Bluffs in the Old Harvester building. Anyone from an amateur photographer, a professional photographer or a Mom with a nice camera that wants to take her kiddos pictures can rent the studio out. It has been a lot of fun to watch brand new photographers come into the studio and develop into professionals! I’ve made a lot of great friends along the way too!
Where are some of your favorite spots to shoot in the Omaha Metro?
I do real estate photography, and I love photographing old historic homes! As far as photographing people, I try to change locations constantly! One of my favorite photo shoots was at the Council Bluffs Airport. I tend to frequent the Iowa School for the Deaf campus and right outside of my studio.
What are some of the most memorable photo shoots you’ve done?
Large family photos where the entire family gets together are my most memorable ones. Unfortunately I have photographed large families a handful of times where the family lost one of their family members within that year. I think it is so important for people to get family pictures done and not wait to “lose 5 pounds” or whatever reason people hold off on photos. You will never regret getting family photos taken, but I do know people who regret not getting them done.
What is one tip you can offer to people that are preparing for professional photos?
Do your research. There are a lot of photographers, make sure the one you choose matches your style and offers quality products. Also, incorporate items/places that are important to you. They personalize your photos and make them even more important to you!