Friday, March 27, 2015

announcing : Hannah Elise Internship!

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I am really quite excited to publish this post. :)

My photography business started in the fall of 2011, with me not knowing much about what I was doing..
aside from that I loved taking pictures of people. 
God had dropped clients into my lap, and I took off with just being self-taught, 
learning from a couple friends that were photographers, and heavily stalking blogs/google for teaching. :)
Whatever works, right?!

Well that worked for awhile..but the next year I felt like I needed some type 
of more "formal" education and a push in the areas I was lacking. 
I got the opportunity to attend Jessica Shae's summer adventure in 2012 which was exactly what I needed at that point. 
I'm forever grateful for not only Jessica who poured into all of us with her wisdom, 
but for the community I left with after that week.
Previously I had just felt like this little girl in the middle of Iowa cornfields, trying to figure out how in the world you were supposed to run a photography business..and after that internship I suddenly had a network of 9 other people 
who were not only friends, but in the same journey I was.

Ever since hosting my workshop last summer, I have been thinking about doing something again that was similar..
and one thing I realized last year after the workshop was how I wished we had more time
to discuss the various topics and go deeper with the content. 
(some of my workshop attendees mentioned the same thing in their feedback questionnaire)
So, in light of all that..I am super thrilled to share that I will be hosting an internship this summer!

I don't claim to know everything, but we all grow in our craft the longer we do it..and if I can pass on any advice, 
teaching, mistakes to avoid or inspiration to make someone's business better, then this is totally worth doing. :)
And I am passionate about making connections and have seen how important the photography community is in my own life!
Plus I LOVE meeting new people, and would be thrilled to meet some of YOU blog readers
at this while we learn + spend time together!! 

Here are the details..

When : June 3-6, 2015
Who : Girls ages 16-25, who are wanting to turn their photography hobby into a business, or grow the business they already have!
Where : Amana Colonies, IA, call me biased but I think this is one of THE prettiest places on earth and where I do most of my sessions! Click here, here, or here if you need convincing. :)
Cost : $500, which includes..
+ Housing and meals, and the food is going to be super me on this!
+ Teaching/sharing on various topics, including : camera basics + shooting in manual, running a business from home, editing, posing, branding, tips on photographing + working with clients, finding shoot locations, marketing/using social media, etc., and LOTS of Q&A and discussion time, so come with any questions you have! Each girl will also get some one-on-one time with me as well. :)
+ Observe how I pose and photograph my clients during several photo sessions we will be doing, and you will also get to take photos of the awesome models! 
+ New headshots of yourself, taken by me!
+ And a few other surprises you will receive when you get here. :)

To attend, you will need: dSLR camera, notebook + pen, laptop, + an attitude excited about learning!! 
Also bring some spending money as we will probably do some shopping/thrifting or something along those lines. :)

Please only e-mail if you are serious about coming and will be able to make the investment, 
as I am only taking a limited number of girls!
Depending on how many people apply I may not be able to accept everyone due to size limits, 
so thanks in advance for understanding about that.

To apply, please fill out THIS APPLICATION and e-mail it to
I will only be accepting applications until April 3rd at midnight CST, and contacting the girls accepted by Monday, April 6th.
Also, just a heads up that if anyone would be interested in flying here from out of state, 
you would need to arrive at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa airport (CID).

p.s. If these dates are a conflict, but you would definitely be interested in attending a future internship 
still send me an e-mail! If I get enough interest there is the possibility I may host another internship later this year. :)

And please spread the word if you know of anyone that might be interested in this!
Happy Friday!!

Hannah Elise

Thursday, March 26, 2015

featured : Set Apart Motherhood

Early this year I submitted some images to Set Apart Motherhood for their website/magazine,
and was delighted that they were accepted!
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I was especially blown away that they used one of my photos for the new print magazine cover,
and 10+ other pictures are inside with one of the articles.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with Eric & Leslie Ludy's books/ministries,
and their commitment to Truth, discipleship and living out their faith is super inspiring.
Feeling really humbled + honored to have my work be part of a ministry I really respect!
You can view the online feature HERE, and see the full family session of these images HERE. :)

Happy Thursday everyone, and check back tomorrow for a pretty exciting blog announcement!!
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^^ that two-page spread is my favorite!!
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Hannah Elise

Monday, March 23, 2015

Myla : lifestyle newborn | iowa city, ia photographer

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Remember the maternity pictures I posted of my friend Wendy?!
Well, she had her baby and it was a beautiful little GIRL!
Makena had all brothers so getting a sister was kind of a big deal. :)
Loved getting to see, photograph + hold this little doll...welcome to the world, Myla Grace.
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and whenever you photograph a baby, there's bound to be some good outtakes. :)
I present  -- "Don't Force the Hipster Beanie Life"
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Hannah Elise

Friday, March 20, 2015

shooting my brother's wedding : personal

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Shooting my brother's wedding was one of my top favorite photography experiences, so far.
Obviously I can't speak for everyone who has done this for a sibling, but for me it went really great.
I think honestly there are two main reasons why I loved it:
1) With any wedding, the photographer is the only vendor to spend the most time actually with the couple. Think about it - the florist just does the flowers, the makeup artist is only there at the beginning, the DJ is only at the reception..but you are documenting the entire day, which is a huge privilege! And in light of that..
2) When you're spending the whole day with your brother & new sister-in-law, it's that much more of a privilege. I mean, if I wasn't the wedding photographer I would still be very involved in the day, but it's not quite the same as capturing everything for people that are so close to you!
 I probably should have done this post last fall, but life was too crazy then..
and regardless, I want to document things while they are still semi-fresh in my mind. :)
Plus in the event that this post could be helpful to someone else doing their siblings' wedding or one for a close friend, here are some thoughts I had and what worked for me!

+ Have a trustworthy second shooter -- one that knows you really well. I could basically end the post here with this statement alone! :) I asked Amanda, who is one of my very best friends to second shoot/assist me, and there are no words to describe how invaluable this was. Not only is she a fantastic photographer, but since we're so close she can basically read my mind, help me keep calm, be a shoulder to cry on, etc. And remember to delegate things to the second shooter if you don't absolutely have to shoot reception/ceremony details, etc.
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+ Shoot the details beforehand. I had heard about another photographer doing this for her sister's wedding, and thought it was worth trying! I was SO glad I did..on the day of the rehearsal, I photographed Kari's dress / jewelry and had that checked off before the wedding day even started! Plus I had way more time to experiment and hang the dress in different places. This made the next morning really relaxing as we were able to just hang out with Kari and her bridesmaids as they got ready..and we weren't running back and forth trying to find a place to hang the dress, or worrying that we were missing something happening.
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+ Be organized. Even though I was shooting for family, I still approached things the same as for any other wedding client. I sat down with Erich + Kari and talked through the whole timeline/their vision for the images, and had them e-mail me what groupings were wanted for family photos, etc. Yes, I already knew most of the family on both sides (since I was one, haha) and could assume things, but knowing exactly what they wanted was really helpful. The last thing you want is a confusing situation to arise because of err on the side of being overly organized with everything! :)
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+ Be present, and emotionally present. Don't put a ridiculous amount of pressure on yourself - that's why you have a second shooter. I knew I didn't want to look back on Erich's wedding and remember it just through a camera view finder! Enjoy watching the day unfold. I sat down for a good 10 minutes of the ceremony and just watched + listened. At other times I talked to friends, met new people, laughed, etc. Not gonna lie, I cried that day..multiple times. Don't feel like "okay, I'm shooting here and have to keep it together so I don't look like an emotional wreck", that's what waterproof mascara is for. :) When you document something this special for a sibling or friend, you should feel the freedom to laugh + cry..not like you sob the whole day, but don't feel that emotions aren't allowed because you're "the photographer." You are family, first. And obviously, be in pictures yourself!
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+ Go with the flow. This goes for any wedding, and as much as you plan things out they never follow the timeline exactly. So be flexible, work with whatever you've got! Be creative! This shot below of the bridesmaids was one I wasn't planning to get, but I walked past the door and saw a few of them gathered at the window. So I called the others and had them all stand together.
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+ Wear a comfortable outfit you love. I happened to stumble upon a dress at TJ Maxx that was beyond perfect. I actually needed it hemmed because #shortgirlprobs, but aside from that it worked so well. The material was similar to a rash guard swim tee, which was super comfortable & cool since it was a warm day. Also I would highly recommend you shoot the wedding barefoot. ;) I only did this because the entire wedding party was barefoot and everything was outdoors, but seriously talk about glory road..
can I do this at every wedding?!

+ Prayer. Obviously you can't control how the day will go, and so you need to be praying about it in advance! I also had asked people to be praying for me, which I am SO grateful for and it made all the difference. I would remember something right when I needed to, or the timing for something would work out just right and I know God was orchestrating that. I'm not a perfect human being, and as much as I tried ultimately He was holding everything together!
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+ You will be exhausted, the best kind of exhausted. I had shot weddings before so I knew that I would be tired but I honestly didn't expect to be that zapped by the evening. I know it was because of not only being on my feet all day, but it was an emotional thing for me to document. So be prepared that you might be more tired than normal afterwards! 
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I hope this post was helpful to someone! I know many other people have photographed weddings for close friends or family, and would love to hear your thoughts as well, so please comment!! :)

have a great weekend!
Hannah Elise

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


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Sorry for the lack of posting around here..March came and my life has picked up speed.
I'm currently taking a course on lighting that is taking a good investment of time each day, 
and therefore blogging has been pushed more to the back burner.

Last night I went with a friend to see the new Cinderella movie, which was incredible.
I had heard good things about it, and the trailer piqued my interest -- but Disney totally knocked it out of the park. 
SO good.

"just because it's what's done, doesn't mean it SHOULD be done."

This movie quote struck a chord with me..because so often we go thru life following the normal path of "what people do" 
and don't stop to question why we're doing it. 
Let's live more from intention than from habit, amen?
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Planning to have another blog post (or two!) up by the end of this week, so check back soon!

Hannah Elise

Thursday, March 12, 2015

portraits of Lucas : senior 2015 || iowa city, ia senior photographer

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I know some people find guy seniors challenging to photograph,
but honestly I find them fun..probably because I have all brothers, haha. :)
It's a totally different style of posing than girls, obviously, and I love the creative challenges with it.
When I'm around my brothers all the time I notice how they naturally lean on things,
what they do with their hands, etc..and it helps me a lot when posing other people.
So if you're wanting to get better at directing guys in how to stand/lean just observe 
and take note on things that you could use in a session!
This really goes for anything..if you want to pose little girls better, watch what they naturally do 
and sketch a stick drawing on paper so you'll remember it.
Some of my best ideas come from just watching people in public places. :)

Enjoy my favorites from Lucas' pictures I did last fall!!
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Hannah Elise