News & Events

November Spotlight: Kaptured by Karie

By McKenzie Fischer


            For the month of November, the Wabasso EDA, Commercial Club, and Redwood Area Development Corporation are highlighting Karie Haak and her photography business, “Kaptured by Karie.” Karie started off the conversation that her love for photography was always obvious as she was one of the girls in high school that always had her digital camera in hand ready to snap a selfie or two with her besties, and also found joy in being able to capture other classmates and their memorable moments. 

            Karie mentioned that her real, true passion for photography didn’t start until 2012. “Right before I had my daughter, my grandma was put on hospice so my mom had been spending a lot of her time at her house. After I had my daughter, my mom got to hold her for 5 minutes and then had to leave to go be with my grandma. A few days later, my grandma passed away. A couple of weeks after the funeral my little cousin had his confirmation party, while we were there my mom held my daughter for the next 3 hours uninterrupted. Any time anybody wanted to hold her she would just look at them and say, ‘Nope, she’s fine.’ I was playing around with my uncle’s Canon 40D camera and the first photo I took was of my mom holding my daughter. The coloring is horrible, the lighting isn’t the best, but it will go down as my favorite photo I have ever taken all because I know the story behind it and how much that moment meant to my mom.”

            Before Kaptured with Karie, Karie was a stay at home mom, she mentioned that she had a few part time jobs here and there, but enjoyed staying home with and watching her kids grow. She then stated that when her children were old enough to start school she found herself bored sitting at home by herself for hours. With this extra time on her hands, Karie decided that she would go back to college and work to get her associates degree in applied sciences and a diploma in professional photography technology. Karie said getting accepted into Ridgewater was when it dawned on her that there was no turning back and that was the exact moment she started to work hard to turn her passion into her business. 

When asked who Karie’s biggest supporters were when she was returning to school and creating this business she responded, “My biggest support has always been my family. When I told them I was going back to college at the age of 23 with two children, they were always there cheering me on and helping with the kids if I needed help. They were an instrumental part in me graduating college and being able to start my own business and they continue to be my biggest supporters!” Growing up, Karie said she remembered seeing that her parents loved their jobs and that was something she wanted to work for and wouldn’t settle for anything short of her dream job.

In 2017, Karie decided to invest in a small shop in downtown Wabasso. Before it became her studio, it was known as “Bean’s Barber Shop”, and Karie says that most of the town still calls it that! There have been a few renovations and changes made to the store front already, and Karie says she plans to do a couple more things to it this coming spring, including giving the interior and exterior a little facelift. Karie stated that she used to use the building as an office space and meeting place after a session was completed, but now gets used for photoshoots. She mentioned that it is primarily for newborn shoots, but has been used for other sessions, especially if the weather ends up not cooperating for her and her clients.

The services Kaptured by Karie currently offer are weddings, senior, family and newborn sessions. Karie also offers fall mini sessions and a senior special for the upcoming school year’s senior class. Out of all the sessions Karie offers, her favorite things to shoot are weddings. She says, “There’s something so special about watching two people who are madly in love with each other say ‘I do’. To be able to share that special moment with them and capture it for them brings me so much joy. I have been fortunate enough to be able to shoot between 10-16 weddings each year.” Karie also went on to explain that her favorite moments to capture during a wedding are the bride and groom’s first look, “Most will do a first look before the ceremony, but there are still those that keep it traditional and wait to see their bride walking down the aisle. Watching how both of them react fills my heart with so much love—especially if the groom starts to cry, then I have to hide the fact that I am tearing up!” Karie describes her photography style as a combination of photojournalistic and editorial. “They are on completely opposite sides of the spectrum of each other, but I feel like it’s a good combination to have. Subjects are posed for a few shots, but then I will throw in a curve ball to get a more natural looking photo,” said Karie.

Unlike some others, Karie found that she loves editing photos, and said that one of her favorite classes in school was learning how to edit photos using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. These are parts of the process that happen behind the scenes that her clients may not see, and can be extremely tedious and time consuming. “Editing consists of exposure and color adjustments, cropping, removal of unwanted items in the background or on the clients themselves. Once they are done being edited, I will go through them all again and make sure nothing was missed,” Karie stated. 

I next asked Karie what some of her favorite memories where, to which she replied, “That would probably have to be when a 4-year-old boy dropped his pants and started peeing on a tree while doing their family photos, or the time when a bride and groom’s dog stole the show when he sat like a good boy in the front and watched them get married. I could go on and on!” Experiencing some of these crazy memories and loving her job are just a couple of the many things that Karie enjoys. Her favorite thing however, by far, has been seeing how much she’s grown during this journey. “Today, 8 years after I began my business, I have so much more confidence in myself. I’m able to show my kids that if you work hard at something, you will be successful. It’s my absolute favorite thing to hear from my eleven-year-old daughter that she wants to take over my business someday. I just smile at her and tell her that I hope she does.”

The advice Karie has for others looking to start their own photography business is to jump in with both feet and don’t look back. “If you want to do it and you have a passion for it, what are you waiting for?” said Karie. She also stated, “You can’t get into photography expecting your clients to know what they’re doing. You need to be able to pose or give them directions. You have to be able to get them to smile when they have a fake smile across their face. Making jokes or weird sounds can help get a true smile to come out of not only kids, but adults too.” The best advice that Karie has ever received from someone else came from one of her instructors in college which was, “Be prepared to fail, nine out of ten times, you will get a no from a potential client, but, there is a yes coming close behind all of those no’s. Don’t stop trying because you feel like you are failing, keep working hard because something good is coming.”

Some of the challenges that Karie said can come along with being a photographer is all of the other photographers in your area. “A few years ago, I used to look at every single one of them as a competitor. I would have to book more than them or make more than them to be more successful. But I quickly realized that I don’t want others in this industry to think the same thing about me. Why would I want someone to fail so I can become more successful?” Karie says she found a way to overcome this by finding a group online of other photographers in the area where they can all come together and help each other out. She then continued, “If I’m not able to take a session for some reason, I could post it on this group and see if any other photographer in the area would be interested in it. I feel more successful when I work in a community of like-minded people than thinking that everybody is out to get me.”

One thing Karie wishes she knew about before starting her business was how much planning ahead of time she has to do now. If she wants to take a family vacation in the summertime, she needs to make sure that she has it planned almost a year ahead of time! One of the positive things she never thought she would get to experience because of being a photographer is that she gets to go on amazing adventures and locations that she would’ve never known existed before. Karie says that five to ten years from now she can see herself still doing what she’s doing today. “Working on my business, bringing smiles to people’s faces, and being able to show my kids—and to prove to myself that if you work hard, you can achieve difficult things,” said Karie.

If you are looking for someone to capture any of the special moments in your life, reach out to Kaptured by Karie on her website @, or shoot her a message through her Facebook or Instagram page. She looks forward to working with everyone she comes across and wants her customers to know to get ready to have some fun, to laugh a little—or a lot, and to leave telling yourself that you had a great time.