2016 Photo Challenge Mini Sessions

A few years ago, when I decided to take my photography business full time, I decided to no longer offer mini sessions. This wasn’t an easy decision, and I knew there were families who would be disappointed I was no longer offering these quick, simple sessions anymore. However, I knew if I wanted to be able to make a living doing this job, I had to cut out my Minis, at least for a little while.

2016 Mini Sessions

After my 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge wrapped this past July, I was THRILLED to be able to offer some special deals to the participants…including the exclusive opportunity to participate in my first Mini Sessions in years! A few families jumped at the chance and I had such a blast photographing them. I’m thinking of keeping Minis as a benefit for anyone who participates in future challenges as well…stay tuned! More info about how to make sure you don’t miss the next photo challenge is at the bottom of this post.

2016 Mini Sessions

2016 Mini Sessions

If you’re interested in knowing when my next special or photo challenge is offered, sign up for the Crazy Bananas Creative Studio newsletter!

30 Day Challenge - Smile

30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge Wrap Up!

It’s been a wild few weeks around here! I can’t believe we only have a little more than a month left until school starts back up for the year. The first part of my summer was totally consumed with the 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge, which meant less posting here on the blog for a bit. But before we get back to regularly scheduled programming, I wanted to share a little wrap up and some of my thoughts on the challenge as a whole.

30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge
Top to Bottom: Day 1 – Good Morning, Day 2 – Jump, Day 3 – Cold Treat, Day 4 – From Where I Sit, Day 5 – Light

The 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge was an idea that came to me one night as I was lying in bed, trying to get to sleep. I imagined a photo challenge that went above and beyond the social media challenges I’d seen before. I wanted to create a community of people who could share their images and experiences with each other in a meaningful way. My goal was to lead a project that would encourage creativity and a daily practice of joy. Hence, the 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge was born!

30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge
Top to Bottom: Day 6 – Filthy, Day 7 – Reading, Day 8 – Silhouette, Day 9 – Run, Day 10 – Picnic

But let’s be real here….I had never done anything like this before! I had no idea how it would work or if anyone would even participate. I started piecing together how the project would run, and then reached out to others in the creative community for guidance and inspiration. I put together a simple email sign-up, knowing I wanted to have more of a connection with people than just a hashtag on social media. I host giveaways all the time on this blog and on Instagram, so I decided to do the same with the photo challenge. I followed the advice of those that have gone before me and created a private Facebook group for those who signed up for the challenge. I called up my media contacts and promoted the project all over Kansas City. And then all I could do was cross my fingers and wait!

30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge
Top to Bottom: Day 11 – Black & White, Day 12 – Barefoot, Day 13 – Grass, Day 14 – Naptime, Day 15 – Friendship

What resulted was so much more than I could have ever expected…I had double the amount of people sign up for the email challenge than I had planned. Throughout the month there were over 2,500 images submitted via social media! But my favorite part of the whole thing was the incredibly supportive private Facebook group. People not only shared their daily images, but their hopes, dreams and fears. Every day I’d get excited to head over to the group and see the photos and read all the stories. It was such a positive experience for me!

30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge
Top to Bottom: Day 16 – Evening, Day 17 – Shadow, Day 18 – Summer Uniform, Day 19 – Baseball, Day 20 – Dance

I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of many, many people! From the creatives who shared their insight in the daily emails, to the brands that donated prizes for the giveaways, to my family and friends who cheered me on and shared the challenge with their communities….I’m so very, very grateful! Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough!

30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge
Top to Bottom: Day 21 – Sprinkler, Day 22 – Travel, Day 23 – Smile, Day 24 – Someone I Love, Day 25 – Adventure

I’ve had a lot of people asking if I’m going to do another challenge like this, and the answer at the moment is “I have no idea!” While I would love facilitating this type of thing again, due to it’s somewhat unexpected popularity, it was a LOT more work than I anticipated. The amount of time it took to run the challenge was pretty intense, so if I were to do it again, I would have to find a way to offset that. But I’m currently brainstorming and I’m hoping to find a way to make it work! I would love to do the challenge seasonally, or even do a holiday challenge later this year!

30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge
Top to Bottom: Day 26 – Swim, Day 27 – Summer Tradition, Day 28 – Making Me Happy, Day 29 – Reflection, Day 30 – Grateful

This is one of my favorite images from the challenge…it’s a collection of photos shared for the theme “Smile.” There is nothing more amazing then getting to see photo after photo of smiling faces in your newsfeed! I really am the luckiest! Much love to everyone who participated in the 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge! Thanks for making my summer a lot more fun!

30 Day Challenge - Smile

Kansas City Family Photographer

30 Days of Summer Challenge on KC Live!

It’s been so exciting to be asked to come on local news and radio shows to talk about photography and the 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge! I simply cannot believe I launch this thing TOMORROW! Crazytown. I am so grateful to the Kansas City community for stepping up and being a part of this challenge, whether by spreading the word, contributing items for giveaways, participating or collaborating. I definitely couldn’t do this alone, and I’m feeling pretty lucky to be a part of such an incredible community of creatives.

FAQs – 30 Day Photo Challenge

Are you guys getting excited about the 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge? June is going to be here before we know it! I can’t wait! For those of you who are on the fence about joining us this summer, or even if you just want some clarification on the challenge, I decided to put together a little Frequently Asked Questions blog. I hope this answers anything and everything…but if not, feel free to give me a shout on social media or send me a note to megan@crazybananas.com.

1. How will I get the daily themes? All at once, or one every day?
You will get a list of all of the themes for the challenge at the beginning, the week before the challenge starts. This should give you some time to prepare and get the creative juices flowing! Once the challenge begins on June 1st, you will also get the themes each day sent to your email inbox.

2. Do I have to sign up for the emails or can I just participate on social media?
If you want to be eligible for giveaways and freebies, you must sign up through your email (you can find the sign up form here). By receiving the emails, you’ll also get tons of additional information from myself and from an amazing group of makers, artists and bloggers that are collaborating with me for this challenge.

3. Do I have to post my images on social media? What social media channels will we be using?
No, you don’t have to post your images to social media…but I hope you do! I love seeing all the creativity and viewing everyone’s summer moments. I will be checking Facebook and Instagram for the hashtag #30daysofsummerphotochallenge, and will also be spotlighting my favorite images through my social media accounts.

4. Do I have to be a mom or a woman to participate?
Nope! The challenge is geared toward mothers, but everyone is welcome! I would actually love to see a ton of different perspectives!

5. How will the giveaways work?
There will be two types of giveaways for this challenge…the first is giveaways that are for everyone who signs up. For example, the incredible company Artifact Uprising is giving everyone who signs up for the challenge 25 FREE square prints of their images! How cool is that?! This giveaway will be sent out via email to everyone who is on the email list. The second type of giveaway is for items that I only have a certain number of. These will be given away via our private Facebook group. I will post the items on certain days in the group with instructions on how to enter!

6. Wait, what private Facebook group?!
Before the challenge begins, you will be invited to join our private Facebook group, which will be a place where you can post your images, share tips/tricks relating to the days theme, enter giveaways and connect with other participants. You must be signed up for the challenge emails in order to join the Facebook group. Keep an eye out for an upcoming email with more info.

7. Do I have to post or take a photo every day? If I don’t, am I still eligible for the prizes?
Hey now, I’m not the photo police! Of course I hope you’ll participate every day, because the point of this project is to grow our creativity by taking daily images. However, I know how life can be, especially with kids home for the summer. How you participate is up to you! Remember, it’s not about being perfect!

8. Do I have to have a fancy camera and know how to edit photos?
NO! Use what you have…whether that’s a smart phone, a DSLR camera or a simple point and shoot. It’s not about the gear, it’s about having fun.

9. Will there be another opportunity to do a photo challenge like this?
Hopefully! We’re gonna see how this one goes first, but I would love to offer more of these throughout the year. Stay tuned!

30 Days of Summer

30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge!

It’s here, it’s here! It’s finally here!

I’ve been talking about the 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge quite a bit lately, but today is the officially, official day when I’m sending my new project out into the world! I had always planned to wait until today to talk about this photo challenge, but when the news calls and asks you to come on and talk about something you love, you do it! Even if your promo isn’t quite ready to go….

The 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge came from a small idea I had one night while lying in bed. I was thinking about how summer would be here before I knew it, and how every year I find myself creatively drained in the summertime. I start out with the best of intentions, but with the kids at home all day, my work schedule, the heat and the lack of alone time, I eventually find myself frustrated and in a bit of a rut.

My journey to photography runs parallel with motherhood…I was gifted my very first DSLR camera when I was six months pregnant with my daughter. After she was born, I found myself alone with a newborn, and a bit lost in my new life. I didn’t have any friends with kids, and I felt so isolated from my peers. Photography is what woke me up. I ate up every tutorial I could find online. I practiced every day. My beautiful Lulu probably has about a million photos of herself as a baby! I wasn’t perfect, but that was never the goal. I was making something and it felt amazing.

The 30 Days of Summer Challenge was created with this in mind. It is NOT about taking the most beautiful photo in the world or having the most expensive, fancy camera. It’s NOT about being perfect. It’s about making something. It’s about taking a minute or two out of your day to see your life through the lens…whether that lens belongs to a DSLR, a phone or a point and shoot camera! After a bit, you’ll start to see things in a new way. Where you once may have been bored, now you’ll be looking for light or seeing how the shadows play on the ground. You will find inspiration in the mundane, and you may even look back on hard days with a little fondness.

We begin the challenge on June 1st, so head on over to the main page and sign up! I would love to have you join me on this adventure!

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