Masthead header
  • Welcome to Our Journal

    Keith is a photographer who believes that kids are nearly perfect and that great images capture a bit of that perfection for all eternity. He loves that children don’t filter their emotions. Living loud is their power. And his job is to capture a moment of their uncontained imaginations: your children, unscripted.

    Melissa is the studio manager, adoring wife, busy mom and occasional writer that believes she is living the most beautiful life in the whole world.

    Keith and Melissa have two amazing daughters, Isabella and Gabriella and a little Jack Russell named Pooch.

    This journal is our personal blog about our family, photography, travel and how we are inspired by children in all their authenticity, one beautiful photograph at a time.

Why I shoot film | Personal

Gabby jumping on a hotel bed

by Keith 

It’s funny how things run in cycles. All things get old but the good things age well and come back (if they ever really left). For obvious reasons I will apply this thinking to my love of photography in general and film in particular (and those beautifully crafted machines that expose it called cameras). 

In 2001 I decided to start shooting digitally for weddings since I saw the writing on the wall. I knew this digital thing was going to be for real. I started adding it into weddings along side film and started building a digital wedding portfolio. 

Eventually when I met with potential clients, digital was my only offering. I had a hard time convincing people back then that digital would hold up as well as film and look as good as film. I told clients that they would like digital as much, showing them prints made from both digital and film and they couldn’t tell the difference. I worked hard to make that happen. 

I rode an early wave of digital success while trying hard to make it look like film. I did this for years. I bought newer and better cameras that could do more things (most of which I didn’t care if they could do) and bought newer and better software to add the film look. In the mean time, film grew more exotic to the masses and photographers sprang forth that did amazing work and had never actually touched a roll of film. Many talked about film though as if it were a magic substance that made everything turn into art (it’s not). They did all they could to make their digital files look like film types that they had never seen (difficult if you think about it).

I love film. Is it perfect? No. That’s one reason I like film more than digital. Is it harder to use than digital? Yes. That’s another reason. Do I know what I’ve got when the shutter fires? Yes and no. Digital gives instant feedback while film requires that I know what I’m doing at all times, that knowing is more of an intuitive feel. That is yet another reason. 

Digital, when done right looks bad to me. It looks too perfect. Plasticky and too smooth for a lack of a more eloquent description. To combat this I have gone to varying lengths to add elements to the files (sad that that’s what they are) to make them appear to have the same natural imperfections and unique characteristics as film. The irony here is that I’m adding these imperfections digitally, which means I can recreate them exactly from frame to frame if I want. That is the opposite of what I love about film. Digital works and can look good but it stings my creative soul every time with a feel of cheating.

Let me be clear, the only thing that really matters in the end is the image that you get. How you get it is personal and shouldn’t be questioned as long as it speaks to you (and says something nice of course). Images I capture on film speak to my soul. These images require no effort to make them look as if they were made using film. 

Film is tangible and not subject to the whims and twists of technology. Less wasted effort where creative energy could be applied to something else makes me a happy photographer.


What to do with your summer holiday photos?

california orange county 2014-08-29_0002

I used to print out all my photos. I loved dropping the film off and getting photos back. But ever since I have been using a digital camera and of course, my IPhone to take the majority of my photos – they all seem to linger in a folder on my desktop.

My mom often asks when she is going to see some of these photos, since she isn’t on Facebook or Instagram, I guess never!

This is of course our business. We are paid to print photos and albums for other people, but we often neglect our own family photos. I guess it’s the same as a chef who doesn’t cook for the family. But this is the year things are going to change.

I have decided to do something with all the fabulous photos taken over the summer. We had a glorious week in California and several weeks in Sicily so I have a (digital) mountain of photos that I want to do right by.

**What to do with those Instagram photos? Well you need to visit Social Print Studio. They have the cutest selection of products – from square magnets to tiny little mini books to greeting cards. You can upload your files directly from your Instagram account (or they even allow you to use regular photos if Instagram isn’t your thing).

**Want to make your own photo book that doesn’t cost a million dollars? Artifact Uprising is my go to for soft cover books. While they aren’t the cheapest, for around $50  you can have a beautiful image wrapped book that tells the story of your summer. Really professional quality at consumer pricing. Just upload your photos and start laying it out. While it is not the most intuitive site (we have alot of practice with all sorts of album and print ordering sights) it can be navigated with relative ease. But the product is beautifully unique on recycled paper. I love them, the books and the company. Read about their Core Values, love their philosophy. They have other products as well plus you can also upload your phone photos as well!

**How about putting those family memories in to a sleek looking magazine? or maybe making an e-zine to email to friends and family? or maybe a calendar so that you can relive  your vacation over and over throughout the year. MagCloud is an awesome solution. You can make the coolest professional looking collateral – fooling everyone into thinking you are an indie publisher!

Look out mom because I will be ordering some super cool stuff to showcase our summer memories!

Niki - August 29, 2014 - 9:35 pm

So you talked about one of your goals for the new year being blogging with purpose. This is a great example and you’re off to a running start. This is very helpful information and advice that everyone can use. Thanks for steering us all in the right direction. Your blog has motivated me to do something with all my fun summer photos. THANKS MELISSA!!!!

melissa - September 2, 2014 - 4:15 pm

Thank you for the feedback Niki! We miss you guys!

Foster a Dog (or two) | Personal

three-dogs-on-a-couch“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Roger Caras

A year or so ago a friend of ours fostered 2 dogs from a place called Scottsdale Strays (they set up shop every Saturday at Choice Pet Market, corner of Scottsdale Rd and Shea in Scottsdale).  She eventually adopted the 2 chihuahuas. Then my sister started fostering 2 dogs a week. She has also adopted 2 dogs. Turns out another friend has adopted a dog from Scottsdale Strays as well.

I swear I have said to our family multiple times over the last few years that I want a break from having a dog once our precious Pooch moves on to the next world. Pooch is 15 years old and she has been the center of our lives for that long. And we can’t imagine life without her in it. But….we all love dogs and can’t say no.

So the kids have been pestering us to get another dog for years now. I promised Isabella way back – maybe 3 or 4 years ago when we went apple picking near Wickenburg, that she could get a dog when she turned 10. Well 10 seemed like a long time. But guess what, neither child has forgotten that promise and Isabella just turned 10.

Happily, they wanted to foster a dog as an initial compromise. So of course we went to Scottsdale Strays last Saturday to see if we could find a dog to foster. Needless to say, they wanted to foster several of these adorable dogs. The girls both bonded with a dog and I let them choose one each. We left with these two girls, the chihuahua is 2 and the mini pinscher, a 6 month old puppy.

The most important requirement is that Pooch give her stamp of approval – we couldn’t have her stressed out with puppies jumping on her head as she lives out the final years. But she seems just fine with her new sisters.  It looks like we are on the road to adopting these two cuties!

Look at this cutie pie | Dog Photography | Scottsdale

dog photography scottsdale

Can a dog be any cuter than this????

This is one of our client’s dogs that I think just gets more adorable every year.  This little Yorkie is about 10 and has made it into a few photographs over the years. A New Year’s Eve party, an engagement session, a wedding, a Christmas party, a baby shower, a child’s birthday party, etc… so she is not shy in front of the camera.

Keith couldn’t resist taking this shot as the family session began. There may be a new baby in the house but this pup is still queen!



Candy Themed First Birthday Party | Scottsdale, AZ

1st birthday party photosbirthday party photographybirthday party photographycandy themed birthday party1st birthday party ideas1st birthday party ideasTis the season for adorable birthday parties! What isn’t there to love about a candy themed first birthday party? A crowd pleaser for sure.

Jay at Kick Ass Kakes did an outstanding job on the birthday cake, cake pops and the macarons – those colors and flavors!  (It’s a small world because we have run into Jay’s cakes/macarons at two 1st birthday parties this month as well as our own daughter requesting his macarons for her August birthday party. (Last year he made a one of a kind One Direction cake for her 9th birthday, this year she is more sophisticated, just wanting macarons!) If you get a chance, stop by his store on Central Ave or at the Hudson Shops at the Biltmore Fashion Square in Phoenix.

Events by Stephanie Antoinette was the party/event planner behind this super sweet first birthday party. Job well done!