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  • 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.

a rainy day in paris | paris children and family photographer

Spending the month in Paris was such a dream. When we arrived, we were enamored with a few things. Of course the obvious, were were in Paris! But we were also pretty pleased with the weather, it was amazingly cool (and a bit rainy) and the it stayed light out until 10pm. A huge departure from the 100+ temperatures of a summer in Scottsdale. Needless to say – we welcomed the cool temps and the rain.

We had a few portrait sessions that were tentatively scheduled a few weeks ahead of our arrival so when we looked at the daily forecast and saw rain, rain, rain – we were never quite sure if we should try and reschedule or just see what happened. The other beauty of Paris weather is that it is constantly changing – so it might be sunny one minute and then raining the next.

We scheduled this family’s session for the week the grandparents were visiting from the US. Any chance to document three generations together is something too good to pass up. Regardless of the fact it was raining at at good clip – we decided to just go ahead and not reschedule. Fortunately, we were able to get in about a half an hour of shooting time – enough time to document the entire family.

We rescheduled a follow up session so that we could get a little bit more time with the family. Funny, in one set of photographs, it looks like late fall, umbrellas, jackets. In the latter set of photos, it looks like a spring day – sun, short sleeves. Both sessions were in July. At different points in the month, the temperature ranged from the 50’s all the way up to the high 80’s. Summer in Paris!

Each portrait session we had while in Paris involved at least one American – as part of the couple. I hate to be envious, but raising kids in Paris must be so much fun. And I love the fact that this mom (American) has built quite a business for herself. (a future post is planned with Kim giving her input on What to do in Paris with Kids! – can’t wait to share her insight.)

Kim is the owner of Parisian Events – a full service event planning business. Parisian Events specializes in mixing traditional American elements with classic Parisian elegance, parisian events is the premier wedding and event planning agency catering to the English-speaking community in Paris, France.

I can’t say it often enough. I love our life. We are just the most fortunate people in the world to meet such lovely families and tell their story.

the beginning of her story | phoenix newborn photographers

Newborn sessions are just so precious to me. It is such a special time for the parents. It is even more special when it is your first baby. The tiny little fingers and toes, the sweet sounds that your baby makes, the way you could just stare at her for hours and it seems like minutes. The disbelief as you look at this little tiny newborn and think that just a few weeks ago this little baby was inside you. You had no idea what she looked like exactly – you had your ultrasounds and your imagination. And then after 40 weeks (give or take), you are holding this beautiful little warm specimen in your arms. How is it possible? If you didn’t believe in miracles before – you sort of do now.

We are so grateful to know this special couple. We were honored to photograph their wedding – about 3 years ago (my memory is certainly failing at an alarming rate! I like to blame my pregnancies, but it has been nearly 6 years since I was pregnant! :) probably time to start thinking it could be something else, like age?!) But we are so, so honored to be able to capture these memories for them. In just a few weeks, they will look back at these photographs and marvel at how much baby has grown. Wait till her first birthday – it is shocking to think how much babies grow in one year. Without these photographs that prove baby was once small, you might not believe it yourself!

Then one day they will be full grown. So hard to imagine. Yet it seems to happen so quickly. Isabella is at my shoulder. Nearly 5 feet tall – she used to be 6 lbs 9 oz. Tiny bear is still tiny but she is less tiny with each passing year.

The bottom line is this – don’t forget to photograph these milestones. Birth, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and then every year after. So many great memories wrapped into one photograph. So many stories to be told. Photographs help tell the story.

Sarah - August 21, 2012 - 9:24 pm

Thank you, Keith and Melissa for capturing this special time. I can already see changes from when these photos were taken less than 2 weeks ago..She’s growing so fast! We will truly treasure these photos for a lifetime and are just so grateful for all your incredible work.

How to photograph kids | La Fête Foraine du Jardin des Tuileries Paris | children’s portrait photographer

La Fête Foraine du Jardin is a temporary summer carnival that is located in The Tuileries Garden, just near the Louvre. Every spring/summer this carnival includes everything that makes carnivals so colorful and entertaining. Since the apartment we were staying in was just a short walk from here, we ended up walking through the Tuileries often and of course the kids could not resist insisting on the detour through the carnival.

In my opinion, a trip to a carnival, state fair or amusement park is just not as memorable without photographs. I just love the bright colors, crowds of people and the energy. A summer carnival in Paris – I couldn’t wait for Keith to photograph the kids.

Aaahh but the kids had a different idea! If only photographing your own children was as enjoyable as photographing other people’s children! (Did I just say that? I probably shouldn’t.) It is often very, very difficult to get our own kids to be willing participants. Keith had to earn these shots. Isabella did not make this easy. As Keith says – take what the defense gives you. But the bottom line is photograph fast, fast, fast because the window of cooperation is tiny. In fact most times there is no cooperation but with a little anticipation, you can get your shot.

Well I wanted pictures but the kids were just not interested. What better way to get cooperation then a bribe? (Before I had kids I swore I would never bribe them, oh how silly I was, bribing gets you everywhere with kids!) I spied the cotton candy – it all started to come together.

Since Isabella was mildly distracted by her cotton candy – Keith was able to grab the first picture. She is slightly camera aware. The lighting was just perfect. It was close to 9:30 pm – the sun couldn’t have been any more beautiful. The backlighting helped to separate her from the background, the crowd, the rides, the games were in the distance. Just her and the cotton candy.

The second photograph has Isabella being more part of the crowd. Don’t be afraid to incorporate the crowd. Always use what’s around you – if it’s a busy place, don’t be afraid to show it. She is completely camera aware at this point, staring right at Keith as he takes the photograph. A level of cooperation I’m not used to. But it was fleeting. The exaggerated faces and general complaints of having her picture taken quickly followed.

Keith was able to get a beautiful series of photographs. He was deliberate and ready – anticipation is the key to capturing these unscripted moments.

first day of school | scottsdale children’s photographer

The first day of school. A bitter sweet day I must say. Part of me has been counting down the 76 (??!76???) days of summer vacation from the moment the kids had their final dismissal back on May 23rd. I took a look at the school calender and August 8th seemed like it was a million days away. How will we survive running the business with two kids at home all summer? But the other part of me enjoyed so many moments with these awesome kids that I can’t even believe that I couldn’t believe how long 76 days sounded like. I do this all the time – I think it is going to be a big challenge trying to keep everything on schedule for the business and entertain the kids and not lose our sanity. And I’m always wrong! I guess because we get wrapped up in our weekly school/work routine that we forget it is actually fun having them around AND with a little careful planning we manage to balance it all for the summer.

Isabella turned 8 on Monday and started school on Wednesday, she is now in 3rd grade. How is that possible? Even less probable is that Gabby started Kindergarten. In some ways it seemed so long in coming yet how is my little baby now a kinder? I guess I’m not breaking down in hysterics because this is both of their 3rd years with the same class/same teacher. I love the Montessori way of doing things. After 3 years in the same class, they are now the leaders – they get to help the little ones in their respective classes. It’s a big deal for them and they were both so proud heading off to school.

We might be back to school, moved into our new office (well we still need to do some cosmetic stuff to make it look beautiful) and back to work full time but if you read this blog with any regularity – be prepared. There are still Paris posts to come! It may look like I’m still pretending we are there. Of course, I wouldn’t mind still being there but really, Keith just took so many great photos while we were there that I feel compelled to share them with everyone.

Oh, I almost forgot we were actually working while we were there. We will definitely be sharing a few of our family portrait sessions in Paris. Mais Bien Sur!

Kristen Butler - August 13, 2012 - 8:51 pm

I know I will never get tired of seeing Paris photos! Congrats to Gabs being a big kindergartner. She looks as if she’s ready to take on the world in this image!

gabby unscripted | paris with kids

Isabella and I had gone in another direction and Keith and Gabby were walking around the Marais for a few minutes by themselves. Keith snapped this quick picture of Gabby just being herself: unscripted.

This photo is a snap shot into how this month has been.

Traveling with children certainly has its challenges. Part of me wants to write a post about traveling to Paris with children and I am so tempted to have the first line read: Tips about bringing the kids to Paris for a month, DON’T!

But that thought is only fleeting. Traveling with children in Paris mostly has its rewards! There is probably one moment each day where I am frustrated with them in some shape or form – it could be a whine or a complaint or just them not moving to the side fast enough when a commuter wants pass on the metro. But over all, these kids have been great! They are having so much fun and are so amenable to everything we have thrown at them.

The photo above kind of captures it all for me. This was towards the end of a warm day of sightseeing. We had visited the MUSÉE CARNAVALET (a great museum about the history of Paris), we had walked through the Marais (love this area of town), had walked over Pont Marie to get them some really delicious ice cream from Berthillon (post to come!), sat by the Seine for a bit and then decided it was time to head home. Keith walked in one direction with Gabby and apparently took this shot while she was running through the street.

My point is that after a full day of sightseeing, these kids still have the reserve to run a little bit more, climb a bit higher and just in general keep having a great time, regardless of where they are.

I’m going to miss this place!