Flagstaff Portrait – Charmed

I’ve known Mia since before she was born. I took pregnancy portraits of her mom and then made the first pictures of her in the hospital! She is as beautiful on the inside as she is outside. She has started a business that uses recycled materials to make wonderful accessories and donates a portion of each sale to non-profits. Check it out Second Time’s a Charm

flagstaff portrait photographer – framing your prints

A client recently came to see me, lugging a huge package of frames. She wanted to show me how she’d framed some of the prints she had ordered from me. She had placed the borderless, full frame 8×10 prints in the same sized frames… makes sense, right? Buy an 8×10 print, then put it in an 8×10 frame. Isn’t that what they make them for?

Later, we talked about matting and she got matted prints, placing them in some beautiful frames. The difference was dramatic and she wanted to share it with me. “Tell your clients about this!” she said. “The matted ones look so much better. I wish I had started there.”

Matted prints distinguish the images from your vacation photos and casual snapshots by placing an emphasis on the images as art. They say, “This is important to us. This matters.” The goal is to create unique, personal art for your home. The care you take in displaying the images goes a long way to reaching that goal.

So, look at the picture below … which ones look better to you?

You can find these particular frames at DardHunter.

Stroller Strides Flagstaff – hanging out with fit moms & happy babies

I headed to photograph my first Stroller Strides Flagstaff class not knowing what to expect. I guess I pictured a handful of moms running behind jogger strollers with easy-going babies snuggled patiently inside. It sounded like something I wouldn’t have been able to manage when my kids were at their very squirmiest. I could imagine them wriggling out of the stroller out of boredom before I was able to get my heaving lungs to push it halfway around the track. I arrived at Buffalo Park and happily had that expectation turned on its head.

Beth Sabol is a wonderfully talented trainer and teacher. She is both peer and cheerleader for her classes of strong and committed women. She brings her own young children with her so she walks the walk (jogs the jog?) as she spurs on the other moms. I was impressed with the variety of exercises she came up with, a majority of them designed to not only strengthen mom but to simultaneously entertain child – something I had never seen done so effectively before. The kids were fascinated watching the group of mothers stretch and lunge in front of them. Just as they got wiggly, they were off to run to the next stop. Never a dull moment. Well, almost. At one point, when the kids did, one by one, all start to make their impatience known, those determined mamas finished the reps they were working on, laughing at the growing momentary cacophony. The kids didn’t have to wait long for the fun to get going again. After the class, there was time to chat, share information and play.

I loved witnessing the camaraderie and mutual support, happy moms getting stronger and healthier, and the minor miracle of enthralled kids, along for the ride.

To see additional images from this shoot or to learn more about Stroller Strides, visit the Stroller Strides Flagstaff website.

holiday portraits – fun card designs

I’m having fun working with clients to design unique cards for the holiday season. So far this year, no one seems to want the traditional red and green! I really enjoy getting to be creative with these. Check out some recent designs. (These are all flat cards because the folded ones are harder to show online.)

flagstaff portrait – acting up

When Chad asked me to create a portfolio of actor portraits for him to take to Hollywood I knew it was going to be a fun shoot. He and I brainstormed to create different characters so he could show his versatility as an actor. He was such a great collaborator and kept me laughing throughout our meetings, phone calls and location shoot. He’s also really talented at improv… At one point, after I directed, “Pretend you see someone you know over there” he was so utterly convincing that I had to turn my head to look to see if someone had actually walked up. I have no doubt that he’ll make his dreams a reality.

If you’ve taken classes at the wonderful Northern Arizona Yoga Center, you’ve likely met Chad’s mom, Maggie. Being a great subject runs in the family!

three sisters

These three women were really inspiring. They took time from their busy lives and chose a day that all of their families could have portraits taken together. I was so happy that we were able to record their amazing sister relationship. Seeing how they cracked one another up and the obvious bond between them reminded me of my own two wonderful sisters!

The anniversary of a great decision

Twenty years ago, while on a five-month backpacking trip through Europe, Israel and Egypt, I made a life-changing decision. Until then, I had been working in a psychiatric half-way house, but was finding that I preferred making portraits of the patients to doing the therapy. I left the job to travel with a friend.

Then one morning at sunrise, after a grueling hike to the top of the famed Masada overlooking the Dead Sea in Israel, I had an epiphany.  I was taking pictures in the hazy golden light and I turned to my friend and said, “I wish I could just be a photographer.” Without missing a beat she smiled and said, “Do it!”

I went home at the end of that trip and started taking pictures part-time. Soon, I had somehow talked my way into a full-time job at a photography studio in Boston, shooting any job that came in, from legal photography to weddings. I continued my education that way, working for photographers who could teach me a particular photographic skill, also learning the business of photography along the way.

I sometimes marvel that I found my calling in making portraits, and that I still love my job so much – even after 20 years. I wish that for my children, for everyone. I love the creativity, always learning new things, being my own boss, but most of all, I love the people I get to work with. They regularly make my day: a two-year old climbs into my lap and asks me to read to him, a mom cries happy tears looking at my pictures of her kids, a person sitting for a professional portrait says, “Wow, do I really look like that? I look great!”

Transformation and connection occurs, people see themselves in a new way, tell me their heartbreaking, heartwarming or hilarious stories, and trust me to make pictures of them and the people they love. It is truly an honor.

Keiji Iwai & Kristen Dacey Iwai



724 N. Humphreys St

Flagstaff, AZ 86001



(928) 779-4151



M - F 9 - 5 by appointment

KDI Photography Portrait Studio in Flagstaff, Az