724 N Humphreys St Flagstaff, AZ 86001

(928) 779-4151

Emmalee’s Gift – Photographer in Flagstaff, AZ

She was clearly getting ready to say something. She stood in front of me and paused, looking at the floor for a second. When she did glance up at me, she quietly mumbled, ‘I’m gonna miss you.’ I said ‘Oh, I know. Me too. I always love when I get to play with you.’

Later, at the end of the very full day, KDI Photography I looked at the wax bracelet she’d made me, snuggled sloppily around my wrist, and smiled again. My 3-year-old friend (she’d made a point to assure me we were real ‘friends’) had arrived in the morning with her awesome parents for their portrait View and Order meeting like she almost always arrives – looking very serious and shy. About 15 minutes in, she usually starts to warm up and progresses from there to the freely-climbing-on-my-lap level, and then finally on to full-out dance party mode by the time she has to go. In like a lamb and out like a very playful, giggly lion.

Today, our little dance break needed no music except us humming along to our crazy steps. I’ll confess, I love it when kids are reluctant to leave the studio because it means they’re happy to be here. Fortunately, I’ll get to see her again soon – there’s more on the calendar with her delightful family.

The bracelet was tangible evidence of some sweetness in a day that was full of sweet moments. A wonderful email from clients who were happily surprised by something that Keiji and I sneakily included in their order; a newborn’s sleepy sounds, furrowed brow, and prayerful toes; parental expressions as they reacted to their teenage daughter’s photographs; a woman’s joyfully enthusiastic voice on the phone as we conspired about her upcoming couples engagement portrait.

Again and again, beautiful souls somehow find us, walk through our studio door, and fill up my heart. Their presence is an amazing gift.


Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with more than 2 decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, high school seniors and for businesses in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona. Please visit KDI Photography’s website.

Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Commercial Photography

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