"It’s benign.”  Isn’t that such a great sentence? Who doesn't want to hear that the issue they're having is harmless, noncancerous?

Those two words are an excerpt from one of my earliest conversations with radiologist Ken Salce. I hope he gets to say that to patients every day but, for me, hearing it was remarkable. It was a long time ago, but ever since that day, seeing him has always been a happy reminder of his compassionately issued reassurance.

Flagstaff AZ Location Couples PortraitWhen I bumped into him at a fundraiser with his sweetie, Tara Cecil, she gave me reason to smile, too. She is a person who is filled with light and enthusiasm and love, all of which  radiate out of her face.Flagstaff AZ Location Couples Portrait  You can't miss it, it's contagious.

They are amazing together, sharing private jokes, finishing each other sentences. They share an easy confidence and it’s just a good feeling to be around them. When Tara finished her PhD and they set a date for their upcoming wedding, we made plans to create some overdue couples portraits. Their way of being together makes my job a breeze, I sometimes think they'veFlagstaff AZ Location Couples Portrait forgotten I’m there, with my camera!

We made the first photographs in the bucolic summer in Flagstaff, with  abundant, saturated yellow flowers surrounding the happy couple.

For their second portrait session, the turning leaves of the golden aspens in Northern Arizona were in their fullest glory.

Despite the fact that both of them work at Flagstaff Medical Center, Ken and Tara ...continue reading Couples Portraits in Flagstaff, AZ – Northern Arizona Photographer


KDI Photography is holding a raffle to support a family whose 31/2 year-old daughter is going through cancer treatment. We're offering a free studio portrait session for up to 5 people with a $99 print credit to one winner. Buy one or more raffle tickets and you will be helping to provide financial support to their family as they travel to Phoenix for chemotherapy treatments. One raffle ticket for $20 or 6 tickets for $100.  Raffle drawing will be November 21st.

We are excited to offer some support to this amazing family so thanks in advance!

Kristen or Keiji Iwai at (928) 779-4151 or studio@kdiphotography.com
Shannon Ellison at (928) 213-0888 or Sehavey22@yahoo.com
Heidi Komada at (928) 221-7854 or heidinted@yahoo.com
• Want to help even more?  Sign up to coordinate raffle tickets at your work or school!

• Not interested in winning a portrait session with KDI Photography but still want to help? Please feel free to contribute to another fundraiser, a GoFundMe campaign that was set up by Maslar family friends.


Whats your season? Everybody seems to have their favorite.

Is it Fall, Autumn?  You know, the time of year when we all want to go leaf peeping and see the brilliant fall foliage? KDI-Child-Portraits-S-Kids-Family15_038Most years in Northern Arizona, the Aspens start turning from rich, radiant green to saturated yellow in late September. Some of that color can often be found as late as November. It starts on the mountain and moves into town, so different locations show their beauty at different periods within that few week window. It just so happens that lots of Flagstaff families and seniors in high school want to make portraits in that setting every year. In fact, October is our photo studio's absolute busiest month.

It makes sense that Fall is so popular for portraits. Like the San Francisco Peaks, those turning leaves are pretty iconic to us Flagstaff residents. Why do I mention this while we can still see some of the flowers of summer? Well, because we are already booking up our busy September and October and I don't want you to miss out. (It makes me sad when our clients are sad!) We fill up that time in our calendars every year, but this year we started booking the fall season sessions in February! We still have many studio sessions open but the location portrait sessions always go faster.

So, lovely past and future KDI Photography clients, consider this your friendly reminder. Fall will be here in a flash!


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. To see more, 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



By the time she finally called me, I could hear the guilt in her voice. They had waited and waited to find the right moment. Something always got in the way. The kids  had some school event or sports activity. She and her husband wanted to lose a little weight. One of her children was going through an "awkward teeth" phase. (For the record, I absolutely love the visual time machine aspect of "awkward teeth"!) Scheduling was always a challenge. Before they knew it, the kids were just SO MUCH older. She felt like some of the important moments in her family's life had been missed, photographically.

Have you ever heard that proverb: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now".

You know when the best time is to make portraits? Now.

Here are my top 7 reasons to have your portraits made during the summer:

1. Coordinating schedules is usually easier in the summer. It's less likely that you'll have to work around school events, sports, lessons and other after-school activities.summer family portraits flagstaff photographer

2. People often feel more “photo-ready" in the summer. We're outdoors, getting some sunshine and are usually more active than during the holidays.

3. Your stress level will be dramatically reduced when your holiday gift giving and holiday cards are completed before the rush sets in. And, when you and your family members find yourselves in relaxed summer mode during the session, your holiday portrait gifts and cards will show it!Family-Portrait-Flagstaff-AZ4. Family and senior portrait photographers (like me) ...continue reading 7 Reasons You’ll Love Having Portraits Made in Summer – Flagstaff Photographer


Two weeks ago, the phone rang and it was horrible news. My friends and clients, the Hanson family, had suffered an unimaginable tragedy. That morning, their 22 month old son Mason had unexpectedly run outside and was hit by their car. This precious boy, this adored ball of sunshine and love, was gone. In the days that followed, as I sat with them and created projects for his memorial and for their home with the portraits we’d made together, I saw up close what it looks like to suffer the worst pain anyone can imagine. The pictures were some comfort to them, and I was grateful there was something I could do to help, as I struggled with the absolute powerlessness we all feel when watching friends live through enormous grief.


In the 10 days following Mason’s passing, they were surrounded with a tsunami of support, from helping with financial concerns to building “Mason’s Garden”, a beautiful growing, flowing memorial to their littlest child in their backyard. Along with extended family, friends and our remarkable Flagstaff community, they accomplished herculean tasks of organization and planning. When Mason’s parents took to the podium next to his casket to beautifully remember their child on Sunday, the sorrow in that room was palpable. But Jessica’s speech was also something else. An inspiring entreaty to make the world more Mason-like.

With Jessica's permission, her words are included here.

Wow, there is a lot of love in this room. A lot of sadness, but a lot of love. Look at how beautiful that little boy is.

I was contemplating talking about the most HansonFamilyPortraitFlagstaff10-2015_025dramatic poop experience with you all but I suppose it would be a good ice breaker. 5 weeks ago I let my Mason go without a diaper for no more than 3 minutes. I wanted to watch his cute little naked butt running around for a short period of time. As I was watching him I noticed he was giving me the look….The, I’m going to poop on the floor look. From that second on everything was in slow motion. I said buddy, don’t do it… I stood up and as I was going to pick him up he pooped right on the floor…then I stepped in it. So there I was standing in my daughters room on one foot holding a naked baby who was ready to fire at any given moment. I started yelling for Mikey… ...continue reading Live Like Mason – A Heartbroken Mom’s Words of Wisdom