Category Archives: Families

Need a senior session? Radiant photography founders and owners, Scott & Breanna, would love to be a part of it! Here’s some of the work they’ve done with families!

One of our favorite photos sessions with one of our favorite families!

When some of our best friends moved away from Phoenix to Sierra Vista, we were more than bummed.

But we quickly realized that having friends who live in a town that stays below 100 degrees, has it’s benefits!  Our positive perspective was confirmed when Ryan called us to help him give Molly a surprise family photo session for mothers day.

We headed down for a weekend of intense late night conversations, tasty meals, hilarious kids, and major life revelations (which is what always happens when we hang out with this family!).

Molly and Ryan had a terrific weekend planned for us.  We started out by heading down to the little town of Bisbee, AZ.

We’d never been there before and we found out that this little European-esque place in the middle of the Desert that is Arizona, is a photographers dream!

(They love baseball!)

It was really hard for us to adjust to walking right past places we could only dream of finding to use as photo backgrounds if we were in Phoenix because there were just too many good shots and we would’ve had to be shooting for a week straight to catch it all!

We also headed down to their favorite little hiking area, Ramsey Canyon, to catch them doing one of the many things they enjoy doing together as a family.

Our big outdoor adventure was followed by a nice dinner at a cute little 50′s diner…

…and then a night of their normal bedtime routines.  Their bedtime routine is one of my favorite things about being with this family.  First, dad gives them a bath time, complete with special treats that the kids absolutely love like tornado time (watching the water go down the drain fast), airplane time (dad tossing them up in the air to help dry them off), and great conversation about life.

The kids all have their toothbrushes in a row and they each brush their teeth while dad dries their brothers off, then they head into their bedroom to wait for the family to finish gathering in there.

Once they are all in the room, they have Bible story time, followed by question and answers (I couldn’t believe the intelligent questions they kids ask!).  They all do “blessings” on each other which is where they each go up to every family member (and Scottie and I) and run their finger over your face in the shape of a cross saying “in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.”  Have you ever heard a 3 year old saying something that intense while looking at you straight in the eye?  It’s so cool!  Especially when he says “fodder” instead of father.;-)

Next they all climb into bed, sing a hymn together, and say prayers.  They really do this together every night! Before they moved, Molly and Ryan were in the class we took that helped us get out of debt (read our blog about that here) so we went over to their house once a week around bedtime and got to witness this routine every time.  So awesome.

Despite how neat all of that was to watch, I have to say that my favorite part was when the 4 year old was laying down to sleep and just before we walked out of the room, he innocently decided to ask one last quick question, “how do we get babies?”.

Oh wow, it took us a long time be able to catch our breathes from laughing after we walked out of that room!  Luckily, we caught that one on video!  Which by the way, we plan on releasing for you all to see soon!

The next day we headed over to the superhero wall.

Superhero mom, Molly, had made all the boys capes with their initials on it and masks go with it.

Oh wow, it couldn’t have been more perfect for pictures!

We just sat around for awhile watching the boys fight crime and then play on the playground afterwards.

These are definitely some of my favorite pictures of all time!!!

Let me just say that you have truly never seen 3 little boys who are so well behaved before.

(These are some little hats that I, Breanna, bought at Michaels and have been saving for the perfect kids photo session… this was it, they loved the hats!)


I spent most of the weekend trying to convince Molly and Ryan to start a blog or write a book because they must have something magic up their sleeve!

They are a very exceptional family who permeate one another’s lives with love, grace, acceptance, and humility.  Even the little 3 year old extends these values to his other family members!

It was seriously moving to wake up every morning and get to watch another day of a family loving one another that well! 

I say all of this because the entire weekend was filled with activity and the kids were totally thrown off their normal schedule…

…and still we did not see one time when it was necessary to discipline the children.  They were just good the entire time… exhaustion and excitement weren’t even enough to bring these amazing kids down!

Molly bought bribery candy for our day in Bisbee and by the end of the day, the grown ups ended up eating it because it was not even necessary to bring out even once!  Unbelievable!  We are so proud to be friends with people who can raise such beautiful, wonderful, sweet, and caring children.

We’re also so thankful we got to meet them before we have our own kids so that maybe we can learn a few of their secrets in time to apply them ourselves!

By the way, when we asked them about their kid raising magic tricks they said the main ingredient is that everyone serves one another… parents serving each other included!

Their explanation totally did make sense after we’d been watching them for an entire weekend.  Molly and Ryan weren’t constantly begging each other to take over with the kids, because one would always hop up first without even a second thought, and we didn’t hear any arguments the entire time over “who’s job it is”.

Molly and Ryan really do serve one another better than I think I’ve ever seen any couple do… and the kids have followed suite.

(Spending the afternoon playing baseball with their kids)

(Molly & Ryan love the “Swagger Wagon” song and this is their homage to it!  If you haven’t seen this hilarious video, you’re missing out so click here!)

How many times have you seen a little 6 year old willingly serving his 4 year old rather than fighting for their own individual rights?  Well, we saw it constantly all weekend!

(The littlest one loves helping his mom cook for the family.  While prepping for this same meal, the middle child is asking if he can be our waiter which means setting the table and bringing us our food).

In fact, Scottie and I saw this family serving each other enough all weekend that when we got home,  we looked at each other and realized that if we don’t start learning to serve one another better, then we’re in trouble when we have kids because they’ll definitely learn more than a few bad habits from watching us.  So thanks to this freaking cool family, our new goal in life is to learn to love others better by working on things about ourselves (the main thing having to do with serving others).

Thank you guys so much for being one of the most positive influences in our entire life.  I can’t even begin to communicate how refreshed, hopeful, excited, etc., etc. we felt after spending a weekend being served by you.  We’ve decided to have Ellison weekend at least 3 times a year because it’s one of the best things we could do to help us become better people…and because we have a GREAT time!!

We love you all!

Click to see the rest of the photos from this wonderful family session!

Everyone’s all together… time for Kugle family photos!

After doing pictures for their baby

…we were thrilled when the Kugle Family called us to do pictures of the rest of the family as well!

Of course we couldn’t resist taking pictures of the baby again because as in any family, the baby steals the show without any effort at all!

This time was especially fun because he had a bunch of new expressions in his repertoire that we were happy to witness!

Especially because some of those faces were absolutely hysterical!

(Although this is probably my favorite picture of the day, we decided to get a normal one during this very sweet family moment!)

The rest of the family did get their time to shine too…

…both as couples…

…and as an entire family.

When you have a family as photogenic as this one, you can’t help but take way too many pictures of them!

We were very happy they were staying at the JW Desert Ridge Marriott while they were in town because it gave us full access to the stunning grounds there!

We couldn’t ask for a better place to take pictures, every where you go is beautiful!

In fact, if we had any problem, it was that there were too many places to go and we were overwhelmed with options!  Not a bad problem to have!

We want to give a special thanks to the Kugle family for working with us.

You really are a beautiful family… and a photographers dream I might add!

We hope you returned home from your vacation well rested and that you’re having fun back in normal life!:-)

Click to see the rest of the Kugle Family pictures.

The Harmons: Old Family Friends with New Family Pictures.

Over the past year or so, the Harmons have been letting us (Scottie & Breanna) into their lives more and more… and we couldn’t be happier about it!

We first met this beautiful family when we shot Emily Harmon’s wedding (she’s now a Kelly since she married Jon but we’ll still call them Harmons!).

(Jon was trying to make it look like he was really big and she was teeny tiny enough for him to hold her in has hands. Ha ha!)

We were so impressed by this family that the blog I wrote about the wedding was mostly about how amazing the families involved in the wedding were!  After Jon and Emily got married, we had the opportunity to shoot Christy Harmon’s senior pictures.

(That’s Christy on the right).

Again, another amazing experience with this family, one that we reflected with true emotion in our blog about that session.

And now here we are again… hanging out with the Harmons and loving every minute of it!

We actually had so much fun together that they took us out to dinner after the shoot!

The crazy part about this dinner (other than the fact that we stayed there talking for hours because we enjoy one another’s company so much) is that we discovered our relationship with them goes way back.

When I say “way” back I mean back so far that I (Breanna) wasn’t even old enough to have a conversation with them because my vocabulary was still limited to simple words like “no” and “more”.  Apparently my mom and her sisters went to high school with Greg (daddy Harmon)… …and they remained good friends until after they all got married and had kids.

Once we figured it out, the Harmons launched into a story about a camping trip with my parents (who were sick in bed with the flu the whole time) and little tiny me who was wandering around eating marshmallows and playing with bugs (actually I made up the bug part and it’s probably not true because I was definitely a girly girl who wouldn’t have had much interest in bugs)!

I’m a third generation Phoenician, meaning my grandfather was born here and in a transient city like Phoenix that’s a rare thing to find.

So whenever I meet anyone who’s been around here for any time at all, there’s bound to be some kind of connection.  The trick is just figuring out what it is.  But to find not only a connection, but a real friendship between our families that goes so far back, was a very cool thing indeed.

Right after the session I called my aunt and I said “Guess what?!  One of our favorite clients of all time just told us that they know you!”  I then proceeded to tell her how much we’ve connected with them and how we just sat talking with them for hours and had a great time.  Now I know why I get along with them so well… it’s in my genes!

(We thought it would be funny to do a manly non-touching picture and then do a cuddly pic afterwards!)

So thank you Harmons for always making us feel like a welcome part of your family every time we’re around you.

Thank you for being the kind and caring type of people that you are.

And most of all thank you for choosing us over and over again to capture your special memories that you will hopefully be able to reflect back on with fondness and nostalgia for years to come.

We’re so grateful to be able to capture “a year in the life of the Harmons” the way we have and give a gift to you like that.  We love your family and we are very thankful for the time we’ve been able to spend with you this past year! Good luck to all of you with all your new endeavors you have coming up, we’re excited for you!

Click to see the rest of the photos from this fantastic family’s photo session!

Shano sister love= SOO much fun!

If I didn’t wish I had a sister even half as bad as I do, after spending just a few minutes with the Shano’s, I still would’ve be back at my parents door double checking to make sure they are absolutely positive I don’t have a missing sister somewhere out there.  These girls have an absolute blast together!

Every time I looked over at them during this session, they were laughing, messing around, picking each other up, or fixing one another’s hair.

After shooting their daughter’s Sweet 16 Party, we’ve spent enough time with the Shanos to know that this wasn’t a fluke…. these sisters genuinely like each other!

It seems like living in the Shano house is 24/7 of clothes swapping, dance parties, Twilight marathons, and cheer leading practice. Even though I know there’s probably the inevitable hair pulling days… I’m SOOO jealous!:-)

Just as I was mustering up the courage to ask if I could join their family, Scottie reminded me that their mom has just as much fun as the girls do so I still have a chance to have daughters as fun as them!

That is very true, Kathy is just one of the girls and I saw her laughing and messing around with them as much as they did with each other.

So there’s still hope for me!  I guess I’m content to keep living at my house for now… but if I end up having all boys I might still give the Shano’s a call to see if they’ll have me! Ha ha.

Not to be out done, the only man in this house has his fun too!

You can tell by this beautiful car that he gets to play with!

He said he’d never really had photos taken of it, so while his daughters were practicing cheers in the yard, he saw his opportunity and grabbed Scottie to go have some fun of their own with their toys (Scottie with his camera and David with his car).

It’s funny to think of the differences between Scottie and I… if he were writing this blog it would be all about the car with a casual mention of sister time fun (sorry David, we’ll have Scottie write one for you next time! Ha ha).

So if you don’t get it by now… this is a FUN family!

They’re fun and to top it off they have a lot of cool ideas too!  If you saw the photos from Morgan’s Sweet 16 party you know what I’m talking about!  And they didn’t disappoint when it came to this session either.  We started at their house and then they gave us the idea to go over to this big grove of trees near them.

What type of trees?  I don’t know, I’m a photographer not a arborist!  I’m not a detective either, but I did pick up on the clue of the pistachios shells all over the ground, so I’m guessing that might solve the case.  Anyways, we were very proud of them for thinking outside the box and having the vision for something that most people would look at and think “ew that’s ugly, why would anyone ever do pictures there”?

And to answer that question, we do pictures there because of something called “juxtoposition”.  That means we put beautiful people in front of ugly trees and the contrast makes the beauty stand out even more!

That’s your vocab word and photography lesson for the day all tied into one!  So anyways, thank you Shano’s for understanding creative perspective and for braving the dead branches cutting your feet and the chance of hidden bugs in the dead leaves.  Your eye for beauty plus your adventure seeking spirits got you the type of pictures that very few people in AZ have (and that very few photographers in Phoenix get to shoot)!:-)

See, by now everyone reading this wishes they were in the Shano family too!

So Shano’s, if you can’t tell… we had SOOO much fun shooting your session!  We love hanging out with your family and we’re so glad we had the opportunity to catch these memories for you.  We always consider ourselves lucky when whenever we get the chance to witness a family who has fun together.  It’s such a great example to us for when we have a family one day.  Thanks for being so transparent and for sharing your fun with us.:-)

Click to see the rest of the Shano’s Fun Family Photo Session in AZ!

Oh and here’s my own personal little P.S. to readers… I’m SOOO doing my hair this color after seeing this pic!

I’ll be happy if mine looks even half as good as hers does.  Thanks for the inspiration, ha ha!!

The Cottrells are our dream team.

We’ve recently been dreaming up a certain type of family session… and then someone called us up and asked us to shoot it!  I spent some time talking to Nicole about her vision for the session and the more we talked the more I realized that working with people like this is why I LOVE my job!  I gave her ideas about the kind of session I’ve been wanting to do and she totally ran with it and filled in all the little details to complete my dream!

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I can’t even describe how amazing it is when our clients’ family and friends can look at the photos we took and say “wow, that is SO them” and then at the same time, having OUR family and friends be able to say that as well because our artistic style is enhanced so much by our client’s personal style!  It’s fusion… total fusion.  I could tell from before the date was even set for the shoot that this was one for the record books for us.

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When the big day finally came and we showed up at their house, I turned into a rambling fool every time they pulled out a new tiny sized accessory or trendy prop because I absolutely could not shut up about how perfect every single little detail was!  Everything from the decor of their home (where we started the shoot), to their outfits (thank you H&M), to their photo ideas… it all fit together in a way that made whatever part it is of my heart that beats for beauty, want to explode. (while I hate the term “drama queen”, I can’t help but wonder how many people are silently applying that title to me right about now). So um… I was excited.

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Every Saturday morning, the kids come and climb into bed with Jon and Nicole and they all snuggle up under the covers and hang out together for awhile.

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So while my “dream family session” involved the family playing together in bed like this, the idea to put it into this session actually came from Nicole!  (See!  It’s fusion, I tell ya!).

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Their daughter, Riley, was… gregarious? hilarious? no, neither of those words quite describe her, it has to be some mix of the two words that ends in “arious”, like “grilarious”.

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cottrell_bc0647(You have to check out the rest of the photos to see more of this “grilariousness”… that’s right, I added the “ness” to my new word).

Anyway, she was absolutely amazing.  Bottom line, I hope everyone of you gets a chance to spend sometime playing with a little girl like this at least once in your life.  Any photo we have of her standing still must have been a fluke because I’m pretty sure she spent at least half the day in the air (literally).  Jumping, jumping, bouncing, hopping… she never stopped.

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As she defied gravity, she somehow managed to make up pretend scenarios, tell stories, and ask us important questions about our life.  She’s especially interested in babies right now (and the fact that they actually grow in a belly) so she was quite disappointed that I not only didn’t have my own baby, but that my stomach was void of one as well.  You’d be surprised how often little kids lecture me about getting myself a baby.  A 4 year old boy I used to babysit for thought it was absolutely hilarious that he caught me in my blunder… as much as I argued with him, he insisted that I forgot to buy a baby and I’d better go do that soon. Just today my friend’s 3 year old was getting on my case as well!

cottrell_bc0148cottrell_sc0203(These are photos of jumping story time)

Little Tolan, was not about to be over shadowed by his big sister though!  It was so awesome to watch how he followed her around and copied her.  If she flung herself onto the couch, he followed suit.  When she left the room, he was right on her tail.  It made me miss when my little brother was following me around like that about 20 years ago.

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Tolan loves playing with accessories whether it’s a hat, sunglasses, whatever, he loves them (perfect fit for his parents!), but he’s not about to let all that junk get in the way of him having fun either!  He’s a rough and tumble boy through and through.  I won’t even tell you how many hours I spent in photoshop just doing the bare minimum work to minimize all the toddler battle wounds on his face!

cottrell_bc0417cottrell_bc0422cottrell_bc0431cottrell_sc0416cottrell_sc0618cottrell_sc0001(this is the only pacifier in the world that I would call an “accessory”)!

I have to mention that little Tolan is already a musical genius!  He plays actual songs on the piano already!  Just when you get ready to brace yourself and cover your ears for the obvious obnoxious sounds that come from a toddler sitting at a piano, you realize he’s actually playing something and it sounds good!

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One of my favorite stages that little kids go through is when they get their own sense of humor.  Tolan was totally there and I could probably laugh for hours on end watching him decide what he deems as funny in this life.  At one point he took off his cute little converse shoe and threw it on the ground and he got this look on his face that said, “oh wow, I am a comedic genius” and then he laughed hysterically.  And judging by the way he made me laugh at that point, he may very well be a comedic genius!

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(Here’s an “I’m-so-hilarious moment”… take a good look at his face, you might see him live at the Improv one day… if he’s not spending all his time at Carnegie Hall by then).

cottrell_sc0537(Apparently his daddy thinks he is the funniest thing in the world).

The entire time we were at their house, Tolan was absolutely enthralled with the 2 chapsticks he was double fisting.  He spent about 20 minutes studying the mechanical structure and working on getting the caps off.  I emailed Nicole after the session to tell her that if she ever needs extra pictures of her son playing with chapstick, I have about 200 of them!  She said she’d keep that in mind for when he brings his first girlfriend over one day!

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Now that you’ve been a first hand witness to how cool these people are, I have to brag and tell you that they’ve decided we’re cool enough to be their friends!

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Scottie and Jon were actually roommates at one time in the house that Jon and Nicole still live in (so all these photos are taken in Scottie’s old house)!  And Jon was the one who sort of welcomed me into his group of friends, which is how I met Scottie!  Jon also had a ton to do with us ending up together since he was often a key player in all the romantic things Scottie planned to woo me with and he was also very good at picking up the slack to make me think only the best of Scottie (by that I mean the wedding gift you gave us when we got back from our honeymoon…you know what I’m talking about!). ;-)  The Jon touch can’t be mistaken, so as much as Scottie may have wanted to claim all those romantic ideas as his, I knew he would NEVER garnish a plate with vegetable shavings!

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I also got to be a witness the first time Jon and Nicole ever met (in the very same house) when the new “hot girl” walked in and turned all the guys’ heads (I don’t know if you knew that, Nicole)!  All that to say, we were friends with Jon and Nicole during some of the most pivotal moments of our lives and they helped us make it through them all.  Jon and Nicole, doing these pictures meant so much more to me than just getting a chance to do my dream shoot.  It was so fun for us to be involved with you and your family again, and it made us remember how much you mean to us and realize what we’ve been missing out on these past couple of years (or however long it’s been since we’ve hung out regularly).  We absolutely LOVE LOVE both of your personalities and your hearts… and now that we’ve gotten to know your children better we realize we love them as well.

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I kind of want to just publicly recognize how much we value you as individuals, as a couple/family, and as our friends.  You are two of the most generous, intelligent, interesting, creative, loving, and well let’s face it… ultra cool people we’ve ever met and you’ve both done so much for us and been such a big part of our lives (I know those sound like generic adverbs, but you represent all of those things better than most people I’d describe with them!). We want to say thank you for the many, many times you’ve been there for us, whether it was having major talks with us about dating drama (we’re SO glad that stage is over!), inspiring us with your knowledge of the arts, or making us laugh REALLY hard right when we needed it.  We love both of you guys and we hope that you love your pictures!

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It was so hard to pick out photos to post here because I love them all!  Make sure you click to see the rest of the Cottrells’ Family Photo Session!