Monthly Archives: January 2010

A True Life Changing Experience.

Do you ever have those experiences that completely transform the tone of your entire day within an instant?  That’s how I feel every single time I read my friend Abby’s blog.  Now you might be thinking “wow, she must have some really hilarious kids, a very intense home improvement project, or an especially cute little puppy to have the ability to affect you that much”.  Umm, not so much.  Abby lives in Africa in a home for street kids.  She takes care of these kids like they are her own and she deals with situations, emotions, and tragedy that is beyond my comprehension… and way above the abilities of most 20 somethings I know, and of most 60 somethings I know actually!

(so… she’s the white one! Abby or the people on her team took all of these photos.  These are not Radiant Photos.)

The lives of street kids in Africa is something so difficult to hear about, that most people would rather not know about it.  As a result of war, the HIV/AIDS virus, and severe poverty; 13% of all children under the age of 18 in Uganda have been orphaned. Once on the streets, these children experience significant levels of all kinds of abuse and mistreatment. They are hated and feared by the rest of the community, even though they are only children.

The kids are forced to sleep wherever they can.  Since they are in danger of being taken by the corrupt police force, being kidnapped to be sold into slavery, or just receiving random beatings while sleeping, they never get to feel “safe”.

(This is where one kid chose to sleep so that it would be harder for people to get to him).

Here’s where some of the other street kids sleep.

These children, who are left to fend for themselves in a community that is out to destroy them, are the children that Abby provides shelter, food, medical care, education, counseling, friendship, and family to.

She has 14 of these children in her home in Kivulu and she (along with others in her organization, “A Perfect Injustice“) support another 100 street kids through a program that meets 3 times a week that provides many of the same things that the children who live in the home receive.

(Here’s Abby, providing medical care at the clinic.)

(There are much more graphic photos of her doing this on her blog, but I figured there were some people who wouldn’t appreciate seeing those!)

A Perfect Injustice” also financially supports other street kids who have been sent to boarding schools where they receive the care, attention, and education they need.  Thanks to the commitment and love that Abby and others have shown towards these kids, all these children are now being healed (medically, emotionally, and relationally).  They now stand a chance for the kind of life that every child deserves to experience.

(birthday party!)

(They love soccer)!

(I think this photo is my personal favorite.  This pictures just says “family” to me).

Now that we’ve been exposed to what she’s doing over there, we couldn’t help but participate!  We support various non-profit organizations through our “Radiant Love” program so we’ve supported Abby in the past… and we can’t help but support her again now.  So for every wedding we book from now until we change organizations (at an undetermined date), 10% of our shooting fees are going towards supporting these kids and the changes they are working so hard to make in their lives. (Click to read more about our Radiant Love Program and click here to see organizations we’ve supported in the past).

Nothing I can say could ever communicate what’s really going on with Abby and these kids in Africa.  Luckily, Abby has an extraordinary talent for writing (and photography!) and uses these skills to reveal her heart and explain her world to everyone who takes the time to read about it.

So please, PLEASE take the time to read at least this one blog post from her regular blog that we believe is life changing.  If you don’t love it, then you never have to read another blog by her again (even though we might still share her posts on our blog from time to time)… but I think you’ll be hooked!

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Danger! Hatari!

location: Kamapala
mood: heartbroken
music: Immanuel Jal

Street kids are not dangerous, no, street kids live in a world of danger.

We had another boy shot by police officers a couple of nights ago. He was doing nothing, absolutely nothing wrong and he was shot in the leg for it. A couple nights later he got very, very badly beaten again.
All of last week as well was too difficult for our street kids. The police and bad people continued to come in at night and beat the children up, steal from them, and arrest the older boys. One of the male social workers who works in Kisenyi (the primary slum the kids in our program live in) told us that we had reduced numbers of kids coming that week because there were many that were beaten so badly they couldnt travel the short distance over to our programs.
I will never forget the boys who came up to me just last week to tell me that they were hurting because they were beaten by police the night before. Joseph put his arm around my shoulder and told me as tears began to fall down his face that his body hurt because he kept getting beaten at night. When I told him that I prayed for him every night and that we were all working to do something about it he began to walk away sadly.
Last night I was talking to a volunteer who was staying in a babies home in Kampala. She told me that she had come to Uganda because her friend was telling her it was such a beautiful, safe and easy country.
That hit me so hard that I couldnt say anything (until I slowly recovered and tried my best to politely agree with her). How can one city have two worlds that are so completely different. How can a girl enter and leave a country and believe that it is a place that is purely safe, easy and beautiful?
I am having a hard time lately, I entered so easily into the world of street kids. Entered into their hearts, their lives, their dreams…
“I want to study.”
“I want to have a home.”
“I want to go home with you.”
“I want to have a job.”
“I want to be safe.”
“I want to not be beaten at night.”
And now I am beginning to enter so quickly into their pain, or at least a piece of it and it is not easy. Street children are so tough, stronger than any child, any person should ever have to be. You would never believe what they go through when you see their beautiful smiles, they still have found a way to grasp joy and love.
Street children are… children. They should be going to school and getting hugs when they enter the house. THey should not only be tucked in at night but have a bed or at least a blanket to sleep with.
And yet my children sleep in alleyways and gutters. They get sick because they eat from garbage cans. They get arrested and put in prison. They cant go a week without getting beaten. They cant keep a pair of shoes because they get stolen off their feet. They get abused in every way.
When I first came to Uganda several years ago I really wrestle with God about how He could allow people to suffer the way that they do. I dont struggle with that anymore. I have poured out my heart to Him, I know He listens. I know that He feels more pain than sweet Joseph when Joseph is kicked with police officers steel toed boots, when he is beaten by battons and hit with rocks. God has a heart that not only hears but resonates with street children, He is one. I see Jesus’ face in my kids. I feel so close to God when I am with them. I feel so alive.
God has a heart for the suffering and He has given us a large call to do something about those that are opressed and abused. One day He will lift up all of those who have suffered injustice and He will punish those who have oppressed the orphan and the widow.
It hurts my heart yes, it actually breaks it but it is so worth it to enter into their worlds and to bring them light. To tell them about a God that loves them. To play with them. To lift them up and tell them that I love them and what they are so good at.

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Posted on Jul. 12th, 2009 at 10:11 am

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Of course Abby has many more AMAZING pics on her blog and also some videos that help you really connect to the kids that she’s dedicated her lives to.  Here are some of my favorite cute kid pics of hers!

(Abby has stories about all these kids on her blog).

(Abby said that he carries his little brother rain or shine, even when he’s stuck wearing snow bibs (and sweating profusely because of it). She said it took so many shots to get this picture because he would never push back when all of the other kids crowded as close as possible for the picture).

(She said it was really hot out this day, but he loved the jacket so much, he wouldn’t take it off)!


Scottie and I have committed to reading at least 1 blog post from Abby every day for the next 2 weeks.  We want to be reminded every morning that there are bigger things going on in the world than we see every day in our tiny little lives.  We hope you will join us in this commitment to be inspired every day by how love can change everything.

Wes and Moriah returning to Radiant… with a tiny new addition!

Do you know Moriah?

If you’ve lived in AZ for very long, the answer is probably “yes”.  It seems like Moriah knows everyone!  In fact, every time we show her wedding album at a bridal show, every other girl that stops by points to her photos and says “hey, I know her!”

And to Moriah’s credit, out of all the tons of people we’ve met who know her, none have had a single bad thing to say about her!  And how could they?!  I mean she’s MORIAH… and since knowing her, that name now represents one of the most caring, friendly, loving, social, wonderful girls I’ve ever met (I’m not even exaggerating).

(doesn’t she just look like a nice person?!)

Needless to say, we feel beyond blessed that we had a chance to shoot her wedding two and a half years ago and to continue developing a relationship with this girl who treats everyone like they are the most valuable person in the world.  Who doesn’t want to be friends with someone like that right?!

It would be impossible to talk about Moriah, without mentioning her husband Wes, who treats her like the true princess she is!  Okay, I’ve reached a level of cheesiness that I’m highly uncomfortable with… I just couldn’t help it because I could gush all day about these amazing, beautiful people.

(Scottie took these awesome pics of him while I was getting shots of her.  You can’t help but notice the way he’s looking at her…  I think he loves her!)

(Once you see them you may think that when I refer to them as “beautiful people” I’m talking about them on the outside, but of course I’m referring to all the beauty that’s hiding behind those breathtaking eyes they both have)!

We’ve mentioned before that one of the best parts of our job are the people we meet along the way.  We not only gain some great friends through the time we spend with them preparing for their wedding, but we also get to follow them through all the major celebrations in their lives.

Going through the entire wedding process can be a pretty bonding experience, so then to get a chance to see these same people as they begin preparing to be parents for the first time is an opportunity that we feel very honored to have.

All that to say, we were VERY excited when Moriah called us and asked us to do her maternity photos!  You would’ve thought we couldn’t have been any more excited… and then we heard about the kind of session she wanted to have and… well she just made our week!

Her goal was to be different than most maternity sessions she sees and also different from the style of photo sessions her and Wes usually have.  They have a lot of green grass, sunny, happy pictures (aka the Christmas pictures we did for them this past year) and she thought it was appropriate since she is having a boy to go a little more rustic this time.

Her vision for the session consisted of her wearing a white dress, standing among yellow/dead looking fields and also posing in front of a few rustic looking places. Translation: A freaking cool session that fits PERFECTLY with what we like to do! :-)  Good job being ridiculously creative, Moriah!

There are a lot of open in fields around Phoenix, but the trick was to find tall, yellow grass.  It just wasn’t really happening.  Luckily, Wes and Moriah found this cool little fake Old West looking town.  We were a little skeptical when we first heard about it, but we should’ve known to trust their opinion… because it ended up being perfect.

We even got a few tall, yellow grass shots there (thanks to the teeny tiny patches that we were able to make look bigger than they actual were)!

Here are some more of our favorites from Wes and Moriah’s session

So as always, Wes and Moriah, we had a blast with you guys and we feel so honored that you’ve allowed us into your lives and had us there to share in all the biggest moments of your lives.  We’re thankful you’ve decided to “keep us around”. :-)  Congrats on the pregnancy, we’re VERY excited for you guys and we can’t wait to meet little Camden when he gets here!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Wes & Moriah’s Scottsdale Maternity photo session

Thousands of the happiest girls you’ll ever see.

4 hours of sleep… a long day of hard work… 1 meal a day…. 3 days in a row.  What is the name of this torture?  It’s called the Phoenix Bridal Fashion Debut.   I joke about the horrors, but really I absolutely love having a booth at the bridal show (aside from the horrendous work involved in setting up/tearing down our booth), and I always have a great time doing it.

Speaking of our booth… check it out!

Our friend Amanda drew all the rectangle frames (THANK YOU AMANDA!), I drew all the oval frames, and Scottie drew the logo… all in chalk!  What teamwork!

I love nothing more than watching thousands of the happiest girls you’ve ever seen prancing through the aisles with their entourage of bridesmaids in matching t-shirts tagging along and picking up flyers from booths the bride missed along the way.  Talk about an entertaining group to people watch… and talking to them is even better! :-)  The energy in a room of 6,000 soon-to-be married girls mixed in with hundreds of hopeful vendors is unbelievable. Such a fun place to spend a weekend!

(This is Dave & Krystal.  We shot their wedding a while back and they came to be a “testimonial” to say that we do in fact shoot real couples and that they really do like us enough to come help us out later on!)

(Scottie and Breanna, aka= us.  The people behind Radiant Photography)

Thanks to everyone who took the time to stop by our booth and say hi… you all made what could have been a very difficult weekend for us, transform into a riotous good time! If you missed the January show, be sure to stop by in June… we’ll be there then too!  And what else are you going to do when it’s 115 degrees outside?!  See you then!

Ashley and Don: engaged and hanging out in the desert

Ashley and Don were very excited to do their engagement pictures with us… because they almost didn’t get them!

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In fact, they almost didn’t get us as their photographers at all!

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We received 2 calls for the same wedding date within literally 30 seconds of each other!  Fortunately for Ashley, she called us first.

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And she was not about to risk losing us for her big day, so she booked us asap without even meeting first.  When we did first meet (after she had booked us) we were excited to be able to skip all the normal meeting stuff and just jump right on in to talking about the details of their wedding and planning their engagement session!

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The only real request they had for their session (other than just fitting in with their busy work schedules and being within decent driving distance from their house) was a little bit of desert landscape.

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Considering we live in the Arizona, that seemed like a pretty simple request!  So we found some saguaros and a bit of wide open sky, framed by a couple of mountains and had the happy couple stand and smile in front of it all!  You can’t go wrong with such a beautiful background and a fantastic looking couple like this one!;-)

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Here are some more of our favorites from the day!

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Thanks for choosing Radiant, guys.  We’re very happy that you booked us and that we get to shoot your wedding!  We’re SO looking forward to the big day!  Good luck pulling it all together!:-)

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Click to see/purchase the rest of Ashley and Don’s Phoenix, AZ engagement session photos.

“Choose your own adventure” to see photos from Jake’s senior session!

I’m trying to decide between going with the cheesy “endings bring about beginnings” type of blog for this, or a “book your 2010 senior session now” shameless self-promoting kind of blog, or simply a “look at these photos” blog.  Since I can’t decide and I tend to have strong nostalgia for things that remind me of childhood… I’m going with a “Choose your own adventure” blog!!!  Aren’t you so excited?!  There you are…. thinking you’re just taking a normal/boring break from work (that’s right, I know our blog gets the most hits during work hours!) to read a normal/boring blog while sipping your normal/boring coffee…. and you find out your on the brink of a great adventure!

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So here’s how it works….

To read about Jake and his big move up the coast, skip to where it says “PAGE 1“.

To read about why you need to book your 2010 senior session now, skip to where it says “PAGE 2“.

To read about… well, nothing because you just want to see the photos, skip to where it says “PAGE 3” (easy to find because it’s also just a bunch of photos. Ha).

If you have a REALLY big cup of coffee to finish and you are settled in for a good, full story, you can read straight through!  If that’s not adventuresome enough for you, you can always be a bit edgier and read the pages out of order, you dare devil you!;-)

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PAGE 1

When Jake’s mom (Pamela) originally called me to schedule his senior session, it was during a time when we were completely booked and had no openings available for photo session.  She was pretty bummed because she had just found out they were moving for a job in a couple of months and she really wanted him to have Radiant photos to remember his last year in AZ by!

0008(Not everywhere has wide open skies like Arizona does!)

0050Luckily, they were going to be around just long enough for us to schedule a session far enough out that we’d have time to shoot it.  The timing has worked out perfectly because Jake has finally decided to cave and get a Facebook page so he can keep in touch with his AZ friends once he moves up the coast.  Now he has some photos to use as his profile pic!  To help you get started on Facebook, Jake, here are our picks for the best profile photos! (Fan us on Facebook to see all our new photos and blog posts!)

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When we asked Pamela if there were any props she’d want to bring to help us capture who Jake really is, she mentioned drums.  Uh… that’s a new one for us!  Luckily she had a plan… they were just going to bring the snare drum!  Phew!  I really didn’t feel like dragging around an entire drum set from place to place!;-)

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Jake’s been playing drums for pretty much as long as he can remember (his dad plays too… they have a loud house!) and his mom says that when you think of Jake, you think “drums”.

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We thought it was so awesome that even though his mom was the one who really wanted him to get photos…. she did everything she could to make sure the photos really fit him and to make sure these pics would be ones he liked as well.  He wore his favorite jeans and t-shirt…

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….and brought along what we call “the mom/grandma outfit”… that is the nicer shirt that seniors usually bring along to wear while we get some standard shots of them smiling. These are the pics designed to make their mom/grandma happy enough to pinch their cheeks when they see the final product.:-)

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Of course the jeans and t-shirt outfit is to be worn for the pictures they’ll like that make them look cool, tough, or whatever look their particular style calls for.

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We were happy that Jake and Pamela seemed to get this and work it out very well!

0033(Here’s mom and son collaborating… t-shirt plus smile).

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Those of you who skipped ahead, may not have read about how Jake almost didn’t get to schedule his senior session before he moved because we were completely booked!  And if you skipped here, I’m assuming you’re considering the possibility of having Radiant Photography do your senior pictures.

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If so, you need to book soon because we do and will fill up our schedule!  And while Billy Madison is a cool movie, you don’t want to actually have to wait until you’re 27 to get your senior pics done.  Click here to see more senior sessions we’ve done and to get more info about our pricing and all that.  Make sure you check out our photo “tips” page too because there might be some helpful stuff in there for all the important photo opps you’re going to have during your senior year.

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Fan us on Facebook to stay up to date with our schedule and our most recent photo sessions.  Email us to schedule YOUR senior session! P.S. We can do you and your best friend’s senior sessions together!  So you can get photos of the 2 of you and of you by yourselves!!!

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Pictures, pictures, pictures. Here are some of our other favorites from the session.  P.S. If you skipped to this section, you missed all the photos I posted earlier in the blog!  Ha ha, that’s how I trick you into reading the rest!

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Jake,  congratulations on graduating!  You are an awesome guy and you put us at ease within minutes of meeting you.  We appreciate how friendly you were to us and how much you humored us (and your mom) as I’m sure standing and smiling in front of a camera wasn’t your favorite way to spend an afternoon. ;-)  You did a great job and we truly did enjoy your session.  Thanks to you and your mom for being so fun to work with and making our job so easy!

Click to see/purchase the rest of Jake’s senior portrait photos!