Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thomas family

How can you not love a smile like that! I photographed this family today for a Christmas session. These three boys were just wonderful to shoot, and the little one had the most incredible smile. His either didn't smile, or he would giggle beyond belief. Each time he did that, I was awestruck. What a happy boy!
Only one for now. I'm going to end up editing for days, but I'll share more of the session later.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Family Session

This is the 3rd year I've taken Christmas portraits for these kids (last year was an all black and White session). It's amazing how over the years I can look at the images and track how they went from just cute kids to be stunningly gorgeous young adults. I guess they have some good genes in this family.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


A group of fellow photographers decided to get together today to work on motorsport photography. Firebird Raceway, a local track, was having a motorcycle trackday in preparation for a race event tomorrow. It seemed like a great opportunity for all of us.


It turns out that I already knew quite a few of the riders. I've taken several pictures for some in the group for various calendars, and for some other events. Overall, it turned out to be a great day, as I got to spend some time practicing some techniques I rarely get to use as well as hanging out with a great group of people. I enjoyed it so much, that I'll be going back tomorrow with my son to watch the races.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Well, sorta.

I've been searching for a larger home for my growing family for some time now. Unfortunately, it seemed that with our current economic conditions the only homes available are short-sale or foreclosures. There are some beautiful homes available, but the short-sales and foreclosures have driven the prices down so low that investors are fighting for them (ala the days of 2004-2006). The normal homebuyer is pushed out. On top of all that, it seems that any house for sale that isn't under financial hardship is not moving at all unless the asking price is ridiculously low.

So, as of last week, my wife and I decided to bide our time, and maybe pick up a second home and keep our current one. Well, yesterday we got lucky. Brandford homes opened a new development in Mesa/Gilbert area and their introductory prices were insane. We couldn't pass it up. So, now we just purchased an Estate lot, with a 5 bedroom, 4 bath house. The price is so good that we can still keep our current home until home prices return to some sort of sanity.

So, I'll be using our current home exclusively as a studio space after the new home is ready for move-in. This is going to be awesome!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Susan was referred to me by Keith from last week. She recently graduated from Real Estate school, and needed images for her business cards and website. She brought her husband Rich along for moral support, and it was an absolute pleasure to meet both of them. Not only is Susan a realtor, but she and Rich also own Anzio Landing, a really nice restaurant out at Falcon Field in Mesa.

Any guesses on how long it took me to get the shot above? About 2 minutes. Not really difficult when you have such a beautiful subject to work with.

Best of luck with the new career, Susan!

Saturday, October 10, 2009



I'm always happy to shoot motorcycles, so I was really glad when KC contacted me a few weeks ago for some images of his motorcycle. We had hoped to complete the shoot a few weeks ago, but the temperature out here had been so high that it was best to wait until we could spend a couple hours outside without bursting into flames.


KC has a really awesome bike. It is a Triumph 675, which you don't see very often. The lines on this bike are just gorgeous, and it looks just plain sexy. KC is no slouch himself, so I threw him in the shot a few times to add some balance and effect. I'm really liking how these images turned out.


Monday, October 5, 2009


Keith is a realtor who needed some promotional shots for his website and business cards. Luckily enough for me, he found my website and chose me to shoot his portrait.

Corporate headshots can seem like assembly like work, if done too often. There isn't a huge amount of variety for posing/props when they are done in studio, as the requirement of maintaining a professional image is paramount. Thankfully, I don't do many of them, as a fine art photographer, but when I do it is always nice to shoot such a friendly and congenial person as Keith. Working with Keith was a real pleasure, and I hope he finds these images useful.

Anyone looking for a realtor may want to give keith a call. You can drop him a line at

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thanks for your patience

Dear friends,

As some of you may know, I haven't really been around for the last month or so. For the last several weeks, I haven't taken any clients, or bothered to update the blog. This time, there is good reason.

At the end of August, my father became extremely ill. Although he is 89 years old, he has been extremely active and incredible shape for his age. He and my mother live independently, and he is able to care for his house and property, and also stay active in the community. That came to an abrupt halt recently, when my father became ill.

It was literally overnight when he went from being very active, to being unable to hold a spoon. He could not dress himself, walk, stand, speak without slurring his words, or do any basic task without help. As a family we were very concerned, and feared that he had suffered a stroke. A trip to the urgent care clinic made things worse when they said his condition was beyond their diagnosis and referred us to the local ER. It was there that my father was treated horribly. It was if they diagnosed his problem as just "really old age", and that it was "just his time". They suggested we take him home, and if he recovers, it would be on his own.

Well, as a family, we weren't going to take that. We involved his primary care physician, who suggested a CAT scan. While waiting for the results of the scan, dad's health continued to decline. It was at this point, my sisters showed me just how strong they really are. One of my older sisters, Ann, browbeat my dad's insurance company and got them to state that dad needed to be admitted to the hospital. Only after that did we see some action.

So, after 4 days of suffering, my dad was finally admitted to the hospital for reduced kidney function and dehydration. It was there he underwent a battery of tests. He had multiple blood draws, X-Rays, more CAT scans, ultrasounds of the carotid artery, EKG tests, and MRI. Everything came back negative. Neurologists were called in, but they couldn't diagnose a problem. Their best guess is that he had an allergic reaction to some medication. He had developed some sores on his back and legs that seemed consistent with that diagnosis, but not all of his symptoms could be explained that way. Dad was in great pain, and the hospital put him on morphine.

As a family, we were worried. We called in family from out of state, and set up around-the-clock vigils in dad's hospital room. After two days in the hospital, my dad was pretty much unconscious the entire time. He couldn't keep his eyes open for more than just a few seconds, and really couldn't talk. The family feared he was slipping into a coma. It was devastating.

As the family was coming to grips that this may be the end, something miraculous happened. The following day, Dad was able to keep awake for up to an hour at a time. He could even talk a bit, but his voice was so strained it was hard to make out the words.

Each day after that, Dad got progressively better. He went from being catheterized to using a bedside urinal. Slowly his strength was returning. He began to sleep well, eat with some help, and move his limbs. Small progress in the big picture, but as a family we were thrilled. The hospital then told us Dad would be discharged to a nursing home, to see if he could recover and eventually go home.

3 days later, dad had a huge setback. In the middle of the night he was rushed to the cardiac ward. His blood pressure was spiking, and his heartbeat was erratic. That lasted for a few more days, while the doctors tried to find a solution. Once again, it miraculously cleared itself up.

Last week, we moved Dad to a nursing home. He began physical and mental therapy. His vision, and hearing, is reduced, and he is not as strong as before. His speech was still slurred, and he couldn't do basic math like counting pocket change. My father, the WWII veteran, father of 14, and a farmer for his adult life, was frustrated. Thankfully, he is a fighter. He continues to push through to recovery.

My mother and I are with him daily. I bring the kids with me when I can, and my sibling show up when they are available. Dad's determination and strength of will is inspiring. After one week in the nursing home, he is almost 100% recovered. His doctors have just told us that he can go home on the 21st.

This whole ordeal has been a massive strain. I've had clients waiting on proofs, and others I couldn't schedule sessions while this was ongoing. I'm so grateful that everyone has been so understanding. It helps far more than I can express to know that I don't have the demands of work while dealing with a stressful family situation.

I thank you all for your patience, and the good will. I'm hoping to restart sessions in October. Don't be surprised if one of my first clients is my father. For some reason, I'm thinking I just don't have enough pictures of him and my mom. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009



I was fortunate to be able to get Kyle into the studio this week. He had come to me with a request for a portrait to use in his application for Army Officer Candidate School. I was more than happy to oblige. Of course, I also needed to get some other shots of him as well so that he could give to his family.

Kyle is a good kid, and I'm sure he will do well. I'm very proud, and happy, to see young men like this willing to step up and serve their country. The Army is not a commitment to take lightly, especially during a time of conflict. If selected, Kyle is very likely to spend some time in a combat zone.

God Bless Kyle.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another good cause

A friend of mine, who is a fellow photographer, recently lost his brother-in-law ( To help cover costs for the family, he has asked for my help, which I'm all too willing to give.

So, he has organized a raffle as part of the Haban benefit, with each ticket only costing $10. I'm donating to the raffle a free in studio session for an individual, or single family. I'm also throwing in a free 16x20 print and a 20% discount on any other images taken during this session. The session and 16x20 print alone is worth over $400, so getting all that for $10 isn't too bad. :)

Tod donate, just click the link below (in the note's section please identify that this is for the Haban raffle, and you wish to purchase a ticket for the prize donated by "Brian Downer Photography"):

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Time to give back

I've always felt like I'm a lucky guy. I have an incredible wife, 3 fantastic kids, and a dream job. During these tough economic times, where many people are struggling, I'm in the enviable position of watching my business grow. No doubt about it, I'm blessed.

So, I feel compelled to do something for others.

Here is what I am offering:

  • 3 hour, in-studio, photo session for an individual or single family at 1/2 off my normal reservation fee. ($200 value)
  • Free 16x20 mounted print ($140 value)
  • 35% discount on any A' La' Carte print items
  • 35% discount on custom framing

Basically, I'll give my customers a 50% discount off an in studio session, plus a free 16x20 mounted print, as well as other discounts. 100% of all proceeds from these sessions will be donated to NILMDTS. 20% of any "non-fundraising" sessions during the month of July will be donated to NILMDTS as well. To qualify, all you need to do is mention the July Charity drive.

For information on NILMDTS, please go here (please note that this website contains images of terminally ill children):

Monday, June 29, 2009

Back to work

It's been a really great three week vacation, but the time has come to get back to work. I'm really looking forward to it, as it feels like forever since I took some pictures of someone other than Megan. :)

We have received a ton of well wishes, and we appreaciate each and every one of them. Megan and mommy are doing fantastic. The baby is gaining weight fast, and growing like crazy. Mom has been letting me spend some great quality time with all the kids while she goes off to rest. Nothing like daddy-son and daddy-daughter time to make you put the world back into perspective.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Birth Announcement complete


Earlier this week I decide to put together Megan's birth announcement to be sent out to friends and family. I do this type of stuff quite often for clients, but it seems that when it comes to my own family I run out of time to get stuff done. Thankfully, I've taken off much of the month of June to stay home with the family and to help Mom get some rest. Somewhere in there, I found a couple free hours to sneek off and design this card.

For this announcement, I decide to use one of the earlier images. I'm still working on some fine art pieces, but you really can't predict a newborn's behavior. As of right now, Megan hasn't been interested in "posing" for some of my more artistic shots. I'm not giving up, but I really need to get it done ASAP as she is changing daily and is loosing that "new baby look".

The shot above is just the front of the announcement, and there are more pictures on the back side. The announcement is being printed on Pearl press paper, which is just awesome stuff. It has this really great texture and has a interesting look when light skims off the surface.

Friday, June 12, 2009

One proud papa!


What an angel. She is just so perfect. This little one is definitely going to be "daddy's girl". She just sleeps in my arms in the most contented fashion.


Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes. Mom and baby are doing fantastic. With any luck I'll be able to get some fine art shots tomorrow!

My son has been such a good helper (shocking!). My other daughter just adores her baby sister, when she wants to, but also has developed a bit of jealously because she doesn't have 100% of mom's attention. A few incidents of acting out, but other than that she has been a really good girl.

I'm just so blessed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Megan Victoria


She's finally here! My wife went into labor last night, and this morning at 3:00 AM, my beautiful daughter was born. She is 6 pounds, 10 ounces, and just a tiny thing. I've got a lot on my plate right now, so I'm just breezing through the hospital portraits. I've got some really great ideas for when I get her home, and I'm saving the surprise until then.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Heather and Hannah


A few weeks ago, I donated a free session for a fundraiser. Tonight, I was able to shoot Heather and Hannah for their parents who bought the donated session at the fundraiser.

This whole family was just a blast to hang out with and shoot. The girls were so beautiful, and posed so well with each other. It definitely made my job easier.

The youngest is a catcher for the Hotshots softball team. I've got some really fantastic shots of her in all her gear, as well as some closeups. She has an absolutely intimidating stare, and I'd wager she is pretty good at psyching out many a hitter stepping into the batting box.


....more to come.

Sunday, May 24, 2009



This little beauty is just 10 days old. Her Mom, Grandpa, and big sister came to see me today, and it was my pleasure to capture a few images.


When shooting children, especially babies, you can guarantee no two sessions are alike. About the only thing you can guarantee is that someone is going to get wet (usually me and Mom for sure). I'd have to say that Sasha is one of the most unique babies I've been able to shoot. She made me work harder than I have in quite a long time. Good practice!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ducati 1098


Had a wonderful chance to shoot a Ducati 1098 this morning as part of a calendar series. This bike is going to be used for the month of April. I did several angle shots of the bike, as well as quite a few close-ups. It's always fun to shoot a subject that doesn't have a "bad" side. No matter which angle I used, there was always something visually interesting about this bike.


Although I'm a fan of Japanese motorcycles, I'll readily admit that this Italian machine is simply gorgeous.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I had a really interesting call yesterday from a previous client. It seems that her daughter's softball team is trying to put together a fundraising auction, and she wanted to know if I would be willing to participate. Hey, it's for the kids, right? Who could pass that up.

So, I'm going to donate a free portrait session, and a free 16x20 mounted print. I'm also going to be giving a 25% discount off any other prints purchased from this session, and discounting any custom framing as well. The session fee, and print, are valued at over $400, so someone should be getting a good deal.

Hopefully that will bring a few shekels in for the team. I just need to get a slide show presentation for them to run at the auction table, so the bidders can see examples of my work.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Website

"The only constant is change." -Heraclitus

I've really been yearning to update the website for quite a while now. I wanted a complete restructuring of the galleries, and find something that fit better with my photographic style. The previous iteration of the website was designed primarily around just fine art. This new site has a far more contemporary look, but still allows for the fine art images to be displayed well. I also needed a better method to display some of the commercial work for my clients, as commercial assignments are becoming a larger part of our work. So, now I have a reserved, and logon protected, area for my commercial clients.

Feel free to take a look and tell us what you think. The "Contact Us" section has been updated with an online form so that you don't have to use your own email. Just type in your email address and your message and the website will generate the email for you.

Friday, May 8, 2009



Stunning....simply stunning.

Not much to say about this young lady. Diana is the younger sister of Christina below. When I was able to take Christina's pictures, I was so very lucky to be able to shoot Diana as well.

I could tell you how gorgeous she is, how she is just a joyful person, and all of that. However, as a wise man once said, "A picture is worth a thousand words." So, here is a few thousands words worth of beauty.




Of course, I had to get a shot of these beautiful ladies together:


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

High School Senior special

May starts our favorite time of year at the studio. It's High School Senior season!

Now is a great time for the class of 2010 to have their senior pictures taken. For that reason, we are offering a special here at the studio:

*Any senior session booked during the month of May will receive 1/2 off the session fee (A $200 value).

We will also be giving away two free sessions this month, and all senior sessions will receive their images on CD.

To receive this offer, you need to call us during the month of May, and is for "in studio" sessions only.

Here are examples from our 5/2 session:


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Senior session


This stunning young woman is Christina. She is graduating this year, and I was fortunate enough to be able to provide some senior images for her. Obviously, I don't have to tell you how much fun it can be to shoot someone so beautiful.

My luck must be with me today, because I not only got to shoot Christina, but her gorgeous sister Diana. Diana is 15, a gymnast, and runs track. I'm still working on those images, so stay tuned.

One last thing about Christina. For some reason, her boyfriend didn't take her to prom. That caused me to come up with the image below. Something tells me that not taking Christina to prom is going to haunt some man for the rest of his life.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mother's Day Special


Just in time to honor all those wonderful mothers out there, we are running a Mother's Day special. It's a great way to honor all those mothers out there who give so much for all of us.

If you book your maternity, or infant, portrait session before Mother's Day, we will waive the session fee (A $400 value)! We are also providing a 10% discount on any wall portraits for these sessions.

Now for the "fine print":

  • This special only applies to maternity and infant sessions that are booked before 5/10/2009. You do not have to have your sessions completed by 5/10/2009, but you do need to have it scheduled by then.
  • A 10% discount is only applicable to Wall Portraits (16x20 or larger).
  • Maternity sessions, and infant portrait sessions, are available as either fine art, or contemporary images.
  • For infant portrait sessions, the child must be less than 3 weeks old at the time of the photography session.
  • Nude/Semi-nude maternity images are only available as fine art. If you would like a nude/semi-nude maternity image, you must request it at the time of scheduling. Any customer that wishes for nude, or semi-nude, images will be required to be accompanied by a spouse, or the father of the baby, at the time of the session.
  • Nude/Semi-nude maternity sessions are not available for expectant mothers under the age of 18. No exceptions.

Sunday, April 19, 2009



Spring...My favorite time of year. Here in AZ, it really only lasts for a couple of weeks, and before you know it, it's 115 degrees outside.

Normally, I'm too busy to take pictures of my own Children for Easter, and this year I was determined to not let that happen. I had set aside the day before Easter for some outdoor pictures of my children, only to find that day filled with rain. Oh well, there is always next year.


I had a rare free morning, so I grabbed my youngest and took her to the park for some pictures. She has just the most amazing eyes, and I wanted to use the natural light to bring them out. If only I could get her to look at me, that is... Seems she was far more interested in the little boys playing on the slide than having her picture taken. Sigh.


Next year. I promise.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Updates, updates, updates......

Seems like just yesterday, but it's actually been over 4 weeks since my last blog entry. Where does the time go?

Anyway, some exciting news here at the studio. We recently attended a seminar put together by David Ziser and Marathon press. It's the first training opportunity I've been able to attend since the PPA convention in January.

David put on a great show. I always find it fascinating when I watch how another photographer uses light. It's like being able to see object with another set of eyes. This training opportunity re-ignited my passion for the artistry and creativity in my work, which always seems to be running a bit low towards winter's end. The coming of spring, and all it's beauty, always drags me outside and ready to try and explore new things. Now, with my normal techniques in my "bag of tricks", ideas for tweaking some of those techniques/tools, and brand new ideas inspired by the recent training, I'm ready to play.

I was also hoping to attend a senior photographer's workshop in Utah this summer. Sadly, I am not going to be able to make it. With our third child coming in late June, and due to some complications with the pregnancy I am going to be staying close to home.

In other news of late, we just joined WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International). WPPI is just a great organization, full of training opportunities, print critiques, and tools to take a studio to another level in performance. I'm really excited about this, and I only wish I hadn't waited so long to join. I can't wait to see how the studio will change and evolve in the future as we implement all the great things we are learning already.

Ahhhh, spring. I do so love this time of year.

Sunday, March 8, 2009



I had the wonderful opportunity to shoot Rob and his Harley today. Rob is a MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) instructor, as well as a writer for motorcycle magazines. Plus, Rob is just a great guy, and I had a ton of fun shooting him and his bike.


This is just one gorgeous Harley, and even a sportbike enthusiast like myself can appreciate the beauty of this black and chrome piece of eye candy. I'll be editing these photos for quite some time. I'm sure that more than a few of them are going to make some great posters.


Thanks for a great time, Rob.

Sunday, March 1, 2009



You may recognize Steph from a blog entry last month. When I processed her images, she asked me if she could use one of them for a wedding announcement as she and her boyfriend had just gotten engaged. Well, of course she could use them, but I wanted to do something a little special just for them. So, I offered them an engagement shoot.

We decided to take some pictures out at Tempe Town Lake. I'm so glad we went outside for this series as the weather was just perfect for March in Arizona. Beautiful sunshine and a nice breeze made it just so much fun to be outside.

Big thanks to Steve at SCP Photography for his help today. Breezes are wonderful things, but not when you need to hold onto a 6 foot reflector panel that tends to act like a large sail.