passed away

Past Portraits of My Grandma

My last grandma has just passed away and today is her viewing. It is interesting that relatives have been reminiscing by finding and posting pictures of her on facebook and on blogs. I myself took some personal time on the day she passed to finish some restorations that I had been working on.

These portraits that I’ve been restoring, are meaningful because they are well done portraits that tell a story of my grandma. She was a florist, and her and my grandpa started a floral which is still run by some of her kids. When I was little, being tended by my grandma meant running around greenhouses and having adventures while she made arrangements for customers. It meant playing cowboys and indians in the orchards, climbing trees, and sometimes picking weeds in the greenhouses for an Orange Crush.

I have a lot of memories of my grandma that I am not going to share because this is a public blog. But I do want to say that portraits matter and I’m glad I do what I do for a profession. I am grateful for portraits of my loved ones because they remind me of memories and of times past.



Today we live in a world of photo-poliferation. We have a disposable mentality due to being inundated by tons of pictures created on every device we have. But where is the quality portrait? Someone said to me this last week that they didn’t think photographs were worth spending money on because they’re just temporary.

I completely disagree. There is almost nothing that I personally can spend money on that my children and grandchildren are going to want when I’m dead and gone. Everything else is just stuff, most of which can be replaced by insurance by a better and newer version. But portraits are going to be fought over by future generations, especially the quality portrait.

Yes maybe in the short-term we may change out a wall portrait for a newer updated one, but over time we miss the portraits we took down. They become a window to the past and a way to remember loved ones and past times. Portraits unlike electronics and other expensive items actually grow in value over time, especially if someone passes away. And once someone passes away, there is a search for the one quality portrait that tells a story about that loved one. Snapshots are passed over and everyone searches for and wants a copy of the quality portrait.


To close, here is a portrait I did with my grandma a few years back while visiting her at her St. George home. I am grateful for these portraits as they remind me of memories and of times past. I am reminded of what a kind and loving woman she was and the example she and my grandpa set for all of us, and am comforted with the knowledge that she and my grandpa are now reunited.

Emotional But Important Family Portraits After Losing a Loved One

Last year, tragically a border agent with family ties to Utah was killed on the border. I knew this man and certain members of his family very well. It was a tough and sad situation.

Recently, their extended family was all going to be back together in Utah, and they asked me to create a large group portrait of everyone, as well as smaller group portraits of each family. This was a particularly emotional and hard shoot to do, but again reiterated to me the importance of families, loved ones, and of having great portraits — not just for us, but especially for our loved ones.

For this shoot, I brought my entire studio to the home of one of the family members who was hosting the get together. I set up the background, lights and gear in their home, and I began photographing each individual family.



Then because of the size of the large group, the lack of space, and because of the needs of various versions of a large extended family portrait for various people, I instead created a digital composite. Instead of actually shooting the entire group at once, I instead invested some serious digital creation time to blend and mix the smaller family group portraits together into one beautiful panorama. It’s designed so that smaller group relationships are shown while portraying the entire family’s adhesiveness.

The largest finished version of this was a 70 inch canvas which looked amazing!


We then created these smaller groups, like the original family…


…and another of just grandkids. A large group of grandkids in one portrait is always a challenge. There are so many young people who don’t want to sit still, let alone where I need them to sit for balance, let alone to look forward and show personality. But they are always a fun challenge and I love how this one turned out. Everyone has such personality and years from now they will love looking back on this image and seeing each other.


It was an honor to be asked to create the photographs for this family. I really appreciate the opportunity to be apart of these memories.

And now is a great time to book your own family portraits! Kids are out of school, the weather is great, the studio gardens look amazing, and the July Family Portrait Special is still going on! I’ve got some opening still before the end of the month, and if you at least call by the end of July but need to make your appointment during the first part of August, that’s okay too. My number is 801-728-3317 and you can see more details here as well.

Until next time, America.