Danny, Erica, and Grady (Family Portraits)

Last weekend while I was in Phoenix, I got to spend time with some of my dearest friends, Danny and Erica and their son Grady. Grady just had his second birthday! So, of course, we needed to capture some new portraits of him! When we were planning the portrait session, Erica said, “Grady’s really into airplanes right now. Any idea how to incorporate that into the photos?” Yes! I knew the perrrfecttt place: Phoenix’s Deer Valley Airport!

The airport is tiny, and you can get righhhttt up close to the airplanes and helicopters. Grady was in heaven! There was lots of smiling, airplane-imitating, waving at aircraft and cheering. 

I can hardly believe how big Grady is – I visited him in the hospital when he was born, and that feels like about, oh, 5 minutes ago. And here he is, so tall, handsome, talking, walking, and POSING! Check out the middle pose, below! Has he been reading GQ or something? 🙂

The airport has an observation deck on the second floor, so we spent a few minutes watching planes land up there. But in the end, it wasn’t close enough to the airplanes for Grady’s liking. 🙂 So back downstairs we went. 

We mayyyy have bent the rules a bit for the sake of good photography. 😉  What?

Danny and Erica are amazing parents. Someday Grady will understand and appreciate this, but for now all he knows is being loved and cuddled and adored. All is right is his world, as it should be for all children. I love these sweet family moments – and there were a lot to choose from! 

Danny and I used to work together at Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, where Danny still serves as VP of Clinical Services. Danny has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever known; he’s loyal and hilarious and energetic and a great listener. Last weekend was the third time I’ve photographed him and his family, and the image below left of Grady “flying” has become a tradition each time. It’s been fun to compare the images as Grady grows! Grady’s getting so big, I am not sure how much longer Danny will be able to do this! 

Danny totally hit the wife jackpot. Erica is not only beautiful (and still looks like a high schooler); she’s an accomplished, compassionate, and incredibly strong woman. She’s a role model to me in so many ways. We’ve been through a lot together in the few years we’ve known each other, and it brings me so much joy to watch her with her son. Erica’s one of those fun moms. 🙂

Such a joy capturing Grady’s expressions! 

The shoes, the shoes! I loved the coordinating shoes! How cute is this!

There’s something about the image, above left, that I just love. The energy, the motion…the fact that it encapsulates Grady’s excitement during our session (i.e. “enough posing, I wanna see the airplanes!!” And off he runs…).

Erica and Danny really are the rarest of friends. They’ll open their home in a heartbeat to someone going through a tough time; conversely, they are the first to celebrate others’ joyful times, even if they are going through a difficult period themselves. They’ve been there for me in more ways than I can count. I know many, many others feel the same way about this family.

Thanks for trusting me – three times now! – to capture these fleeting and joyful moments in your family. Thanks for all you’ve done to encourage my photography business. But mostly, thank you for being such amazing friends. I love you all so much!


Note to other photographers: I secured prior permission to shoot at this airport. Shooting around a secure location like an airport without permission is a great way to make security really nervous and/or get kicked out, so make sure you do your homework! 🙂

Watch their slideshow!


About Mosaic Collective, LLC

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, founding member of Mosaic Collective, LLC, which was founded in early 2017 and is based in Central Illinois. I own and operate Mosaic Collective with my partner in business and life, my husband, Nathan. Mosaic Collective, LLC houses our rental property, my consulting contracts (with the nonprofit and public sectors on various work), and also my commercial and portrait photography business, which has been doing business as Holly Baumann Photography since 2008 long before the formation of our LLC. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and sometimes, my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
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