The Banahan Family


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I went to The Brooks Institute of Photography with every intention of coming out on the other side of three years as a fashion photographer. I was 18 and decidedly unfashionable. I think it was the seemingly artisticness of fashion images that had captured my fancy. It seemed like it would be great fun to photograph beautiful people in beautiful clothes in crazy situations.

About one year into my college career I was asked to do a photo session for a mother and daughter that one of my friends knew. It was my first ever paid shoot. The night before I slept restlessly, tossing and turning. I dreamed about the session…my subconscious thinking of all the poses I wound up using the next day.

It has been that way for every single portrait session I have done since. The night before I fitfully sleep and dream and wake up with ideas for the shots I want to capture the next day.

At 18 driving my convertible down highway 101 in Southern California I thought being a fashion photographer would be the coolest life. I pictured myself moving to New York and living in a tiny walk-up apartment in the middle of the hustle and bustle. The truth is though that Fashion Photography never kept me awake at night. My soul was never moved by that world and that meant I would never be any good at it.

I am not a mother but I have a mother’s heart. I read parenting books that I swiped off my mom’s bookshelf for fun at age 10. I nurtured every doll, my baby brother, and any younger child that I ever came across. At every portrait session I am reminded of how deeply the love of family moves me. There is absolutely nothing in this world that stirs my soul more then when a mama embraces her child in front of my lens. It is the language of my heart and therefore it is what I am good at and passionate about.

I have photographed this family six times since I first met them when Emma was just a little newborn. Every session the magic only grows for me. They are so loving, sweet, and funny. It is amazing to watch Emma grow. She is running and talking and laughs and cries and is just the most amazing little person. Maddox is so helpful. He always acts as my assistant and holds the reflector and helps me with ideas. He has a bright mind and a kind personality.

Stacey and Sean are so blessed by such a beautiful family and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to capture it.

Much Love, Kiana M.
















The Lambert Family


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I am often struck by how the concept of time seems to elude me. It either passes by way too fast and leaves me in a whirlwind or inches along so slowly I can never believe that it is actually ticking by at all.

I photographed this family a few years ago when I first moved back to Seattle. When I saw them again a few weeks ago I was shocked. Time had passed me by without me even realizing it. I expected Jack and Lucy to be the same and while in some ways they are in so many others they are so much more…grown.

It shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. Time passes. These sweet children are older, and as Stevie Nicks would say, I’m getting older, too.  That is part of the magic that photography holds for me. The image that I capture doesn’t change even when the subject does. It’s so easy to get lost in the pause, for the false still to become my reality. So I am often shocked when children grow. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to pause another moment of Jack and Lucy.

These were some of The Lambert’s favorite images from the session.

Much Love, Kiana M.







The Metje Family


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One of the most wonderful things about photographs are their ability to tell the most spellbinding stories. As I edited each image for this sweet family I was reminded of all the wonderful little moments that had occurred at their session.

Alina is from Germany, JP from South Africa and their little boy Jacob is fluent in German and English. The very first thing he said to me (In German, his mama translated for me) was: “How will you fit all of us into that little camera?”

It was one of the most philosophical questions I think I have ever been asked. How indeed can a camera do such a thing…capture all the love and personality a family has to offer. How incredible that it can portray it perfectly for the world to see.



Jacob asked me why I have a camera if I don’t have children. I am so excited to have little babies of my own someday. Until then I am so passionate about capturing the love that exists in other families. How parents feel about their kiddos…it’s the most beautiful story I can imagine. How blessed I am that it is my job to tell that story over and over again. Every time it is a little different but the plot is generally the same in its loveliness <3


When JP heard that Alina was pregnant he decided he wanted to grow something too. So he is growing his beard until the newest member of their family arrives :)


Near the end of the session Alina requested this pose. She has a picture of this same pose of when she was a little girl with her mama who was pregnant with her brother. I was so glad she requested this…not only were these my favorite pictures of the entire shoot but I think it is one of the coolest things I have ever heard of…to have a picture with your babies like your mom had with you. <3






These next two pictures sum up perfectly what photographing a toddler is like. I love to watch the range of their emotions. The strength of the laughter to the melancholy of exhaustion, each little expression so beautiful in their own way. Childhood is such a whirlwind and toddlers are the most wonderful tornadoes.




When Jacob put on his raccoon hat he came alive with happy energy. He howled with laughter as I asked “Mr. Raccoon! Have you seen my friend Jacob? He was just here and now he is gone!” He showed me how raccoon’s eat in the forest and then took a chocolate break himself. So much imagination, I just know he is going to be a wonderful big brother.



This family was so much fun. Alina was so radiant and just glowed with love. Jacob was so playful and expressive and JP was hilarious. It was such a joy to have the opportunity to photograph them. I had never met them until the session but they all let their personalities shine through so vibrantly from the very beginning, they were so easy to work with and I loved getting to know them <3

The Owens Family


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All this sweet mama wanted for her session was a little bit of sunshine. When we all got to Discovery park the sky was a decided gray. An unwavering blanket of clouds. The forecast had promised sun…I had checked it everyday all week. We soldiered on, not entirely surprised that Seattle’s weather was unpredictable in late September and frankly I was just glad that it wasn’t pouring. (Although I do love shooting in the rain, especially when kids are puddlejumpers!)

I believe in the power of wishing. That dreams have a way of manifesting themselves. And this mama, she was wishing and dreaming for sun.

Halfway through the session the clouds parted and the sun poured through and everything fell into place. It was absolute magic. It was a perfect moment of laughing kiddos and smiling parents and beautiful light and even more beautiful love emanating from the family for each other. It’s the kind of moment that I live for as a portrait photographer. The kind of moment I cherish. A moment of sun just for the Owens family <3

Much Love, Kiana M.















The McShane Girls


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This is my time of year, I  can feel the shift in the air. The fall is lingering with the summer in a beautiful dance, vying with each other to control the weather. This session was one of my last summer ones. We hid in the shade from the strong sun and played in front of the hydrangeas in full bloom. These two girls are so full of personality. So polar opposite and yet so similar. What a beautiful thing is <3

Much Love, Kiana M.









Mila and Summer


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When I was seventeen years old I got on a yellow school bus for the first time in my life and headed off to Nathan Hale, the third and final high school I attended in my teen years.

I was nervous for a lot of things…would the other kids like me. Where would I eat lunch. Was this outfit as cool as I though it was this morning. What would my classes be like.

One class in particular had captured most of my thoughts. Photography class. I had signed up for it because an art credit was required and frankly I was too embarrassed by how terrible at art I was to do something like paint in public.

I was excited for photography though. More excited for that class then anything else about going to a new school. As that yellow school bus crossed the Ballard Bridge I snapped photos in my mind. I noticed the rose bush that blurred by, the kids running in the field to the left, the sun reflecting off a lazing sailboat.


After I had shot my first roll of film I found myself in the dark room a week later. I stood in front of my enlarger carefully watching the timer tick down. I placed the paper in each of the chemicals like you were supposed to. Then it happened…my entire life changed. I will never forget the magic of that first photograph in the developer. Never forget how the image slowly appeared. A picture of my brother sitting on the steps with a skateboard in our back yard. I actually teared up a little. I was euphoric. This was the closest thing to a miracle that I had ever witnessed. From then on I was hooked.


I remember bringing that first photo to Mr. Kuhns. He gave me 50 out of 50 points and wrote “Very Nice!” on the back.

Mr. Kuhns was the best teacher I ever had. He believed I could do photography so I did it.

He put my work in gallery shows. When I decided that I wanted to intern for a photographer as my senior project he helped me put together a portfolio. When I told him that I thought I maybe wanted to do photography with my life he told me to go to The Brooks Institute of Photography.

So I did go to Brooks. My mom and I got on a plane and visited the school and I came home sunburned and convinced. He went with me to pick out my first digital camera that was required for my new school.

Mr. Kuhns gave me the tools to do what I love in life…and that is all you could ever ask for in a teacher.

A few weeks ago he said that his two granddaughters were in town and that he wanted me to photograph them. I leaped at the chance.

That shoot meant more to me than I can explain. It felt like coming around full circle. Going back to my roots. It reminded me of when I first fell in love with photography. Mr. Kuhns and his lovely wife came to the studio for the image premier and I was shaking with nerves. I wanted to do a good job on this…wanted them to still think that I could do photography. I felt like I was 17 and in high school again. When they liked the pictures I was so happy. He always thought I could do photography….so I do.
















The Stack Family


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There is something magical about photographing a family in their own home. Home has a special magic that can’t be duplicated anywhere else. It has a comfort an ease about it. This sweet family invited me into their house to photograph their recently expanded family. The older girls were so sweet and so obviously infatuated with their new little brother. It made me long for the days when I was little and my brother was even littler. When jumping in the rain soaked grass was the greatest thing ever.

Much Love, Kiana M.












Tera and Kirsten’s Gorgeous Day!


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It was a beautiful sunny day in Santa Barbara, a phenomenon not at all unusual for the pretty town. I woke up with a stomach full of butterflies (I still get nervous and so excited before every wedding and every session I shoot) and started going over the game plan for the day with one of my best friends/favorite assistant; Lauren Kanegawa. We had both traveled for this wedding and we were so excited for the day to finally unfold.

Tera and Kirsten are so beautiful and their love is even more so. From the first look on the day flowed naturally with so much laughter, so much fun, and so much color. The wedding colors were bright pink and orange and it was a perfect fit for their personalities. Kirsten and Tera  were both always ready to dance and always grinning from ear to ear. The day radiated joy. I am so grateful to have been able to capture their love, so thankful to have been given the chance to freeze their laughs for them. A huge thank you to Lauren for driving down from Sacramento to help me photograph this amazing wedding! You can see more of her work here:

Without further ado, here is Kirsten and Tera.

Much Love, Kiana M.

First Look Santa Barbara Wedding

Bride and bride portraits in window light

colorful orange and pink wedding details

walk down the aisle

beautiful same sex wedding ceremony

same sex wedding ceremony in Santa Barbara

First kiss as wife and wife

same sex bridal portrait

Whole family portrait

First dance, father daughter dance

reception dancing

cake cutting ceremony

bride details

The Banahans


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Emma cries when you pick her up because she has learned what Henry David Thoreau knew all along: that all good things are wild and free. Her parents call her Freebird as she runs through flower fields laughing and chasing bubbles. Emma is magic. A whirlwind of curls and giggles. A giver of wildflowers she picked herself.

Maddox is a total sweetheart. So helpful, curious, polite. His laughter is infectious and he transitions so easily from pine cone wars to serious discussions of soccer camp. He is always my assistant and always a wonderful buddy to have around.

It’s been a beautiful year of watching these adorable kiddos grow and change. I’m so sad it is over but I can’t wait to continue to capture this fantastical family!

Much Love, Kiana M.


















The Boorman Family


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On a sun filled Seattle day my cousin, his beautiful wife, their two children and a baby bump came from Moses Lake for a photoshoot. Owen, the oldest, walked up to me in the very beginning and said: “I have a new tie!” and that’s when I knew it was going to be a fun session.

When people ask me what kind of photography I do, I always say: “I love to chase the toddlers around, I love to take pictures of families and sweet little babies.” For this session I got a little bit of all of that. I got to  run super-hero fast with Owen. I got to be silly and jump up and down in an attempt to get little max to grin and my favorite of all I got to capture an incredible loving family against the gorgeous backdrop of Discovery Park.

Warning: picture overload ahead! I had the hardest time narrowing down which images were my favorite so there are a lot of photographs in this post. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Much Love, Kiana M.



















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