Arcadia | Phoenix | Arizona Family Photographer

August 14, 2017
Family photographer with gorgeous family in Phoenix Mountain Preserve at sunset

This Phoenix Family Photographer is finally ready to call Arizona home and feeling inspired to start photographing families in the beautiful, unique landscape that this state has to offer.

To say I’ve been a little reluctant to start my photography business over again here in Phoenix would be a huge understatement. I haven’t just been slow to start or hesitant to get going – I have resisted and I’ve pushed back and I’ve fought it. I have spent a lot of time wondering what else I should do with my life and where I want to go with my professional self; I’ve contemplated returning to teaching, I’ve dreamt of entering the world of interior design, and I’ve even tossed around the idea of selling hair care products to everyone who follows me on social media. Haha.

Here’s the thing. My reluctance isn’t because I don’t want to. My hesitancy has nothing to do with my desire.

It is just so eff-ing scary, y’all.

If I’m being honest (which I try to be, especially when it comes to my opinions and my experiences), I think I have always felt like my business in Denver was based solely on luck. When I first started, I had nice enough friends to hire me and be supportive of me and toot my horn even though I wasn’t sure it deserved tooting. Haha. My friends who trusted me, encouraged me, worked with me, spread my name and relentlessly complimented my work were truly the roots and foundation of my success. And for that, I feel incredibly lucky. Not so much deserving. Just damn lucky.

So starting over is scary.

I mean, what are the chances that I’ll be that lucky again? And it had to have been luck, right? Because it is nearly impossible for me to admit to myself, let alone to anyone else, that I’m good at my craft. That feels SooooooOoOoOOO weird to say. So weird. Weird weird.

But being an artist is a lifelong commitment to being vulnerable.

And photography is personal. Maybe it sounds stupid because at this point, we all have cameras and filters and anyone can take a photo and make it look halfway cool. But to me, this work is art. My goal is to create something beautiful and for my ever-changing clients to find it so beautiful they are moved to tears. Every time I show up for a family photo session, every time I post a sneak peek on social media, every single time I deliver a gallery to my clients, I am saying a little prayer that I’m not actually terrible at what I do. I am constantly putting my heart and soul and art out there for people to like/dismiss/love/hate/judge. It makes me feel exposed and raw and a little twitchy. Cue all the uncomfortable feelings. And pass me a barf bag. Because nerves.

Starting over is scary. It’s terrifying. It’s nerve-wracking. It’s maddening at times – Like, I already DID this, right? I already did the hustle. I already had to prove myself. I already worked my ass off. I already created a successful business in an over-saturated market in an impossible industry. I don’t want to put myself out there again. I don’t want to have to sell myself again.

But then. This.

And this.

I meet this beautiful family here in Phoenix. And we hang out in the desert one evening. Just me and my camera and them and their kids (and maybe a few bags of Pirate’s Booty for bribery). And it’s magical and beautiful and perfect and I fall in love. I fall in love with this Phoenix family – like I did with all of my Colorado families too. I fall in love with this Arizona light and landscape. And I remember how much I love this work and this job. And I’m reminded that maybe I am good at this and I feel like okay, I don’t totally suck. And so maybe just maybe I can do it again.

And to top it all off, just when I’m feeling like maybe it’s time to put myself out there again and maybe it’s worth the work and the risk and the vulnerability, I get this comment from the first family I photographed here in Phoenix. “Arizona Peeps! You NEED to have Virginia take your family pics. This was THE BEST family sesh we have ever had. She is amazing!

And just like that I feel like I have people rooting for me here, and I know I’ve got it in me to start over. To build this business again. To keep putting my heart and soul into the photographs I create and keep finding families that I love and love me and will come back to me year after year and trust me to capture their hearts and their lives in a beautifully real way.

Virginia Stiles is a published, award-winning family photographer located in Phoenix, Arizona. Her business services families in Arcadia, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, North Scottsdale, Camelback, Central Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe, Sedona, Flagstaff, Tuscon and beyond. She is also still available for limited Colorado mountain family sessions. Inquire here for details!


Wow. Absolutely gorgeous pictures.

You’re amazing! Seriously, one of the best photographers I’ve ever seen. Keep doing what you’re doing because you rock and everyone in Arizona needs to know!

Oh, Kerry! This is the nicest thing ever. Thank you, thank you sweet friend! Cannot wait to see you guys in CO in September!

Virginia, these are absolutely beautiful! I am so happy you are finally ready to start up your business again. Az is lucky to have you! You are awesome!

Thank you so much, Lauren! Hope that you guys are settling in to your new home and the girls are loving school. We miss our friends in the hold hood!!

Absolutely stunning photographs! You are awesome!

Thank you, Andrea!!

Everything about your work is #goals. Seriously gorgeous. I love how everything is perfectly framed, every emotion and connection perfectly captured, every color in every picture perfectly balanced and RICH. Just wow. I’d love to know if you have fave presets that you use or if you do most yourself. I know it’s so much more than a preset, but I just LOVE the richness of your photos.

Katie! You are always so encouraging and so enthusiastic about my work – I can’t tell you how much it means! Thank you!! I don’t really use presets – I’ve developed my own, I guess, over time. But I also feel like different situations and lighting and backdrops call for different coloring and editing techniques. But this session is one of my all time favorites, and I wish they all could look like this – warm and rich and green! Still can’t get over how green parts of Arizona are!

Love family sessions that aren’t super posed! Such beautiful images!

Oh wow! What a stunning family! I loved the Mom’s gown! Just gorgeous!

Your work is amazing, you will be overbooked before you know it! I used to live in Phoenix (from Tucson)…so many unique desert spots. You will (barely) miss the mountains….

These are incredible! What a stunning family and beautiful momma-to-be (again!). I love the blend of the posed and the candid with so many genuine moments. Beautiful beautiful job!

THESE ARE AMAZING! Wow! I can completely relate to and you are so spot on that “being an artist is a lifelong commitment to being vulnerable!” You are doing great! Keep shooting more beautiful families!

Oh my, these are absolutely stunning family photos! I can’t get over how beautiful they are and how beautiful the light is!

Brittany Wassmer

Wow, these images are absolute perfection!

You have such an amazing gift for capturing the connection of a family Virginia! Arizona is SO lucky to have you! Beautiful family session!!!

What an incredible experience to have the opportunity to start from scratch, really challenge yourself to choose what you want to do, and come to the realization that you’ve been doing it all along! Beautiful work, beautiful family. You’re not lucky girl – you’re talented!

These are gorgeous! You captured some incredible moments for this family <3

What an amazing set!!! Absolutely love every each one!!!

such beautiful pictures seriously the best portrait I’ve ever seen

The light in these is perfection! What a gorgeous family. Guess I’ll need to go to Phoenix one day! It looks beautiful!

Starting over is DEFINITELY scary but GIRL you rock at this! These images are stunning and you should be proud!! People in Phoenix will be blowing up your phone for family photography in no time!

These are so stunning and that lighting is perfect! This family picked an amazing Scottsdale family photographer!

Well done, beautiful photos with amazing landscape! You are going to do amazing as a Scottsdale family photographer!

This post is SO inspiring. I haven’t ever had to move my business, but I can totally relate to how it feels putting yourself out there. Your work as a Phoenix family photographer is amazing!! Keep at it, girl. You are doing great. ♥

Melissa Cervantes

I LOVE what an organic family photographer you are. Totally my style. If my husband and I ever find ourselves in the Scottsdale area–heck, anywhere in Arizona, we’re finding you! You are amazing!

Oh I love these. I had some images like this taken of me and my family when I was pregnant with my last and Oh how I love them so much! I know they will adore them forever!

what a beautiful family! Phoenix is lucky to have you as a family photographer!

These family photos in Phoenix are so fantastic! I’m in love with all of them! You are an amazing photographer!

Hey, we all doubt ourselves in creative fields. There’s no pay raises or solid standards on which to objectively base our judgment of our own quality. We’re just floating out here, wondering if we’re doing it right sometimes. Let me fall in line here and tell you how GREAT you are at family photography! Even in Phoenix! Maybe especially in Phoenix–these photos aren’t luck!

Wow! These are breath taking – the family much be so thrilled with every single image! Phoenix family photography doesn’t come much better than this!

Stunning! There are no other words! What a gorgeous location, Pheonix looks like an amazing place to be a photographer!

No doubt you will do amazing starting over in a new location. I bet you will quickly become the best Phoenix family photographer!

First of all…wow! Gorgeous family photography in the beautiful city of Phoenix. Love it there! If I’m back there again, I’m looking you up for family portraits. Second…you spoke to my soul. Wow! “Because it is nearly impossible for me to admit to myself, let alone to anyone else, that I’m good at my craft. ” This! I STILL feel this way…every…single…day! You are an amazing photographer and keep doing EXACTLY what you’re doing.

Friend, your work is always so stunning. I love seeing all of your Phoenix family work, you’re such a talented photographer. <3