Despite one's best intentions, Valentine's Day gifts for the ones you love can often become a bit mundane. Does he really want a teddy bear that sings "Wild Thing" by The Troggs? Does she really need that Limited Collector's Edition of "The Notebook" DVD? This year, residents can try something different with a visit to Everardo Keeme of Everardo Keeme Photography in Ahwatukee Foothills, who offers both portraits and greeting cards for those special people in your life.
"People still love getting mail - cards over the holidays or other important events," Keeme said. "With Valentine's Day, it's just another reminder that chocolates and flowers are great, but sometimes it's fun to remind a couple, or the married couple that's been together for a very long time, that every day is important."
Keeme has always had an interest in photography, but never considered it his primary profession until 2010. Since then, he has acquired a loyal clientele and currently serves on the board of the Arizona Professional Photographers Association.
His photography has taken him across the globe and to 30 of the 50 states, but he always finds himself happiest when he is behind the camera in his native Arizona.
Aside from shooting pictures for sporting events, real estate agents, and local businesses in the Ahwatukee area, Keeme primarily focuses on portraits and developing a relationship with his clients. More often than not, you'll find him going out for ice cream or coffee with them before even setting foot inside the studio.
"I just really want to get to know my clients and want the portraits to reflect them," Keeme said. "Even an everyday picture could be very meaningful and special to someone. That moment, at that time, with that person, is probably one of the most important moments you'll ever have."
His secret to encapsulating that perfect moment? Capturing his clients when they least expect it.
"One of the things I like to get a lot is candids," Keeme said. "Goofy little smiles, kisses, embraces... it's funny to see how people will act when they don't know a camera is on them."
When he is not taking pictures, Keeme considers himself a jack-of-all-trades who loves to play golf, discover new restaurants, and even scuba dive when he gets the opportunity.
Keeme has also been racing bicycles of all kinds ever since he was 8 years old, and usually is in charge of hosting a bicycle race in Phoenix on Valentine's Day. Due in part to his recent engagement, though, Keeme will get the proper Feb. 14 that he captures for so many other people.
"This will be the first year in six or seven years that I can go out and celebrate Valentine's Day," Keeme said. "Being a new fiancé, I definitely want to go out and do something special."
To learn more about Keeme, call (480) 382-7226 or visit www.everardokeeme.com.
Be sure to check out his current special for Valentine's Day, which includes 24 greeting cards featuring your image, saying, quote, or more free with your first order.
Patrick Ryan is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University.