Photographer’s Button Project spreads smiles The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Photographer’s Button Project spreads smiles

Photographer’s Button Project spreads smiles

By Staci Hauk
Tribune Contributor

School picture day is often synonymous with Grand Photography – a family- and veteran-owned studio in Gilbert.

Gail Roser specializes in spreading smiles from her studio and when the pandemic hit home, she decided it was time to give back.

She started the Button Project , donating 100 buttons to East Valley healthcare workers that had a photo of their face on them so that people could see who was behind their facemasks.

Roser said the goal was to make sure everyone can see a smile even though it’s behind a mask.

She made it simple; email her a photo that she printed in-house and then crafted the buttons from her studio.

The feedback has been so astounding that Roser is now offering buttons to anyone in need – from teachers to childcare workers to Realtors.

“The button project started here at Grand when a post came through my social media feed, showcasing a healthcare worker and her ‘button’ to show her cheerful face to patients,” Roser explained. “Due to COVID-19, I had been shut down since March and needed a positive project to use my skills and lift my spirits.”

Instead of focusing on the hardships she had run into, Roser focused on the hardships that medical personnel were facing.

“My new mindset was – if I lose my company due to this pandemic, I’m going to go out while giving back!”

Kara Miles, a certified nursing assistant in Banner Baywood Medical Center’s intensive care unit, appreciated the button.

“I work in the intensive care unit where most patients are on ventilators and are very anxious when they wake up,” Miles said.

“My button allows them to put a face to my name badge and be more comfortable when they are awake and alert. This project is such a great idea and I am so thankful for Gail being so generous and doing it for the frontline heroes.”

A former UNIX IT Administrator for Charles Schwab and Motorola, Roser shifted to a career as a photographer in 2002 with a primary focus on high volume school portraits, youth sports team photos, senior and family portraits, headshots and more.

She worked with a partner for a few years before buying the company outright and becoming the sole owner.

“As a small veteran owned business, this has been a very stressful time,” she said. “If I have to shut my doors due to loss of business with schools and youth sports not yet opening, then at least I know I did something nice, that made people happy during their own stressful times.”

Information:,, 480-632- 2285 

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