2016: That’s A Wrap!

Heading into 2017 like…

Well here we are yet again… I say this every year, but it really feels like I was just writing my end of the year blog. 2015 FLEW by! And who knew I’d accomplish so much this year?! It’s wild and honestly my favorite part to look back to see goals I made. Some I completely forgot about, while others I made reality. This year such a blast and I can’t thank everyone enough for being a part of it!

Well here goes… 2016 was a success to say the least! It was my first full year as a full time photographer and I couldn’t have asked for a better year. I started photographing more actors and bloggers, while still photographing models. For those of you who don’t know, altogether I’ve been shooting for 8 years. Around 4 years ago I started considering myself professional and it wasn’t until 2015, I started getting paid regularly for my work. So to all you aspiring photographers out there, don’t give up. It takes time! I will be the first to admit I did free test shoots for years before I got paid! Keep working hard, set goals and take steps to reach those goals.

If I had to describe 2016 in one sentence… It was an adventure where my bags were always packed, creative fills were had over coffee and chai teas, and so many new relationships began. I met two of my best friends this year. If you remember last year I met Alexis and Jason who are two of my best friends, but this year I met Tessa and Alex and all I can say is….

 I’m building that F.R.I.E.N.D.S. crew!

Meeting both Alex and Tessa are two things I will never stop talking about because they’ve been a part some of the best moments and adventures this past year. You’d think seeing us together, we’ve known each other all our lives, but Tessa and I only met in March because she was looking for a photographer for her blog. From the beginning we were instant friends. We went from weekly shoots to random hangouts to trips to New York together. Alex and I only met in August, but let me tell you… He quickly became my person! He’s the first person I text or call about anything and everything (other than my mom). He laughs at my terrible jokes and deals with my sarcastic, unexcited/unimpressed (especially when he won’t stop talking), road rage infused personality. I’m blessed to have two amazing California friends and two amazing New York friends (Alexis + Jason) and I can’t wait for all of the adventures and memories to be made in 2017!

In last year’s end of the year blog, I had hoped to have Frenchies confirmed before the New Year and I vowed to shoot more editorials. Frenchies was confirmed right after the New Year and was published in the February issue of Bello Mag! I was then published again in Bello’s September issue! My work was also featured in Hero Mag.

In 2017, I would love to see my work in some new magazines!

I started building up my client list in 2016 and worked with some rad men’s fashion brands and a couple of women’s brands, too! I also started shooting for Flashstock, which allowed me to shoot for companies including El Pollo Loco, Zipcar and Alaska Airlines to name a few.

The best part about 2016 is it took me all over! I went to New York 5 times and already have my first trip planned for 2017. I also went to Chicago, Dallas and Nashville for the first time. I also booked two clients in San Francisco, so I was able to make two trips up there. I made a pitstop in Boston before a New York trip, too. In 2017, I’d love to go to any of these places again, but one place I definitely need to go back to is Denver! I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love and be bicoastal.

With all the accomplishments, there’s bound to be challenge every once in a while. This year was all about finding balance, which is not always easy. You’d think it would be simple as 1, 2, 3 when you’re able to make your own schedule, but occasionally a last minute shoot will come up or you’ll schedule something ahead of time, which winds up interfering with plans your friends or family made.

One example was a trip to June Lake. My dad and brother usually go to June Lake with all their guy friends, but this year the guys thought it was time to invite the ladies. Of course the weekend they chose, I had scheduled a shoot for Sunday. They wouldn’t take no for an answer, so in order to make it work we took two cars so I would be able to drive home 5 hours before everyone else. It was a challenge to make it work at first, but I feel so blessed to make my schedule.

Since going full time, I’ve definitely had to pass on shooting with some agencies unless it’s a model I’m dying to shoot or the model fits the concept I’m shooting and that’s okay. As we grow as photographers, our brand grows and we learn more about our audience and our ideal client, so it’s 100% okay to say no. Know your value and know where to draw the line. This is something I want to continue in 2017 and I challenge you to start or continue in 2017 - focus on your brand, know your audience and your ideal client.

The people in our lives are the most important. Building relationships is absolutely key! Last year I vowed to drink more coffee and pour more into others, which ultimately became what I called creative fill. I poured into others and they poured into me, which allowed me to grow as a person, a creative, and a business owner. As a business owner, I know how important people are to my business because word of mouth is free marketing and building relationships with other creatives means you can refer them on jobs you’re unavailable for and they may return the favor.

This past year I experienced so many emotions, but most of them were excitement, joy, and love. I was surrounded by wonderful friends and made so many memories to last a lifetime. I vowed to capture more emotion in 2016 and I definitely made sure to follow through.

I’d say not much has changed since last year, at least with my shooting style and who I photograph. My editing style has changed a bit, but only slight adjustments as most photographers have gone from the “light and airy” to “dark and moody” this year.

I’m extremely grateful for photographers like Ben Sasso who preach community over competition. He put out this rad black and white preset along with a ton of blog posts for us photographers, which challenged us and taught us something new. 

Here’s to 2017 being a year of community over competition.

As I mentioned earlier, I started working with more bloggers this year. I enjoy working with bloggers because it’s consistent work between test shoots, ecommerce and other clients. I worked with a few bloggers I worked with in 2015, but also gained a few new blogger clients.

It’s always great tor reconnect with friends, too! I was beyond excited when Lexi’s agency reached out about a test shoot. Crazy thing is, I was Lexi’s camp counselor 7-8 years prior when I first getting into photography. I also reconnected with Adam who I met in Denver right after I graduated college. Since then, he’s moved to LA and I got to shoot his acting headshots!

I could really go on for days about things I learned, all the accomplishments I made, the memories I have, new friendships, travels and more. I mean that’s the point, right? But it’s also to share some of my favorite images from this past year and let them tell the story. Before I close…

2017 Goals + Resolutions

  • Continue to capture raw, real moments
  • Keep drinking coffee + pouring into others
  • Community over competition
  • Love more
  • Live in the moment and to the fullest
  • Be spontaneous
  • Travel to new places
  • Love Jesus, love others
  • Make more memories
  • Shoot and submit more editorials
  • Get involved
  • Quit procrastinating
  • Continue building my client list

Also head on over to Kara Nixon Weddings to see my best wedding shots of 2016.

What are your goals and resolutions for 2017? 

Before I wrap this up, I want to thank Z from Zero to Skill for his post ”A Guideline to the Perfect Closure of the Year,” which helped me write this year’s end of the year blog!

Thank you for creating with me in 2016. I look forward to creating with you in 2017.

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