2017… What a Year huh?
This year flew by. I’ve been so busy with weddings and building my travel photography business that it was as if I blinked and the year was over. This year has been my smoothest year since I’ve started. A lot of that has to do with my absolutely amazing couples. I shot 38 weddings this year and didn’t even realize it until I did a count at the end of the year. I travelled a ton for weddings too! Mexico, Greece, South Carolina, Texas, All over Virginia & PA, Florida, & New Jersey. I shot engagement sessions in Michigan, NY, North Carolina, Florida (Disney World), and even Omaha Nebraska! I waded in waist deep water to photograph a wedding on boats in Ft. Worth, I photographed two pirates swash buckling in Baltimore, an all out Harry Potter Wedding, lots of adorable four legged wedding guests, a skiing engagement session in the only snow we got in winter 2017, too many weddings in the rain, and every wedding I shot had the wildest reception on record!
The year really kicked off with a bang as I had the opportunity to be THE NYE Photographer for Times Square in New York. As the ball dropped and the confetti rained from the sky I knew that this year was going to be something special. I wasn’t wrong.
My first photoshoot for the year took place in Disney World. I was so excited that I was able to meet up with two Disney Fanatics in the Happiest Place on earth. Disney is such a great spot for an engagement session and of course after working there for almost 10 years I know a lot of secret spots! I set up their shoot the same weekend I ran the Disney World Marathon with my husband Jason. It had been 6 years since I ran my last marathon and it felt so good to cross that finish line again.
We rewarded ourselves with a trip swimming with Manatees. This is an absolute MUST DO in your lifetime! Manatees are like curious puppies. I had an experience with a manatee who swam up to me nose to nose and rolled over for a good belly rub. It was sad because this beautiful and friendly animal had lost one of his flippers to a boating accident.
My focus for 2017 was documentary work. I wanted to start getting out in the world and capturing historical events. When I heard about the Woman’s March in DC I knew I had to be there. I opted to go by myself rather than with my friends and family so that I could truly experience the event. I stood there with a half a million people in what was one of the most emotional days of my life.
Listening to the speakers and feeling encouraged by others who were around me I knew I had to do something. I decided that I would focus on the environment and educating others on how to save wildlife. Over 2017, I spent a lot of time traveling and learning from other conservationist while capturing images of wildlife. For 2018, I will be taking what I’ve been learning over the past few years to classrooms, libraries, and groups in Baltimore City. My goal is to teach younger generations on the little things they can do locally to help wildlife and our environment through the Blue Marble Project. Keep an eye on my site for was for your school, scouts troop, or community group can get involved!
Wedding Season kicked off for me in February with my 4th wedding in Mexico. Megan had my most favorite wedding dress ever and she rocked the shit out of it!
I typically travel in the winter months because 1- I hate the cold. 2- There really aren’t a lot of weddings in the winter. 3-I’ve built a habit over the past 3 years of going to Africa in Feb. I’ve done it every year since 2014 and will be going again this year. Someone once told me that Africa is a magical and addicting place. She was right. I love it so much that in 2019 I will be leading my own wildlife photography tours there! You will be able to start registering for these trips in Spring 2018 !
In 2017 I spent 4 weeks travelling to Botswana, South Africa, Uganda, Congo, Rwanda, & Kenya. In Kenya, I was again inspired by the amazing David Sheldrick Wildlife Foundation. They work so hard to save and rehibiltate baby elephants who lost their mothers to poaching or other human actions. They take care of these elephants and then reintroduce them into wild herds when they are grown enough. I love this organization so much that I decided to start adopting baby elephants for all of my 2018-2019 couples! Each couple get updates on the elephant I adopted for them along with beautiful watercolors every month!
Of course, I also went to Uganda & Congo to visit Mountain Gorillas. Another MUST DO experience. While I was in Bwindi National Park I got to see Raha for the second time. An energetic 3 year old trouble maker. While I was sitting photographing his family Raha came closer and closer till eventually his curious nature got the most of him and he touched my leg 3 times before sitting next to me. This encounter inspired my first published article! Just before the year was over my article and photographs were published in Towson Universities Alumni Magazine. They also came over to interview me to help inspire other Towson students.
After getting back from Africa I was in full fledge wedding season. While Spring and the warm weather came nice and early… so did lots of rain. Fortunately, my couples are cool as shit and don’t let a little (or a shit ton) of rain ruin their day. Because of this I was able to capture some really amazing rain shots for my couples!
April & May was a big travel month for weddings. I travelled to Charleston with Kecia & Alim and finally fulfilled my dream of photographing a couple under Spanish Moss (I got to do this again in July when I shot Becky & Oscar’s Wedding in Gainesville, Florida). I also went to Ft. Worth Texas and photographed a very non-traditional wedding that took place on a bunch of boats. After the ceremony everyone jumped in the water and enjoyed some beers and some snacks while floating along.
I also went to Charlottesville and photographed a beautiful wedding at King Family Farm with Nacho a adorable Frenchie who stole the show. Sadly, Nacho passed away a few months after the wedding but his memory will be carried of forever in their photographs. This year I had a number of adorable furry (and feathered) friends at weddings. Most were dogs but we also had some donkeys and penguins too!
For all my destination weddings my couples also receive a day after session. Kecia & Alim decided that they wanted to do their session in Washington DC while Kim & Greg did theirs on the lake with Paddle Boards and throughout Ft. Worth. I also had an amazing day after session in a few villages in Chios, Greece. You don't have to be a destination couple to do a Day After session. If you want to do another session in your wedding dress just let me know. I have opportunities for 2018 for sessions in Kenya, Iceland, London, Florida, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Death Valley National Park.
As I mentioned before… 2017 was the year of the party! My couples had some killer receptions and some of the best dance moves I’ve seen! I’m actually a huge fan of the last 2 hours of a reception. This is when people loosen up and show their inner dance freak. As soon as the dance floor starts filling up… I’m right in the middle of all the action catching everything that is going on!
I couldn't even give an award for best party this year... A Hinjew wedding with a Bollywood dance... Light up shoes and Michael Jackson tribute... lots of shirtless men... The most amazing band I have ever heard in my life... (New Old School)... Donald Trump giving a piggy back ride... So many killer dance moves!!! I mean seriously it was hard to pick and choose between all these photos!
I'm going to end Part 1 of my 2017 Year in Review with a big Thank you to my wedding parties and families. I like initiate emotion with my couples parents by getting them to remember those intimate moments with their child. I do the same with my wedding parties... but I also torture them slightly by testing their adventure abilities sometimes. My wedding parties are always such champs allowing me to create awesome often hilarious images for my couples!