2016: A Year of Highs and Lows

Here we are, ending 2016 with no turning back. My year has been a hodgepodge of learning from my mistakes, saying yes when I normally would say no, and taking control of my health. This year, I'm gonna show my favorite highlights from the year in no particular order, and then go through my goals and ambitions for 2017. Let's go!

First and foremost: I turned 25! I've been doing a self portrait every year for a while now and this year was no exception.

My husband and I adopted a puppy!!! He's a 1-year-old labrador retriever mix (though I think he may have some bulldog in him) who loves to cuddle, run around the house, and dance to Regina Spektor with me. We adopted him on my 25th birthday this year and I spent most of the day sobbing at the humane society over all the puppies that deserved more love that I couldn't help. But in the end, we got the sweetest, smartest, and most incredible dog I could have wished for. Here are a few snaps of him!

Another huge part of my life this year was photographing several weddings with my partner in crime Leah Van Ert. I became an LLC (!!!) this year and am officially official! Leah and I teamed up over the Spring, Summer, and Autumn to shoot together in different parts of Wisconsin and I met some of the kindest and warmest clients I've had thus far. Here's some images of our wonderful couples:

Another highlight of 2016 was when Leah and I (can you tell we're bffs?) took a road trip to the Southwest US. Neither of us had spent any time there, so we mapped out a trip and got on the road! Camping, hiking, exploring, and eating a lot of sandwiches were my favorite parts. We saw Zion, Arches, and Grand Canyon National Park, we hike through the desert, climbed Angel's Landing, cooked over the fire, saw wild buffalo, experienced the iconic Horseshoe Bend, and just spent time together as best friends who live in different cities. The pictures do more justice than my synopsis!

Though I focused mainly on weddings this year, I got to photograph some of the most wonderful people this year, and it really pushes me to pursue more portrait photography in 2017.

While I could write and write about the other things that happened in 2016, I'll keep it short. One of the biggest accomplishments for me was getting control of my mental health. My diagnosis helped me realize that what I feel daily isn't something I'm making up or exaggerating and that other people have felt it, too. I started a treatment plan that is going decently, and I'm overjoyed with having much more control of how I feel. I don't have photos to describe this feeling, but I sure as hell am excited that it happened in 2016.

As for 2017.....

I've got some lofty goals! I am constantly pushing myself to grow as a person and also move my business forward, and this year is no different. Here are my main goals for the next year:

Goal #1: Book 10 weddings! As of today, I've currently booked 5 weddings and am feeling great about it. This goal pushes me to be consistent with this photography business and try my hardest to supplement my income as I pull back from my day jobs at the hospital and restaurant I work at. Halfway there!

Goal #2: Shoot one session a month that I organize, create, and execute. Shoots that I don't typically get clients asking about, but that I'd like to pursue in the future. A little bit of fashion photography as well as more lifestyle type shoots to keep my brain creating. I've started the preliminary stages of January's shoot and I can't wait!

Goal #3: BLOG, BLOG, BLOG! I've been really slacking on posting blogs on my website and I could definitely use the consistency. I'll keep you guys in the loop on my life, shoots, business, and anything I can think of! The exact goal is 52 blog posts for 52 weeks of the year. I plan to keep you all updated as the year progresses. Like I said, I'm really not taking 2017 lightly!!

Goal #4: Remember to slow down, be present, take afternoons off that have nothing to do with working or cleaning the house, and indulge in all the learning opportunities I can. This is a tough one for me, because from the moment I wake up until the moment I'm actually asleep, my brain is obsessing over some small detail. I have a hard time shutting off when all I've wanted for years is to figure out how to make this business thing work. A friend of mine commented that in my Google Keep app I have a ridiculous amount of lists made and I can't say she's wrong. I make lists about nothing, lists about the biggest parts of life, and lists about lists. I need to archive some of those, shut off my brain at times, and really take a break from work. I'll get there eventually!

What are your biggest goals for 2017? Are they personal and just for you or are they goals oriented around people and places around you? Let's hear 'em! See you all next year (I couldn't help the dad joke, sorry!).