Goodbye 2017 - My Year in Review

I can't believe another year has come and gone - all of the clients, sweet faces and families that I photographed woven into my memory like a dream, and yet here I am - typing out my first blog on Jan 1st, 2018 at 8:32 in the morning - full of hope and wonder at what this new year will bring.

It feels like 2017 was extra tough for lots of people, myself included. It felt like a year for saying goodbye to some long-held dreams of mine - and in doing so couldn't quite seem to find my "purpose" anymore.

Amidst the struggle and darkness that I felt through the last year, there were so many peeks of sunshine....and this blog is dedicated to those. To the projects, photos, people and experiences that brought me the most joy...these are the things that kept me searching to find that new Purpose...

It was a goal of mine for 2017 to do a commercial children's shoot, and January delivered with a bang. I shot my very first catalog shoot for the gorgeous baby and children's line, Bestaroo (you gotta check it out if you're a mama). This process was SO enjoyable for me - not only did I shoot the catalog, but fully produced the entire shoot, including creating the story board for the images, providing all of the models, coordinating the timeline and the overall production from start to finish. The owner could not have been more easy to work with - I definitely hit a gold mine with her as my first commercial client, and I could not be happier at how these sweet images turned out. I only wish she made adult sized versions of these outfits!! 

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In February, I began the process of incorporating my business, and found an amazing attorney to help me along in the process. He and I had worked on a fun shoot for his law office earlier in 2016, which turned out to be one of my favorites. I love it when clients become more than just a one-time shoot! 

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March brought me one of my favorite Maternity images as of yet - I'm not quite sure what it is that I just love so deeply about this photograph, but it definitely made me want to focus more on studio lighting with my maternity clients, and pushed me toward using different studio lighting techniques - more of which you will certainly see in my work in 2018. Isn't she just STUNNING?

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In April, even though I had never considered teaching, I found myself giving photography lessons to a beautiful young aspiring photographer. I cannot tell you how rewarding this has been for me as a photographer. Watching her take in my words and examples and using them to form her own eye through our lessons - I highly recommend this for any professional photographer, even if you only take on ONE student! My goal for 2018 is to give a class for mothers that want to learn how to take photos of their children and babies at home! Who is in? 

May brought in some of my favorite mommies for my annual Mothers Day Mini sessions and boy were they gorgeous! Inside and OUT! I created my own props for our mini sessions and absolutely loved everything about how they turned out. I realized quickly this year that I enjoy creating things for my sessions, and the creation of my "flower sash"  was ridiculously fun.

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"June Gloom" brought cloudy skies to the beach, but as I tell all of my clients "clouds are our friend" and "friend" they definitely proved to be for this gorgeous maternity session with one of my favorite mommies ever. 

This family became part of my own San Diego family this year - so not only is it fitting that their gorgeous photos are in this blog, but more-so the importance of how precious the relationships are that this job brings into my life. This family was certainly one of the biggest highlights of my year...

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Another goal for 2017 was to shoot more Fitness related photography - and wow did 2017 deliver on that front! Starting with this Beauty, who I've decided to make my new BFF in 2018 (even though she doesn't know it yet - heehee). I shot her very first commercial shoot for her online Nutrition and Fitness website (currently being built, but you can catch her on Instagram until then @drdebbiebright) and watched her launch her own business and kick some serious a** at it in her first few months! 

I cannot tell you how incredible it is to watch your clients flourish in their own way - and watching this girls' year has DEFINITELY been inspiring to me. 

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In July, I conquered my fear of shooting newborn twins and had one of the best, dare-i-say, EASIEST newborn sessions I've ever had! And with TWINS?! Just look at these beauties! 

Its funny how your perception of something you're so scared of can change completely once you just make the decision to do it. These little babes definitely sparked a love of twin sessions in me and I can't wait to do more of them this year! 

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Earlier in the year, I had a client come to me for a simple 30 minute corporate headshot session and we sort of fell in love as ladies during her session. 

It's fun to think that any given day might bring your most important new challenge for the year, or your new BFF, or someone whose request is going to push you to the limits that you had been hoping for, but too scared to do without a deadline. She turned out to be THAT client, as she asked for a custom set for her corporate office shoot and I was beyond excited to deliver for her.

I spent over a month in August coming up with and building the set for her shoot, hand painting and building each component of the shoot myself (aside from the canvases). There were lots of hurdles along the way that made this session extra challenging (including the canvases NOT fitting in my elevator upon delivery), but extra extra fun for me, and truly some of my favorite corporate photography work as of yet.

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Something close to my heart this year was to really highlight WOMEN and their beauty at all ages (more on this in 2018), but I was SUPER excited to be able to do a few mature female photoshoots this year, where women walked into the studio feeling shy and uncertain and walked out feeling empowered, bold and SEXY. 

September was the month for making this happen and I'm MOST proud of the way these women expressed that these shoots made them feel. Not only when they saw the outcome of the photos, but during the shoot itself, which I think is SO important. What woman couldn't stand a little more of feeling sexy in her life?

It was also a HUGE goal of mine to do more at-home newborn sessions and I specifically wanted a shoot with two loving daddies. I couldn't have gotten more lucky than this loving same-sex Los Angeles family. 

How lucky is this little girl to have these two gorgeous adoring fathers to raise her? I literally swoon every single time I look at these photos!!! 

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October was full to the gills. My busiest month of the year by far and there were SO many things to love about October. 

I had a client who found herself sexy again after recently having a baby. I cannot tell you the reward that is in this for me! It's quite literally EVERYTHING to me to make a woman feel good about herself - no amount of money that I make comes close to the feeling that this gives me - ESPECIALLY for mothers!!




In October, I also shot my first surrogate-included newborn session - and learned a story of Love that literally gives me goosebumps every time I think about it. How beautiful is this family!??




I saw So many of my newborn clients' babies turn ONE! Eek - I don't know how you parents do it! It's hard for me to see your babies grow up - how do you handle this?? Just LOOK at these cuties enjoying their Cake Smash Sessions!




October brought a huge surprise of my first Tiffany Allen Photography television commercial shoot (stay tuned in 2018!), which I was totally NOT expecting! This was DEFINITELY a highlight for me...although nerve-wrecking for an introvert! Eek!

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November was a blur of holiday minis that brought lots of smiles and a few tears - even a middle finger here and there (lol)! Some of the funniest shoots happen during the holiday mini sessions and I swear I can't wait to get a holiday card one day that only shows the bloopers from these sessions - they are TOO funny! Here are a few of my favorites...

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I also got to travel in November to shoot a beautiful couple's wedding in Puerto Vallarta - if you haven't yet visited this part of Mexico, go book it right now! That's an order! 

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And then December came around.....and (for some reason) left me feeling like 2017 hadn't been all that successful. In fact, I'm pretty sure I spent a whole day crying over it. A whole day feeling like I hadn't really met many of my goals and that what I had done over the year hadn't been such a big deal. That I could have done more. That I could have helped more people. That I could have stretched myself further. That I could have learned more.

And this is why this post was and is so important for me - and I hope it inspires you to take a 2nd look at your year too..because as I read through these months I see that all was NOT lost. In fact, step by step and month by month, I accomplished almost all of the things that I had hoped to do and there were little (and BIG) bursts of sunlight in my life that wouldn't have been possible without doing this job....and only this job.

Sometimes, none of us know what we are "here for". What our "purpose" is...or if we're on the "right path". I know some of you felt that in 2017 too....

But its become a little more clear to me that my "purpose", albeit perhaps a small one in the world, is to do what I can to make people FEEL and see the love that surrounds them and that lives inside of them. And in turn, I get a little bit of it back myself through your stories...through your families, through your triumphs, through YOUR challenges and growth...but mostly (and most importantly)...through your smiles and through your love.

So...with that said, I hope you've found a way to celebrate the sparkles of your 2017, regardless of how big or small they may have been. I hope you found things to celebrate and to be rewarded by. I hope you were surrounded by love - even for tiny moments. Because YOUR moments of 2017 turned into mine...and I thank you SO much for sharing them with me.

Here's to 2018! I'm coming for more...