Best of 2016

This has been an incredible year. It's like one day I woke up and suddenly everything had clicked. Only it wasn't magic, it was because I worked really really hard. And failed a lot. And tried a lot of new things-- new systems, new strategies, new products, new prices, new gear...

I dreamed big and I dreamed differently. I had faith that whatever God put on my heart, he intended to make good. And He did. He's doing. 

I've experienced such a range of emotions and challenges from the growth of Firefly in 2016 that it's hard to explain -- the adrenaline and excitement I get before every shoot and every meeting, the fear and uncertainty about my art and business, the self doubt, the highs of success and the lows of failure, the confusion about what's to come... it's quite a ride but I have never been more certain of this path or more excited to dig deeper and take the next steps. I don't even know yet exactly what those are, but that's part of the journey that makes this job so wonderful.

This year, I've met some truly awesome, fun families from all over the country. I've had the opportunity to photograph everything from siblings meeting their hours-old sister for the first time, to couples promising their lives together, to grandparents proudly wrapping their children and grandchild in loving arms. Everything from incredible life change to dogs in Christmas sweaters -- baby bumps to birthdays and everything in between.

My clients proudly display their images in beautiful artwork on the walls of their homes, share with family around the world, and showcase on their desks at work. Their proudest moments, their most prized possessions--what a grand reward it is to be a part of capturing that happy time and allowing them to relive it over and over again. 

This was also the first year I operated as a mother and wow, I was not prepared for just how much it would affect my work. Not in the complain-y way you might think, like oh I never have time to get anything done, but in the way that I have more heart for these parents in front of my camera than ever -- more compassion for the emotion they face during that 1 year shoot, more understanding for their flexibility and needs. It's made me a better photographer, better business-woman, and a better mom. I literally get tears in my eyes sometimes as I edit just thinking about a parents' reaction to an image that has personality pooling out from it because I've witnessed how fast the days past, how much they grow, how badly we want to remember those fat cheeks and drooly chins.

So this is a collection of my favorite images from 2016 -- they're not necessarily the ones that are the "best" shots or the most traditional -- all I can say is they're the shots that made me feel something. Isn't that the point? To look at a photograph and not just say, "oh that's nice," but to feel your heart thump a little extra? That's my goal, anyways. May 2017 bring many more heart-thumping moments for you and yours

To narrow all the beautiful moments down to just these was so hard -- like it literally gave me anxiety to cut out so many more of my favorites for risk of a 100 image post. The giggles, the snuggles, the deep stares, the hugs, the kisses, and LOVE. There is so much LOVE. That's what we all need to remember. 

From the bottom of my heart, a sincere THANK YOU to all the amazing families who honored me and invited me into some small piece of your lives this year. 

Sending love and wishes for a wonderful 2017!