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A look back at 2017

Last year, instead of doing a “Best Of” series of photos from engagement sessions and weddings as I had done in prior years, I decided to share a chronology of my photographic adventures throughout 2016. It was a long post and hopefully some of you made it through. I certainly had a fun time putting it together and reliving my year through photos, so here we are again for a look back at 2017. This year, I photographed 40 weddings and events, around 60 portrait sessions, model shoots and engagement sessions, and spent 83 days traveling, including a trip to Thailand and Nepal in December. Below are some photos from practically each time I took my camera out with me either for work or pleasure. With the exception of the few times I decided to experience something without a camera around (like my celebration of my 5th Photography Independence Day, Christmas with friends, and this dinner I’m about to head out to on New Year’s Eve…), this pretty much sums up my year!

Before we dive into my look back at 2017, I want to thank you–if you’re reading this, you either saw the link on Facebook, or I pestered you to come check it out, or we’ve worked together in some capacity and you’re still a fan–whatever your reasons, thank you. This year I celebrated my 5th year of being a self-sustained photographer, and to that I owe a great deal of thanks to all my clients and supporters and friends and family. Thank you for being on this journey with me. When I first started photography, I felt like it was a way of reaching out and sharing myself with others and it’s connected me with so many people–both from the past and new folks along the way. Being self employed and my own boss has its perks, but it’s easy to feel like you’re on your own a bit too much. Without co-workers and colleagues sitting next to you, life can feel a little isolating. But being able to share my work with the world and getting feedback and knowing that my work delivers your stories to your friends and family is a big part of why I love what I do.  In any case, here’s a look back at 2017!

JANUARY 3, 2017 | Kelly, Daniel & Elliot | Pensacola, Florida

I’ve known Kelly for about 16 years now and last year when I was home for the holidays, she booked me for a family shoot before I took off for San Francisco again. So fun to start the year with an old friend!

JANUARY 12, 2017 | RAW Artists – VERVE | San Francisco

I continued to photograph for RAW Artists this year so you’ll see a few photos of these events throughout. On the first event, I met Olivia Florentino and she was so sweet and talented. We ended up doing a quick portrait session in the following days before she left town.

JANUARY 14, 2017 | Olivia Florentino | San Francisco

JANUARY 15, 2017 | Alejandra Torres | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi By Fiona

JANUARY 16-20, 2017 | Mystic Seminars | Portland, Oregon

Mystic Seminars is an annual photography seminar that gathers talented and inspiring photographers from around the world to share their stories, philosophies, strategies and work. It’s an incredible way to meet other people in the field and have fun along the way. I’ve made some incredible friends and met amazing photographers through these gatherings of minds (like Abby + Dave & the entrepreneurially prolific Danny Klimetz below) and plan to continue to attend in the coming years!

JANUARY 21, 2017 | Aimee Lam | San Francisco

JANUARY 21, 2017 | Women’s March | San Francisco

When I got back from Mystic Seminars, I had been determined to go to the Women’s March. I was there in support and I wanted to also photograph the event. It rained lightly at first, then heavily. Nevertheless, we persisted.

JANUARY 22, 2017 | CJM, Cary Leibowitz | San Francisco

JANUARY 25, 2017 | Kaella Lynn  | San Francisco
Makeup by: Elizabeth Chang

Kaella Lynn is a wedding planner in the Bay Area, and I was on a portrait kick. I was inspired by her strong voice on social media for equality and social justice and I wanted to do a shoot that reflected her strength.

JANUARY 27, 2017 | Portola Valley Residence | Portola Valley, California

JANUARY 28, 2017 | L & S | San Francisco

JANUARY 31, 2017 | Micaella White | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Victoria Toda

FEBRUARY 2, 2017 | Sarah Rose | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Victoria Toda

FEBRUARY 5-9, 2017 | WPPI & Valley of Fire | Las Vegas

WPPI is a national convention for wedding and portrait photographers. This was my first year going and I ended up skipping out on a lot of it since my friend Tara came with me and we decided it would be fun to go do photoshoots in the desert. But when I did manage my way back to the convention center, I was pretty blown away by the huge trade show and all of the different equipment and samples of prints/albums/-you-name-it. But I didn’t take any photos of that stuff, so here’s Tara.

FEBRUARY 12, 2017 | Caitlin | San Francisco

FEBRUARY 13 2017 | Cheryl & Josh | San Francisco

FEBRUARY 16, 2017 | Courtney Walker | San Francisco

FEBRUARY 18, 2017 | Shannon & Enrique | San Francisco

MARCH 3, 2017 | Luana & Ed | San Francisco

MARCH 4, 2017 | iDiivil | San Francisco

MARCH 11, 2017 | Dana & Yousef | San Francisco

MARCH 17, 2017 | Stacy & Allen | San Francisco

MARCH 21, 2017 | Kristy Jessica | San Francisco

MARCH 23-27, 2017 | Alexander! | Tampa, Florida

I came home to visit my newest nephew. Weirdly, my brothers and sisters-in-law never make it into these photos. But I think they make an appearance later in the year…

MARCH 31, 2017 | Whiskey Walk | San Francisco

What do photographers do in their time off? Why, walk around drinking whiskey and take photos of each other … and eat pizza! It’s a good life. You should try it. I had also just gotten a new camera, (the Fujifilm GFX 50S, for you camera nerds out there) and took pretty much any chance I had to play with it. Joining me were my good friends, Jen Michelson (A Girl and a Camera Photography), Russell Edwards (Russ Levi Photography), Brian MacStay, Joseph Tan (J&A Light), Lisa Stone and Michelle Davis. Also not pictured is Alex Zyuzikov (Red Sphere Studios) and Alexandrina Owens.

APRIL 2, 2017 | Ariane | San Francisco

APRIL 5, 2017 | RAW Artists – VERSE | San Francisco

APRIL 7-14, 2017 | ‘UBOS’ Gathering | Outer Banks, North Carolina

Over the past couple years, I’ve met a number of photographers from different parts of the country through seminars, workshops, and conferences. And as it turns out, a lot of us get along together and the idea came up to make our own little informal retreat to share our business ideas, our stories, and have water gun fights. UBOS is an acronym for Unnamed Band of Stuff – and it was just a placeholder, but I guess now it’s stuck. Oh we also took photos of each other.

Fun fact: Kara’s son is a kick-ass gymnast.

I love that they’re all looking at the same thing with different reactions.

Some of the crew had kids who came along. Somehow we ended up in a water gun fight, although my friend Daniel here looks to be unarmed.

These two are clients of Daniel’s. They came out one afternoon and we all took turns photographing them so we could kind of see how the other worked. It was a fun little experiment to see what everyone came up with.

All-in-all the retreat/vacation included Ilana-Natasha Ba-rav, Amy Little, Lisa Hibbert, Kara Counard and her son, Danny & Lauren Klimetz & kids, Daniel & Kate Pullen (our gracious hosts) & kids, and Paulius & Audra Musteikis and their baby girl.

APRIL 15, 2017 | CJM: Exodus | San Francisco

APRIL 19, 2017 | Mari | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Victoria Toda

APRIL 23, 2017 | Caitlin & Evan | San Francisco

APRIL 24, 2017 | Ashley | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona

APRIL 26, 2017 | CJM: Roz Chast | San Francisco

APRIL 30, 2017 | Cali Roaming | San Francisco

One spring day I took a day to drive up to the headlands with my roommate. I love having a day to just photograph for myself sometimes. It’s a great way of taking in the beautiful areas surrounding my city.

MAY 3, 2017 | Vanessa & Austin | San Francisco

MAY 4, 2017 | Kate B | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona
Styling: Fiona Tsang

MAY 5, 2017 | Agnes & Michelle | San Francisco

MAY 6, 2017 | Erika & Alex | San Francisco

MAY 7, 2017 | Frances & Kyle | Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

MAY 9, 2017 | Allie Summers | San Francisco

MAY 11, 2017 | BOBA Guys & Ennie Lim | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona
Styling: Fiona Tsang

Long time followers of my work will probably recognize Ennie–and those who actually read a lot of what I write may remember that she moved away from SF last year. But she was in town for a few days and we managed to put together a shoot. Some of the images ended up on the Boba Guys’ summer look book. And we also took some photographs without the Boba Tea…

MAY 14, 2017 | Allison & Sebastian | San Francisco

MAY 17, 2017 | Anna K | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona

MAY 19, 2017 | JC & M, I | San Francisco

MAY 20, 2017 | J & M | San Francisco

MAY 26, 2017 | JC & M, II | San Francisco

MAY 28, 2017 | Jessica & Nick | San Francisco

JUNE 1-5, 2017 | Jen & Evan | Catskills, New York

This was the last song of the night at my friend Jen’s wedding. I was attending as a guest but brought a little Fuji (X-T2) with me, which came in handy to capture some of the final moments of the night… Sometimes I can’t help being a wedding photographer.

JUNE 9, 2017 | Alexa & Nick | San Francisco

After returning, my season ramped up quickly starting with a double header.

JUNE 10, 2017 | Vanessa & Austin | San Francisco

JUNE 17, 2017 | Jen & Chris | Winters, California

JUNE 20-ish, 2017 | Lucille | San Francisco

My friend Lucille gave birth to a beautiful little girl this year. In the months leading up to it, I documented various stages of her pregnancy. It was an awesome to see her transformation and we’re both so glad we did this series!

JUNE 22, 2017 | Janine | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona
Styling: Fiona Tsang

JUNE 23, 2017 | Impromptu Astrophotography | Sonora, California

In late June, I headed out to Sonora with my friend Jesse Garrison (Love Unique Studios) to shoot a wedding with him. The night before the wedding, after grabbing a bite in the area, we decided to venture out a little bit away from the small town to photograph the night’s sky. Didn’t manage to get anything spectacular but it was fun to try!

JUNE 24, 2017 | Diane & Will | Sonora, California

JULY 1, 2017 | Amy & Matthew | Half Moon Bay, California

JULY 2, 2017 | Leona & Michael | Sonoma, California

JULY 4, 2017 | Sylvia & Brandon | San Francisco

Sylvia, a good friend of mine from grad school who booked me for her wedding in Brooklyn, was in town with Brandon and we were able to squeeze in an engagement session.

JULY 7, 2017 | Shaunte Dittmar | San Francisco

Once again, Shaunte came from Tahoe to help me photograph a wedding. And once again, we put each other in front of the camera.

JULY 7, 2017 | Ann & Ed | San Jose, California

JULY 9, 2017 | Shaunte Dittmar | San Francisco

And once more before she headed home.

JULY 10-11 | Look Book Photo Shoot | San Francisco

This was a really fun opportunity to collaborate with my friend Fiona Tsang. While I can share these images, I can’t talk too much yet about the project. But suffice it to say we worked with a lot of talent in just a couple of days to produce an incredible set of work. More on this in a future post…

JULY 12, 2017 | RAW Artists – FIXATE | San Francisco

JULY 14, 2017 | Eve | San Francisco

About a week after Eve came into the world, I was able to meet and visit her for the first time!

JULY 15, 2017 | Allison & Sebastian | Healdsburg, California

JULY 22, 2017 | J&M | San Francisco

JULY 23, 2017 | Nikki & Alex, I | San Francisco

JULY 26, 2017 | Tran & Lui | San Francisco

JULY 28, 2017 | Lorraine & Devin | San Francisco

JULY 30, 2017 | Jaclyn | Santa Cruz, California
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona

JULY 31, 2017 | Nikki & Alex, II | San Francisco

AUGUST 5, 2017 | L & S | Calistoga, California

AUGUST 8, 2017 | Jen & Hoe Family Portraits | Livermore, California

AUGUST 10, 2017 | Jen & Hoe | Livermore, California

AUGUST 11, 2017 | Shehla & Neil Rehearsal | Saratoga, California 

AUGUST 12, 2017 | Shehla & Neil | Saratoga, California 

AUGUST 13, 2017 | Deepa & Vijay | San Francisco

AUGUST 15, 2017 | Jen & Clinton | San Francisco

AUGUST 20, 2017 | Sharon & Jerry | Morgan Hill, California

AUGUST 24, 2017 | Laurelei | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona
Styling: Fiona Tsang

AUGUST 24, 2017 | Dana & Yousef, Rehearsal Dinner | San Francisco

AUGUST 26, 2017 | Dana & Yousef | San Francisco

SEPTEMBER 2, 2017 | Annabell & Jeff | Palo Alto, California

SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 | Mitali & Hari | Calistoga, California

SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 | Connie & Josh | San Francisco

SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 | Anna K | San Francisco

New camera (Nikon D850)! I enlisted the help of friends to help me play with it. First up, Anna.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2017 | Ennie Lim | San Francisco

Then Ennie….

SEPTEMBER 10, 2017 | Viet, Melissa & Alexander| Carmel, California

My brother, his wife and their son came out to California on a work trip and I was able to meet up with them. Naturally, they wanted me to test my camera on them, too. I happily obliged.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 | Hyo & Jeffrey | San Francisco

SEPTEMBER 15, 2017 | Lisa & Chapin, Welcome Dinner | Pebble Beach, California

SEPTEMBER 16, 2017 | Lisa & Chapin | Pebble Beach, California

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 | Kendra R | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona
Styling: Fiona Tsang

SEPTEMBER 22, 2017 | Anna & Jeremy | Sea Ranch, California

SEPTEMBER 23, 2017 | Connie & Josh | Half Moon Bay, California

SEPTEMBER 24, 2017 | Audrey & Kenny | San Pablo, California

SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 | Ariana | New York, New York

I came to New York to photograph the wedding of my friends Sylvia and Brandon in Brooklyn but made a little trip out of it. I had been dying to do a fashion shoot here so I managed to link up with an incredible model, Ariana (thanks, Instagram) and we shot a bit of fitness and lifestyle one morning.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 | Sylvia & Brandon | Brooklyn, New York

OCTOBER 1, 2017 | Jen & Evan | Brooklyn, New York

They let me crash at their place, so obviously, photos.

OCTOBER 3, 2017 | Janine & Robin | San Francisco

OCTOBER 5, 2017 | Kriti Sharma | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona

OCTOBER 7, 2017 | Maryam & Marcus | Piedmont, California

OCTOBER 8, 2017 | Rachel T | San Francisco

This is Rachel–we met through a mutual friend and she showed up at my five year anniversary of going full time (woohoo!). We got to talking a bit and she offered to come along to an engagement session to help me out and see what it was like to do what I do. Before we got started I just took a few snaps of her.

OCTOBER 8, 2017 | Khanh & Andrew | San Francisco

OCTOBER 9, 2017 | Gemma & Rob | San Diego

The very next day I flew down to San Diego to do a engagement session with Gemma and Rob. It was a whirlwind day going to SoCal and back in just a day!

OCTOBER 11, 2017 | RAW Artists – SAVOR | San Francisco

This was my last RAW Artists show to photograph for 2017. While it was an incredible experience to meet and photograph so many artists from all walks of life doing any number of different types of work, I ultimately decided that I won’t be renewing my contract for the coming year.

OCTOBER 12, 2017 | Dayna goes to SFMOMA | San Francisco

On a related note, this is Dayna. She’s my good friend and former Showcase Director for San Francisco. The above was also her last show, and to be honest, a huge reason why I enjoyed working the shows was working with Dayna. On the day after the show, we hung out and went to SFMOMA and randomly decided to create a series of her with the artwork.

OCTOBER 13, 2017 | Sarah & Justin | Pleasanton, California

OCTOBER 14, 2017 | Rachel T | San Francisco

OCTOBER 18, 2017 | Nicole & Justin | Shanghai, China

So my buddy Justin celebrated his wedding this year too. Shanghai was a bit of a distance but I definitely didn’t want to miss it. The day after I arrived, we did a quick shoot so he could print a few photos out for the wedding, but the rest of the trip I was a tourist and a guest. Both of which I truly enjoyed!

OCTOBER 18-23, 2017 | Travel | Shanghai, China

OCTOBER 25, 2017 | Stephanie & Harry | San Francisco

In October of 2017, a number of large fires ignited in northern California’s wine country. While not all the major venues were destroyed, the air quality took a toll and Stephanie and Harry, who had originally planned to be married up in Napa and have their reception in Sonoma decided to cancel their plans. Instead, they used their trip to volunteer with the cleanup and recovery efforts and decided to celebrate on a much smaller scale in San Francisco. They tied the knot privately with a good friend officiating, while I documented the ceremony and signed as a witness.

OCTOBER 30, 2017 | Lynn & Landon | San Francisco

NOVEMBER 5, 2017 | Elaina | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Victoria Toda

Funny story–Elaina and I had been following each other on Instagram for about a year or so. I had thought about reaching out to do a shoot but just kept putting it off. Finally I messaged her and asked if she was down and she was… turns out she lived a block away, but literally was in the process of moving out of the city! What are the odds? Oh well, we still managed to do a shoot.

NOVEMBER 9, 2017 | Susie & Mikey | San Francisco

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 | Alejandra | San Francisco

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 | Nyara & Steve | San Francisco

NOVEMBER 11, 2017 | Frances & Kyle | San Francisco

NOVEMBER 12, 2017 | Reina & Steve | San Francisco

NOVEMBER 13, 2017 | Mari | San Francisco

NOVEMBER 18, 2017 | Luana & Ed | San Francisco

NOVEMBER 19, 2017 | Tamara | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Aimee Lam

NOVEMBER 20-27, 2017 | Thanksgiving Drone | Tampa, Florida

I bought a drone (Mavic Pro Platinum) this year for some upcoming travels. I figured I should figure out how to use it before taking it with me to Asia. The family thought it was cool–but I think I was probably still the most excited about it.

NOVEMBER 28, 2017 | Lucille & Eve | San Francisco

Before I took off for my 3 week trip to Asia, I linked up with Lucille and we did some more portraits of her and Eve. The kid changed so much so quickly! This was about 4 months.

DECEMBER 2-7, 2017 | Travel | Chiangmai, Thailand

One of the highlights of my year was of course this extended trip to Southeast Asia with my good friend Lisa Stone. Our itinerary included Chiangmai, Phuket, Kathmandu, and Pokhara. Chiang Mai was a more cultural destination of Thailand with many different villages and temples to visit.

DECEMBER 7-11, 2017 | Travel | Phuket, Thailand

Phuket felt more like a tropical destination, meant for beach stays and trips out to the islands in the bay. The image below was taken while out on a “sunset cruise” shortly before we were met with an intense thunderstorm. Not particularly relaxing, but glad to get out of that one in one piece…

DECEMBER 11-14, 2017 | Travel | Kathmandu, Nepal

If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be Kathmandu. It just was raw and real and truly gave me a glimpse into another world. It wasn’t as inundated with tourists, though there was a sense of tourism to many of the destination. Wandering the streets and historic areas was inspiring but also jarring in some areas with intense poverty.

DECEMBER 14-21, 2017 | Travel | Pokhara, Nepal

Pokhara, by contrast, felt more like a little resort town–like going from San Francisco to Tahoe. It was quiet and beautiful, but still with it’s own scenes of poverty.

DECEMBER 21-22, 2017 | Travel | Kathmandu, Nepal

We came back to Kathmandu for another night on our way back to San Francisco–enough time to hit up just a couple more spots.

DECEMBER 26, 2017 | Tara | San Francisco

When I got back, I spent the rest of the year with some test shoots exploring more portrait work with a specific interest in dramatic lighting

DECEMBER 28, 2017 | Rachel T | San Francisco

DECEMBER 29, 2017 | Haley Thonen | San Francisco
Hair & Makeup: Imagi by Fiona
Styling: Fiona Tsang

Whew! Hope you enjoyed that look back at 2017! It was a great year for me and 2018 is shaping up to keep things going. If you’ve made it to the end, damn… I don’t know what to say but that is some high level of commitment! Thanks!