Better late than never, right? January has flown by unusually quickly this year, and I haven't had the chance til now to sit down and look over the past year. I made this list for the first time in 2022 for my 2021 sessions, and it is BY FAR the most read blog post I've ever written. So I'm doing it again this year! In 2022, I had over 50 family, newborn and senior sessions, not including mini sessions and weddings, so the grand total comes in at around 80 sessions for the year. Holy cow! You guys have kept me busy, and it's so much fun to look back through all of my sessions for the year and choose my favorite moments and images. Just as a disclaimer, I loved each and every session I had this year, so if you don't see images from your session, it doesn't mean your session wasn't awesome. I can't highlight every single one of the 80 sessions, so I had to be extremely picky when going through. It's a long post, but so many awesome moments are featured below, so read on to see the winners!
This was a session I wish more people were on board for! Maternity photos in the snow. At sunset. Swoon. We planned for layers, boots and blankets, and coats and hats between setups, and I must say that everyone did amazingly well. It was cold and snowy, but it could not have been more gorgeous, and the results are to die for! Snow provides a gorgeous neutral backdrop that also reflects light back onto the subjects, so the light is beautiful and the sunset pops a little extra against all that white. Plus, almost no one books winter sessions in the snow, so the photos are just a little extra special and unique!
The Family Who Traveled the Farthest for a Session
Ok, so they didn't travel all this way specifically for me to photograph them, but rather as a part of a long trip to visit their East Coast families. Any guesses on where they traveled from?? Alaska! I wish I could have traveled there to photograph them, lol. Anyway, I know someone from their family, so when they asked if anyone knew of a family photographer that could fit them in while they were here, my name was given and the rest fell into place. We ended up with really great weather for April, and while it was windy, it was warmer than you'd expect for April on the water and I love how their photos turned out!
Most Laughs During A Session
This family was gathering all together for the first time in a long time due to COVID and being spread out across the country, so they hired me to capture some family photos while they were all together. I kid you not, I laughed the entire session. You can tell when people are extra comfortable around each other--non-stop teasing, laughing and playing--and it makes everyone relax and be themselves, which always gives you the best, most authentic images in the end. This family was so kind and lovely and FUNNY, and their session was definitely a favorite of 2022.
Favorite Grandparent Images
One of the best parts of extended family sessions is having the opportunity to take photos of grandkids and their grandparents together. They're so sweet, and I know they're some of the most cherished images from those sessions. Here are my favorite grandparent photos from the year.
Favorite Beach Photos
The beach is probably my most favorite outdoor place to shoot, so this was a really really really hard category to narrow down. I could do multiple blog posts with all of my favorite beach photos. A couple of the below I used as promotional materials for auctions that I give to every year, and can I say that they are stunning blown up and printed out without sounding like I'm bragging? Giant prints are another favorite of mine, but that's another story. I hope to have a lot more beach sessions this coming summer, so take a look through and if you see something you like, book a beach session with me!
Favorite Images of Mom
Moms are the people least often IN the photos, because she's usually the one taking the photos of her own family, so I make sure to spend some dedicated time during family sessions photographing just mom with her kids. These are typically some of my absolute favorite images in every session!
Favorite Images of Dad
I'm going to go ahead and make a bold statement here, and I think other photographers will agree with me, even though others may not: Dads can make or break a family session. When Dad is playful, snuggly, helpful with the kids, and is showing the family that he's happy to be there (even if he's pretending!), the session goes so much smoother and the photos come out so much better. When Dad is grumpy, yelling or anxious, Mom knows and it stresses her out and in turn the kids will not be happy for photos. I rarely have to deal with a grouchy dad, and so appreciate you men who truly participate in these sessions. Take a look at some of my favorite images of dad from this year!
Favorite Dog Images
Dogs are such a big part of so many families these days, and it for sure pays off when they can be included in family and newborn sessions. Here are some of the sweetest dogs you can imagine!
Best Pull Back Shots
A lot of the photos that I take are closer up or cropped in, which don't show the location/backdrop of your session, but I do try and take a couple of shots in each session where the image is really pulled back so that you can see the backdrop really well. Here are my favorites!
Favorite Sibling Images
One image every mom wants to get at their session is of their kids all together. Getting along and smiling. I can joke about it, because I have three kids and I know the struggle! Siblings fight. A lot. So it helps to have some nice photos of them together where they're smiling, laughing and getting along. You know, so you can look at the photos and remind yourself that they don't ALWAYS fight. Whether sweet, silly or humorous, here are some standout sibling photos from this year!
Favorite Belly Photos
I don't get a lot of maternity sessions, but they are seriously such a favorite session of mine. This is such a fleeting time in your lives and when it's over, there's no way to get that time back for photos, so encourage everyone you know to have at least one maternity session done while they're expecting. Send me more, please!!
Favorite Faceless Images
Faceless photos are some of my favorites from every session that I do. I think because these photos are some of the details that make up your lives and can tell such a good story. From tiny hands and toes, to the way a child touches your hair, to a gesture, to certain shoes they love or the way that someone stands, these details are important and can tell a whole story without seeing the whole scene.
I love a good twirling shot. It's such a little kid thing to do, usually for girls, and when their hair and dress flare out, it adds such great movement to the photo. I can't always catch it just the way I like, but it's one of my favorite prompts for little girls!
Most Personality During a Session
The absolute best thing ever for me is when your kids show up to a session unafraid to just be themselves. I love big personalities in little kids. It honestly makes my job so much easier, because their response to prompts is always just the best and so authentically THEM, that I know I'm getting great images with their personalities shining through. There's no hesitation to be silly or weird or whatever they feel like in the moment and those are my favorite shots always. So, truly, just let your kids be themselves and don't worry about the silliness. I'll rein it in if and when needed, but those are the photos you'll look back on in 10 years to bring your right back to this moment in time.
Best Cousin Shots
Loooove getting cousins together when there are extended family sessions! They're your first best friends a lot of the time, right? Even better, they're family. Here are some of my favorite cousin shots from this year.
Favorite Newborn Images
Well, I could share every one of my newborn sessions from this year... what's not to love about a sweet new tiny baby? I'm showing restraint here. These were the hardest sessions to choose from!
Favorite Black and White Images
Black and white images are so stunning. The longer I've done this job, though, the more picky I am about converting an image to black and white. It has to really be better in monochrome for me to love it, and it mainly has to do with light, shadows, mood and textures. Here are my favorite black and white images from this year.
Favorite Family Shot
It's not a traditional family photo, but that's what I love about it. It's everyone engaged with someone else in the family. It's what normal life is, especially with little ones. I have a ton of family shots where everyone is looking at me, or each other, and I love them so much, but I love this one a little bit more and wanted to showcase a family moment that is really a good example of what lifestyle photography is. I know that so many people will disagree with me on this choice, but I've never loved the photos where everyone is looking at the camera. I want personality and something different in an image, and when you can have a family photo that is truly unique, there's nothing better.
Thanks for sticking it out til the end, I know that was a long one! I like to think that I have the greatest clients, and when I go back and look through all of my sessions from the past year, it really enforces that thought. Thank you all for trusting me to capture moments both big and small in your lives and for recommending me to friends and family. It means the world, and I hope that I get to see you all in 2023!