Portrait of woman in striped sweater, cheering with her hands in the air

Top Pics of 2021

January 3, 2022

Headshots, Photography, Portraits, Seniors, Weddings

Don’t you just love looking back on the year and curating your own list of superlatives? Best movie, funniest TV show, most danceable song, most inspiring book, most hilarious moment, best adventure, and so on

Last year I shared my Top 20 Photos of 2020, so it’s only fitting that I round up the year again, right?

It can be tough choosing favorites, so I gave myself rules to help the process:

1. Photos had to be taken with my DSLR (it would have taken forever to scroll through my phone, and it’s not like you need an entire blog post dedicated to my nieces and nephews or the food I ate). 😉

2. I couldn’t spend hours and hours choosing. If a photo moved me for some reason, it went into the contenders category and then I narrowed it down from there.

3. I couldn’t let myself feel bad about not choosing a photo from every shoot (especially featuring my glorious clients!).

That’s it. Those were my three rules. So without further ado, I present to you my Top Photos of 2021. (In chronological order.) Below each is an explanation of why it made the cut. Enjoy!

Portrait of woman in striped sweater, cheering with her hands in the air
Celebrating the completion of my first online photography course – Manual Mode Photography for Beginners! It was a labor of love, and I learned a lot of new skills and info in order to create it. A very proud moment! (Taken 03/04/21)

Next class starts January 24, 2022 – CLICK HERE for more info!

Black makeup brushes fanned in a circle on white backdrop
I did a makeup product photography shoot with my favorite hair + makeup artist, Arianna Scott. She and I spent an afternoon together styling her products to capture photos we could both use. It’s simple, but I love it! (Taken 04/22/21)
Close-up senior portrait of young woman with pink camelia behind one ear
In the spring, I posted a model call for high-schoolers, one of whom was this lovely soul, Erin. She and I teamed up a second time so I could use a nearby camelia tree that I thought would be the most amazing backdrop. However, I’m also a VERY big fan of close-up portraits, especially with a unique composition like this. (Taken 04/30/21)
Flat-lay photo of four doughnuts on white backdrop
As in 2020, various product shoots kept me busy, entertained, and creative. I used National Doughnut Day as an excuse to buy a bunch of doughnuts from The Doughnut Factory and style them in lots of fun ways. A simple, clean look… I think I like this photo so much because it reminds me of how tasty everything was! (Taken 06/04/21)
Portrait of woman in black top and red printed skirt standing with arms crossed in an art gallery
I was so grateful to have work at the University of Washington again, and this image of Brittney Frantece was recently published in The UW Magazine. (Taken 07/02/21)
Bride and groom standing on rocks along Snoqualmie River
Rachel and Elvin (the brother of one of my college friends) were married at Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, and they could not have been more stunning in front of the camera. They love exploring the outdoors together, and we had so much fun with their portraits along the Snoqualmie River. Take me back! (Taken 07/21/21)
High school senior portrait of young woman in white sweater
I absolutely love photographing high school seniors, and Brenna was my first of the summer. I’ve already mentioned I’m a sucker for a close-up portrait, so, is there any question why I love this? Also, not everyone can pull of the “smizing” look, but Brenna nailed it! (Taken 08/24/21)
High school senior soccer goalie deflecting a soccer ball in the goal
The setup for this action shot of Skylar involved a two-light setup, his mom tossing the soccer ball, and multiple takes to get his movement and expression how we wanted them. It was past sunset, which makes focusing tricky, but we got some really cool shots from this series. (Taken 08/25/21)
High school senior squatting with one foot forward
I could have photographed Saetia all day! She was so comfortable in front of the camera and also open to trying different posing to help me enhance my work. I love the pose and angle of this photo, and her senior portrait session was one of my favorite shoots of the year. (Taken 09/07/21)
Maternity portrait of man and pregnant woman at a park
When one of your bffs is preggers, you can’t miss the opportunity to photograph her! Visiting my friends Kat + Andy in California was also just the second time I’d traveled since the start of the pandemic, and it was a continuation of my birthday celebration, so this shot brings up a lot of happy feelings. Plus, I love the composition here. (Taken 09/26/21)
Portrait of man and woman with two dogs sitting on bench.
My freshman-year college roomie, Ally, who has since hired me for her wedding to Seth and headshots and family shots – how cute are their pups? This photo is a reminder of how I’m so strongly supported by my family and friends, and I greatly appreciate how photography continues to help me nurture my friendships! (Taken 10/07/21)
Bride and groom standing on wooden bridge, looking at each other.
Marie-Anne and Adam, another stunning bride and groom – taken just moments before it started pouring rain (as it would for the remainder of their wedding day). Their intimate backyard wedding was so joyful, and I’m again thankful for friends who connect me with the wonderful people in their lives. (Thanks, Benton!) (Taken 10/09/21)
Woman wearing black top, black skirt, and black high heels, sitting on couch
First it was her makeup brushes, and now it’s the woman herself – Arianna Scott! She’s been my go-to hair + makeup artist for my clients for yearsssss, and this was the first time I got to photograph her! My friend Travis let us use his building’s lounge, and he also assisted me for Arianna’s personal branding session. It is such an honor when my industry colleagues ask me to photograph them. I cannot speak highly enough of Arianna or her skill! (Taken 10/12/21)
Skógafoss waterfall in Iceland
Skógafoss Falls in Iceland! This is my favorite shot from my first international trip since January 2019. It was thrilling to leave the country again, and my friend Leanne and I came across this waterfall as we were driving to a site she wanted to visit (next photo). Iceland has thousands of waterfalls, and the sight and sound of this one was breathtaking. (Taken 10/19/21)
Two women in front of plane crash site in Iceland
Okay, okay, so I didn’t take this one. But it’s on my camera! International trip + bff Leanne + dramatic plane crash site background…what’s not to love? Plus, I made some new friends here when I met some fellow photographers, and got to take some photos of them, too. (Taken 10/19/21)
Men's studio portrait, subject wearing all-black outfit.
One of my biggest investments of the year – new lighting!!! My friend Victor sat for me as I practiced with my new lights and various modifiers. I’m so excited to level-up my work in 2022 – lighting quality makes such a big difference, and I want nothing but the best for your images! (Taken 12/19/21)
Men's portrait, subject wearing black sunglasses, black scarf, and all-black outfit, smiling.
Same session with my friend Victor – whom I’ve been informally mentoring for the past couple years. He’s from Houston, so despite how freakin’ freezing he was, he still managed to smile for this photo! Since this was my last shoot of the year, I figured I’d share two shots, why not. 😉 (Taken 12/19/21)

I hope you enjoyed this look back at my 2021! Do you have a favorite photo (or top 20) of the year, too? I wanna see!

I wish you so much joy and adventure in 2022. Stay healthy. Happy New Year, friend!