2016 was weird. But I’m not here to dwell on everything that happened publicly, because personally, this past year was pretty good to me. I got a Master’s degree, I met some of the best people I’ve ever known, and I began photographing professionally.
In 2016, I photographed 21 concerts – 65 bands in total – plus an abundance of engagement shoots and senior portraits, and even my first solo wedding! I learned how to edit in Lightroom, and I bought a full-frame camera and a laptop that actually works. I discovered dozens of new photographers who have totally changed how I work, who have taught and inspired me, and I am so excited for what lies ahead.
Looking through an entire year’s worth of photos was pretty cool. I forgot how many amazing things I got to be a part of, and I was able to see the way my style has changed over the past 12 months. I’m so excited for 2017, and I’m very hopeful for this year. I already have a dozen concerts and four trips planned, and I’m setting a goal to (try) to make one short video and have one photoshoot per week. Boost that creativity. Wish me luck. In the meantime, here are, in no particular order, my 16 favorite photos of 2016.
This was completely last minute. I was visiting Chatham’s campus one rainy afternoon in September and had my camera, so I made this lovely lady stand in a tree for 10 minutes and got some of the best photos I think I’ve ever taken.
2. Hoodie Allen
This is, to this day, one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. It was ridiculously fun, from the stage setup to the performance itself. This shot in particular was wild – I had finished shooting so I was just hanging out in the back of the venue, watching the show, when Hoodie suddenly disappeared and then popped back up directly in front of me on the edge of the sound-booth. The floor flooded with people and there was no way I would get close so I stayed behind (which I ended up being very grateful for because Hoodie started throwing full birthday cakes into the audience. Whole cakes. Insanity.) I can’t wait for his next tour.
3. Mariana’s Trench
This was taken in February, when I had only ever photographed maybe 5 or 6 shows live, and this was the first time I was truly proud of the photos I took at a concert. There was no barricade, I was behind an amp, and it was insanely difficult to shoot, but I did everything I could for the entirety of the set and got some pretty neat photos as a result.
4. Sleeping With Sirens, Vans Warped Tour
Anyone can just throw a black and white filter onto a photo, but to actually create a good black and white photo is incredibly difficult. I’m v proud of this one.
5. Kaitlyn + Benji’s engagement
This was the first photoshoot of the year, and my first real, professional, paid engagement shoot. It was snowing, campus was beautiful, these two are gorgeous, everything was magical. I’m so happy to have been a part of their journey.
This was taken at Thrival Festival (Pittsburgh’s annual music festival) for Substream magazine. Metric’s set was my favorite of the entire weekend – their lights were a m a z i n g, Emily Haines has an incredible stage presence, and their music is just so dynamic. Also, this photo was featured in Substream’s December issue! (see it here)
This is a scan of a film photo I took sometime during the spring (I think when we were in Baltimore?) and it is my all time favorite picture of Evan. Drinking coffee = totally in his element.
8. Paige + Ian’s engagement
This entire shoot was one of my absolute favorites of the year. We found a red covered bridge in the middle of the woods and even though it was a muddy, gloomy day, the leaves had fallen so everything was warm and bright. Plus these two are STUNNING and I. cannot. wait. for their wedding this fall! (if you would like, you can see all of the photos here!)
This band is so delightful. They are so soothing, their aesthetic is so perfect, and they somehow make sad, sappy music enjoyable. Bonus points because all three boys have fantastic hair. This concert was definitely one of my favorites of the year, and I’m so happy that I was actually able to get some solid photos of a drummer.
10. Volumes, Vans Warped Tour
This photo perfectly encapsulates what happens at Warped Tour. It’s chaotic, it’s loud, it’s sweaty, no one follows the rules – it’s my favorite part of every summer.
11. Fitz and the Tantrums
When I was shooting in the pit at the beginning of this show, I saw the confetti cannons and knew I needed to fight my way into the crowd to get this last shot. Luckily, the audience was mostly high school girls with face paint and drunk moms in wedge heels so it was easy to move through to the middle.
I know this is out of focus, but I just couldn’t delete it because it is the most joyous photo and I smile every time I see it. This entire session was lovely and the lighting made every shot look like a fairytale. (go look at all of them here if you haven’t seen them!)
This is from the 4th of July. Collin told me I was a ninja because he didn’t even know I took it.
14. Young the Giant
I know I keep saying all of these concerts were my favorite of the year but THIS SHOW WAS SO FUN. If you ever get the chance to see this band live, I cannot recommend enough that you go. Their energy is incredible – the lead singer Sameer even had a broken wrist at this show but he still killed it.
Another photo from Thrival Festival. Concert photography isn’t easy, but it isn’t that hard to just snap a photo of an artist’s face while he or she is on stage. Capturing a moment of the show, and the energy that is present during that performance is what concert photography should be about, and is the reason why I like this photo so much. You can’t see her face but you can tell that she is putting on an incredible show.
16. Dad’s birthday
Last but certainly not least, a photo that is basically the opposite of everything above. This wasn’t a professional shoot, no one was performing, I wasn’t at the event as a designated photographer – it was just my dad’s birthday and we had a little family get together in my grandfather’s driveway. It was sunny and warm and we sat on folding chairs and ate blueberry cupcakes that my sister made. My dad and his brother were smoking cigars and telling funny stories and I love this photo because it’s so simple. No one is paying attention, and everyone is happy.
Cheers to 2017.