Our 2011 Year in Review: Highlights {Tacoma Wedding & Portrait Photographer)

2011 has been a CRAZY year full of really fun and exciting things.  As I worked on this post I was amazed by all the things Isaiah and I had accomplished.  You forget all of the things you can jam into 12 months until you take a few minutes to reflect.  Today as I was going through our pictures, both LHP related and personal- I was so thankful to be in this business.  The business of capturing memories.   You  never realize all that can be lost... I am so grateful that I ALWAYS have a camera next to me, whether a iPhone, point and shoot, Polaroid or my D700- nothing gets missed.  This post some of our favorite things that happen this year.  Most photographers get together and pull their favorite pictures as a recap- BUT I thought it would be more fun to spend some time reflecting on moments, events, people who impacted and taught us throughout the year.  There were so many it was hard to narrow it down- so before we go into the key moments...  a few special mentions: 1.) Our dear friends The BGP made it on America's Got Talent and we got the opportunity to do a pretty funky and hipster-like photo shoot for them as promo.

2.) We hosted our very first mentorship, Justin from Austin.  It was a 2-day intensive session and was so amazing.  It has been a joy watching Justin's business take off and we are so proud of what he's accomplished.

3.) We became PUG (Pictage User Group) Leaders- and been holding it down in the south end.  Its been soooo cool getting together monthly to learn and host photographers new and old.  We love our little community and are honored to be able to lead.

4.) We did two book covers this year, a novel for author Molly Venzke called "Caged" a MUST read and "I Love This Thing Called Parenting," my our amazing pastor Wendy Treat.

5.) We designed and ordered our first wedding album to show to our clients! #winning

6.) We moved into a house.

7.) We shot our first of three destination weddings last season in Virginia!  It was amazing.

8.)  We visited the tulip fields.  (Trust me, this experience was noteworthy).

a mix of mine and Isaiah's FAVORITE highlights-  a few of them below, in no particular order.

Stellar Weekend & The Misfit Tour:

This year started out SOOOOOOOO well as I travelled for the first time to Nashville, TN for Gospel music's Stellar Awards.  While I was there I had the opportunity to shoot and meet some pretty amazing people.  The cool thing about Stellar Weekend is that its jam packed with events and everyone goes- so you get really close to some of your favorite gospel artist and you meet people who later become some of your favorites.  I heard the most amazing music, ministries and saw some pretty amazing performances that weekend.  It was also  inspiring to put my gifting to work and to shoot artists, like the one's below in such a cool way.  Fast forward 10 months and I got the opportunity to try again when the "Misfit Tour" came through Seattle.  One artist in particular, Mali Music, who is one of my favorites was at Stellar Weekend and on the Misfit Tour- it was so cool to see the progress in my shooting from January 2011 to October as I had the opportunity to shoot him at both locations.  I discovered my love for concert photography and hope to go on tour with one of my favorite artists one day.

Melinda Watts & The Dream Girlz Gathering:

Melinda is such a gift to me.  I could not have paid God for a better sister and I am so thankful.  You know those situations when you have no words to describe the impact that someone has on your life?!  Melinda for me is a "no-word-moment." I will forever be thankful to God for the blessing of our relationship.

Its hard for me to put into words how much The Dream Girlz Gathering mean to me, so I will keep it short by saying simply this.  Everything that Dream Girlz Gathering stands for- is everything I believe that God has made me to do.  I am so thankful for Melinda's vision and heart for young girls and women.  She is a visionary and her passion is inspiring.  The work of The Dream Girlz Gathering to build, inspire and teach young girls so blesses me and continually blesses me.  I had the opportunity to direct GLAM (Girls Leadership and Mentoring) Camp late this fall in partnership with Melinda in the Poconos Mountains and that experience alone changed my life.  We spent 3 days with 67 girls and about 15 or so staff just loving on eachother, learning about God and building each other up.  In those three days, I got a greater understanding of the power of God, who He is and what we can do.  The GLAM Camp experience has changed my life and I look forward to an amazing 2012 Tour with the DGG team.

Evening Magazine's King 5 Best of Western Washington: 

When we first started the business, we joked about how we REALLY wanted to make this list.  We know its a popularity contest and does not in any way dictate the strength or skill of your business, but its a list that in this area is kinda cool to be on.  It was VERY cool to after 1 year in official business to rank in the TOP 10.  To King 5, top 10 means nothing as they only promote Top 5, but to us- it meant the world! :)  Here to next year!

The Garner Wedding:

The Garner wedding represented for us what we prayed every wedding in 2012 would be for us.  Fun, exciting, happy, well planned and full of love and friendship.  Annie found us online in late summer 2010.  When she asked us to shoot her wedding in winter of 2010- we had no idea how close we would become and what a HUGE deal it would be.  By the time we got to Annie & Aaron's wedding day, they had become our closest and best friends.  We spent the weekend celebrating as a extension of the family.  It was a thrill and a joy to be a part of their wedding day and we enjoyed watching our dear friends get married.  It meant so much to us to do a good job- and that is the feeling we want to have during and after every wedding!

"Film is Not Dead":

Literally... and its not dead at the Haynes residence. Isaiah took it up, purchased a F100 and went on his way.  He has gotten quite talented and enjoys street shooting when we aren't doing portrait work.  He even got featured on his favorite film site "Film is Not Dead" for a "Alice and Wonderland" inspired senior session we did.  I am uber proud of him for taking photography to the next level.

We got Published:

In addition to Isaiah's features, we found ourselves on a few other REALLY cool blogs.  Its always so humbling to be asked to share your work on someone else's blog|forum|website. I always read those emails over and over trying to figure out if they got the right person.  Its a honored to be featured as a part of someone else's platform and we are SO thankful to those photographers who loved our work enough to invite us to share.

LHP Class of 2012 Street Team:

This year, we did away with senior reps and started our Street Team.  Our group of "reps" who sale the brand to their friends.  They are our business partners, our arms to the community- and these AMAZING 12 kept us VERY busy this fall.  With their help, we photographed more than 50 seniors the latter part of 2011 and we are so thankful for who they are and what they represent.  They are a talented, athletic, giving bunch and we are so excited to see them through to graduation next Spring.

Where in the World is LHP??!:

We were so blessed to shoot all over the country this year traveling to the states below to shoot weddings, concerts, maternity sessions.  God was faithful that even in self-employment He made it so we never sat still.  Seeing this country and meeting people is something that is VERY important to us.  We are so thankful that we had such an adventurous first year in business.

Tasha & Moses:   Our very first photo session of 2011 was with Tasha and Moses.  Tasha had just returned from 1 year in Africa and I knew very little about her except that she was stunning, could sing and was deeply in love with her boyfriend Moses.   While in South Africa, we connected online about photography and talked about doing a fun session when she and Moses returned for Christmas.  Little did Isaiah and I know that we were shooting their engagement session because few months later, Moses asked for her hand.  This moment that started our year, also helped end our year, when two weeks ago, Tasha and Moses asked us to be their wedding photographers.  We are soooo thrilled to be starting our 2012 wedding season with their special day.  They represent every thing we love about photography (as I mentioned above) love, friendship, energy and excitement.   I am personally thrilled to have the honor of capturing and telling their wedding story and am so thankful for the opportunity.  Tasha and Moses are 1 of 6 amazing couples that we get to rock with (as of now) for our 2012 season and EVERY SINGLE one of them is so special to us.  Their love stories are so unique and we are excited to add these couples to our family.

Do The Extraordinary:

I have always dreamed of being a part of fashion. I never knew the camera would bring us this route.  Do The Extraordinary is AN AMAZING athletic apparel line with purpose.  When we were asked to shoot this clothing line... the concepts, the ideas, the vision... I was immediately terrified.  It seemed WAY too big, way too much and full of more talent and ability then I thought we were capable of.  Justin, DTE's visionary and genius- convinced me that LHP had what it took- and after 4 months, we finished 9 different shoots for this amazing story.  Below- a few samples, outtakes of our different adventures.  I can't say much about what we did and how we did it.... but when I can talk, trust I'll be singing.  You can check out DTE at their website or visit YouTube to check out their amazing stories... or search this blog by entering "Do The Extraordinary" in the search box on the home page.  You will NOT be disappointed.  P.S.  LHP totally Do(es) The Extraordinary!

Our very first WPPI experience:

WPPI was an experience of a lifetime.  It, much like the Stellar's, had a tremendous impact on our lives and our careers.  We learned so much and continue to apply the things we learned from our workshops, our photography heroes and our colleagues.  Meeting people that you only see on TV or read about in magazines and watching them dominate their craft is inspiring and pushes you to be all that you can be.  I am so thankful for my WPPI experience and we are so excited to send Isaiah back this year.

The Wedding Preview Event:

We participated in our first wedding show this year.  It was so much fun because it had a non- traditional twist.  There were a total of just under 50 vendors and of those 50 were three teams.  We had the opportunity with 400 brides and grooms in the room to put on a mock wedding and show what we could do in real time.  Our team chose to show the toast and cake cutting of the wedding and acted that out with full on bride and groom and everyone (blog coming soon).  After the three teams performed, brides and grooms walked the room getting to know vendors.  Since the event we have booked 2 weddings and gotten tons of recognition. It was fun and a great investment.  We look forward to participating next year.

and last but not least

Pursuit 31: "Candyland Adventures" 

I got to co-host, with Karen Stott, the Seattle Pursuit 31 Retreat.  I had the crazy idea of bringing the board game of Candyland to life for a inspired bridal shoot and to my surprise, Karen thought it was amazing too.  We went to work with ideas and inspiration and on the day of the session rocked it out!  Karen is rocking the Pursuit 31 mission, teaching women how to pursue their dreams and have a family, modeled after Proverbs 31, and is hosting her first ever conference next year in the dirty dirty.  I am so excited for the things she is doing and feel honored to call her my friend.

As I quickly write this blog, as not to bore you with all of our crazy adventures, I am reminded that last year at this moment- I was working my last day of my job. I had no idea what to expect and kept waiting for failure to rear its ugly head.  No plan, no real financial stability, just a hope and a promise that the call that I thought I heard on my life was real- to go after the vision God has put in my heart, to quick my job- and to hope that my plan to apply at Starbucks in March of 2011 would fall through.

As I write this post I am in awe of the things God did.  We stayed busy.  Our needs were met. He never left us.  I would have NEVER guessed that these 12 things would have happened for us. I would not have imagined, but they did.  I have no idea what 2012 holds.... but I am certainly excited.  Happy New Year everyone!  Dream BIG!!  and as my friend Fahren puts it " Go, go go and don't look back"  that's what we'll be doing.  Hab 2:3