Top 25 Photographs from 2017 | Personal

2017 will always be special to me in that it was my first full year of taking a camera just about everywhere. It was my first full year offering sessions but it was also my first full year of truly documenting my family and our special moments. Some people do this so beautifully with their cellphone but (for a number of reasons) this was never my strong spot. Having my camera and intentionally marking moments of our life was so rewarding.

I started pulling favorites out at the end of the year in an effort to fill my digital picture frame with them. It was honestly therapeutic to me. As with any creative outlet, it's easy to get caught up in always wanting to be better. I can so easily get sucked into the trap of thinking about all the things I could technically do better to have greater images and putting down the photos that I spend so many hours creating. While I do always want to get better, looking back on this year of images made me feel so grateful. It reminded me that freezing the moments for my family (and getting the extreme pleasure of doing it for some families around me) is incredibly satisfying no matter what skill level I attain. 

This week I'm sharing my top PERSONAL images. In the next couple weeks I'll share my top CLIENT images. While often the same style, these two are completely different in my approach. When I'm documenting for family, I am looking to create great images, but my priority is being present. Therefore I don't always go to the corner of the room for the best perspective or seek to find the best light, but merely snap away while enjoy the moment as well. 

Without further ado, in no particular order, here are my favorite 25 from 2017:

June 30th | Delaware Seashore State Park, DE 
We had a grab quick shot of just the two of us while Levi ran around the tent. 
I didn't realize then how much I would end up loving it. 

September 17th | Topsail Island, NC
His focus on the ocean, the shovel in his hand, and that hat hanging in his eyes represent so much of our wonderful vacation this year. 

July 10th | Home 
We had just finished having burgers and guac when Levi climbed up to drink the last of Joel's sweet tea. 

 September 18th | Topsail Island, NC
When fun on the beach is done, there's still fun to be had while rinsing off. I love this picture so much of Levi and my sister that it is hanging on my wall. 

September 19th | Topsail Island, NC
I technically didn't snap this, my sister did.... while we video chatted my mom to tell her I was pregnant again. 

September 22nd | Topsail Island, NC
Joel had been out boogie boarding and just caught a big wave that just so happened to bring him right to my feet. 

 September 22nd | Topsail Island, NC
I've never enjoyed Summer the way I did this year with Levi and these sandy toes will always remind me of that joy. 

September 28th | Home
We had a small shindig to celebrate Joel turning 30. Him and some of the guests were out by the fire as the sun was setting.  

 September 29th | IHOP in Dover, DE
From early in our relationship Joel has had the strange tradition of booping me on the nose with the straw paper when we go out to eat. Levi has seen it done so many times that he decided to boop Joel on our breakfast date that day. 

July 26th | Delaware State Fair
We had a stroller but Levi's preferred view was from Daddy's shoulders. I can't pinpoint why this image makes my heart pitter patter but it sits on my nightstand because it's my current favorite of these two loves of mine.  

August 21st | Home
The day of the solar eclipse Levi and I hung around outside just for the experience. We randomly took this selfie (something I almost never do) and those puckered lips won me over. 

August 26th | Rohr Family Reunion, PA
This is my beautiful niece Hannah. Her and Levi were obsessed with playing with the rocks at the family reunion. Oh to be TWO. 

 April 4th | Grams' Home, VA 
I've always had a special bond with my Grams and watching her have a special bond with my boy completely melts me. 

 August 26th | Rohr Family Reunion, PA
Joel's Granpop had just stole a bite of his granddaughter's pie. The look on his face is priceless to me.

 April 6th | Papaw's Home, VA 
I was close to my Papaw as a child but through many different circumstances, we weren't as close as I got older. After having Levi, I have love and reconnection for him I can't explain. He is obsessed with his great-grandson and the way his face lights up around him is perfection. 

April 29th | Rehoboth Beach, DE
This was our first trip to the boardwalk as a family in 2017. Levi loved every minute of the pizza and beach and especially the ice cream. 

December 14th | Home, DE
We had a late lunch as Daddy brought us home CFA. Sleep doesn't usually beat out hunger for Levi but on this day, it did. 

December 15th | Home, DE
We spent the morning out on a breakfast date and getting groceries. We came home to a winter wonderland and Levi was thrilled. This was quite possibly my favorite cold day of 2017. 

December 30th | Somewhere off of i81, VA
We were headed to VA for the week and Joel's sister Jessie was following us. Her car (the one in the background) was having a couple minor issues so we stopped to have it looked at. In the meantime, Levi kept wanting her to make snowballs. Her hands were froze but she has her nephew way too spoiled to say no.

May 26th | Oceanside, CA
We were in CA for the week visiting with Joel's parents and youngest siblings. Levi fell asleep on his Oma (German for grandma) during a boat ride and this was her carrying him afterwards. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is about this photo that makes me stop and stare but it would easily be in my top 5 from the year. 

December 31st | Drill, VA 
Since most of my family didn't get to come to DE to celebrate Levi's first birthday, my mom put together a party for him in VA for his 2nd birthday. She spoiled him rotten (as always) with eating ice cream out of the tub and treating him like the superhero he thinks he is. The joy of these two together gets me in this picture every time I see it. 

December 31st | Drill, VA
Levi was on some sort of mission (isn't he always) at his birthday party. This photo so sums up his personality at turning 2. 

September 4th | Pops and Nana's, VA
I can't remember when it started but at some point on a trip to VA, Pops took Levi to look at the cows that are right down the hill from his house. Now you don't hear Pops come out of Levi's mouth without soon hearing MOO. I took this on a foggy morning visit to see the Moos simply wanting to document their ritual. If I had more wall space in my house, I'd have it on canvas. 

June 12th | Grams' Home, VA 
For as long as I can remember my favorite meal has been Grams' gravy and biscuits. One day over the summer I had the urge to document what it looked like watching her make them. This pictures of her beautiful hands kneading dough (like I've seen a million times) will be forever one of my favorites.

June 12th | Grams' House
I love the expressions on my momma and sister's faces while they were playing SnapChat filters with my boy. This picture goes so beyond that though. That porch holds so many precious memories for me. That swing behind them was my Pa's spot my whole life before he passed. He threw me many of balls from it and sat enjoyed smiling on all our fun growing up. I know that if he were still around he'd be sitting there in the background of this picture wearing my favorite smirk of all time. 



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