Highlights of 2017

As 2017 is wrapping up, I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite highlights from the year. It's been an exciting year filled with lots of changes and growth. With photos of course, I'll share some of it with you! 

Business Highlights:
This was a unique year for me. I opted for the first time ever to not spend the entire summer in Michigan for my clients. This was a hard decision, but I decided ultimately it would be the best for my married life to work on growing my business where my husband was at. I only came up once this past summer for two weddings and instead took on weddings in WA for the rest of the summer. I miss my MI clients, but WA provided me with new opportunities.

1. I shot some of my most unique weddings yet (including a traditional chinese tea party) with clients from all across the globe. It was really fun experiencing how nuptials are exchanged and celebrated within different cultures.

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2. I was hired on by Nikki Closser Photography to help photograph her clients in her beautiful Seattle studio. She has taught me so many amazing new things, especially in photographing women. She also photographed me and made me feel so beautiful.


3. I was told by an egotistical priest at a wedding that I was banned from taking photos in his church again if I couldn't send him 3 photos of himself by the end of the night. I was photographing the wedding for another photography company I was hired on by until 11pm and by contract, I personally couldn't share any of the photos. He raged at me and I professionally held my ground and didn't cave into his demands. It makes my highlights because I see growth in myself in this moment as I emotionally blocked his bad energy, didn't get upset/return his anger and kept my focus on the client.

4. I've narrowed down my niche and deepened my love for photographing 1-1 portraits (seniors and women especially) and love stories (couples, engagements, anniversaries and small intimate weddings). This means I took on no newborns, limited family sessions and accepted fewer large weddings so that I could be more intentional and focused on telling my client's stories better. 


5. I took new lighting courses, practiced hours in studio and learned more about lighting, branding, value, etc... Always growing!

Personal Highlights:
This was a year of adventure and growth. I solidly believe that these go hand in hand.

1. Moving to WA and experiencing the ocean, mountains, rainforests and all the beauty of the PNW. It's been a refreshing change of scenery from North Dakota.

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2. Went on my first Cruise to the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands with family. This was one of the most fun trips I've ever been on! I snorkeled on all of the islands and constantly pushed away my fear of sharks over and over again while doing so.


3. I did alot of hiking and experienced some of the most breathtaking views ever, while learning the importance of getting outside when you're feeling down or discouraged. (Also learned a painful lesson on the importance of sporting SPF when hiking high altitudes in snow.)

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4. Met my oldest sister in Sedona, AZ for a killer trip that included experiencing the Grand Canyon, sunrise at a vortex and falling in love all over again with travel.

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5. Crossed a few things off of our PNW bucket list, including seeing the Christmas lights at Leavenworth, going white water rafting and seeing Thor's Well.


6. I've spent hours this year tracing my ancestry and learned just how deep my Finnish roots are. I've learned a deeper appreciation and understanding of my family and myself. After living away from my Finn family for so long, I realize how dearly I miss a good sauna night with homemade nissu and coffee.

7. Self Discovery was big this year for me. I poured into studying about different personality types, which has given me new found confidence in understanding both others and myself (especially in learning how to deal with people who don't understand me). I've found power in being an introvert and don't feel shamed when people tell me "you're so quiet" or tell others that "Janelle is really shy". (FYI I'm not shy.) I've become proud of the fact that I'm a really good listener and adding that to the fact that I'm very empathic, helps me realize why I've had complete strangers tell me their life stories and pour out secrets to me that they felt they couldn't tell others. I'm okay with that fact that I process things better in my own time, in quiet personal space than in large groups and that I need my down time to recharge after big social events. I'm no longer embarrassed about my sensitive side and know when I need to distance myself from bad energy before completely draining myself. I've learned how to love my traits, whether the people around me do or not. Even more, I've learned to appreciate the opposing qualities in friends and family. If you're looking to grow in self respect and improve relationships with those around you, I encourage everyone to take times to teach themselves about different personality types. I promise it will be beneficial!


Thanks for reading! Share with me some of your highlights from 2017 in the comments below! 
P.S. Click on the images below to see a few more photos from my adventures!