Well, that didn’t go how we expected, did it? At the end of 2019, I was certain that 2020 was the year my business would take a turn towards being primarily (more than 50%) birth photography. Well… that didn’t happen now, did it? Not when no one is allowed in hospital rooms. My passion was cut abruptly short in March and I had to cancel plans to photograph 7 births (and I’m sure there would have been more in 2020 had things not happened the way they did.) I did photograph 2 in January/February but that was it- and even now, no births on the radar.

That didn’t mean my business failed though, it was just a pivot. I closed the studio to allow my home to maintain a clean space, and I switched to more distanced lenses and a new camera body (this actually turned out to be an amazing thing that is sticking around!) I photographed more families than ever before, maybe everyone sitting around at home made them realize out outdated those portraits on the wall were!

As I looked through all the images from 2020 I noticed one prevailing theme- life goes on. When selecting my favorite image from the year, one came to mind the most. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite image is rarely because of technical skill, perfect clients, or a perfect location. It’s not about the right outfit or the perfect lighting (although those things can help) – it’s about the story, the emotion, the moment. The more I know about a session, the more the images speak to me and this image, this session, is just that 110%. The entire session was gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but the story behind the image is what gets to me.

Now, the story of this image is not mine to tell, but I can tell you about how photographing baby Hudson and his parents was special to me. For one, they’re family, so I have been connected in a way to the entire process that led up to this moment. My own life has contained pregnancy loss, infertility, and more so I connect even more to this family (although really to every birth and every newborn I photograph). Every child is a blessing, but it would be fair to say that one that come after a storm hits a little differently. Anyways, I’m getting all teared up just writing this. I hope you all find the beauty in this image, my favorite from 2020, as much as I do.

Here are my runners up, because it’s always so hard to choose.

In 2020 something I really enjoyed was celebrating the seniors. Both the class of 2020 and 2021. Both of these classes are experiencing so much trauma in the changes around them, but life went on, and they are handling it all with so much grace. I truly believe that these kids- this “Gen X” is going to do big amazing things. Here are a few of my top favorites from senior sessions:

Even though I wasn’t welcome in the delivery room, life went on, and babies were born- and they were so precious.

Nature did not disappoint in 2020 either, life went on all around us. I visited some gorgeous new locations and some long-time favorites. Both of these images will always come to mind when I think about the importance of choosing a good location.

Children lost their clubs, their camps, their classes, their days at Grandma’s house, their playdates, and more but life went on. These kids are the true champions of the pandemic. Their innocence, their encouragement, and their hearts are what carries us through. Images that capture their joy were particularly special to me.

Summer came, and life went on. We barbecued with our immediate families, hooked up sprinklers in leu of public pools and, my favorite, splashed in creeks. I’m not sure I will ever quit offering these creek sessions.

Right from the start, memes called for a baby boom in 2021. Parents with children quickly pointed out that anyone stuck at home with a houseful of kids knew why that wasn’t true! Life though, it went on. Pregnancies happened, and we celebrated them. (And hopefully, in 2021 I’ll be allowed back into the delivery rooms to photograph the arrivals of these precious gifts!)

2020 taught me so much. It taught me to slow down. It taught me how much the little things matter. It taught me that no matter how caught up in my own problems I am, no matter how chaotic the world is- life will go on. We will be okay y’all. We will hold the ones we love close, we will cherish little moments, and we will be okay.

Now, if you thought that was the end of it all, you’re wrong. That was just my favorite image, and the runners up. Here are the honorable mentions (without commentary). They all, in a way, speak to the theme here (do I need to say it again?) And at the end keep scrolling for a few additional images that don’t really fit.