2018 was really a strong year of growth for me as a photographer and creative. In 2017 I really built up a strong foundation in portrait photography that helped me expand and build my own style in 2018. I really meant to make this post a lot sooner but didn’t because of personal reasons. These are photos that were major milestones in my photography career. Each one defined my photography at that point or the direction that I was moving towards.
1: Nicole in Berkeley
This first one was the first and honestly last real viral photo I took in 2018. This shot was taken in Berkeley. Like many of my shoots at this point, I didn’t plan it out as much as I should have. This shot was just a vague idea at this point. I wanted to do a reaching out photo in the middle of the road. I feel like part of the reason this blew up as much as it did was the two-tone black and yellow pallets along with the reaching out. I remember being so excited for to post this shot, I edited and posted it on the same day that I took it. The reaching out was trendy at this point, and also something people were starting to know me for.
Although this photo was not my personal favorite from this shoot, it did leave the biggest impression. It basically set the bar for me for most of the remainder of the year. It also threw me off my game once again, like the photo of Nicole did from the past year. I did not want to do something similar after this. This was really the peak and the end of the reach photos for me. After this one, I tried not to take photos of it anymore. I didn’t want to be the guy who took the reach photos, even though I was for some already.
2: Hanging with Renette
Following the reach, I wanted to move into a different direction. I wanted to shift my focus to doing full body shots. I didn’t want to limit my photos to just hands and faces. By doing full body shots, I was able to add a dynamic to my photos that they didn’t have before. This shoot was almost just this photo. Prior to this photo, there was an actual shoot that did have more models to them. I wasn’t expecting to take this photo that day, but here outfit was perfect, and I didn’t want to pass it up.
I can’t remember where the idea to have her hanging came from. It might have come from someone hanging from a basketball hoop, but I can’t remember exactly. The lines in this shot set up a great amount of depth. The lights on the right did add the right amount of color spit as well. It set me up to take more low angle shots for the rest of the year.
3: Santa Monica with Rae
This one is both about this shot and this trip. I had a great time in LA taking photos. Spending so much time shooting with friends really grew my love fo the craft. To spend time shooting taking a break then heading to another shoot at new locations was fun. I got a lot of amazing shots that I could’ve added hear as well. This trip alone was one of the top shoots of the year.
I chose this single photo because on top of being an amazing photo, it was another case where I got to meet someone in person after knowing them for a long time online. I had known Rae for a long time before this, around 4 years. Although it was a simple portrait, it came out amazingly vibrant and colorful. It’s a good summary of how this whole trip went.
4: SF with Mimoza
This one was the next milestone that I hit in my photography. This was one was the one that set the bar after it. I had already been working on my full body portraits but none of them really had the impact that I was hoping for them to have. Don’t get me wrong, there were some really good ones, but not exactly what I wanted. My idea was to move towards more fashion-based shoots with creative posing to them. I didn’t want them to be overdone either. I felt as if a lot of my shots were coming out more dramatic than I wanted them to.
This shot was subtle enough but came together perfectly enough to make an impact. I really do feel like Mimoza styling and posing made this shot. A successful photo isn’t made by the photographer or the model alone but their ability to come together to create something. And I really do feel like her ability to take my vision and put herself in it was on point for this shoot. It’s a shot that left an impact on my page and really set the direction for what was to come in the future.
5: SF with Justine
This last one was the last milestone that I hit in 2018. The shot that was a an accumulation of everything that I had built on over the past year. I really do feel like this was also the last real shoot I had in 2018 because of school. After this shoot, I had to shift my focus away from photography and towards school. It was the Monday before starting my fall semester and I had set up a few shoots to end my summer. Although I did keep on shooting a handful of times during my semester, I wasn’t able to focus or put the same amount of commitment that I had put in before.
This one had a simple idea of having her step on the lens. Out of the frame I was holding up her boot with my hand. The shot was not easy to frame the way I wanted to. The location was perfect for the outfit and the pallets that I would eventually be using. It broke any other number milestone I had on my page. It also was an amazing example of my low angle shots and new posing that I was working on. This shoot also had 3 additional locations to it which I also got amazing shots from.
It was a great way to end my photography for the year, 3 months before the year even ended. I had planned to get back into it during my winter break but wasn’t really able to put myself back together to do it, on top of other reasons. Looking back at these shots was a real reminder as to what I want to accomplish this year. I want the 5 from this year to show the same amount of success that these had from 2018.