Well hello, end of 2020. You are long-awaited, and much anticipated, and while I know the challenges we all are facing will not go away when the clock strikes midnight in just a few days, I am going to smile and wave as I bid you adieu from the safety of my couch on Thursday evening. We all know this was a year unlike any other, and the rollercoaster ride was felt by every person on this planet. My own ride was a crazy one – starting my year with so much excitement and hope for this second year as a full-time photographer. In February I traveled to Disney with my family (SO grateful that we were able to get our trip in), and couldn’t wait to get back and really get the ball rolling for my 2020 busy season. As we all know, the world stopped spinning just a few weeks later, and I spent most of March, April, and May in an anxiety-filled heap, full of fear, grief, and worry for what may happen to the business I have worked eleven years to build. When the state re-opened in June, I was floored, and I mean FLOORED by the floodgates that also opened. As luck would have it, family photos were high on the list for so many this year, and I can only speculate, but I imagine it was mostly centered around the desire to capture this crazy year and the time we have all been forced to spend together. I am literally emotional as I write this and say thank you to all of you who prioritized photography in 2020. I am beyond aware that while I feared the loss of my business, so many actually lost their jobs, their homes, even their lives. And to know that I had literally a banner year in the middle of a global pandemic is not meant to be shared as a brag – but more as a very, very humble thank you to all of you who chose to spend your time and money supporting my business and my passion. In a very strange way, I will forever be grateful for this rollercoaster year.
Every year I like to do a little recap of my favorite photos, and while I fully intended to really cut it down to 10 images this year, I decided to take a page from my own book of 2020 lessons, and not spend days stressing over this. Instead, I decided to go with my gut, choose images from the most gorgeous nights, and the most special moments. I laughed when I realized I had chosen 21 favorites – and decided not to try to whittle it down any further as a nod to saying goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021.
This year was all about the weather – with nights full of insane sunsets that never should have been, and gorgeous evenings earned after having to reschedule a few times. It was also about moments, connections, and finding peace and beauty in the middle of the most chaotic year of our lives. It has been so fun to re-live these sessions, and I hope you’ll join me as I share a little anecdote about each image. Check back in the next day or so for my top 10 (ish?) favorite personal photos, and the completion of my 366 Project.
In no particular order, here are my top 21 photos of 2020.
1. The “C” Family, Sandy Point Beach, Yarmouth Maine, June
This session has an extra special place in my 2020 as it was my first family session post-quarantine. While I’ve been working with Martha, Ryan, and little Nora for five years now, I was so nervous about shooting with a mask, about Nora being fearful of the mask, and just anxious about finally getting back at it after three months without work. But little Nora didn’t skip a beat, and as always, her sweet personality shone through during our session. As an added high five from above, we had a stunning evening at Sandy Point Beach – a place that can be very challenging to shoot – and this shot of Nora at the end of the session in her bathing suit, soaking up the cool ocean waters, was an instant favorite.
2. The “A” Family, York Harbor Beach, York Maine, July
In July I met the extended “A” Family – nineteen people who are so full of love and fun, and who kept me laughing the entire time we were together. When I talked with Lindsey about her family, she described them as “full of life” and a “rainbow of colors” and she could not have been more right. I loved everything about this session – the big laughs, the goofy kiddos, the awesome diversity, and the smile that never left the matriarch’s face the whole time we were together. This photo was one of the final images of our evening – a moment that is always one of my favorite shots to take with big groups, because by this point, everyone is relaxed and totally themselves. I absolutely love how the personalities of every person is shining through in this photo, while also showing the connection and love they all have together.
3. The “B” Family, Colony Beach, Kennebunkport Maine, August
I have to say, I’m pretty darn proud of this one. Because, while to most this probably looks like a pretty simple shot, it was a team effort to make this one happen. Brittany and Dean are fellow photographers and this year Brittany had the vision to include Lucy the VW bus from the Maine Photo Booth Bus Co., in this year’s session. You can read all about our session on their blog post, but this shot was a culmination of Brittany’s awesome vision, perfect weather, perfect bus placement (not as easy as it looks, I might add), amazing outfit MAKING (yes, Brittany MADE the shirts for herself and the girls), and you know, no pressure on the photographer asked to perfectly capture it all (ahem, me). I am really proud of this whole session, and particularly love this one of the family, Lucy, and the beach on our incredible August evening. Oh, and did I mentioned we dodged a hurricane, too?? Amazing.
4. The “T” Family, Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport Maine, August
After months of chatting with Kerry about photos in Maine, we finally made a session happen in August, and had one of those Goose Rocks evenings I hope for every time I go there. What captured my heart even more than those cotton-candy skies though, was sweet little Sarah, whose smile literally never left her face as we danced, sang Hamilton songs, and chased her parents all around the beach. This moment of Kerry spinning her around makes my heart smile every time I see it. I love the movement, the expressions, the light, and the little billow in Kerry’s dress – a perfect momma moment with her sweet girl.
5. The “G” Family, Reid State Park, Georgetown Maine, August
If I could have done a top 21 from just one session, it may have been from this one. The fog and the light at this session with Jessica, Tim, Kallie, and Abby, was out of this world, and in every direction I looked, I was pretty much in full out photog-freakout mode. It was ah-maz-ing. But when I turned around after photographing the girls on the rocks overlooking the water and saw the light streaming through the trees onto Jessica and Tim, my jaw was quite literally on the floor. I am so happy I was able to capture this moment, and definitely have found a new favorite spot in the park for some amazing golden light.
6. The “A” Family, York Harbor Beach, York Maine, August
This was the year to dodge the weather, and I was realllllly unsure about the decision to go for it with Kristin, Matt, Austin, and Davis as I drove an hour south with my windshield wipers on the entire way. But as I approached York, the skies cleared and I was in photog heaven once again as we had THE most amazing soft skies of the year as the storms moved on. I spent my evening in awe of our luck and enjoying a stunning and playful hour on the beach with this awesome family who I so look forward to seeing year after year.
7. The “F” Family, Gilsland Farm, Falmouth Maine, October
I absolutely love when families are willing to take a few minutes to let me play with the light a little bit, and I have to give a big thanks to Shannon, AJ, Liam, and Lochlan for giving me the space and time to get this shot. As the sun was setting on Gilsland Farm during our playful session, I couldn’t help but notice this neat break in the trees and knew the light was hitting it perfectly for a silhouette. Silhouette shots are tricky – you have to have the right light and perfect positioning so that bodies don’t get muddied and just look like a dark blob. I asked Shannon and AJ to lift the kids in the air, and they did it so perfectly that this shot worked instantly, and I knew it would be a favorite from the session and the year.
8. The “R” Family, Ocean Park Maine, July
If you have not yet read the blog post about this amazing family and their story, be sure to scoot over and check it out. I won’t re-type the entire thing, but in short this special session took place months after it should have. I was supposed to meet Megan, Becky, their mom, and their families in April. At the time, their mom was in the final stages of her battle with cancer, and their trip was meant to be a special one together in her favorite place. Due to the shutdown the trip and session were canceled, but a few months later, after their mom passed, Megan and Becky brought their families to Maine. Our session was a mix of laughter and tears, and was another night where I drove to the session with my windshield wipers on, only to be greeted by crazy cool skies and a gorgeous setting sun. We all had no doubt that mom was looking over her family during this session, and I know she was smiling down on them as we captured this special image of the whole crew in a special embrace.
9. The “D” Family, Higgins Beach, Scarborough Maine, July
One of my favorite things to do during family sessions is to pull the kids aside and then ask them to run and tackle their parents (sorry, parents!). The kids think it is so fun, and the parents are really awesome at acting surprised at the moment. Usually I position myself behind the kids to capture the parent’s reactions, but this time, I pulled myself to the side, and caught the expression and determination on Jack, Liam, and Elise’s faces as they prepared to jump all over Natalie and TJ. I love this new moment and the excitement on their faces, and promise the reaction on the flip side was equally awesome.
10. The “B” Family, Higgins Beach, Scarborough Maine, July
There really isn’t much that is more magical than the expressions on kids’ faces as they play in the water during sessions. It’s my favorite thing to capture, and I’m always so grateful for parents who allow us to have some fun in the water after we get all of the group photos. Higgins is known for having amazing light, but this night in particular was one for the books, and the expression on Grace’s face, and the hesitation in Ollie’s stance made for one of my most favorite water play photos ever.
11. The “C” Family, Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth Maine, October
Yet again, another night that should not have been. If you can believe it, we considered rescheduling this session because it was so grey and gross outside, but Ashley, Nik, and Ryan decided to go with it, and once again, my jaw was on the floor with skies that we never could have anticipated. On top of the incredible weather, we explored a section of Fort Williams that I had never been before, and found this new, amazing view of Portland Head Light. I love this photo of my dear friends, and I kind of want to hang this huge on MY wall. What. A. Night.
12. The “O” Family, Footbridge Beach, Ogunquit Maine, September
Man, I love this family. This was my third year with Erin, Anthony and their four kiddos, and by far my most favorite. Besides the fact that their outfit coordination is so on point (well done Erin!), I love this photo for so many other reasons, too. The light fog and setting sun made for a gorgeous pink and purple evening (I mean, how much luck do you need to get the SKY to match your outfits?!), and this photo so perfectly captures the different personalities of each member of the family. I love Grace’s big smile, Vincent checking out his big sister to make sure this photo thing is really ok, Sophie comfy on dad’s lap, and little Hope just taking in the scenery and figuring out how she feels about all of this. I’m a firm believer that the best family photos are not the perfect family photos, and this one is one of my most favorites.
13. The “P” Family, Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport Maine, September
I so look forward to seeing Sarah, Steve, Daniel, and Molly each year during their annual trip to Goose Rocks, and this year Daniel and Molly were in rare form – running circles all around me, and definitely earning the title of goofiest kids on the beach. So when they finally settled into Sarah and Steve’s lap for a few minutes, I quickly jumped on the chance to capture some sweet snuggles while I could. To make the moment even better, Sarah was singing to her kiddos with the sweetest singing voice, and you could just feel the energy simmer from a high screech to a calm and peaceful minute. It was a beautiful moment, and even though this image is not perfect technically, it was instantly one of my most favorites.
14. The “CN” Family, Popham Beach, Phippsburg Maine, September
To say it was windy on the beach with Ingrid, Allyson, Miles, and Lydia back in September is a ridiculous understatement. We spent our time at Popham trying not to be blown over, while simultaneously embracing the chaos. One of my favorite things about photography is that it allows me to find beauty in chaos, and while Lydia’s rainbow skirt would have been amazing on any old night, a night with wind that blew both it and her hair in circles was definitely the definition of beauty in chaos. This kid is such a bright light on a regular day, and her super colorful skirt represented her awesome personality and her beautiful family so well on a very memorable evening.
15. The “M” Family, Crescent Beach State Park, Cape Elizabeth Maine, September
Ok, seriously, HOW LUCKY WAS I WITH THE LIGHT THIS YEAR?! I cannot even believe the number of incredible beach nights I was blessed to capture. I typically get a few mind-blowing sunsets a season, but this year was loaded with them, and my night on Crescent with Spring, Silas, Lydia, and Brogan was straight out of a dream. Crescent can be hit or miss light-wise, and this evening hit it straight out of the park. I had so many favorites from this session, but this super sweet moment between Lydia and Spring had my momma heart exploding, and is a total favorite from the evening and the year.
16. Caitlin and Mic, Reid State Park, Georgetown Maine, September
I think Reid State Park became one of my new favorite spots this year. After my incredible session with the “G” Family in July, I wasn’t sure I’d get two in a row, but when I returned in September for Caitlin and Mic’s maternity session, I was quickly proven wrong. One of my preferred spots at the park is at the top of a hill where you can look over the ocean and the beach, and on this evening, with a stunning momma and dad to be in front of my camera, I felt like I was in the hills of southern California instead of midcoast Maine. The warm glow behind these two matched their glowing faces and excitement for their sweet baby, and this dreamy image of this beautiful couple makes my heart so happy.
17. The “S” Family, Wells Beach, Wells Maine, August
You guessed it – another crazy weather night. What you can’t see in this photo are the dark, dark, storm clouds thundering and lightening just behind me as Dillon and Maren ran towards the waves on Wells Beach. I was sure this session would be a fast one, but the storm stayed away, and the dramatic skies on one side of us made for soft, pretty light on the other. I absolutely love this moment of the girls running on the beach in their matching outfits, fun space buns, and bouncing pony tail. I always find this moment to be such a peaceful one – watching kids take in the awesomeness of the beach, and I loved capturing this special moment for Lauren and Rob.
18. The “W” Family, Scarborough Maine, November
I knew this photo would be in this post the instant I took it. I have been photographing Amy, Thad, Turner, and Annie for almost the entirety of my photography career, and have absolutely loved watching their family go through the newborn, toddler, and now middle-childhood years. What I’ve always loved the most about these guys though, is how close they are, and how much they truly enjoy being with each other. This snuggly image taken in their backyard so perfectly captures their really special connection (and also fills me with disbelief when I look at how grown up Turner and Annie look this year!). Love, love, love this crew.
19. The “A” Family, Gilsland Farm, Falmouth Maine, October
My session with Shevaun, Chad, and their three girls, Haley, Paige, and Sophia in October was so much fun that I’m still smiling from our afternoon together. I wasn’t sure what to expect with three pre-teen and teen sisters, but was so excited to quickly realize how close, sweet, and funny they were together. This photo of the girls along the paths of the Audubon was an instant favorite, with gorgeous colors, textures, and light, but most importantly a really special bond between sisters that was such a joy to capture.
20. The “S” Family, Drakes Island, Wells Maine, September
Have I ever mentioned how much I love kids? Gah, they make me laugh so much! I just love their goofy sides, their serious sides, their uninhibited nature, and their awesome personalities. And personality was the name of the game on this incredible night with the extended “S” Family at Drakes. Brock and Declan were in total goofball mode for our super fun session, so putting these two in front of the group and asking them to show off their dance moves was a no-brainer for a goofy photo. I still laugh every time I look at this image, and love to take in the boys’ very different personalities, and the expressions of the adults in the background. Thanks for the giggle and for totally keeping me on my toes, guys!
21. The “E” Family, Fort Foster Park, Kittery Maine, July
And finally, last, but certainly not least is this favorite image from my session with Heather, Dan, Sam, Eli, and Lily at Fort Foster Park in Kittery in July. I’m not going to lie, this one is half a pat on my own back, because the light at Fort Foster is SO hard to work with, and I really felt like I captured it better than ever during this gorgeous session. But mostly, I love this moment – a candid moment of this crew getting ready to head to the docks. I love the way Lily is looking at her mom, and the way the boys are tagging along because well, photo session. It’s a true “in-between” moment, and a favorite of this night and this beautiful family.
To all of you who, in some way, supported my small business during this crazy year – thank you, thank you, thank you. You’ll never know what you mean to me, and I will end 2020 with gratitude and pride. From the very bottom of my heart, I give you thanks and so much love. ❤️