Another year down.

2014; possibly the craziest/most up and down/most eventful/ funnest (yes, I know that's not a word) year of my life. 2014 offered me more opportunity in this career than I've seen yet, I was fortunate to work on some amazing projects and team up with some seriously cool people. I've made and lost friendships, learned some hard lessons, and grew up a whole lot in the process. I thought it would be fitting to write up a blog post, rounding out my year in highlights. So, if you'd like to see everything I was up to in the past year, read on!

The beginning of the year was hard for me, for a few personal reasons I'll choose not to elaborate on. January, February, and March were all extremely uneventful months. Coincidentally, these are the months of winter quarter for college kids, and I always seems to do my worst academically during this quarter. The weather is bleak, the daylight hours are short, and my inspiration is highly lacking. I can easily say that these months dissolved into nothingness this year. I honestly can't even remember what I was up to; an entire quarter of my year ceases to exist in my memory. 

Back when I used to shoot primarily fine art and surrealism type images. Boy, how things have changed!

Back when I used to shoot primarily fine art and surrealism type images. Boy, how things have changed!

Luckily, life started to pick back up in the spring. My last of 6 quarters began at SFCC, where I began to realize that I would be graduating soon and my college days would be over. The weather grew warmer and my motivation to keep creating came back, and I started to kick myself back into gear again. I became heavily interested in shooting video, which turned into a new hobby for me to do outside of photography. (Little did I know how much I would end up enjoying doing it!) 

As a graduating photography student, I was tying up all the loose ends on my education. I created my first hardcover portfolio book of my best work, which was presented to local professionals like Matt Shumate and Tony Roslund, where all my feedback was generally positive. This gave me a new kick in the butt to push my skills even further. I built a website (which you are currently reading this blog post on, woohoo!) and I got 3 photos published in the Wire Harp, a book created by SFCC to showcase the college's best artwork. I was so happy to even have 1 photo posted, but 3? That felt great. 

My final project in the spring was "the shootout", AKA an entire program of photography students renting a location for a week (The Masonic Temple, now called Riverside Place) and doing large and small production shoots the whole time there. This is where I was given a huge dose of the real world in photography: I was assigned a prom recreation shoot, which involved at least 10 lights, models, wardrobe, and prop equipment. It. Was. CRAZY. And yet, strangely fulfilling. Knowing that with an awesome team of people, I could pull together something that big, is a reassuring feeling that I made the right career choice. 

My final large production prom image. So much fun! Thank you to everyone who was involved!

My final large production prom image. So much fun! Thank you to everyone who was involved!

Erik coaching me through the craziness of my shoot. Thanks Erik for always going above and beyond for all of us students!

Erik coaching me through the craziness of my shoot. Thanks Erik for always going above and beyond for all of us students!

To read my blog post on the shootout, click here: The Shootout

Finally, graduation. 2 years of intense hard work and emotional roller coasters came to an end in late June. Going to SFCC was hands down one of the greatest decisions I've ever made for myself, not only did I learn more than I ever could have on my own, I made lifelong friends there and business connections that will be there for me for years to come.

My "Fhoto Family"; forever some of my favorite people in the world.

My "Fhoto Family"; forever some of my favorite people in the world.

Summer came, and I took a mental break. I didn't shoot much over the summer, other than a few small things here and there, but mostly, I was burnt out on photography and wanted a much needed break. In August, my best friend and roommate decided to move to Boise, and I found a new roommate to live with me.  We spent our last couple weeks together, cramming in as much Grey's Anatomy and One Tree Hill (yes, we are typical girls) as possible, and celebrated my 20th birthday with a great group of friends. 

September came, and my life became a whirlwind again. Moving in a new roommate and putting away all the new stuff took up a huge part of my time, and in the second week of September, me and a good friend of mine to an epic trip to Seattle which will forever be one of my favorite memories of all time. There's something about traveling somewhere with another photographer that brings new life to a location that you've already been to plenty of times in your life; seeing a city through a lens completely changes your view on it. Seattle holds a special place in my heart, and I know that at some point in my life, I'll be living there. 

Check out the entire blog post for my Seattle trip here: An Epic Adventure

Between September and October, I did 4 senior sessions, which was the most I'd done in a "senior season" yet. I know, 4 doesn't sound like that much, but it was a great way to kick off my career and I made some of my favorite images with these shoots. (Next year, maybe I'll do 8, and maybe 16 the year after that. Go big or go home!) I really developed a style with these shoots; something that began to make my work look recognizable. 

Check out the blog post all about my 2015 Seniors here: My 2015 Seniors

Between shooting and editing these photos, as well as editing video and photos from my Seattle trip, I was swamped. Every second of free time was spend editing, and I was always 2 shoots behind. This is the busy season for a photographer, and I was no doubt INSANELY busy. On top of this, I was contacted by Tanya Smith, a writer for SLR Lounge (she had written an interview for my good friend a few months before) to edit a video interview she shot of Matt Shumate. This would mean that a part of my work would be put on a big website to be viewed by thousands of people. I was insanely excited about the opportunity and definitely accepted! I spend the next month or so editing and re-editing this interview until it was perfect.

The interview was posted in December, and to this date, has around 9,000 views. I could not be more happy about that. 

Check out the article that Tanya wrote, which includes the video that I edited, here: How To Create Dynamic Aerial Photos With The Camera Toss

In all of this insanity of the past couple months, I realized I was desperate to get back out and shoot some photos. I'd spent a lot of time focusing on video and needed to get back to my creative roots! I went out with a friend and shot some night portraits which I ended up really happy with, and as a result, am planning on jumping back into shooting a lot more often.

And now, here we are. A year has gone by and I feel like last New Year's Eve was only a couple days ago. How is it that time manages to dissolve like that? Time flies when you're having fun, I suppose. I've matured so much in the past year, making business decisions for myself, making hard decisions on friendships that were not worth my time, and focusing on what makes me happy. There's something so satisfying about doing things purely for yourself. A year ago, I didn't know what that meant. A year ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, where I wanted my career to take me, and who was worth keeping my circle of friends. I'm entering 2015 with a lot more clarity than I entered 2014 with. And that in itself has made this entire year worth it.

I already have plans for 2015. At the end of January, I'm going back to the photography program to make a presentation on- surprise!- video. Never did I think that would be something I would invest so much of myself in, but I've grown to love it just as much as I love shooting photos. I've decided to start a 52 week project (stay tuned on more about that soon!) which will force me to keep shooting higher quality work. I've got many inquiries about future shoots that I'm ready to get on the books. 2015 is already looking like a great year, and I can't wait to get it going!

What did you think about this blog post, and what are your plans for 2015? Make sure to leave a comment below!

To see what I do in 2015, make sure to like my Facebook and subscribe to my YouTube channel. It's gonna be an awesome year, and I want to take you all along on the ride!

Jessica MummComment