2016 Photo & Life Recap | 1st Full Year

This is my 2016 Recap and Best of Photos

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Jaeden & Mackenzie Hamernik Couple Portrait Session in an open field in Naples Florida during the stormy season. This moment embodies to keep faith that everything will be okay 

Jaeden & Mackenzie Hamernik Couple Portrait Session in an open field in Naples Florida during the stormy season.
This moment embodies to keep faith that everything will be okay 

2016 has got to be one of the most historic years in our nation and our world’s history. It’s been a rough year for myself personally but it’s also been an incredible one. it's been a year of failing and succeeding. A year of learning and growing. 2016 will go down, for me, as the year where I triumphed against all odds, and I am here stronger, smarter, braver and more content then I have ever been in my entire life. You have to be able to take the bad, if you’re willing to take the good that you are blessed with.

There has been so much damage done as well as healing. There has been so much positive things that have unfolded. In life we are given the chance to look at the cup half full or half empty. I tend to look at the world in a half full manner and allow myself to continue to have faith that everything happens for a reason and I never question why, not to Yahweh at least.

This was my first full year doing photography. That in itself is an insane thing to wrap my mind around. I am still standing here on my own two feet writing this post to some of you who are contemplating the idea of going full time. There is never a right time in life to do anything. Take a chance on yourself and you will be amazed at what life will give you.

My friends are better than yours, I am just saying haha. Andre & Jason are great friends of mine in Chicago who have welcomed me into their home several times and also allowed me to use them as models haha. Thank you guys!

My friends are better than yours, I am just saying haha. Andre & Jason are great friends of mine in Chicago who have welcomed me into their home several times and also allowed me to use them as models haha. Thank you guys!

To everyone who has made my first full year a success, all my brides & grooms, seniors, families & friends, I seriously cannot thank you all for the support you have blessed me with. It truly has been an honor to have photographed you all. From the bottom of my heart, truly, you are the reason why I do what I love to do and I can’t thank you all enough.

Of course, this was not an easy task to do without the help of the roots in my life. I honestly could not have done it without the help of one my best friends, my roommate. Who has always been there for me when I needed someone the most. For, I will forever be grateful, that in life I have been able to have met someone who has my back 100%. Thank you a million times over, I appreciate you more than you will ever know, even though you might think I am not. I am able to do what I love to do because of your initial support and influence to do so.

I have lost friends and I have gain so many amazing new ones. I have learn to let go and to trust again. I have been tested and I feel like I have passed. I have had a childhood best friend pass away and I have been blessed with new life coming into my family in 2017.

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This year I have traveled more than I have ever traveled in my entire life combined haha. The incredible people I have met through this crazy passion I have, truly is a blessing. The places I have been and friendships i’ve built. I would not change this year at all because these things had to happen in order for me to take a step back, evaluate my life, learn and grow.

Remember friends, the journey where we walk and sometimes run towards for what want from life, it’s not for the weak of heart. It’s not always a road of happiness. It’s a road where you will be tested, where you will make mistakes, where you will fall, where you will bleed, where you think you are dead but have faith that he does not throw anything your way that he knows you cannot handle. You are stronger than you think. For me personally happiness is not my ultimate goal, it’s contentment. Don’t confuse something that’s suppose to be momentary for something that is long term. Think of happiness as a firecracker. You know that it's a burst of light and sound but you also know that it’s not meant to linger forever. So use the same logic for happiness, know it's a moment, welcome it with open arms but also allow it to leave as it wishes.

That one time where I spontaneous took a last minute gig in NYC and it fell on my birthday and I met a bunch of stranger from France and one from Turkey. That was an awesome trip!

That one time where I spontaneous took a last minute gig in NYC and it fell on my birthday and I met a bunch of stranger from France and one from Turkey. That was an awesome trip!

The reason why I chose this photograph in my best of is because it resonates with the root of where my family comes from. My parents where migrant field workers when their came to this country. It's because of their initial sacrifice that I am able to do what I love to do today. Thank you Mom & Dad, I love you.  

The reason why I chose this photograph in my best of is because it resonates with the root of where my family comes from. My parents where migrant field workers when their came to this country. It's because of their initial sacrifice that I am able to do what I love to do today. Thank you Mom & Dad, I love you.  

I went out to document history in Miami when Donald Trump got elected. It was wild and I have never felt more alive than that day

I went out to document history in Miami when Donald Trump got elected. It was wild and I have never felt more alive than that day

This portrait I took just gave me a good mood to how I feel about a lot of things sometimes. I simply cannot care more than I need to.

This portrait I took just gave me a good mood to how I feel about a lot of things sometimes. I simply cannot care more than I need to.

This bring me back to that week where I fly out to New York City super last minute to shoot portraits and engagement sessions all over the city. This trip was an adventure to remember for sure.

This bring me back to that week where I fly out to New York City super last minute to shoot portraits and engagement sessions all over the city. This trip was an adventure to remember for sure.

My first trip to Chicago when one of my childhood best friends got married and I shot her wedding. We had not seen each other for almost 10 years, and it felt as if nothing ever changed.

My first trip to Chicago when one of my childhood best friends got married and I shot her wedding. We had not seen each other for almost 10 years, and it felt as if nothing ever changed.

A long exposure and steady hands goes a long way haha

A long exposure and steady hands goes a long way haha

This year I have met some of the greatest friends someone could ask for. This is my great friend Twyla and her boys when we were working on some project in Ft. Pierce

This year I have met some of the greatest friends someone could ask for. This is my great friend Twyla and her boys when we were working on some project in Ft. Pierce

Back to that one time when Twyla asked me to help film an amazing session with her

Back to that one time when Twyla asked me to help film an amazing session with her

This one is here because of how incredible their love story was and just pretty much everything about this couple is goals

This one is here because of how incredible their love story was and just pretty much everything about this couple is goals

This bowl with my blueberry couple's bands was just how I wanted to capture their moment. Sometimes life gives you lemons but in this case Blueberries worked better

This bowl with my blueberry couple's bands was just how I wanted to capture their moment. Sometimes life gives you lemons but in this case Blueberries worked better

Gabrielle Daylor & Nick Southall embracing one another during their session in Chicago Illinois 

Gabrielle Daylor & Nick Southall embracing one another during their session in Chicago Illinois 

Gabrielle Daylor & Nick Southall running during their session. What I love about this photograph was how amazing these two are, they genuinely are so amazing together it's ridiculous! So happy to be able to call them friends.

Gabrielle Daylor & Nick Southall running during their session. What I love about this photograph was how amazing these two are, they genuinely are so amazing together it's ridiculous! So happy to be able to call them friends.

Back to the adventures I had in New York City, this was in Brooklyn where I seriously jumped off the plane onto an air train onto a subway and straight to my first session. I was a mess hold all my luggage and these two where seriously so incredibly kind and understanding haha.

Back to the adventures I had in New York City, this was in Brooklyn where I seriously jumped off the plane onto an air train onto a subway and straight to my first session. I was a mess hold all my luggage and these two where seriously so incredibly kind and understanding haha.

Sometimes I do some pretty wild things for some incredible shots. We climbed onto a roof the end haha

Sometimes I do some pretty wild things for some incredible shots. We climbed onto a roof the end haha

Marry & Matt McCoy taking their one year anniversary portraits in A New Leaf in downtown Chicago. This photograph is here because under all the wild that is the city this brought me so much peace! It's a must visit!

Marry & Matt McCoy taking their one year anniversary portraits in A New Leaf in downtown Chicago. This photograph is here because under all the wild that is the city this brought me so much peace! It's a must visit!

Verna came with me on this crazy tour of New York City where we ended up sneaking onto a rooftop and resulting in this amazing photo

Verna came with me on this crazy tour of New York City where we ended up sneaking onto a rooftop and resulting in this amazing photo

Zan is an incredibly talented model who now own the best juice bar in Naples, this shot was done with a pretty cool technic called The Ring of Fire. 

Zan is an incredibly talented model who now own the best juice bar in Naples, this shot was done with a pretty cool technic called The Ring of Fire. 

One of my favorite sessions with Earth

One of my favorite sessions with Earth

Still one of the most incredible moments in my life going out to Miami and photographing history. This guy was riding his bike with a pride flag, it was at this very moment when I realzied I had lost my phone.

Still one of the most incredible moments in my life going out to Miami and photographing history. This guy was riding his bike with a pride flag, it was at this very moment when I realzied I had lost my phone.

Sue is this incredibly talented young artist based out of New York City. Her work inspired me to look at an image in different points of views

Sue is this incredibly talented young artist based out of New York City. Her work inspired me to look at an image in different points of views

A portrait of Sue in front of all her current work that she was going to send out to a gallery. The amount of talent in the city is increible. It was at this moment that I felt I was not the only one who feels so passionate about what they do as much as I do

A portrait of Sue in front of all her current work that she was going to send out to a gallery. The amount of talent in the city is increible. It was at this moment that I felt I was not the only one who feels so passionate about what they do as much as I do

Jason & Andrea Shipbaugh in Garfield Park Conservatory doing redoing their Bride & Groom Portraits - This photograph what you don't see is the snow that was falling just outside of this place. Truly one of my favorite places in Chicago.

Jason & Andrea Shipbaugh in Garfield Park Conservatory doing redoing their Bride & Groom Portraits - This photograph what you don't see is the snow that was falling just outside of this place. Truly one of my favorite places in Chicago.

We were blessed with this tiny human and watching him grow this past year has been an incredible journey

We were blessed with this tiny human and watching him grow this past year has been an incredible journey

He started getting his balance

He started getting his balance

Some of these moments in my best of have nothing to do with some of my career photographs but photographs of my family and friends. This one is of my brother and his girlfriend who recently got married. This has been one heck of year for my family but we are still here, stronger than ever.

Some of these moments in my best of have nothing to do with some of my career photographs but photographs of my family and friends. This one is of my brother and his girlfriend who recently got married. This has been one heck of year for my family but we are still here, stronger than ever.

A father and son portrait session I did at the beginning of the year, truly was an incredible cool morning and just everything about these two and their bond is why.

A father and son portrait session I did at the beginning of the year, truly was an incredible cool morning and just everything about these two and their bond is why.

This couple in the snow was truly one of my favorites from Chicago. I love traveling so if you or someone you know just got engaged, send them my way!

This couple in the snow was truly one of my favorites from Chicago. I love traveling so if you or someone you know just got engaged, send them my way!

Danny and Jennifer in Chicago, once again this was my first session on my recent travels to Chicago. I jumped on a train from O'Hare and then a bus. This was all during a blizzard and to top all off at the end of the session I busted my ass going down the stairs hahahaha

Danny and Jennifer in Chicago, once again this was my first session on my recent travels to Chicago. I jumped on a train from O'Hare and then a bus. This was all during a blizzard and to top all off at the end of the session I busted my ass going down the stairs hahahaha

This has got to be one my favorites of 2016 simply becasue its so minimal and it speaks for itself, at least for me. This represents what I want in 2017.

This has got to be one my favorites of 2016 simply becasue its so minimal and it speaks for itself, at least for me. This represents what I want in 2017.


I want to leave you all with this;
No matter what the experience, amazing or horrible, there is always, always a positive outcome to it. It's up to you to find out what & where that blessing fits in your life.