Personal Post: Looking back and looking forward

February 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I have never done a year-in-review post before so this is a first. Below I am sharing 12 images from the past year that either have a personal significance or happen to be some of my favorites "just because". They may not necessarily be my best images, but I am drawn to them for one reason or another. 

The biggest change in 2015 is that I became a mom. I spent about three quarters of the year pregnant with our daughter and the rest of it adjusting to life with an infant. I found it interesting that a large majority of my portrait work this past year were maternity and newborn sessions, perhaps a reflection of the stage of life I am in!

Though I didn't set many specific goals for 2015, the one goal I did name was that I hoped to book 10 weddings and I did exactly that! My work took me to New York and Connecticut and allowed for a few mini vacations with my husband, which was nice since we won't be traveling anywhere far for a while. It was also great having him along to be my camera bag assistant when I was a big waddling preggo woman. :)

Looking forward to 2016 here are a few things I hope to accomplish:

-Find and establish a better support network of other photographers and creatives

-Collaborate on a styled shoot

-Attend a workshop that boosts creativity and thinking outside the box

-Focus more on taking photography assignments that I love, and say no to those that do not take me in the direction I want to go.

-Pursue at least one of my personal projects related to dance or my neighborhood

Ok so technically this image was taken at the end of 2014, but I am including it because it represents a personal project of mine that carried into 2015 called "Lancaster Moves". This is one of my favorite images from the series and I feel it captures the essence of my goal for the project: to show dancers in everyday locations around Lancaster City being creative at what they do. Probably one of my greatest personal accomplishments in 2015 was having a solo gallery exhibit at Coe Camera in downtown Lancaster featuring this work. Click here to see more images from the exhibit.

The F&M men's and women's rowing teams practice on the Susquehanna RIver in the early morning hours. 2015 also marked the end of my part-time staff photographer position at Franklin & Marshall College. This is an image from my last photo essay documenting the rowing team at F&M. Hanging out on a boat at the crack of dawn on the misty Susquehanna River was the highlight of this assignment. If you'd like to see the rest of the photo essay of the rowing team, Click Here.

I am not a food photographer, though I have done my fair share of food photography and my work is published in several Mennonite cookbooks. I am sharing this image for a few reasons. These are my favorite buttermilk oatmeal pancakes, those are strawberries grown in our very own backyard, and this was the last time I enjoyed these pancakes in all their maple syrupy goodness, before finding out that I had gestational diabetes and had to cut back on carbs and sugars. I share because it is a memory representing the way gestational diabetes affected the last third of my pregnancy.

Maternity photography session with Andrew and Marie at Lancaster County Central Park by Melissa Engle Photography Though I did many maternity sessions this year, the photo above of Marie and the photo below of Jodi have become my favorites. These were actually both taken in the same field at Lancaster County Central Park, one in May and the other in November. I love the perspective of the photo of Marie amongst the flowers and the movement captured in Jodi's swishing curtain. I also like these images because I don't think they are the typical maternity portrait. Both women are gazing upward and onward, and I feel these images represent the strength, endurance and love it takes for a mother to grow a tiny baby and bring them into this world. You can see more images from their maternity sessions here: Click here for Marie and Click here for Jodi

Rooftop photography shoot in Lancaster City with Jenny Hill and Monelli Films by Melissa Engle Photography This photo was taken during a rooftop photo session with my friend and former F&M coworker Al who is the mastermind behind Monelli Films. He wanted some images showing him in action while he was filming his latest documentary film "One Hoops" with Jenny Hill. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen during my 10 years living in Lancaster. If you are ever in the market for a videographer who can tell amazing stories, you should look him up.

The yellow gingko trees with their fan shaped leaves are one of my favorite fall trees and this was taken during a photo walk in my Lancaster City neighborhood. One of my personal projects is to document life in our historic and ethnically diverse neighborhood and tell the stories of residents who live here. To read more about this project and see more images, Click Here.

Joe and Courtney's wedding on October 17th, 2015 by Melissa Engle Photography This is definitely one of my top wedding images for 2015. I am drawn to bright colors and Joe and Courtney's orange getaway VW van was the perfect "prop" for some photo action right after the ceremony rain showers. See more here on the blog.

This little lady knows how to ham it up for a photo. I love everything about this, the bright colors, her expression, the shirt, etc. This red chair was a great yard sale find too :)

Another favorite wedding of 2015, Andrea and Ryan gave me so many great opportunities to take photos. Often times I am given a tiny 45 minute window to take pictures between the ceremony and reception, but we had a full two hours! We even got to photograph at the York baseball stadium. I love this photo because it is simple, colorful and full of joy. See more here on the blog.

Mallory and Ken know how to glam it up. They got married in the historic Knowlton Mansion which was full of character and good backdrops for taking photos. I love the funky wall paper that frames them in this portrait and how this image shows off the back of Mallory's gown and her awesome hairpiece. See more here on the blog.

And last but certainly not least, I had to share an image of our daughter since she is most certainly the best gift of 2015! :)


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