2013 goals/behind-the-scenes/highlights : personal

In a perfect world, this post would already have been up several weeks ago,
but life happens, and it isn't February yet soooo recap posts are still okay, right?! :)

Honestly, 2013 felt long and hard in many ways.
Don't get me wrong -- there were many, many blessings God gave, and I smile looking back on those.
However there were multiple hardships and trials that made it challenging,
and by the end of December I was really looking forward to moving into a new--fresh--exciting 2014. :)
 photo IMG_4345.jpg
Awhile back I was reading a photographer's blog and she commented how her photography business has gotten harder each year.
I used to think that it should get easier each year, as you grow as a photographer everything should get under your belt more and become more of a breeze..which is true in some areas.
But last year it definitely hit me how true her statement was -- over time your client base grows bigger, you have more to stay on top of with editing/e-mails/shoots/travels/paperwork and it just overall becomes more challenging to keep it all organized.

I debated whether or not I should even do this post, but it is good for me to remember 
how God was good, and the many, many, things I have to be grateful for.
Which are most importantly: having Jesus in my life, and then my family and friends.
The real things to treasure in life aren't things at all.

All that said, here are some highlights from 2013!

I had such a ball visiting my Illinois girls Lauren & Summer last winter!
  photo IMG_20130223_114124.jpg 
Both the South Dakota and Minnesota road trips, were immense highlights.
More like highlights of my life!
So hilarious and memorable. 
Jeepers, I have fun friends. 
 photo IMG_0588.jpg
 photo IMG_20131019_210805.jpg
Doing 20 things for others on my 20th birthday, was hands down, one of my best birthdays.
 photo IMG_20130124_231429.jpg   
Getting to meet and be mentored by two of my favorite photographers, 
Ariel Renae, and Cheyenne Schultz, was insanely amazing.
 photo IMG_20130614_114747.jpg 
 photo IMG_20130703_172311.jpg 
I flew and saw my NC chicas/kindred sprits/fwends/cronies/adopted sisters, Elisabeth and Ana.
Man do I love them, and we had such a good time!
 photo IMG_20130707_122010.jpg 
With having 7 brothers, its always so fun when Mom and I can get away and do girl stuff!
We went up to Mason City for a weekend last April and it was wonderful--
shopping and visiting with old friends..super fun!
 photo IMG_20130413_141724.jpg
Dad, Gunther and I visited my brother Erich down in Tennessee in June!
 photo JuneInsta-12.jpg
Our whole crew at family camp..so nice to be all together!
IRBC is a truly amazing camp and I'm thankful for their ministry and friendships formed there.
 photo IMG_20130730_173628.jpg 
Our 5 littles...Reinba, Burg, Jimi, Berend, Ocho.
Get excited for their school pictures that I will be blogging soon!
 photo JuneInsta-1.jpg
To my delight, I got to fly several times..I don't think that will ever grow old.
At least I hope it never does.
 photo IMG_20130708_131701.jpg 
I traveled the most I ever have with the Bright Lights team, which was such a joy!!
Whenever you work with people in ministry, it makes the friendship that much deeper.
I was on the trips to Arkansas, Texas, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota.
 photo IMG_20130627_170247.jpg  photo IMG_20130818_192655.jpg  
Our 'off' day at NASA and Galveston in Texas will always be a favorite memory.
 photo IMG_20130703_075809.jpg
It was so fun having my friend Kelsey and a few of her sisters visit in the fall!
I met her several years ago through a piano course, and am super grateful for her friendship.
 photo IMG_20130903_004939.jpg 
I still can't believe I did Boho Blogtober with Chels...which totally pushed me and was also very fun!
Maybe someday we shall do it again..?
 photo BohoBlogtoberjpgoriginal.jpg
 photo IMG_20131010_184614.jpg 
I am incredibly blessed by the friends God has placed in my life...
and it stokes me to think about all the neat people I have yet to meet this year!
The future is exciting, people. 
 photo IMG_20131012_001417.jpg  photo IMG_20131217_234533.jpg  
2013 was my second full year of business with Hannah Elise Photography!
 photo IMG_20131026_162440.jpg
For the past few years I've listed out my personal photography goals 
(see past years here and here) , and then shared them on the blog.
So last January, here was what I wanted to shoot in 2013:
30 families
7 seniors
7 maternity
2-3 weddings

What I shot:
26 families (some in this number were part of extended family sessions)
7 seniors
0 maternity, (which is honestly totally okay) :)
2 couple sessions
1 wedding and 1 'after' session
I also second-shot 1 wedding with Caitlyn of Pink Flower and 4 with Abbi Triphan,
and the experience was totally invaluable!
Plus photographing multiple other kids/portrait sessions.

I was thrilled thrilled to make the switch from prints to flash drives early last year!!
 photo IMG_20130328_102637.jpg
and also invest in better packaging that fit my brand!
 photo 13.jpg
I added a new lens to the family, 50 mm 1.4.
I should probably do a blog post about it at some point, 
as it did take me awhile getting used to the difference in focusing from the 1.8.
However, having the creamier bokeh and low aperture have been killer!
 photo 1.jpg
 photo shooting-1.jpg
Since I don't have a second shooter at portrait sessions, I rarely get any images of myself shooting,
but at Patrick & Avery's wedding, Amanda took some of me!
Seriously could never have done that day without her--she was such a huge help.
 photo shooting-2.jpg  photo shooting-3.jpg
Well don't I look like I know what I'm doing..ha!
 photo shooting-7.jpg
God worked out so many details for this wedding--I am humbled and grateful that my first wedding
being the main photographer was such an awesome experience!
I don't feel weddings are my forte or where I want to focus my business on right now,
but capturing the biggest day in a couples' life is truly an honor.
 photo shooting-5.jpg
Right before the ceremony...no pressure, right?!
 photo shooting-6.jpg
 photo shooting-4.jpg
 photo IMG_20131010_230253.jpg
I am super-de-duper excited for this year and the people that will come in front of my lens!!
Photographing families is definitely my passion right now, and I can't wait for spring to get here and start shooting again.
One of my next posts will be my favorite images I took in 2013, 
so keep checking back as that will be up soon!

And a huge thank you, dear blog readers, for all the sweet comments and e-mails--
you guys are always such an encouragement, and it means a lot to me!

H. Elise
connect on


  1. Love this so much! Great recap! Dude, I loved your description of our friendship...it sums it up SO well. You will always be my crony :).

  2. Great post, Hannah! These posts are always a favorite to read :) I'd personally love to see a post on the 50mm 1.4 lens, I currently use the 1.8 but would love to upgrade to the 1.4 at some point with the Almighty's blessing and any info is greatly appreciated :)

  3. I love seeing photos of photographers doing their thing! ;)
    You had such a big year and I'm SO excited to see where God takes you this next year, too! :)

  4. What a big year full of change! May The Lord guide you this year and richly and abundantly bless you in all areas of your life. You look so different in that photo of you holding your camera,but of course beautiful. Loved the behind the scenes shots!(thanks Amanda;)

  5. Ohh and the caption for that expression is "where'd I leave those pinterest prints!" You must have been deep in thought:) nonetheless the photos came out superb!

  6. Love this post! And the behind the scene pictures are fantastic. :) What a jam packed year!!

  7. Thanks for posting Hannah! Love the behind the scenes....
    God's mercies are new every morning for sure! :)

  8. Lovely re-cap, Hannah! I enjoyed this post! :)

  9. yay! I love! so many awesome memories for sure!

  10. SO amazing! And PRETTY please tell me where/how you did those flashdrives?!?? Are they expensive? SO STINKING ADORABLE!

    1. Hi Sharon! they are from flashbay.com, and I think were about $7 each. :) a little bit more than you would normally pay for a flash drive, but these were totally customized with my logo and the shape I wanted..so I deemed them worth it!

  11. This was such a fun post! It looks like you had a good year. I would definitely love to see another year of 'Blogtober'. It was so much fun to see all the posts you and Chelsy came up with. :D Have a blessed 2014!

  12. Happy Birthday, Hannah! I hope your day is absolutely splendid!



    1. thanks so much Madi! so thoughtful of you to remember. :)

  13. All of those pictures are so pretty!

  14. Oh I totally understand you on this! 2013 was a hard year, one I'm glad to say goodbye too. Looking forward to what 2014 has in store!


please leave a comment -- I would love to hear your thoughts on this post!! :)