BEST OF 2016

Personally and professionally, 2016 was a big year for me. Through ups and downs it was a year of a lot of growth and change, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Since graduating from college 2 years ago I’ve learned so much about photography, business, and ultimately the kind of person, wife, and photographer I want to be. The road of self-employment, especially in a creative field, can be a bumpy one. The path ahead can be whatever you choose, which is both a blessing and a curse. This year I was challenged: there were late nights, long hours that didn’t always feel like they paid off, and hot days spent at a farmers market with no sales. Working for myself is not always easy, but the little victories add up and remind me that the hardships are worth it. Every year I get a little bit stronger, more confident, and happier. With all of its weirdness, 2016 was good to me. I am so grateful.

PERSONAL

  • Brian and I became homeowners in January and got married in February. After all of that #adulting, we took a well-deserved honeymoon in Jackson, Wyoming.
  • If you follow me on Instagram, you knew about my goal to hike 100 miles between Memorial Day and Columbus Day. I was really excited to complete this goal! I logged most of my miles on a backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park, and rounded the summer out with hikes in GTNP, Hyalite Canyon, Helena, and Bozeman.
  • We traveled to California, Colorado, Atlanta and Las Vegas…a little for work but mostly for pleasure!
  • Continuing our tradition of spending a weekend shooting self-portraits in Grand Teton National Park.

WEDDINGS

I’ve always known it and this year really proved it: weddings are my favorite thing to shoot. This sentence makes some photographers nod their head and others break into a cold, panicky sweat. It continues to ring true that you either love or hate shooting weddings, and I love it. I feel my greatest sense of purpose with a camera to my face helping amazing people celebrate the most important day of their lives. This year also brought me my widest variety of celebrations!

Highlights:

  • Brian started working with me as my second-shooter, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to work together and how much fun we have. Sometimes working with your spouse can be tricky, but we have a great time!
  • Shooting Dave & Dottie’s Pop-Up Wedding with Montana Bride. The team at Montana Bride planned and executed this wedding in exactly one week, and it was so fun to be a part of it!
  • I “hiked to the top of a small hill” with Jane and Wilson. Their openness to adventure resulted in some of my favorite photos of the year.
  • Traveling to Winter Park, Colorado for Tanner & Malena’s wedding! On top of a beautiful celebration, I also got to go to Ikea. Score!
  • Spending a weekend at Chico Hot Springs with Jeff & Ingrid. Any wedding that includes the opportunity to get away is a huge bonus!

40 WATT ADVENTURES

While weddings are my favorite, I expanded my horizons this year. I’ve always done senior and engagement shoots, which are a welcome break from the chaos of weddings. In a search for a personal project to keep me inspired and shooting more often, I started taking more environmental portraits of other artists working in their studios. This has quickly become one of my favorite things to do. The ease of photographing artists who are in their element is cathartic and the results are really special.

Highlights:

  • Launching 40 Watt Favorites and collaborating with other smart and talented small business owners!
  • Working with clients who were visiting Montana from other states and found me on social media.
  • Devin’s senior session in the brewery where he works. The unique setting made for my favorite senior photos ever!
  • Continuing to work with MAP Brewing Company photographing the brewing process and the lively tasting room.
  • Photographing new and old friends in their pottery studios, making clothing, and playing music.
  • Displaying my landscape art and hosting openings at El Heart and Treeline Coffee Roasters!

2016 was hard in many ways, but at the end of the day it was a great year. I challenged myself, tried new things, experienced difficulties and failures, but came out the other side stronger and smarter. I’m starting 2017 with a few new lessons under my belt and a community that supports and believes in me. I feel really lucky to be able to do what I love in such a great town, to have a husband who encourages and pushes me, and to work with such enthusiastic, fun clients. I’m ready for whatever 2017 has for me, and I hope you stick around for the ride! Thank you for reading!

Mallory Regan

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