One of my favorite assignments in my newspaper days was to create Year-In-Review features. Yes, I'm writing this in earnest. While many viewed the collections as easy cop-outs for generating content in a time notoriously slow for newsworthiness, I always enjoyed reflecting back on the year.
To say collecting the best-of-the-best images from the year is a challenge would be an understatement. And sifting through the tens of thousands of images we produce each year would be more than just a little time consuming. So, to aid me in my selections I had some criteria:
First, I only chose one photo from each month to streamline the process. Second, I put the most weight on the emotion of the picture. These aren't necessarily the prettiest, most perfect compositions we created in the past year, but they are photos with a strong connection to the viewer. If I was flipping through files and literally laughed out loud to myself, I knew I had a candidate. Third, I chose only candid moments. We set up plenty of engaging portraits throughout the year, but what I cherish most is an honest photograph captured as the moment occurred.
So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite moments from 2016. There are so many great moments that didn't make this post, but I think you'll enjoy them all the same. Thank you to everyone who made this year such a success and allowed me to share in your beautiful stories. I look forward to another year filled with laughter and tears of all kinds.
Happy New Year, everyone!
January | Bliss En route to their wedding reception, Missie and Nate stopped off for drinks and celebration with their friends and family at the bar where they met in Elko New Market, Minn. Nate swept Missie off of her feet on the way in. I added a little extra grain to the photo in the editing process to add to the dreamy quality of the photo.
February | Silliness Little Ivy had to entertain herself as her little brother cuddled with mom and got all of the attention during his newborn photo session in Hastings, Minn. I always try to see what else is happening around the main event and found Ivy giggling as only a toddler can do as she listened to the fun sounds in her puppy book.
March | Joy Matt and April are beaming with joy as they hold close to their daughter as her older brother hides off camera during her newborn photo session at their Minnetonka, Minn. home.
April | Contentment Story time leads to laughter during little Delilah's four-month photo session at her family's New Hope, Minn. home. Bonding over books has been a part of the family since then four-year-old Oskar was born.
May | Relief Kaitlin whips off her cap at the end of her graduation photo session in Lakeville, Minn. I happened to be focusing on Kaitlin as she walked away from me and amazingly captured this decisive moment. In our shared excitement over the image, she and I tried to stage the photo again to make it perfect. It wasn't. Only the original, natural photo would make the cut!
June | Happiness The Albrecht girls can hardly contain themselves as they are reunited after months apart from school and military service during their sisters photo session at The Gardens of Castle Rock in Northfield, Minn. We staged plenty of pretty portraits during their session, but it was this moment of sisterly verbal jabbing that I liked best. I've been working with this family for many years, which always helps everyone to relax for these candid moments.
July | Unworried Trygve does his best to protect his daughter from the gusts of wind and pelting raindrops that erupted as Lorelei walked to reveal hear wedding gown to her father for the first time on her wedding day in Maple Plain, Minn. This may be my favorite moment from 2016!
August | Jubilation Brian and Michelle kiss for the first time as husband and wife during their outdoor wedding ceremony at The Gardens of Castle Rock in Northfield, Minn.
September | Overcome Claire is comforted by her father as she holds back tears of joy and excitement during their first look in Northfield, Minn.
October | Gratified The father of the bride wears his heart of his sleeve after giving a touching tribute to his daughter and her new husband during their wedding reception at The Gardens of Castle Rock in Northfield, Minn.
November | Excitement After traveling thousands of miles and across continents, the mother of the groom, center, is delighted to meet the mother of her new daughter in law for the first time during the couple's wedding reception in Minneapolis. The bride and groom met in Europe and held a small wedding ceremony in Minnesota before reuniting the family (many of whom hadn't seen each other in years) for the celebration.
December | Loved The newest member of the family, a golden retriever puppy, is comforted from the dropping temps and blowing snow by one of his best friends during the family holiday photo session at The Gardens of Castle Rock in Northfield, Minn.