I write this post every year, partially in an effort to hold myself accountable, but also partially to remind myself of how far I’ve come in every year.  The beginning of each year is always SO different than the end.  The start of 2016 is no different and I’m humbled to imagine where I’ll be and what I’ll be feeling at the end of it.

I loved 2015.  I loved every minute of it.  It was hard.  It was stressful.  I worked my ass off.  I photographed 40 weddings in 2015 and 36 portraits, which is pretty awesome.  I had the most amazing incredibly awesome clients.  I had clients who wanted to have a Dr. Who themed engagement session, and then later, a Magic the Gathering themed wedding.  I had destination engagement sessions in San Francisco, not once, but twice.  I went to Dallas, TX for engagement sessions, not once, but twice.  I photographed weddings in Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Grass Valley, and San Diego.  I photographed a wedding on top of a glacier in Alaska where we arrived by helicopter.  I went to a self designed photographer’s retreat in the Great Smoky Mountains outside of Gatlinburg, TN with some of the most talented and raddest photographers I’ve ever met, a few of whom I was able to refer out weddings this year.  I took a course in off camera lighting by Azul Ox Photography in Austin, TX.  I attended Foster Workshop in Joshua Tree with Ben Sasso and Katch Silva (who took that awesome headshot of me on the header).  I applied to and was accepted to participate in the 67th class of the Missouri Photo Workshop in Perryville, MO, which was one of the most intense, challenging, and humbling educational experiences I’ve ever been part of.  You can see my photo story here.

Fredricksburg Wedding Photographer

Aaron and Ellen at the Trois Estate near Fredricksburg, TX.

San Francisco Engagement Session

Kelley and Neal in San Francisco, CA.

Dr. Who Themed Engagement Session

Sara and Will’s Dr. Who themed engagement session in Sacramento, CA.

Nate and Jessie in Cordova, AK.

I worked so hard that I did not do some of the things this year that I intended: like make more time for myself, for me to ride my bike and exercise and play outside.  But this is the deal: I really like my job.  I really love my job.  I really love what I do and frankly, I would work just as much all over again and I will probably work just as much this year, if not harder.  Because my job lets me meet rad people and go super inspiring places.  I do something that I basically think kicks ass and for that I am very very very lucky.

I do have some standard goals that I try to hold myself to every year, that don’t get listed in my rotating cast of changing ones.  These include visiting a new foreign country every year, which was an epic FAIL in 2015.  That being said, I did go to Costa Rica twice this past year and I’m going to at least 3 new countries in 2016, so I will make up for it.  I try to get on mountain 60 days a year, but the snow continued to be awful last year so mostly I just trail ran and traveled.  I also try to visit a new ski resort each year, but that did not happen in the 2014-15 winter season.

Dallas Engagement Photos

Melanie and Michael in Dallas, TX.

Other than that, here’s how I fared on my goals for the 2015 year:

1.  Read 52 books in 2015.  Raging SUCCESS.  I managed to not only finish 52 books this past year, but with days to spare.  You can friend me over at Goodreads if you want to see what’s on the list and check out my favorites because hyperlinking to the 15 or so that I gave five stars seems like just too much.  Sorry.  Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to read every book that was every short listed or won The Man Booker Prize.  I figured, at the time, that it would probably take me about 10 years to get to where I was up-to-date and then only reading the new ones for each year, after which, I would start trying to read every book that was every short listed or won the National Book Award for Fiction, of course.  If I counted correctly (and math has never been my strong suit), there are 264 books on the current Man Booker Prize list that I am trying to read, 20 of which I covered in 2015 and 18 that I’ve read previously.

2.  Focus on my health attempt 2: exercise 4 days a week and return to swimming, at least two days a week.   Epic Fail.  I managed to do worse than the year before, only getting exercise in 157 days out of the year, a reduction from the 189 days I managed to get time in the year before.  I have an unofficial yearly running mark of 500 miles a year and I didn’t even make that.  I did manage to swim twice as much as last year, and for that I am happy, though I think most of that came in the last quarter of the year.

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3.  Attend at least 2 photography conferences, one related to wedding/portrait work and one that is unrelated to weddings in order to further my perspective energize my creativity and motivation.  Raging success.  1 lighting workshop, 1 wedding workshop and 1 photojournalism workshop in the books.  I’m looking forward to 2016, where I’ll be heading to Portugal for the Fearless Photographers Workshop in Porto and Vancouver, Canada for the Canada Photo Convention!

4.  New York City Marathon for 2015!  Mostly success.  Michelle, my trusty marathon running partner got preggers and had to go and have a baby so we tabled this and I ran the California International Marathon this year instead.

5.  Devise a solid marketing plan to bring the number of destination weddings I shoot up to 25% of my total weddings.  Epic fail.  I’m not going to lie, I forgot about this one.  I actually don’t even think I need it anymore.  I have 25 weddings on the books already for 2016 and only 11 of them are in Tahoe.  I’m headed to San Francisco, Isla Mujeres, Wimberly, the expansive western edge of South Dakota, June Lake, Plymouth Wine Country (twice), and Colorado next year and I am already so excited for all of them!  This is due to some amazing clients, word of mouth referrals and utilizing Thumbtack to expand into markets that I’m not established in.

6.  Shift and narrow my family portrait portfolio into family photojournalism.  Mostly success.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that most of my clients want both and so that’s what I’ve been extremely successful in providing this year.  I had some amazing clients that allowed me to photograph some great sessions that included both candid activities and posed photos and I’m extremely happy with the results of my portrait sessions this year!

Family Photos at Lake Tahoe

Bangerter Family at Fallen Leaf Lake, South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Snider Family at Kings Beach State Park, Lake Tahoe.

My Goals for 2016:

1.  Read 52 books again.

2.  Focus on my health attempt #3:  Jesus woman, wake up earlier and make time for exercise already and swim why don’t you.  Get on your bike!  Run more!  Get it together!  

3.  Run my 6th marathon.  We’re already registered for the Portland Marathon on October 9, 2016!  Patented Lauren Lindley All Season Taper Plan is sure to be in effect!

4.  Build my editorial/stock photo portfolio.  Focused in outdoor/lifestyle/travel images.   This also requires time.  This may be a difficult one to get to.  

5.  Re-do my website and build a pricing guide for portraits.  I had the front homepage redesigned by the amazing Dan Keenan over at Hatchback Creative last year, and this year I’d like to focus on the rest of it.   I had a pricing guide created by the incredibly talented Julie Pizzo for my wedding business and now I’d like to do the same this year for my portrait business.

6.  Expand my reach into cities I desperately would love to photograph a wedding in: New Orleans is the top of this list!  I’d also love a Pacific Northwest wedding just for a change from the eternally bluebird CA and a Montana wedding!  Other cities I’d love to photograph in include Nashville, Boston, and Tucson.

Here’s looking forward to another incredible year and all the travels and excitement that it will bring!!

Nicole and Howard, Reno, NV.