It was pretty hard to choose my 30 favorite photos of 2018, not only because 2018 was my most prolific year of shooting yet at over 30,000 photos, but because it was a really amazing year of adventures. I took some photos for brands, I took some photos for instagram, and I took some photos for memories, but every photo I took has a little story behind it or tells a story. These are my 30 favorite photos that I took in 2018.
My Favorite Portraits of 2018
Going into 2018 I would have told you portraits aren’t my favorite, and definitely weren’t my strongest skillset when it come to photography. Flash forward to 2019 and still not my strongest, but I’ve really been enjoying shooting portraits over the past few months. Trying to grow our dog Grace’s Instagram – @pawsitivelygrace has made me a better portrait taker just for the single fact that she is always moving, so getting those crisp in focus shots is a challenge sometimes!
This shot came about through a branded shoot with Free Country Apparel. We were up in the mountains near Las Vegas mid morning so the light was just incredible. The shot of Grace below is also from the same shoot.
One of the days at the Institute of Code we spent out in the field doing photography workshops. After rice terraces, a waterfall, and lunch our last stop was The Sangeh Monkey Forest. Definitely one of the most instagrammable spots in Bali with the big temple and hundred of cute little monkeys, plus its way less crowded than the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest. I just love the happiness captured in this photo of Robin and Louise of Elite Jetsetter two of the great mentors at the Institute of Code Social Media and Content Marketing Retreat.
Grace’s favorite things in the world are 1. fetch and 2. swimming. She didn’t care that it was just a touch above freezing she saw the water and she went for it. Being the silly dog she is she couldn’t be finished without rolling in the sand to get our rental car all dirty.
Going through these Hawaii photos has really made me want to go back. This shot was right at sunset before are incredible private moonlit dinner beneath the stars at the Four Seasons Hualalai.
Through Mallory’s fitness Instagram – @barbells_n_bows21 we did a little shoot for Gymjam Apparel. Sports and fitness photography definitely isn’t my strong suit but this shoot and shooting a couple of the CrossFit Open workouts at my gym gave me some practice this year.
My Favorite Landscapes of 2018
Easily my favorite type of photography going in to 2018 was landscapes. It felt the most natural (pun intended) to me. Now starting 2019 I want to try and still take beautiful landscape photos but become better at incorporating a human element.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces: one of those places that just makes your jaw drop. You honestly cannot fathom the scale of this place until you’ve been there. One of my favorite early morning shoots from my trip to Bali.
McWay Falls, Big Sur, California: One of the spots you’ll see over and over again on instagram, but finding different angles, using different lenses, or changing your exposure length can put a new and unique spin on it.
Badlands National Park: We woke up at about 3:30 to drive from Keystone back to Badlands National Park for sunrise on the second day of our Midwestern Road Trip. Just after entering the park we hit a South Dakota roadblock – hundred of bison grazing, and just laying in the fields and on the road. I actually printed this one and need to find a spot to hang it in our house.
Probably the second most iconic bridge in California. You’ve seen it in movies, television show, car commercials, and definitely on Instagram. There is no cell service, so I was having a lot of trouble getting my phone to connect to my drone, so it isn’t exactly the shot I wanted but I love how it turned out.
2018 was the year that I got really into hiking and being outside. When you’re constantly seeing amazing places like this who wouldn’t want to go for a hike?! This photo was taken mid-April just outside of Salt Lake City. We were there because Mallory was attending a conference, so I spent most days out hiking while she was learning!
San Diego, California: You literally won’t find better weather anywhere in the United States year round. After a morning surf session I put the drone up to get a different perspective and man am I happy I did. The light was just starting to creep up above the skyline making for some really amazing long shadows.
It’s crazy how different the weather can be just 30-ish minutes drive away on the Big Island. We left our resort it was mid 80’s and sunny and when we arrived in Hawi at the Pololu Valley to see the black sand beach it had just rained and the temperature was hovering around 70. We did the hike down to the beach barefoot (which I wouldn’t recommend) but the scenery on the way down and once we made it to the beach was 1000% worth slipping a couple times.
By far the most amazing experience I’ve ever had underwater was the night dive with Manta Rays in Kona. You are guaranteed to feel small next to these gentle giants, and if you do one thing while you’re on the big island, it has to be this.
My Favorite Instagram Posts of 2018
The majority of the photos I take are for my Instagram – @passports2life, but the majority of photos don’t make the cut. These are some of my favorites from the past year.
My brother actually took this one of me during a hike in South Dakota. The Landscape of the Black Hills and the scale of it all mesmerized me.
This photo is hanging on the wall in our living room. One of our favorite hikes near home lets you experience old Florida just 30 minutes from downtown Tampa. The fog and the light made this morning extra mysterious and brought a different depth to the image.
I really enjoy astrophotography, but I don’t go out and practice very often. Our tent at Under Canvas Zion was positioned perfectly to capture the Milky Way during our stay there in November.
Another shot from our trip to Hawaii, Mallory took this one. I just loved how the palm trees got smaller and how I could frame myself between two of the trees. This was part of a series we shot for Eubi Swimwear.
It really doesn’t get any cuter than this. Grace and Mallory taking in the epic view of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We went into this trip with zero expectations for Idaho and left basically in love with the cute little towns of Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint. We will definitely be going back to do more exploring.
Out of all 226 photos I posted on Instagram in 2018, this one probably had the most effort behind it. I found Nachi Falls on Pinterest while searching for epic views in Japan before I got there. The minute I found it I knew I had to go, so I worked out a plan where I would leave my hotel in Tokyo at 5 AM and see both Nachi Falls and Fushimi Inari in one day. I spent all day on trains, but I made it, and it was as epic as I hoped.
While the Nachi Falls photo above required planning and a day on trains, Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park probably required the most physical effort even though we were up to the top and back down before 11 AM.
This photo just gives me good vibes. Taken at the rooftop pool of the 1Hotel South Beach with a GoPro. The symmetry, leading lines, and the subtle reflection bring it all together for me.
My Favorite Lifestyle/Branded Photos of 2018
Most the these images were on Instagram too, but these either had a branded element, or were a mixture of landscape and lifestyle. This is probably my current favorite kind of photography. I love trying to show off a product in a natural way.
This photo was taken at Siesta Key, FL as part of a series for Eat, Drink, Go and their super soft Turkish towels. Even though this was taken in the harshest light of the day I like how it turned out.
There is so much to do in Las Vegas even if you don’t like drinking and gambling. Above is my favorite shot from my visit to the neon museum where you get to see huge neon signs from hotels in the past and each sign has a story. Below was taken at Desert National Wildlife Refuge, which is about 45 minutes north of the strip.
When I found out there was a covered bridge (kind of) on the way to the airport during our ski trip to Vermont last year I knew we had to stop even if it meant cutting it dangerously close to missing our flight.
I bought this Razor scooter with the sole purpose of taking this photo. Part of a series we did for one of my favorite clothing companies, Island Company, The early morning light was so good for cruising down the Miami Beach boardwalk on my scooter. The shot below was also for Island Company, and was the black sand beach we hiked to on the Big Island. The sun was doing its best to peek out from behind the clouds once we made it to the beach.
One of the first photos I took during the first CrossFit Open workout at my gym turned out to be my favorite of all the photos I took during the three open workouts I shot.
Last but not least, Fushimi Inari in Kyoto Japan. I got to the temple before 8 AM, but still had to wait close to an hour to get a shot where I could either block the people with my body or where they were hidden ahead of me. I didn’t have a ton of time here since I had to make the train down to Nachi Falls, but it is a beautiful place that I would love to visit again.