Best of 2017 // Weddings + Elopements // Western US Adventure Wedding + Elopement Photographer
We absolutely love doing this annual round-up! It's so fun to go back through the year, pick out some of our best work, and put together all the random stats. This year, we decided to do three installments: Weddings + Elopements, Adventure Sessions, and Our Personal Adventures. This is the first one! Our 2016 Round Ups can be found here: 2016 Weddings, Sessions, Couples in Love and 2016 In Review (Personal Adventures)
» AT A GLANCE
20 Weddings // 16 Elopements // 51 Adventure Sessions
» ON THE JOB
9 States // 7 National Parks // 5 State Parks
» AS SEEN ON
Junebug Weddings (x2)(X3)(X4)(x5) // Utah's KSL News // Wedding Chicks // Rangefinder mag // Lookslikefilm (x2)(X3)(x4)(x5)(X6)(X7)(X8)(X9)(X10)(x11)(X12)(X13)(x14)(X15)(x16)(X17)(X18)(X19) // Huffington post (X2)(X3)(X4) // Brazil's Folha De S. Paulo
» HEARNE WEDDING AWARDS (as determined by us)
Highest Elevation Wedding: 10,162' above sea level // Most Extreme Wedding: Spacenet 400' above a canyon // Shortest Time between Booking + Wedding Date (under three weeks), Best Lighting, Most 'liked' on Social Media: Cliff-Side Yosemite Elopement // Craziest Lighting: Mount Rainier Intimate Wedding // Most Day-Of Traveling (two flights, four states, three time zones in 24 hours): Vegas Elopement + Zion Hike-In Portrait Session // Craziest Weather: Foggy Sequoia National Park Elopement or Rainy Lake Tahoe Wedding Day // Best Venue: Treehouse Wedding (Built by Father of the Bride)
I honestly don't even know where to start - 2017 has completely blown us away. When we started shooting weddings a few years ago, we never could've imagined it would look like this one day! We hit the road full time last September with three weddings booked (all in 2016!) and a lot of hope. We figured we'd go for it, see how things would play out, and hope for the best. I remember my goals for 2017 being something like "shoot a Yosemite wedding" and "book at least 5 weddings and 10 sessions out of Texas (our home state)." I am honestly in awe...I nearly lost count of Yosemite weddings we shot (and way more that we booked! 2018 is already filling up!) and after going back over our numbers I was blown away to see we shot 51 adventure sessions this year! No wonder we were so tried by the time December rolled around ;) In 2018, I plan to set more clear goals and dream a little bigger, but not in the ways you might think. But first - let's see some favorite photos!
From California to Colorado, Arizona to Washington, and just about everywhere in between, I'm honestly still in awe of all the amazing places our clients chose to take us. This year we have fallen more in love with our favorite places like Yosemite National Park and Moab, Utah, and discovered new favorites like Mount Rainier National Park and the Sawtooths in Idaho. In our adventures we've made new friends, formed deep bonds, and grown communities around us everywhere we go. We've learned to rely on others and allow their kindness to host us, even when we feel like dirty scrubs. We've driven new roads, explored new states, and lowered our camping standards greatly (a lot of nights spent in smelly truck stops). Some of my favorite memories from this year were camping in the middle of nowhere, waking up with nothing on the agenda, and simply exploring these hidden pockets of the american west with our little family. Of course, other great memories are from the incredible weddings we're invited into. I'll tell some more favorite wedding memories below!
We really saw it all this year. Rainstorms, nosey tourists, scary moments, sweet moments, lots of tears (mostly good), a bride with a stomach bug (yep, but she laughs about it now!), BASE-jumping flower girls, muddy dresses, and a lot more. The awesome part of our job as adventure elopement photographers is how intimate and low-stress our wedding days are. The little things that might ruin a big event actually become fun details of our couples' sacred day together. Oftentimes, our couples have chosen to invite literally no one and spend the day with just each other. The fact that we get to be included in that is no small honor. No matter how many times we do this, I never forget how amazing it is to be the witnesses of these moments and to be tasked with the job of telling their story to everyone who wasn't there. Sometimes during a ceremony, I'll take a shot and think to myself "I'm capturing this moment that no one else but me will experience" and it just blows my mind. What a job!!
In 2018, we will be really zeroing in on those small-scale, intimate wedding days and elopements. We have absolutely loved all of our big weddings, but the more we travel and explore the more we feel drawn to smaller wedding days with less man-made details. We are so thankful for the opportunity to create a niche of our own and really build our skillset around it. We'll also be aiming to book less than we did in 2017. While we loved every single couple we worked with, we found ourselves feeling tired and worn-down a little more often than we were comfortable with. We've chosen the difficult life of living on the road so we can reap it's benefits - exploration, family time, and more opportunities to pour ourselves into our favorite activities.
As much as we love our job, we still want to take time to ourselves and we've found that the more we get to explore and adventure on our own, the better job we do with weddings and sessions! This will mean turning down more inquiries, which breaks my heart, but I know it's for the betterment of ourselves and our current client's experiences! If you're hoping to work with us in 2018, I would highly reccomend reaching out ASAP to begin that conversation! We are aiming to remain open to last-minute elopements and sessions throughout the year as we loved a lot of the ones we booked last year, so keep in mind that flexibility with location and willingness to elope or adventure in new or special places with us is a great way to secure your booking :)
Scroll down to see some of our goals for 2018!
Book Less » By booking less full weddings (we've already reached our limit of 3) and a few less adventure sessions (51 was A LOT), we will be opening ourselves to an even better client experience. We are so passionate about our relationship with each and every client, we want every single person we work with to know we love them and we want to really get to know them. I'm convinced the amazing relationships we form with our couples are a huge reason we take such amazing photos, so I want to hone in on that even more in 2018.
Play More » Here's the thing. Do you want to know why we're so psyched all the time? Why we love Moab so much? How we find all these amazing locations? It's because we love to play. We spend our free time exploring, hiking, biking, rafting, skydiving and climbing all over these places! We didn't get to know Yosemite by shooting weddings there, we got to know it by PLAYING there. We also know we perform way better and deliver a much better experience if we've taken the time to enjoy ourselves instead of work all the time!
Follow the Unbeaten Path » As much as we love iconic locations and major destinations, we want to try to shoot more weddings, elopements, and sessions in lesser-known areas. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I'll list the three main ones: 1. Environmental Impact - It's obvious the more people go to a place, the more worn-down the place becomes! We are hoping to reduce our own footprint (literally) by exploring new places and drawing less attention to the already crowded places. 2. Client Experience - Have you ever tried to have a sweet moment with your partner only to feel super uncomfortable because there are 4 tourists taking photos of you and 25 other tourists watching? Some of our clients have. Unfortunately, that's just the reality of some locations, but we want to work harder in 2018 to find gorgeous, intimate locations so our clients can enjoy each other with only our camera in their face ;) 3. Creativity - This one is probably the most obvious, but it's honestly hard to be creative with every couple when we are in the same location 4 times in one week. Don't get me wrong, these places are different every time (weather, lighting, etc), but I always find myself pushing more creative boundaries in new places or when I've had a long break between shooting in one place more than once.
Automate More » Okay, this one might get boring to non-entrepreneurs, but the truth is I hate when I'm spending time doing something when I know a computer or assistant couple do it for me. In 2018, I want to hone in on my tasks and figure out which ones I can outsource. Obviously a lot of things will still be done by me, but there are a few random tasks that can definitely be taken off my plate! The less time I spend behind the computer, the more I get to play (see above!)
Be a Better Wife, Daughter, Friend, Human » This one should be obvious, but honestly in 2017 I was a really good photographer, businesswoman + entrepreneur, but the other things mostly took second-priority. I realize that's how it goes when you start a business (or in our case, drastically change it and grow it), so I'm glad my people stuck with me while we skyrocketed to success, but now that we're where we are, I want to focus more on the other aspects of my life. I want to spend more time with Callen (QUALITY time), more time calling friends and family, and more time enjoying myself and others without thinking about or talking about business. Any tips for overcoming workaholism are greatly appreciated!
Keep Growing, Learning, and Improving » Scaling back booking numbers doesn't mean we're going to stop pouring our all into this business, it simply means we'll do a better job of pouring ourselves into what matters! We absolutely love this job and are so thankful (and amazed) by his past year. Next year we will aim to work smarter, make more money (skydiving ain't cheap), and make our clients even happier than ever. I never want to think I know it all and I'll never stop growing and improving. One of my favorite pieces of advice I've received as a skydiver is to learn something new with every single jump. I believe in applying that to all that I do, so in 2018 I hope to learn something new with every adventure session and wedding we shoot.
If you made it to the bottom of this, you're an angel. Please comment on this post so I can thank you!! There is no way we could do what we're doing without the support of our online community. Every follow, comment, like, share, and late night spent browsing the website means the world to us - it literally gets us to where we are now (what a time to be alive!). We are so appreciative of you. I know it sounds silly, but I honestly feel like we have a little family of online buddies that love us and when I'm sitting in the van in the middle of nowhere feeling a little lonely, it's awesome to feel connected to all of you. 2017 was a wild year and I know 2018 will still blow me away. I can't wait to see where it takes us!
The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.