2017 Recollection | A Photo Editor’s Year in Review

February 3, 2018 Blog, Journal
2017 Recollection Blog Post - Favorite Images

2017 Recollection | A Photo Editor’s Year in Review

On January 20, 2017 the Obama administration came to an end, closing my chapter as the Digital Imaging Specialist/ Photo Editor in the White House Photo Office. I was exhausted and at a complete loss on where to go next in my career. The Photo Office had been this amazing opportunity; beyond the obvious, my position allowed for growth, experimentation, and breaking limits. How and where was I to find that again?

Thanks to my loved ones, I decided to take a trip  instead of jumping into a new position. Over the course of 5 weeks, my boyfriend Marshall and I toured the country. (Check out my guest post to read my tips on enjoying life on the road with your significant other). While there is so much to say about this adventure, I’ll keep it short – It was life changing. I returned refreshed, invigorated and inspired. 

2017 Recollection Blog Post - Favorite Images

 2017 Recollections

  • After working at the White House for 3.5 years, I finally met Barack Obama (the first time, thoroughly embarrassing thanks to Pete Souza  thankfully my departure photos went much more smoothly).
  • I left my full-time job as a Photo Editor in the White House Photo Office, packed my belongings into a storage unit and proceeded to road trip across the country with my boyfriend Marshall.
  • We traveled across the United States for 5 weeks. Highlights include: the best Tex-Mex in Atlanta, visiting Marfa when it was closed, jumping in snow runoff after hiking 4 miles out Mount Lemmon, making it to the Golden State, the spa town of Truth or Consequences and our AirBnb in Kensington (the Airstream in Austin in close second).
  • After living with my mother, sister, and 5 year old niece for a month, we abruptly made the decision to move to Charlotte, NC.
  • I heeded Marshall’s advice and commited to freelancing full time. In my opinion a terrifying risk but a truly rewarding one.
  • Edited/ Color Corrected files for two New York Times Non-Fiction Best Sellers (as well as the kids books).

A Photo Editors Year In Review - RoadtripWhen I reflect upon my recollections of 2017, I’m overwhelmed by the joy, adventure, calmness, and opportunities the year brought me. The highlights are broad, but within those are the small moments that stick with you. For example, deciding to take our once in a lifetime trip caused me to pick up a DSLR for the first time in 6 years. The collage above is a living testament to this feat.

Another triumph was jumping into my gig as a full time freelancer. I’m not a huge risk taker so this was a terrifying leap of faith. I knew I intended to offer color correction/photo editing/toning/printing services; beyond that it was a learning curve. The small win that stuck with me was building this website. As a slightly obsessive personality, I aimed for perfection from the start – slightly difficult when you lack content. So I’m demonstrating patience and making it a goal to generate content in the coming year.

Obama: An Intimate Portrait and Chasing Light: Michelle Obama through the lens of a White House Photographer take the cake as my exceptional accomplishments of 2017. I optimized images for both Pete Souza and Amanda Lucidon’s books so seeing months of hard work come together is invigorating. Words can’t accurately describe the process or precise feeling, but I can say I fulfilled a dream.

New Year Resolutions

  • Find (and purchase) a coffee table. After searching for two years, I’m no closer to this purchase. So if anyone knows where I can find a 38-40″ round, 18″ tall, white marble coffee table with black or brushed metal base with a shelf; well, you’d be a life saver.
  • Photo edit /color correct more weddings for photographers.
  • Read more; diversify the style and subject matter.
  • Write one blog post a week.
  • Upgrade from my 12.1MP, Nikon D300.
  • Learn how to better market myself and my services.
  • Harness and explore the depth of my creativity. This is broad as I’ve continuously focused on success and never soul-searching. I’m aiming to find my inspiration and creativeness in 2018. #bigdreams

A Photo Editors Year In Review - DecemberAs I look ahead (and around me at the moving boxes stacked high in our Charlotte apartment), I’m anxious and excited for the opportunities that await in 2018. Next week Marshall and I will move to Asheville, NC – our 6th home together – to take on his new career ventures. I will continue to grow my business as a photo editor and color specialist for photographers. Additionally, I’ll be drawing upon the beauty of the mountains as inspiration in my personal work so keep an eye out for that!

2017 was my year of adventure and self discovery. I’m so ready to see what else 2018 has in store.

Happy New Year!

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Hey there! I’m Shelby, a Digital Designer & Imaging Specialist based in Asheville, NC. Check out my site and contact me with any questions or comments! I’d love to hear from you.



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