2018 Recap: Things I’m Glad I Didn’t Know

Monday, December 31st, 2018

It’s that time of the year where everyone is posting their 2018 yearly recaps. Their favorite images. Their Instagram top 9.

There were a lot of things and dreams that came true for me this year that didn’t have so much to do with my favorite images, but my favorite experiences. And that’s what this is about.

If you told me at the end of last year that 2018 would include photographing a couple in the Las Vegas Desert, I’d say you were joking.

Or the brisk CO sand dunes and mountains.

Definitely joking about the cozy Portland atmosphere.

Or that I’d jump on a plane on a whim and photograph a couple in Central Park in NYC.

And probably even more that hadn’t been planned since the first draft of this post. Being a wedding/couple/portrait/adventure photographer isn’t and never has been a job for me. It’s the fact that I’m honored and beyond myself that I get to take part in these experiences with people that actually trust me to make images of them. I get to stand on mountains and in deserts and in people’s homes. I photograph people while I’m 3 inches from their faces and they are still having a joyous and amazing time. And how in the hell did I manage to land this place in my life? Why am I so lucky to do this? And while that’s certainly a complicated question with a plethora of complicated answers, the only I can give is that I am grateful to be doing so.

Somehow, I have the most amazing people reach out to me. To respond to my stories. To respond to my story. People that will fly across the country and fly me to them and connect with hugs when we’ve barely met online. These are the things that I am grateful for.

And while I can’t say this has been the most entertaining or visually stimulating 2018 recap you’ll read this year. I hope it’s the one with the most heart.

If I had known what I know now, I would have psyched myself out. I would have freaked out more than I already did in this process. I might have been afraid of the success and the things that were happening around me. It’s possible I would have backed down from my dreams that I was afraid to say. Had I known I’d buy my dream camera AGAIN. Invest in another lens. Invest in my first mentoring session. Or start photographing a type of boudoir that you just don’t see in my hometown.

I would have been afraid.

So I’m glad that I didn’t know what was coming for me.

And I’m still glad that there are things I don’t know that lie ahead. Because for me, fear isn’t in the unknown. Excitement lies in the unknown.

Dedication, pursuance, experience and honesty lies in the unknown. And all of those things also lie in airports. Mountains. Being welcomed into people’s homes. Being welcomed to pet their dogs. And being a part of the stories around me that I may have not connected with had it not been for this passion of mine.

So here’s the cookie cutter part where I cheers to 2019. Because I know it has a million things for me that I wouldn’t be ready for – if I knew what they were. And I’m thankful I don’t.


Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN. 

I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.

This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.

Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and let's get to know each other.


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