New Years // seattle portrait photographer / by Mandee Rae

I haven’t ever really been one to celebrate New Years for what it is. I’ve celebrated, because all my friends were celebrating. I hadn’t really thought about what a “new year” meant. Maybe because every year prior, it seemed my life was basically the same shit, different day. It was getting through school, getting through the drama and basically just living life. And that isn’t to say I wasn’t grateful to be alive, or that I didn’t enjoy myself but I never really understood what it was to celebrate ‘a new year’. But this time, this New Year, it is different. I looked back on my life over a dozen and one times this year, and every time I was reminded of how absolutely blessed and lucky I am to have the life I am living. 

If you had told me last year where I would be at this very moment, I don’t know if I’d believe you. I quit my waitressing job back in June, and suspected that by October I would have to go back because my season would slow down so much. And fortunately that was far from the case. In December, I had only about 4-5 days off the entire month from photo shoots.  I originally believed I would have zero booked jobs by November. 

I am so grateful for the people in my life. This year I built friendships that I absolutely cherish and relationships with people in this industry that have only helped to push me further in my career. My best friends and I took off in my car and drove down to LA for a few weeks. We spent weeks in a tiny room with 5 people, and got wine drunk with all the roommates. We took trips to the beaches, and ventured Hollywood. We got stuck in San Francisco traffic, and gave a number to a guy via hand signals from one car to another.  

I saw so many different things this year and I realized how big and how small this world is, all at the same time.  I worked really hard this year, and I am ecstatic to see how this next year goes. I am beginning my first month in the new year in a different state and then a different country. All thanks to my photography. I don’t know if there is a better way to bring in a new year than that. March 1st, my boyfriend and I are out of our lease and we will be moving into a house! 

That all being said I am celebrating this New Year the right way. I understand what it means this year and how exciting it really is to celebrate my successes and my hard work this year.  I will be opening a bottle of bubbly with my friends in celebration of everything this year and the excitement for what lies ahead next year.  

So in celebration I made a DIY Pinterest inspired gold backdrop. Using both gold wrapping paper, and gold fringe. And spent my 6th New Year in a row with my best friend, Allie Taylor. 

Some of my resolutions:
- Become more organized
- Update my blog with almost/every shoot I do
- After every shoot, think about what I could have done better and improve on that next time
- Reply to clients in 24 hours or less 
- Travel at least 10 different places this year
- Make more short films 
- Make an detailed excel sheet