2016 Year In Review | Jennie Crate, Photographer

2016 was a bit of a mixed bag for me personally.  By far the highlight was October 22, when my wife gave birth to our first biological child–a son named Easton.  In contrast, the low was October 12, when our foster son of almost one year returned home to his biological mother.  To say October was an emotional month is a big understatement.

Then, a few weeks later, I witnessed a president being elected whose values, and the values of the team he surrounds himself with, go against the very core of who I am and who my family is.  My wife woke me up crying at 3am because our new president has so much power to undo many of the steps forward our country has taken over the last 8 years.  Though we might not be the most targeted group, there are many things for us, and the LGBT community, to worry about.

While I don’t typically chat politics on the blog, I mention this now because it ties into one of my core business beliefs.

I believe that there is beauty in what makes other people uncomfortable.

I say this as a member of the LGBT community who had to find the inner strength when I came out to push back against the people who didn’t accept me for who I was.  I had to be strong in my belief that making other people happy at the expense of my own happiness wasn’t worth it.  I realized very quickly that if I let other people put me down for who I loved, that I could never come to a place of acceptance and real joy.

And there is so much joy and beauty in my relationship with my wife.  I don’t care if us holding hands makes other people uncomfortable.  I will walk by with my head high because our relationship is one of the best parts of me. And I’m not afraid to show it.

Which brings me to the real point of this blog–to highlight the amazing year I’ve had photographically.

2016 Year in Review | Intimate Colorado Wedding Photographer

While there were ups and downs personally, I’ve continued to grow professionally and I can say that I’ve made great strides towards solidifying my brand and the kind of artist that I am at the core.

I started the year by going through specialism coaching with Sarah Roshan. Through the process, I honed in on what was important to me in wedding photography: intimate moments between couples, a focus on the adventure of marriage, and couples who want to express themselves fully. I also took the leap and re-branded the business to be about me, and not about me and Heather.  I realized that I was using my wife as a crutch in the business.  Heather is a people person and I’m an introvert.  I thought I needed that extroverted personality to attract my ideal clients.  But what I realized through the coaching process is that I CAN attract my ideal clients, simply by being myself.  All 100% of my planning-loving, converse-wearing, donut-eating, Bachelor-watching, madly-in-love-with-my-wife, self.  I just have to put it out there.

So I did.


I started the year with two professional development opportunities.  I attended Mystic Seminars in Portland, OR and Heck Yeah Photo Camp in Joshua Tree, CA.  Both were great ways to start off the year. Along with some of my colleagues from Denver, we explored in the rain, tried out new equipment, got up at sunrise to shoot in the desert and coined the term #themagicisinthemuck. (Photos of me by Savannah Chandler)

bride in lace dress in desert photo
bride with joshua trees in dessert photo
engagement session with couple and dog in desert photo
Joshua Tree desert engagement photo
Coloradical shirt in the desert photo
sunrise in Joshua Tree NP photo

In February I photographed two couples in the snow.

snowy larkspur couple's session photo
snowy colorado engagement session

And got myself in front of the camera for a Milk Bath session with Melissa Mullins Portraits.


In March I explored my home Louisville stomping grounds for an energetic session with Emma and Joel.

engaged couple playing on swingsets in small town colorado photo

In April I flew to Old Salem, North Carolina to photograph one of my best friends from college, Rachel, and her husband, David.  It was a wonderful weekend of exploring a historic city, hanging out with my friends from college, and having the honor of documenting Rachel’s wedding.

wedding couple walking on treelined path in Old Salem photo

I also met up with Stephanie and Justin to explore RiNo for a very offbeat engagement session in animal masks.

Wintercroft mask Denver engagement photo

In May I got in front of the camera again for some updated headshots by my friend Kyla Fear and collaborated with some amazing vendors for a styled shoot at the Paint Mines, CO.  The shoot will be featured in Burnett’s Boards in February and we’re super excited!

Lost gulch boulder colorado portrait photo
naked cake and bouquet with feathers and succulents

In June I explored the Vail valley with Michael and Charlie and had a blast getting to know them before their September wedding.  Then later in the month I explored downtown Vail with Stephanie and Chris.

Vail gay engagement photo
vail engagement photo

On a rainy July 4th weekend I joined Chris and Katie as they eloped in Evergreen with a handful of their closest friends.

couple eloping in evergreen colorado

Then I trekked to the top of the world with Annie and Marshall for their epic Mt. Evans engagement session.

Mt. Evans Engagement photo

Finally I wrapped up the month with Jessica and Mike’s Denver Museum of Nature and Science wedding.  It was such a cool experience to celebrate with these two at my home museum!

bride with sun kissed glow on wedding day photo

August was full of wonderful late summer weddings and I had the pleasure of celebrating with Robin and Kyle at the Lyons Farmette, then Annie and Marshall at Granby Ranch.

guest cheersing at al fresco wedding photo
Granby Ranch Wedding photo

Then I rounded out the month with a Denver Photo Betties shootout in Evergreen and a styled shoot at Piney River Ranch, one of my favorite Intimate Colorado Wedding Venues.  I collaborated with Chris Loring Photography for this shoot and we’re super excited to see it published in Rocky Mountain Bride in February.

engagement session with tattoos photo
Anthologie Press Invitation Set photo

September saw me back at the top of Vail mountain for Charlie and Micahel’s wedding.  The next weekend, Heather and I jetsetted to Northern California for a babymoon and an engagement session in the redwoods with Nina and Adam.

vail same-sex wedding photo
hike to abbots lagoon
Redwood Regional Park Oakland Engagement photo

I finished up the month with Anne and Dan’s intimate wedding at the Lyons River Bend.


I took off October to prep for the birth of our son Easton, then I was back at it with Daisy and Lauren‘s MossDenver wedding in early November (my last wedding of the season!).

brides kissing in front of Denver capital photo
Piney River Ranch Summer Wedding Photo
Denver Center for Performing Arts same-sex wedding photo
Intimate Colorado Wedding Photographer

Throughout the year I also had the opportunity to 2nd shoot with some amazing talent, including Chris Loring Photography, Candice Benjamin Photography, and Decorus Photography, Hillary Kaye Photography, Nicole Noel Photography, Chelsea Spika Photography and Alison Emerick Photography.

bride and groom in front of VW bus
Downtown Denver Courthouse wedding photo

To all of the couple’s I’ve had the privilege to work with this year year–THANK YOU. You made me look forward to my weekends, to the long drives into the mountains, and the late nights on the dance floor.  Your inner beauty and your willingness to share your relationship with me means so much.  I am so honored to have been chosen to be a part of your lives, even for a short while.

Keep being you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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