2015 was a whirlwind year for us – both personally and professionally! I definitely think we will look back on this year and mark it as a year of change – a turning point in so many different ways. It came with its fair share of struggles and victories – tears of sadness but also of great joy! My husband and I both changed jobs, we moved 3 different times, bought our first home, traveled across the country, and shot 21 weddings! WOW!!!!
My goal for 2016 is to open up a bit more through my blog, and start to share some more of the person behind the lens of Chloe Luka Photography. What better way to start than reflecting on the past year and all that God has done?! Here are some of my favorite memories of the past 365 days!
1. Our Caribbean Cruise! – we traveled to 5 southern Caribbean islands over 7 days in March, and it was wonderful. Tim’s favorite island was Dominica, where we jumped off waterfalls and hiked through the tropical forests. My favorite island was Barbados, where we went on a catamaran day cruise!
2. Walk through a Wedding with Justin & Mary – This was a huge turning point for Chloe Luka Photography this year. I chose to invest in furthering my education with some of the best wedding photographers in the nation! I traveled to Nashville for a full day of hands-on learning as they walked us through an entire wedding day from start to finish. This was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my business!
3. Quitting my full-time day job to pursue photography FULL TIME! – This was a huge leap of faith, but definitely what propelled Chloe Luka Photography forward in 2015. It was hard to say goodbye to my amazing co-workers (who threw a party in my honor, complete with pink chai cupcakes!), but it was exciting to step into a new chapter and pursue what I have such a passion for! This also allowed me to make some big changes for my business – including launching my new and improved website, client lounge and promo video!
4. Moving to Indiana – On top of my transition to full time photography, my husband Tim also transitioned to a new job as the worship leader for College Park Church – Fishers Campus, in Indiana! (I told you it was a year of big change for us! Jobs, states, homes – we’ve done it all!) It was hard to leave our friends and church family in Ohio, but we have felt God’s affirmation in this decision over and over again in our new community. We are so thankful for His faithfulness every step of the way. (Oh, and did I forget to mention Tim also graduated with his Master’s Degree from Southern Seminary this year as well? My man amazes me.)
5. My sister coming to visit – Although Abigail and I are 10 years apart, we are the best of friends. She’s never been old enough to travel by herself to come and see us (since my family lives in New York), but this year was the year! She came for a whole week, and we celebrated by road tripping to Michigan and Ohio for a double-header wedding weekend, where she was my assistant and second shooter!
6. Traveling home to New York to photograph a wedding – I was thrilled to be able to make the trip home to a shoot my first wedding in New York this year! It was awesome to be able to combine my work with spending time with my family for the week, and I loved every minute! (And my sister was able to second shoot with me again! So fun!)
7. DISNEYWORLD FOR A DAY! – Let’s be honest. I could probably have my top 15 moments of 2015 all be from Magic Kingdom. But I restrained myself 😉 We met Tim’s family for a vacation in Florida, and were able to fly out one day early to celebrate our 3 year anniversary at Disney! I basically cried with joy the whole day and it was just as magical as I imagined. We had lunch at the Beast’s castle and dinner at Tony’s (from Lady & the Tramp) while we watched the Electric Light Parade, and ended the day with the incredible fireworks show and staying past the time of the park’s closing for ‘The Goodnight Kiss’!!
8. Sarasota, Florida for Luka Family Vacation – After Disney we met up with Tim’s family for a week in Florida together! The weather was perfect and we enjoyed lots of lazy mornings, beach days, game nights, paddle boarding (which included a quick trip to the E.R. for me! ugh!), and snuggles with our sweet new niece, Piper 🙂
9. Chicago with Friends – Over Labor Day weekend our dear friends from Ohio came to visit us for a quick trip to Chicago! We loved exploring the city – making stops at the Zoo, Navy Pier, Giordano’s for some deep dish pizza, and of course, The Bean 😉 The night before we all went to Medieval Times and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. It’s basically the closest I will ever get to being a princess, so I fit in real well with all the 5 year old girls cheering on their knights.
10. Buying our first HOME! – Again, the year of big changes and big steps for the Luka’s! After a few months of searching, we finally closed on our first home in October. It has been a perfect fit for us, and while decorating is pretty overwhelming for me, I’m excited for a few slower months at the start of 2016 to get to work on some house projects together! Moving in was another confirmation of the wonderful community God has placed us in. We were overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our College Park family to help us get settled in! In those first few weeks we hosted several members of Tim’s family and my family that came out to celebrate this huge step with us, and we loved being able to see all of them! (Especially our sweet little niece 😉
11. Colorado for Thanksgiving – We flew out West to celebrate Thanksgiving with Tim’s family! We loved being able to spend a few days with them – eating way too much food, exploring in Estes Park and more game nights!
12. Meeting my FAVORITE Disney Princesses – I couldn’t resist. One more highlight had to go to our Disney Day – most importantly, getting to meet two of my favorite people in the world (besides Tim and Lucy of course 😉 …. Ariel & Elsa!! Tim can testify to the fact that I fangirled like none other when meeting both of them. There may have been tears shed. (My scrunch-excited-chipmunk-face with Ariel really says it all.)
13. Christmas Weekend with Tim – Tim started this tradition our first year of marriage by taking me to a surprise destination for a weekend of celebrating Christmas together in lieu of gifts, and I LOVE IT. I seriously look forward to it almost more than Christmas itself! (Almost 😉 This year we went to Chicago to see the Lion King at the Palace Theater, and enjoying all the Christmassy sights of the city the next day. I think it was our best Christmas Weekend yet 😉
14. New York for Christmas & New Years – This year we were able to spend Christmas with my family in New York for a whole week!! I miss living closer to my family and soak up every minute I can get with them. We spent our time enjoying game nights, taking our first ever family portraits, watching endless marathons of Hallmark Christmas movies, and participating in my parent’s annual New Years Eye Murder Mystery party! This year’s theme was the circus, and to no one’s surprise, Tim (the clown) was the murderer!
15. All of the weddings we got to shoot this year! – Last but not least, some of my favorite moments were spent behind the lens – documenting some truly amazing love stories with some of the best clients in the world. When I quit my day job to go full time, my bookings increased dramatically, and I was able to photograph 21 weddings and 34 portrait sessions (engagement, families and babies!). To say I’m thankful and grateful for each person that trusted me with these precious times in their lives would be an understatement. I love my job and the new friends it has brought to our lives this year!