2017 Year in Review // Jess Rankin Weddings + Elopements

Write it on your heart that everyday is the best day in the year.

It was quite the year! I started 2017, with the goal that I wanted to take the year to learn about myself and grow into a full time Wedding Photographer. This decision had come after being in business for many years and spending the past two years working for other wedding photographers, with a handful of weddings on my own. It was big jump and I was finally ready to make it happen. It’s truly special to get to call this my career, and to finally be here after so many different avenues in photography that led me to this point. Take a look at the rad-ness of the year 2017 below and at the bottom check out what’s in store for 2018! (I hope you are apart of it!)

In February, I made my first trip to Portland. Which included hanging out with two dear friends from college, who now call the Pacific North West home. The weather was pretty chilly and the rain never stopped, as we ran around the Pearl District playing in the rain, and at times hiding for cover. This was easily one of my favorite sessions this year, and made this California girl embrace rainy days. I hope to see these two (and their soon to be new addition) on one of my already two planned trips to Oregon this year!

Nick + Lauren’s Engagement Session was truly special, as it brought Lauren, an old friend, and I together for an afternoon and I got to meet the man she was soon to call her husband for the first time. This little lady is one strong and beautiful soul, and I’m so glad she found someone to stand beside for life. We explored West Cliff in Santa Cruz, and wrapped up the day at Natural Bridges State beach for Sunset.

Each June, I spend over a week in Mammoth Lakes, and this little ski town has stolen a piece of my heart over the years. This year, I had the honor of joining Brandon + Sarah who traveled all the way from Texas, and their families on an adventure to the top of the mountain. At 11,053 feet in Elevation on a chilly June afternoon, they read their vows and promised forever with their closest family and friends in attendance and en epic view! I’ve got a couple trips planned to Mammoth for 2018 + will be exploring the Eastern Side of California. 

July started off with Don + Raquel’s Elopement at San Francisco City Hall on the very lucky day of 7/7/2017. A day filled with high energy, lots of laughs, and these two making the final step of becoming one family. After all the official business was done and lunch with the kids, we headed out to the California Coast for a few more portraits in a relaxed setting at Lands End. 

Anuar + Melissa’s Wedding weekend at Triple S Ranch in Calistoga was most definitely a highlight of the year. On Friday Evening, they started out with a laid back Welcome dinner with their closest family and friends, followed by a day that was all about celebrating with their families. Their day was centered around memories with their loved ones instead of details. From live music all weekend and cocktails from their favorite bartenders in San Francisco that celebrated the weekend with them, to a ceremony that brought everyone to tears and the two of them focused on spending genuine time with each and every guest, made Anuar + Melissa’s celebration one no one will forget. 

August took me on a Solo trip to Colorado for a few days of exploring, growing, and learning from Maddie Mae + Kyle Wilson. Drew + Lucy’s session was breathtaking, the overcast broke away for the last couple minutes of sunshine before dropping behind the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Jordan + Deirdre reached out over Instagram a week after they got engaged and were planning on eloping during their trip to California two weeks later! They traveled out from Nashville for their friend’s wedding, and the very next day the bride + groom who they had celebrated with traveled out to the coast and officiated their elopement+were their witnesses. This special little ceremony took place on the cliffs over looking the Pacific Ocean at Timber Cove Inn. It was a beautiful fall day on the California Coast with a stunning and sweet couple! Elopements are an honor to photograph because these moments we spend together and document are how their family and friends get to see their day. 

Want to hear more about their short planning process + how Deidre found her dress for $14 check out the blog she wrote about why eloping was the best decision they made!

October was a month of short planning, Jerry + Jess reached out just a few weeks before their Elopement as well! They had a small ceremony in Golden Gate Park with their mother’s and grandparents in attendance. The next week they invited friends from all over the country for an “Engagement Party” and surprised them all with the news that they were already married, they read their vows again and it was time to celebrate! 

To wrap up wedding season I treated myself to a week in Oregon at the Let’s Go Workshop. It was an incredible experience as a human, as a creative, and as a business owner to learn and grow from the most talented individuals in the industry and to grow a community across the country. Brandon + Gabi Fox came out to spend an afternoon with all of us, it was a dream to finally meet them, and to be able to photograph these two! I mean look how perfect they are! This coming November I’m stoked to say I’m heading back to Oregon for another year of Let’s Go with some of the same rad individuals, and my friend Lindsey Roman is attending this year too! I’m counting down the days, and we’re still over 10 months out! It’s the perfect way to hit refresh after a season, so if you’re a photographer reading this, check out Let’s Go Workshop and get in contact with Grace + Jaden. If you want to see more from Brandon + Gabi’s Session you can check it out here

My very last session of the year was with my two friends in their hometown of Santa Cruz, a place I wish I called my hometown, and they shared this new location with me! I can’t wait to photograph their Wedding in July!

Well, that’s a wrap! 4 elopements and 1 wedding at the close of 2017. On top of that I photographed 35 weddings as a second photographer to a list of incredibly talented photographers. It was a busy year full of growth, that has made me so excited for 2018 to be my first year as a full time wedding photographer. This shift in my business has lit a fire inside of me, 2018 is filling up with Weddings + Elopements, and I’m so excited about each and every couple! One of my biggest goals for 2018 is to blog more, so I can share all the moments with you! You can follow along on Instagram to see all the highlights and all the new adventures this year has in store! 2018 already has some travel in (mentioned earlier) Mammoth Lakes + Oregon are on the calendar a couple of times, and I know more places will be added!

I would love to be apart of your day + your year! Are you getting married in 2018 (even 2019!)? I want to hear your story and your plans! So send me a little message with all the details!

A special thank you to each and every person that’s supported me this year, to all the amazing couple’s and their families who trusted me to document their story, to all the amazing photographers that hired me to be on their team throughout the year, to my family and friends who gave me warm to places to stay through out my travels and understood that work come first. I’m promising myself, my pup, my loved ones, and to my clients, that this year is a year of work/life balance for an even better Jess! Here’s to a year of Rad times!


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  1. Deidre DeFelice

    January 9th, 2018 at 4:58 am

    Love love love this!!! So glad to be a part of your 2017! You’re amazing. 💖

  2. Lisa Fitts

    January 11th, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Your work is so gorgeous and I’m so glad so glad we crossed paths! Also cool you are going back for another let’s go workshop I may have go this year!


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