Another year, another decade, another blog post.

It’s fun and daunting to go back through almost every shoot from last year. These are 100 of my favorite photos I’ve taken, had taken of me, and just some meaningful personal moments. Some of the selection choices are obvious, and some are important for reasons maybe only I will appreciate. Now that I’ve been doing this blog recap for a few years, it’s fun to look back at the huge changes that have occurred in my late 20’s. See year 28 and year 27 here.

My profound thanks to those that have followed my work for any length of time. 30 is going to be a big year, starting immediately by touring with my 12th band. So I hope you’ll stick around! Here’s my 29th year in photos.

Instagram: @annaleemedia
Twitter: @annaleemedia
Facebook: Anna Lee Photography
Snapchat: @annaleemedia


^ Photo by Catie Bartlett


^ Photo by Zenith Richards


^ Photo by Eric Guidice


^ Photo by Georgina Levya


^ Photo by Ben Zucker


^ Photo by Ben Zucker

Hey friends!

I’ve wanted to host an IG meetup forever, so here it is!

Sunday, February 12th, 2017
3:30pm
Arts District, DTLA
#IGMeetDTLA

**Update: I’m super excited to be partnering with one of my favorite tools for this meet up: JPEGmini! It’s a computer app that decreases your photo’s giant file size without decreasing resolution or quality. WHUT. I’ll have discount codes for everyone that shows up! WHUTTTT??

WHAT IS AN INSTAGRAM MEETUP?
An Instagram meetup is a group of photogs (or photo enthusiasts) getting together to casually shoot, explore a cool area, exchange tips, and hang! You’re especially encouraged to take and trade photos of each other- who doesn’t need some good profile pic material?! Then post your favorites on IG with the hashtag #IGMeetDTLA, so we can all check them out.

DO I HAVE TO BE A PRO PHOTOG / BRING A “REAL” CAMERA?
Heck no! No experienced required. Bring whatever camera you have. Bring your phone!

WHERE TO MEET?
Inside the brand new Arts District Park on the SW corner of 5th & Hewitt (across from Urth Caffé). We’ll meet there at 3:30, and I’m happy to chat/answer photography questions! From there we’ll split off, walk around and shoot.

WHERE TO END?
At sundown (or whenever you’re done shooting!), we’ll regroup at Everson Royce Bar on the SW corner of 7th & Mateo, to hang out and get some dranks!

PARKING?
Make sure to check traffic conditions on your route to the meet up and plan accordingly- it’s on Grammy day! There is tons of street parking in the section of DTLA that is the Arts District, and much of it is free. However, it’s a popular spot on the weekends, so give yourself some time. Just make sure to read all signs carefully!

SPREAD THE WORD!
Invite your friends! Here’s some options:
– Post the pic below on social media with the hashtag #IGMeetDTLA
– Invite friends to this public Facebook Event
– Retweet this tweet

See you there! XOXO,
@annaleemedia

I’m 29 today! This is the first birthday I’m not spending in OKC, which is a telling side-effect of how much has changed in my 28th year. I did 8 US band tours, shot 22 weddings, made some friends all over the world, dyed my hair blue (what??), and moved to Los Angeles. Since most of my life is quantified in photographs, here’s my second annual “Best of” birthday post! The fact that I’ve managed this twice in a row is a miracle. Maybe it will actually be a thing.

Thank you all so much for following, supporting, and just taking an interest at all in this one girl’s art. If you feel so inclined to spread this around, that would be the best bday present ever.

Facebook: Anna Lee Photography
IG/Twitter: @annaleemedia

Also… check out this last year’s music obsession, LANY, while you scroll thru the photos below!

Here are 100 photos from 28, in no particular order:

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(^ Photo by Catie Bartlett)
2-x-ambassadors-promo-anna-lee-mediaAnnaLeeMedia-20160128-0213-23-LANY-Halsey-tour-dallas-paul-klein5-armors-band-los-angeles-promo-press-photographer-socal-la-beach10-amber-norlin-singer-okc-music-promo-photographer-senior-edmond5-x-ambassadors-hob-dallas-vhs-tour-concert-sam13-oak-tree-country-club-okc-edmond-wedding-photographer-marissa-clark-smith-bridal13-portugal-the-man-ptm-cultivate-fest-kc-201515-wtm-fans12308810_10101631373197271_7766853599108107531_n
(^ Photo by Cheesebox Photo Booth)
10-okc-edmond-senior-photographer-mitch-park-abby-k-promos7-AnnaLeeMedia-20160117-0354AnnaLeeMedia-20150329-090614-harn-homestead-okc-wedding-photographer-bride-groom-barn-los-angeles18-armors-observatory-constelation-backstage-album-releaseAnnaLeeMedia-20151105-000618-pasadena-wedding-engagement-photographer-old-town-denise-marquez-john-heilmann-modern-sunset35-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-lollapalooza-misterwives34-sws-sleeping-with-sirens-c02-dallas-world-tour15-okc-los-angeles-wedding-photographer-el-reno-festivities-event-center-socal-first-look-bride-groom-portraitsAnnaLeeMedia-20150308-0341AnnaLeeMedia-20151024-180097-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-nicholas-petricca-face-paintAnnaLeeMedia-20150725-058017-pasadena-wedding-engagement-photographer-old-town-denise-marquez-john-heilmann-modern-50-smallpools-lovetap-tour-princeton-university20-okc-los-angeles-portrait-photographer-wichita-mountains-engagment-styled-editorial32-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-lollapalooza-jumpAnnaLeeMedia-20151014-0066AnnaLeeMedia-20140806-11967
(^ Photo by Rachel Martin)
20-okc-los-angeles-wedding-photographer-el-reno-festivities-event-center-socal-bridal-partyAnnaLeeMedia-20160124-000846-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-philly-tla-promo-band31-smallpools-rocording-studio-red-bull-mashup-lean-on-me-la133-smallpools-lovetap-tourAnnaLeeMedia-20150626-0510AnnaLeeMedia-20151110-003527-okc-los-angeles-portrait-photographer-engagment-styled-editorial-snow9-halsey-badlands-tour-dallas12-harn-homestead-okc-wedding-photographer-bride-groom-dog-los-angeles-barn133-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-anna-lee-media-tom-blake-crew5152-los-angeles-wedding-photographer-backyard-wedding-mustang-okc-socal-modern-vintage54-holychild-pizza-liz-louieCBP-Anna-Green-Hair-10-edit
(^ Photo by Catie Bartlett)
AnnaLeeMedia-20151106-0967AnnaLeeMedia-20160214-0203AnnaLeeMedia-20160116-000654-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-omaha-sumtur-sean-light-paintingAnnaLeeMedia-20151001-011585-smallpools-lovetap-tour-anna-lee-media61-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-philly-tla-nicholas-petricciaAnnaLeeMedia-20150725-1402102-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-nyc-terminal-5-crowd-fireflies120-smallpools-lovetap-tour-killer-whales-anna-lee-mediaAnnaLeeMedia-20151029-0700AnnaLeeMedia-20150328-0201AnnaLeeMedia-20160110-0019AnnaLeeMedia-20160117-0123AnnaLeeMedia-20160128-2-2AnnaLeeMedia-20160118-0100112-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-red-rocks-CO-anna-lee-media-band-crowd-sold-outAnnaLeeMedia-20150624-0024AnnaLeeMedia-20150625-0552130-walk-the-moon-wtm-tih-tour-chevronAnnaLeeMedia-20160115-252924-okc-los-angeles-portrait-photographer-engagment-styled-editorial-level-neonAnnaLeeMedia-20151104-0141AnnaLeeMedia-20160125-0083AnnaLeeMedia-20150329-0090AnnaLeeMedia-20151027-0063AnnaLeeMedia-20160110-0026
(^ Photo by Eric Guidice)
AnnaLeeMedia-20150718-0780AnnaLeeMedia-Forum-20150222-0193AnnaLeeMedia-20151010-0188AnnaLeeMedia-20151106-0573AnnaLeeMedia-20150329-3512AnnaLeeMedia-20151016-0020AnnaLeeMedia-20160205-0591AnnaLeeMedia-20150928-0418AnnaLeeMedia-20160124-0142AnnaLeeMedia-20160208-0093AnnaLeeMedia-20151027-044112046588_10153064705397213_1312524314975130464_n
(^ Photo by Cheesebox Photo Booth)
AnnaLeeMedia-20160210-0092AnnaLeeMedia-20160110-0227AnnaLeeMedia-20150625-0897AnnaLeeMedia-20160118-0411AnnaLeeMedia-20160208-0420AnnaLeeMedia-20160209-0184AnnaLeeMedia-20151214-0231AnnaLeeMedia-20160117-0204AnnaLeeMedia-20151110-0056-rgbCBP-Anna-Green-Hair-5-edit
(^ Photo by Catie Bartlett)

Love y’all!

For years The Spy has been OKC’s best indie alternative station, so I was very excited to come on their “State of the Art” segment and talk with host (and long-time friend from high school), Ryan Drake. But his name is actually Rayke. Let’s be real. I was also able select three current fave songs, so listen for those tracks between the interview segments!

For some more detailed information about how I ended up in music photography, check out my FAQ blog post here.

Listen in the player below, or on Soundcloud. My segment starts at the 12:25 min mark.

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Over the last year, I’ve had a huge increase in the number and frequency of questions about what I do. I’m flattered that you consider me when seeking advice, and I wish I had time to sit down with each of you one-on-one to answer them all.

Since there are several questions about music photography that come up fairly often, I’ve FINALLY put together this FAQ blog post! So chances are, if you’ve sent me questions via email, IG, Twitter, or even in person, you’ve ended up here. Feel free to send over additional and/or more specific questions. If I get enough, I may do a follow-up FAQ post, or posts that go into more depth with a specific topic.

I would like to say a profound thank you to all of you who follow my work, I appreciate each of you so much! Please come say hi if you see me around! And if you don’t already, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat (annaleemedia) for photos updates and tour BTS!

<3
Anna

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^ On Smallpools’ tour bus | Photo by Erix Arocha

How did you start shooting bands?

Being a big music fan, I tended to gravitate toward friendships with musicians or other music fans in Oklahoma City where I’m from. I’d already been doing photography for a few years when my hobbies began to overlap. I shot countless local shows and promos for friends’ bands. Often, small local shows will not have any camera rules. They are also usually poorly lit with no pit barrier- so if you can learn to get good photos out of these conditions, shooting shows will only get easier.

In college, I became extremely invested in the school’s event programming board. I gained the position of concert coordinator which gave me unlimited access to shoot some very prestigious artists, as well as a valuable crash course in concert and industry logistics.

These early stages were great for gaining live show and low light experience and portfolio images.

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^ From my first ever promo shoot with Eden Sharmaine, 2009

How do you get photo passes to shows?

Most commonly, photo passes (PP) are issued to a photographer working for some type of outlet (blog, magazine, etc) where the photos will be published. The more relevant and influential the outlet, the better your chance of getting a PP. If there’s a show you’d like to shoot, try partnering with your largest local music publication, or any online outlet that you can build a relationship with. You may or may not be getting paid in this scenario, depending on the outlet and who approached who.

However, many of you may be like me- no association to an outlet. In that case, I take the route of shooting for the band themselves. As a tour photographer the actual band is my client. I also shoot local shows when I’m home. Occasionally I’m hired to do these, and the PP is provided for me. Other times, I want to shoot out of personal interest. If I know someone in the band, crew or management, I will request a photo pass from them directly in exchange for providing photos for social media.

If you’re just starting out, chances are you don’t have a connection. The next best thing is to locate an email for the band’s management online and respectfully request a PP in a brief email that includes a link to see your work. Start out with smaller shows and/or smaller opening bands on large shows. They will be less saturated with PP requests, and it’s a great way to learn and build a portfolio. You will probably not get a response more often than not, so keep improving your portfolio and reaching out. (Remember, some smaller shows may not even require a PP.)

Did you go to school for photography? What should I study to be a music photographer?

Yes and no. I actually have a BFA in Graphic Design, but took some classes for my Photography minor. Do you need to go to school to do what I do? No. But you definitely need to get a technical foundation from somewhere. If you don’t go to school for photography, put just as much time into learning the techniques as if you went to school for it. Shoot every chance you get and the techniques will become intuitive. CreativeLive is an amazing resource, with free workshops for every level of experience.

Having an “eye” for photography is very important, but what separates the pros from the “fauxtogs” is whether or not your photos are technically sound (in focus, well-exposed, in focus, appropriate lens/settings for the situation, did I mention in focus?).

Succeeding in music photography comes down to two main factors: (1) your craft and (2) your network. Personally, I’d place more importance on your craft.

What is your favorite band/venue/lighting designer to work with?

At the risk of giving a cop-out answer, I can’t choose. Every person and situation provides a different shooting environment. I really do cherish the relationship I have with each of them.

What kind of camera/equipment do you use?

I’m a Canon girl! Here’s what is usually in my bag for any given show or tour (plus all the necessary, related accessories):

Canon 5D Mark 3
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8
Canon 35mm f/1.4
Canon 85mm f/1.8
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8
Canon 45mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift
Canon 600EX-RT Speedlight

If you could only use one lens, what would it be?

My answer to this changes based on what I’ve been using the most lately, and for the last several months it has been my 16-35mm f/2.8. It great for both pit shooting as well as for backstage candids with flash.

What camera/lens should I buy?

It makes sense to ask a photographer what photography equipment you should buy, right? Not exactly. It’s kind of like walking into a shoe store and asking the first person you see what shoes you should buy. (What’s your style? Are you going running in them, or going on a date? What color do you want? What’s your budget?) Deciding on camera equipment depends on a lot of factors- most specifically, what are you going to be shooting? If you throw in the fact that you need something inexpensive, it gets even more tricky. I only know the equipment I use- I’ve not personally tested the consumer level (cheaper) options. I’d have to do the same Google search as you to research the best option for your budget. Take note that you do get what you pay for, so a “good but cheap” camera is somewhat of a paradox, but we all have to start somewhere. I would also generally argue that a good lens is more valuable than a higher end camera body for getting by, especially in low light situations like concerts. You can always rent it before you buy, if you’re not sure.

My main point: If you’re extremely new to photography, first do your research and learn about cameras and lenses in general- how they work, and the major differences between each one. This is necessary to know how to properly use it once you own it. Once you understand how they work, you should have a pretty good idea of what you want to buy.

That being said, here’s some actual helpful information. When deciding on a camera body, what matters to me personally are aspect ratio (full- vs. crop-frame), high ISO capability, and sensor size + resolution. Deciding on a lens is more use-sepecifc. They vary based on focal length, prime vs. zoom range, and speed (aperture range). If you’re shooting concerts, letting in as much light as possible is your number one priority, so you’re better off with a lens capable of f/2.8 or wider.

What settings do you use for concerts?

The short answer: There are no “universal concert settings”. But here’s what you want to know: I do have a range of settings that make for a solid starting point.

Taking a picture always comes down to the light. It’s safe to assume that most concert situations are going to be dark. The more light you can let into your camera while retaining a clean, sharp image is where you want to start. For example, I set my camera in the realm of f/2.0, 1/350, and ISO 2500, and go from there. This is very much a ballpark set-up and will depend entirely on the speed and length of your lens, the brightness of the stage lighting, etc. Even then, when you’re shooting bands with an actual light show, your settings will be all over the board throughout the set.

How did you start touring? What was your first tour?

EDIT: To clarify, tour photography (and music photography in general) is not my full-time job. I am a photographer full-time, however most of my income is supplemented with the freelance work I do at home. (See more about this under the Q about my other work!) Full-time music photography certainly exists if you are in the right market. Full-time tour photography is much more rare, but is possible with the right network and the time/hustle it takes to grow into that position.

My first tour ever was pretty unreal: Warped Tour… in Australia. Similar to my start in music photography, my first tour experience was with a friends’ band. They were part of the Australia Warped lineup in 2013. After that I had the tour bug. Although I gained experience and a variety of portfolio images, it didn’t lead directly to any other tour opportunities.

The next band I toured with was Smallpools. They are the band that actually got the tour ball rolling for me. If you follow my work, you know I’ve been with them for long time. My start with Smallpools was an anomaly, in that it broke the “it’s all who you know” rule. I had no connection to them, or anyone they knew.

So here’s how that came about. On the advice of a musician friend, I created a “music photographer EPK” that I could send out, which was a self-contained document citing my experience and including sample images. I researched several bands I enjoy that were either on tour or that would be soon and reached out to the them in the same way that I do when requesting PP’s. When it came to Smallpools, the only way I could find to contact them was via Facebook message. Even though I was a total stranger, they took the time to look at my work. They told me that they liked what they saw and decided to give me a chance based on that.

We started conservatively. I went out with them for one week, beginning in LA and ending in OKC, so that they were able to drop me off at home. This kept it inexpensive since this was an experiment/investment for both of us. Fortunately is was an amazing fit, and Smallpools hired me to continue coming back every time after that.

From there, I was able to quickly build a network of connections with other bands that Smallpools toured with as well as friends in crews with other bands. This led to tours with Grouplove, Walk the Moon, as well as relationships with other bands for future work (stay tuned!).

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^ Diamond Ballroom in OKC during my first run with Smallpools | Photo by Catie Bartlett

What’s your favorite part about being a tour photographer?

From a personal position, my favorite part of touring is that fact that I get to build a long-term relationship with the band and crew. They’re not clients, they’re family. This gives me a really unique opportunity as a photographer. I get to know them on a level from which I can anticipate what to capture, and snag those raw, candid (and not so candid) moments. I enjoy this dynamic more than anything, and based on the feedback I’ve gotten from the bands I’ve worked with, that’s my specialty.

From a professional position, my favorite part of tour photography is that I get to invest in the band’s brand. When I photograph a group so long-term, my pictures become imbedded their image. Being able to invest in them on this level is extremely rewarding, and a great privilege.

How do you adapt to life on the road? Do you ever get tired of being on tour?

It all comes down to minimalism. I really enjoy traveling, so I was already acquainted with packing efficiently. You have to be realistic about what you need and will use. Even when you’re on a bus, storage space is very limited. I have a great packing list that I’ve spent years perfecting. But it’s still tough to never really feel “settled”. Adapting is all in your head. There are also a lot of daily, logistical responsibilities that are quick/convenient at home, but become more tedious to deal with from the road.

Another factor that is not frequently anticipated is how you relate to your fellow tour members. I could spend a long time unpacking this concept, but what it comes down to is this: You don’t go home by yourself at the end of the day. You’re living with these people 24/7, so it’s really important that you’re able to “hang”. Everyone has to make more of an effort to stay positive, be cooperative, and do more than is required to help each other out.

Yes, I do get tired. Albeit unconventional, it is very much a job. It’s not always glamorous. But the hard work has yet to outweigh the reward of doing something that I love so much. It’s important to find your own ways to stay physically and emotionally healthy. For example, I make smoothies for meals. When I have time, I love taking walks by myself around the city. I also go to sleep with my favorite show on Hulu in my bunk at night to unwind.

Perhaps the most wearing things are the sacrifices you make by not being at home- the people, things and events you miss being gone for long periods of time. Tour is a very “removed from reality” head space, and it’s harder that you’d think to stay in touch with friends and family. Mine are very understanding about the situation, but it’s so important to make an effort at staying present in their lives.

What is it like to be the only girl touring with a bunch of guys?

This is perhaps one of my most frequently asked questions, but it’s kind of an amusing misconception. There are always other ladies around! Whether it be a female member of my band, another band on the tour, crew member, significant other riding along, etc- it’s fun to get to bond with them on a different level than the guys.

That being said, females are definitely in the minority on the tours I’ve been on, so I understand the curiosity. The thing is though, that touring is such a different lifestyle altogether, so dynamics like this are just part of that overall adjustment. Living with guys is a crash course in being low-maintenance, accompanied with the interesting difference in personalities. Overall, it’s an environment that I enjoy, and meshing with the guys came easy. Fortunately, I’ve found that every band in the genre I call home are the nicest people around. It’s kind of like adopting a family full of brothers.

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^ Just one of the guys.. Leg 1 of the Smallpools Lovetap! Tour

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^ With Hannah Hooper of Grouplove, Honda Civic Tour | Photo by Elli Papayanopoulos

What is your advice to new photographers?

Just a few points that come to mind, in no particular order:

Put your craft above everything else. The key to getting where you want to be with anything is to ensure what you’re putting out is high quality. I understand being anxious about your end goal- just wanting to be in that position. But don’t jump the gun on quality and experience. The market is oversaturated with mediocre photographers, so let’s raise the bar of the industry!

Specialize in something and be persistent. This is the best possible marketing advice I can give. If you want to get to the next level, it’s better to be known for doing one thing really well, rather than spreading yourself too thin. That’s not to say you can’t and shouldn’t shoot multiple things- just filter what you put out there!

Adopt a style, but don’t over-process. Half of the fun of digital photography is what you do with the image after you take it. But don’t let you photo get lost in heavy-handed editing. This screams amateur. Work on taking quality photos, so you’re not editing to fix them, but rather to gently enhance them.

Narrow down more. It’s easy to get attached to nuances in each image you take, or to see the redeeming qualities in less than great images. However your end viewer is making a more detached, objective judgement, especially when it comes to music clients. A handful of solid images looks much better than a ton of mediocre options. It took a while to train my creative brain in this. Now the one test I use is to ask: “Can this photo stand alone as a solid image?” If not, it gets cut. (It gets easier with practice.)

How are you able to stand out as a photographer?

The biggest compliment for me is when someone says they can recognize my work. As a general rule, having a consistent style is very important to get your of work to stand out. Here “style” refers to everything from the way you frame photos, posing/direction, the way you treat light, editing, etc. These things comprise your overall style.

On a more personal level, I’ve found that working mostly with bands in a very close-knit genre has been helpful. They share a fan base, and often other industry contacts, so I’ve been recognized for my work in these circles.

Stay present on social media with quality content, and find unique ways to market yourself! Interacting with those who follow your clients or your work makes a huge difference.

What is the #ALMfancam, and how did it come about?

The #ALMfancam is a project I started as a way to give fans an all-access peek into what I get to do every day. I encourage concert goers to be the first one to put a disposable camera in my hand day of show. They communicate with me via Twitter to claim the camera for their city, by sending a selfie in line with their disposable. I keep the camera with me throughout the day and fill it with exclusive backstage photos and shots from the pit.

I first witnessed this done while on tour with Grouplove. A couple of times, a concert goer would come early bearing band gifts and disposable cameras for them to use. I saw it again most recently with Magic Man, for which I commandeered the camera during the set. It was fun, but what really registered with me was witnessing their excitement to get the camera back, and then seeing the developed photos in a later tweet. I realized that I could help facilitate this experience. I can give people a more comprehensive and intimate peek into their favorite bands’ lives behind the scenes, as well as to snag a few show photos for them from spots they would not otherwise have access too.

The response has been amazing so far, and fans have gotten in line to claim the #ALMfancam as early as 5am!

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^ #ALMfancam photos of Walk the Moon, Talking Is Hard tour

What are your biggest challenges as a photographer?

As with any creative career, photography is half creativity and half business. That’s one of the biggest challenges, because freelancers have to learn every aspect of running that business.

Staying creative and motivated can also be a challenge. Creativity is an exhaustible resource like anything else, so it’s important to actively seek inspiration, and take time for yourself to relax. I also make time to do personal projects- things just for fun, so that it’s not all client work.

Do you shoot anything besides music?

Yes! I have an established wedding photography business in Oklahoma (that I’ll be expanding to LA at the end of this year). I love the variety of shooting a completely different subject when I’m not on tour. Wedding photography has a more feminine and romantic vibe, but it’s fun to see how I can merge it with my music and promo style for a more modern and edgy approach.

I also get an assortment of clients requesting everything from fashion to commercial to high school senior photography, as well as doing my own personal projects, shooting with friends, or even just phone art for Instagram.

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^ OKC wedding clients

Do you give photo lessons?

I do give general photography lessons locally in OKC when I’m home, but I’ve got some fun announcements for my followers and aspiring music photographers coming down the pipe, so stay tuned!

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^ Smallpools Lovetap! tour | Photo by Erix Arocha

Today I am 28. Considering that 27 was one of the most exciting (and challenging) year of my life, I can’t wait to see what happens next. The next 12 months include shooting around 20 weddings, my 4th US tour with Smallpools (and others), my best friend’s wedding, and just before the end of the year- moving to Los Angeles (surprise?). And that’s just what I know.

A lot of photographers post a “Best of 2014” photo roundup on their blogs featuring their favorite photos of the last calendar year. I chronically wait too far into January every year to put one together myself, so I decided to do a post on my birthday over my favorite photos from my 27th year. I selected 100 photos, not for their technical execution or significance to the subject, but because I just personally really like them, or because of what they mean to me. And this is only a fraction of the images I wanted to post.

Check out my musical obsession of the last year, Handsome Ghost:

In no particular order:

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1-elms-okc-oklahoma-band-promo-photographer-chelsey-cope-la-austin

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If you made it all the way to the end of this post and enjoyed what you saw, I’d love for you to follow me on Facebook and Instagram (@annaleemedia)! Thanks for the love, friendship, support, time, shares, or just for looking at these photos. Feeling very blessed.

This winter I traveled to Nicaragua to visit one of my best friends and old roommate, Stephanie, who moved down over a year ago to do help run a clinic. At the end of my trip, I also had the opportunity to teach a wedding photography workshop with my Nicaraguan photographer friend, Rafa!

Stephanie was in town for the holidays, so I flew back down with her and her roommate Jamie to stay for about 10 days. We landed in the capital city Managua and drove to Stephanie’s town of Somotillo, a rural community in northern Chinandega, near the Honduran border. While there, I visited the clinic where she worked, met some nice people, and explored the area.

Stephanie and I then took a weekend trip to León. We stayed in a hostel the night before going Volcano boarding- an obscure extreme sport where you hike up the side of an active volcano, and if that doesn’t kill you, slide down the entire side of it on a wooden board. It was awesome. And I will NEVER do it again. That night we stayed in an amazing beachside hotel on Poneloya beach and relaxed.

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Many images not featured here (including volcano boarding, as it wasn’t safe to bring my real camera) are on my instagram feed, so check that out!

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The last two days of my trip I spent back in Managua where I taught a “Taller de Fotografia de Bodas” with the help of my friend and translator Rafa. It was an amazing experience to be in the role of an educator, helping other photographers in my industry and sharing any information that might be helpful. We spent some time in a classroom setting as well as on location working with some models during a mock portrait session:

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In mid-November, my friend Nathan and I set aside a day to do something we had always wanted- explore some of Oklahoma’s “ghost towns”. They ranged from small towns to overgrown intersections in the middle of nowhere. In addition to these shots, more can be seen in older posts on my Instagram feed. Photos of me were taken by Nathan.

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My sisters and I are far enough apart in age and where we live, so we don’t get to spend a lot of time together. We took a quick weekend road trip to Dallas to hang out and take pictures! The following chronicles just part of what we did and where we stopped.

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May 21st, 2013

I took Mark Zimmerman’s first and only other Night Photography class at UCO a few years ago now. It was easily one of my favorite classes in college, not to mention I made some of my best friends (Clifton, Jarrett, and Jon) during our outings to photograph Oklahoma in the wee hours of the morning. If these interest you, take a look back through past blog posts, as the guys and I have met up several times since the first class for Night Photography reunions.

We found out that Mark was planning on bringing the class back as a summer intersession class, so we tagged along to a cool property in Arcadia, Oklahoma and revisited some subjects that we shot several years ago. Here are a few of my favorites from our visit.

© Anna Lee Media | Oklahoma Art Photographer

© Anna Lee Media | Oklahoma Art Photographer

© Anna Lee Media | Oklahoma Art Photographer

© Anna Lee Media | Oklahoma Art Photographer

© Anna Lee Media | Oklahoma Art Photographer

© Anna Lee Media | Oklahoma Art Photographer