Another year has just flown by! When I think back on 2017, it’s tempting to just brush past it and conclude that it was just like the previous few years. I didn’t make any obvious life changes, and in many ways my life has settled into a pattern of photography, travels, and everyday creative adventures. But upon closer examination, this year was filled with subtle shifts. I celebrated ten years in business doing what I love. And while I still traveled a bunch, this was the first year that I really felt like I formed deep roots, finding my sense of community right here in the Bay Area. Plus, there were the little things I picked up, like watercoloring or finally learning how to run despite never having run a consecutive mile in my entire life. I also embarked on this “one second every day” project, and I captured this fun video recap of my entire year.
Ten Years in Business
May, 2017 marked the ten-year anniversary of Anna Wu Photography, and I threw a little party to celebrate! I am so thankful to be able to own my own business doing what I love. I’m hoping for another ten years being as happy with my career. I’m already working on honing in on my ideal clients and aiming to set off in a great direction for the years to come.
Traveling remains my favorite hobby, and I was lucky enough to visit a dozen locations in 2017. For our big international trip of the year, Justin and I visited Amsterdam and Berlin in the springtime with all the tulips. Within the U.S. I traveled to Philadelphia six times; Chicago three times; Los Angeles three times; New York City twice, and I also made visits to Tahoe, Portland, Austin, Charleston, Shenandoah, and Atlanta.
One of the downsides of my jetsetting persona has been that my local friends often assumed I was either not in town or too busy, so when I was actually home, I would often just be hanging out on my own or be catching up on work. As a natural homebody, this worked well for me to some degree, but it also meant that for the past several years, I never felt fully rooted in a local community here in California. 2017 brought a couple new groups into my life that have helped transform that feeling completely. First, I joined a group of fellow creative entrepreneurs blandly named the “accountability group,” because we meet once a month to set goals and discuss how we did on those goals. It’s way more exciting than it sounds, and these ladies have become like family. By the time we had our friendsgiving in November, it was hard to imagine that most of us hadn’t even met by that time last year. I also joined a Lean In Circle, which is also a small group of women that meets monthly to learn and grow together. The women in it are fantastic, and I’ve really appreciated the chance to be more mindful about my personal development. And of course, I maintained ties with some of my closest friends who have been here and ready to hang out between my travels (and theirs too). I hope to dig in even further on these relationships in 2018.
Watercolors: I picked up watercolors in the spring and embarked on a 100 day project, which was really fun. My favorite watercolor sketchbook is the one I kept while on my travels in Europe. I still do it occasionally and hope to continue it as a form of journaling. It was a relief to be a beginner and have permission to be bad at something while exploring it, and I had fun learning something new too. Plus, even though I still compulsively document my life through photographs, it was nice to have a different medium for that documentation. I also started my @makelearndo instagram account as a repository for all my various creative hobbies, and I installed a monthly Craft Day to make my creative ventures more of a social gathering.
Running: Up until 2017, I had never run a mile. In school, when it came time to do the mile run for presidential fitness, I would typically attempt to start running, be short of breath after a quarter of a lap, and then end up walking the rest of the way until time was up, and my mile would just be incomplete. The only category I was ever decent at was flexibility. Suffice it to say, I haven’t become more athletic in the decades since, but I decided this would be the year I would finally learn how to run! Running is the perfect exercise for me. It doesn’t involve fancy equipment, it’s free, and I live right by a 5k loop I can run around. I used the Couch to 5k app, and lo and behold, in my third decade of life, I not only ran my first mile, I ran my first 5k loop (only the distance, not an actual race). That is all to say, anything is possible! You, too, can learn the skill you’ve always avoided learning!
Podcasts: Sadly, reading fell by the wayside this year, but I took up listening to a lot more podcasts, especially since I do that while running or walking. Some favorites, in no particular order: Planet Money, Modern Love, The Moth, Hidden Brain, and 99% Invisible.
That’s it for 2017. It was a wonderful year. Here’s to seeing what 2018 will hold!
Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco but often traveling and working around the world. She creates beautiful, soft, and timeless imagery while capturing the most fleeting of moments. View her work at annawu.com, follow her daily adventures on instagram, or contact her to book your own session today.