2017 review + 2018 goals. And just like that, 2017 is over. I know the older we get, the quicker time passes, but I really can’t believe it. I made it through my 30th year and towards the beginning of this year, there were times I really didn’t think I would. I had many challenges this year, but overall I think I’m in a better place now than when 2017 began.

About Chicago Lifestyle Photographer Melissa Ferrara, chicago, photographer, photography, couples session, couple, engagement, session, Illinois, engagement session, lifestyle, documentary, photojournalistic, photojournalism, natural, candid, Wisconsin, Utah, Michigan, Colorado, Chicagoland, portrait, unposed, intimate, intimate wedding, small wedding, elopement, elope, elopement photographer, chicago elopement, Illinois elopement, anniversary, melissa ferrara, about chicago photographer melissa ferrara


Yes, my mug says “my boss is an asshole.” Yes, I know I am self-employed. You can buy it here! (photo by Ryan Rivas)

I started my first Year Review/Goals post last year. You can read that here. Let’s see how I did!

2017 Review

Last year one of my main goals for 2017 was to be healthier. I started off great, struggled a bit in the summer (Summertime Chi will get you every time), and now I’m back in healthy-mode. I’ve been on a Mediterranean Diet the past few weeks. The first couple days were really tough, but I’m getting the hang of it. Basically, it’s cutting out sugar and red meat, eating more fish, chicken, veggies and whole grains. Here are a few good resources I found if you want to check it out!


Mayo Clinic

Health Line


I started going to Pilates at Studio 1002 and love it! I finally found an exercise that I’m not getting bored with and I’m excited to go every time. Hallie just started teaching at Studio Three, so I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike and taking her class!

I had a lot of highlights this past year. I was going through photos and ended up with way too many I wanted to post. As to not bore you all to death, I narrowed them down, which was hard to do.

This past year I traveled a lot! I went to Mexico for the first time. Not once, but twice! And it was my first time out of the country! I know, it’s not far, but it’s a start! You can see my posts on those trips here.

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My mom and I went to NYC to visit my brother.

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I took my first solo trip. Again, it wasn’t far – it was just to Michigan, but I took the pupper with me and we had a fun road trip together!

I shot at one of my favorite places in the world…on the field!

I took Cocoa on a boat tour of the Chicago River.

I shot at Lollapalooza for RewardStyle’s art wall installation. That was so fun!

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2018 Goals

Personally and professionally, I want to travel more. I have a few things in the works, but now I’m obsessed and want to travel everywhere and anywhere I can. I’d love to do a destination wedding that takes me out of the US. So if you or anyone you know want to plan an elopement or intimate ceremony somewhere awesome, hit me up.

I want to do more creative shoots. I feel traveling will help open doors to this, but I used to do shoots with friends for fun where we dressed up in crazy outfits and got weird, and I want to do more of that.

I bought a planner last year and didn’t really use it. Bummer. But that’s just who I am as a person. I keep track of things on my phone and computer with iCal and I don’t write things down much. I have notebooks I doodle in when I’m on the phone, but then I just plug the important stuff into my calendar and client files. I do want to streamline more of my workflow so I’m on the computer less and shooting more. Honeybook has helped me with that so far, but I need to really explore more of its features to use it to its full potential. (P.S. If you’re looking for a great client management software, I highly recommend Honeybook. You can get it for 50% off here!)

Overall, I think I’m going to be a little easier on myself this year. I always push myself too hard and get stressed and frustrated. This year I want to be less stressed, so one thing I would like to do more of is take care of myself. Spend less money on stupid things and more on travel and taking care of my body. I don’t have a photo of it, but I was able to go to AIRE Ancient Baths for my birthday and holy crap, you have to go if you haven’t already. I felt like I was transported to a different world. So it’s things like that I want to do more of – invest in experiences.

What are your goals for 2018? Was there something you did in 2017 that you feel made you a better person?

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