My (Mostly) 2012: Year in Review

Goodbye 2012! You were fantastic. It felt like a long year, simply because I saw so much change and excitement. When I looked back at the beginning, I couldn’t believe that stuff had happened just one year ago.

I like it better that way. Simple lives are fantastic, eventually, but with complex ones it feels like you just get … more of it.

It’s the end of the year, so here is my “Best of 2012 Weddings” post.

Except that it’s not about 2012, or weddings, or about which photos are best.

You see, there’s a good reason that I haven’t done a Year in Review post since 2006 or so. When you have a busy shooting schedule, your year doesn’t really end on Dec. 31. You’re still processing away, crafting the stories that you recently documented, and you never know where the next photos are coming from. Heck, I have a fantastic wedding to shoot today, and I’d want to include it in any sort of year-end wrap-up. But the problem is, that means I can either do a year-end wrap-up that doesn’t have the full year … or I can do it some time in February. Neither option works for me, so I’m telling a slightly off-kilter story of a year. From 11/1/11 to 10/31/12. And I’ll do the same next year, so that my fantastic November and December weddings get their due.

But along the way, I realized it’s not about weddings either, or just picking out the “best” photos. I’ve said before in workshops that any individual wedding photo should be about the subjects and content, but if you place a whole portfolio together, then it starts to coalesce into a self-portrait. Wedding photography demands so much of our personal vision that the way we see the world is writ large, and ever part of our personality and experience is part of the story. So this is my self-portrait.

Best photos? Best weddings? Nah, trying to make those sort of choices would have ended my year with a breakdown. But I can tell you how I felt when I took every photo. I am not an impartial observer — I try to take photos that evoke emotions in the viewer, and as that shutter is clicking, all I am is the first viewer. My joy is reflected on my subjects’ smiles, my heart breaks at tears. I can tell you if I was excited, frenetic or calm. I can tell you what the temperature was, and everything that was going through my head for each one of these. And this is from someone who can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday. When I make memories, I’m also making mine. This is my year — presented in a random order that isn’t random.


This post is quite long, and some of the images are fairly big, so I’m putting it behind a cut so it won’t drown the rest of my site with its mass. Also, unless WordPress have fixed the bug, iPads might not load most of it at all. Click on the image for the review.

Published by

Ryan Brenizer

I take pictures.

65 thoughts on “My (Mostly) 2012: Year in Review”

  1. Seriously, you’re like one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Awesome year, Ryan! Can’t wait to see what you produce for 2013.

  2. This was quite a journey. Something to aspire to in 2013.
    Have a happy and healthy new year!

  3. As always, fantastic! I don’t agree with all of the shots, but that’s what’s wonderful! That means we both have our visions and that’s ok.

    Truly inspirational work, Mr. B. Fantastic, fantastic stuff. Well done! All the best for 2013 and beyond!

  4. That’s an incredible post with so many amazing little moments captured. All the shots are just beautiful and inspiring!

  5. You are truly the only photographer in the wedding biz where the word “epic” applies. Always a pleasure viewing your work.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Great post, I also believe that our pictures reveal a lot about us, agreed about your self-portrait, have a great new year, and amazing photos! All the best, cheers!

  7. Great post but you forgot your 2012 photo of the literary trio Toni Morriosn, E.L. Doctorow & Pete Hamill.

  8. Holy wow! I thought I had a grasp on your level of incredible work, but you’ve gone ahead and surprised me- again! Cheers to you and here’s to a happy and healthy 2013!

  9. Ryan, first of all thank you for this post, it has reminded me a lot of this year as I have followed each of your post. I think it’s a good time to tell you what I think of you! Ever since I followed your work and you as a person, I have been inspired and this has made a lot of changes in my own work but also the way I see things and put them together. I don’t know if I’ll ever get as good as you but the portfolio review you did for me has been such a good help. You are not just a talented photographer but also a great mentor. I’m looking forward to another 12 months of incredible work to watch and get inspired by. By thanks to you Ryan and Happy new Year :)

  10. I believe in magic after seeing these. Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for seeing and sharing such exquisite beauty.

  11. Ryan don’t you get tired of the word “awesome”? :) So many good images packed into a single year, all shot by a single person. Really unbelievable. I hope your 2013 is almost as good. ;)

  12. Wow, Ryan…your work easily competes with the best photography out there…better than most mainstream photographers. Congrats :)

  13. Awe-inspiring work. Thank you for having the burning desire and passion to continuously push the boundary of what is possible with event photography. Congratulations on an incredible year – and for the recognition in Rangefinder magazine as one of the most in-demand photographers of the year. Truly deserved – epic work indeed. Thank you for sharing photographs on your blog and doing your part to help educate along the way. Have a fantastic 2013!

  14. Absolutely stunning work Ryan! You are one of the most beautiful wedding photographers out there! Love your wide angle and bokeh panorama images the most.

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