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FAVORITE SHOTS OF 2016

2016 was a great year for me! I got the gear of my dreams,  spent six months on the road on Vans Warped Tour and High School Nation with truth, thousands of images more than I did in 2015, and learned so much about editing and workflow.

Here are my favorite images from this year!

 

COHEED & CAMBRIA MARCH 2016 ORLANDO, FL

I got approved to shoot them day of the show and was so grateful. I hopped in a car and made the 4 hr trek to Orlando to shoot them and the show is still one of the most memorable shows of 2016 for me.

SILENT PLANET JULY 2016 SYRACUSE, NY

This was my fourth time shooting Silent Planet and third time catching them on Warped. I got pretty complacent and actually thought "I'm pretty sure I have every shot imaginable of this band... I'm going to go find some chill" then during the band's last song their vocalist, Garrett, did something I had never seen him do before during their set. He got in the crowd, scaled the sound booth, then jumped back into the crowd and ended preforming the song in curled up on his knees. I ran over and snapped this and was immediately stoked on it.

ANTHONY AUGUST 2016 PHOENIX, ARIZONA

I shot a lot of photos with my friend, Anthony, who happens to be a really incredible producer and DJ, for his sponsorship with Staple Pigeon. On an off day in Arizona he had gotten stuff from a skateboard company he wanted to try out a sponsorship with so we just started goofing off and shooting around the beautiful resort we got to stay at.

NATASHA MIAMI APRIL 2016 SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST

While on High School Nation Tour with truth, Melissa, our lovely marketing director, took us hiking after work to find a natural hot spring in the San Bernardino National Forest. I was hilariously unprepared for the hike other than having a swim suit on under my clothes. Regardless of that, the hike and the springs were incredible, I got a bunch of cool photos and videos, and I can't wait to go back some time in the near future.

SELF PORTRAIT MAY 2016 DIY HOME STUDIO

I had to have a decent photo of myself to submit for my Warped laminate photo so I set up all my lighting in my bathroom and shot a bunch of photos. I didn't end up using this one for my laminate but it was my favorite of the entire set. The photo next to it is a double exposure I made during a bout of hotel boredom on an off day this fall somewhere outside of Philly. It was my first attempt at breaking out of my comfort zone when it comes to editing and it's my favorite experimental edit from this year.

KELLIE JULY 2016 WISCONSIN DELLS, WI

Karina did some killer makeup on Kellie to recreate the design on one of truth's T shirts and helped me stea--borrow light bulbs from the hotel for my soft boxes. I was really happy with the final outcome and so was the PR/Social team at the office!

EMAROSA MARCH 2016 GRAND PRAIRIE

BLESSTHEFALL MARCH 2016 GRAND PRAIRIE, TX

The photo pit at So What?! Music Festival was the most packed pit I had ever shot in. I didn't want to be a jerk and reach over people for all my shots because there was always someone behind me trying to shoot. I was 100% not satisfied with most of what I shot that day but this shot and the one above it quickly became my favorites.

BAD SEED RISING JULY 2016 HOLMDEL, NJ

I kept to myself for the most part on Warped this year (something I largely regret but that's a story for a later day) but all my friends/co-workers were social butterflies and made friends with Bad Seed Rising. I remember running over to Full Sail after work with Kami (@kamithomass) to attempt to catch Silent Planet's last set of the tour, completely missing it, and ending up catching Bad Seed Rising instead. Kami had gotten pretty close with Fran, the band's vocalist, so she got all up in Kami's lens  so she could get cool shots. I 110% got this shot because I was shooting behind Kami with a tighter focal length. #photoleech

DYLAN JULY 2016 ORLANDO, FL

Kami's long time friend Dylan came out to visit her at Warped and hang out with everyone at the truth truck. He ended up getting involved in a head banging competition in the pouring rain and I ended up capturing what is now one of my favorite photos I've ever taken.

WARPED TOUR FAN JUNE 2016 SAN ANTONIO, TX

It kills me that I don't remember this person's name and lost their info. I met them after a rain storm and could not stop staring at their hair color. It was the most impressive hair color combo I had ever seen and it was just executed so well. I snapped a portrait of them after our chat to remember them and their experience hanging out at the truth truck. When I developed the shot in post I ran to show  the only person on the bus that was awake at the time and asked them what they thought because the photo made me feel things (really happy and nostalgic about my youth) I remember going to so many rainy warped days, still being stoked on the day regardless of how soaked I got. It made them feel similar things as well so I posted it on instagram and a lot of people also connected with it.

I love this photo because it embodies Warped Tour to me. There are so many young kids having the most unforgettable days of their lives and this photo is my favorite of 2016 because I feel like this truly captures the essence of Warped youth.

 

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS


 

SPENCER CHAMBERLAIN JULY 2016 COLUMBUS OHIO

Underoath and Beartooth played a song together at the APMAs and I lost my damn mind. I shot for 30 seconds and then yelled the words to "It's Dangerous Business" while holding on to the equally as stoked girl next to me. It was an iconic moment for sure.

KAMI AUGUST 2016 LAS VEGAS. NV

Kami is just a gorgeous person inside and out and I think this captures just a tinnny amount of that.

DESI JULY 2016 GETTYSBURG, PA

He told me that this photo got him a lot of Tinder dates and eventually got him cast on a series that miiight get sold to Netflix. I think those are the markers of a good portrait?

SILENT PLANET JUNE 2016 NASHVILLE, TN

This was my first time seeing Silent Planet on Warped, I told all of my co-workers to come to their set to see them even if it was for a second and they all did (even our marketing director!), there was a marriage proposal, and all my photos came out like trash except for this one. I remember thinking after their set "That was really dope." and all my co-workers became fans of them as well. I like this photo but only the large blown up on my VWT blog post version for some reason. 

X AMBASSADORS JUNE 2016 FT. LAUDERDALE, FL

This was the first photo I started experimenting with different color tones and when I was done I thought "What have I been doing my whole life not editing with this in mind?!"

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BROADSIDE JULY 2016 SOMEWHERE IN OHIO

I remember seeing Warped Tour band photos of this gorgeous wooden amphitheater on tumblr when I was a little twerp. I made my rounds after work, took one look inside the amphitheater and immediately headed into shoot the next band that went on. It was Broadside and they played to kids watching them from 50 feet away due to a hole in the GA pit that had been created by fans jumping too hard???  I shot them and thought all my shots were trash until looking through them two months later and finding this gem.

 

And there you have it; my favorite shots from 2016!

Nicole StephensComment