The whirlwind that was 2018.

Officially my busiest year in my business to date filled with plenty of highs, a few lows, immense risk taking & a new studio. A year where I have definitely learnt so much about the photographer I want to be, & how my self care is essential not only for my own happiness but for my business, that people change & there’s nothing you can do about it, your family are everything, doing things that scare you really does pay off, it’s okay to say no, it’s okay to put yourself first, planning a wedding isn’t easy, but finding your dress is, there will always be people who try & compete or outdo you, there will always be people there to support you, it’s okay to take a break, spending time with loved ones is VERY important, don’t reveal everything as a listening ear can also be a running mouth, but also don’t bottle your emotions, never settle & never regret decisions that you make because at the time you believed it was right & it leads you to where you are now. Other than my journey of self discovery, I have mostly learnt that I really do have the best job in the world, because this year it really is my clients that have opened my eyes & kept me going. Especially when I was at burn out point & struggling to see light at the end of the tunnel, not helped by a never ending editing pile & spending every free hour in front of the computer. BUT I promise I really have learnt now, not to take on too much, which is why I am shooting less weddings next year, so I can still keep the love for them alive, & so I can concentrate on expanding in other areas, like my studio, & so I don’t look like a dead pigeon for our wedding! & although the editing pile tires me, I wouldn’t change my job for the world, as when I send my clients their photos, making them happy & receiving such lovely words afterwards is such a rewarding feeling which has the power of completely outweighing the ‘burn out’ & eliminating any doubt of me ‘doing the right thing’.

My business has grown so much this year & I have also taken huge steps, such as switching to Sony from Nikon in the middle of my busiest season, shooting two destination weddings - one of which was for my mentor when I first started out in the photography world & one was in the same week as shooting another four weddings! Finally investing in my own studio which will be launching in January! I have met some truly incredible couples & families this year, that will honestly always hold a special place in my heart. I count myself very very lucky & I look forward to meeting more next year, & also in a very nearly fully booked 2020 - which will come around super fast!

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So before I leave you with some of my favourite moments / highlights of 2018, I just want to emphasise how grateful I am, firstly if you are reading this blog, if you read my other blogs, for following me on social media, for commenting & liking my posts & mostly for choosing me to be your photographer whether that was this year or any other year previous or to come! I am not a photo machine, I’m a real human being, with feelings, just like you, so trust me when I say it means EVERYTHING.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year & I look forward to 2019 & all the new things it’s going to bring me. Including becoming a wife! If you follow me on social media, you would have seen a video of me walking through a field filmed on a drone which I posted ages ago saying ‘soon to be revealed.’ Due to being incredibly busy, I haven’t been able to put my new advert together just yet, but it will be revealing that we will be able to offer drone as Rob’s best friend has got his licence! So watch this space & keep your eyes peeled! You can see the video by clicking below….

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Source: www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com

Reflecting.

My job is probably one of, if not the biggest part of my life. Four years ago, I had no idea where I was going or if this was going to work. But I just went for it & believed. I now meet amazing people every week who have chosen me to photograph them. Something which I think is very personal & intimate, especially in these current times of such high insecurities - everywhere. To me, being chosen as someone’s photographer has a much deeper meaning than ‘what it says on the tin’. Whether it is to them or not. But I honestly feel privileged.

After a completely mental summer, I’m now at a place where I’m doing ‘normal working hours’. For example once I have posted this blog, I am turning everything off, unlike staying up until 1-2AM in the Summer. Because I now have time, I can sit back & reflect on the last four years & everything that has happened. Although I get stressed & work myself into the ground, I would not change my job for the world. So to all the couples in 2014/2015 who trusted me to photograph your special day in my very early days, I honestly think about you all A LOT & I’m so grateful I was given the opportunity because I wouldn’t be where I am now. This goes for everyone I have photographed & who I am due to photograph over the next couple of years.

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I find it so amazing when I meet couples for the first time & just think “yes”. I had this on Sunday with Alex & Emma for their engagement shoot, (seen in the image above). The feeling of “we’re a perfect match”. For me - that’s my success. Not winning awards, as lovely as that also is, but it’s meeting couples & instantly connecting. This tells me I am doing something right. Even though I have plenty of days of not thinking I’m good enough. I think a lot of fellow photographers / business owners can relate to this, but let me say, never underestimate what you are capable of & how far you have come.

As you know, a lot of my blogs turn into ‘my diary’, & tonight I just felt like saying thank you. So yes, thank you. x

Source: www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com

Summer season 2018 deadlines.

Well, if you have clicked to read this blog it's a miracle as I know the title is far from enticing - BUT it has to be done, as I go away on September 2nd for four weeks - WAHOOO! However with this comes deadlines & a lot of backlogged editing, so I feel it best to do a blog so whoever needs to be kept in the loop or whoever emails whilst I am away can have something which will hopefully explain everything.

So as you all know this has been my craziest year with the business to date! I have definitely learnt the hard way as I do everything on my own - admin, editing, meetings, the shoots itself, which has meant it has had an affect on my personal life, so I am very much looking forward to spending some quality time & not worrying about "got to get home to edit"! I have currently edited 29,278 photos this Spring / Summer - individually! It's absolutely crazy when I see the number like that. More will be added to that this week as I aim to catch up as much as I can.

So deadlines!

Anything shot before August 18th WILL 100% be finished by the time I go. Every wedding thereafter (still ongoing this week) have been made aware & left with a handful of edits to keep them going. If anyone is wanting a specific photo that I haven't sent them, for example it could be a family member's birthday & you want a certain photo for them, please let me know by August 30th so I can get that to you. The fact I am leaving editing behind is something I never wanted to do, but unfortunately nothing could've prepared me for the workload this year. Luckily I have the most understanding & patient couples - however my wait time is still currently quite quick, I HAVE TO keep telling myself this! I have been speaking to lots of different people about it, fellow photographers, guests at weddings etc, & they have all assured me they know of people who wait MONTHS or photographers who take 10+ weeks to get the photos back, which I can now see why by the way! I would love to know how long you waited for your photos / you'd be willing to wait or other photographers wait times? Leave me a comment! With this in mind, I know I am the one who puts pressure on myself - not my clients, but I am learning & coming to realise that "it's okay"! What it has made me do is amend my editing time to six weeks from now on, & then for holidays that do happen to come up in the future, clients will always be made aware, just like this time!

I can't believe I am fully booked for 2019 & fully in swing taking bookings for 2020 - nearly booked half way! Current open enquiries wishing to FaceTime, will all be organised for this week. Otherwise we can meet when I am back in October. Sometimes however if both the client & myself are 100% sure, the booking can go ahead without an initial meet, as we can arrange that at a later stage. So any enquiries I receive whilst away - I will reply, there just might be a slight delay as I aim to only do my emails one night a week. This will be very difficult for me but it's so important I really take this time to shut off & recharge ready for what has turned out to be a SUPER BUSY October. I will be starting October with a styled shoot & a triple wedding weekend, so definitely coming back with a bang! I also have lots of lovely family shoots booked in, so if you are wanting me to photograph you in October, please get in touch before I go as I am very limited with dates. I will also be revealing new & exciting things which I haven't had chance to talk about or properly sort out this Summer - but changes are coming!

All album designs have been sent out & / or ordered. Anyone who is having an album who has not yet made their favourites, I will start work on these in October. Suppliers wanting photos - please email me before I go & I will send you the link to the galleries once having got permission from the couple! Otherwise I shall get them all sent out once I am back! All October couples have been contacted - weddings after that, if you haven't heard from me - don't panic, it's cause you're not meant to yet ;-) you will be hearing from me in October. How many times have I said October please?! I will probably need to say it again....sorry.

I think that's it! As my automated email will explain in short! I just wanted to make everyone aware that I haven't vanished, just in need of a much needed re-charge. This in no way is an insult to what I do, as I adore my job & actually even more so because of the amazing people I have photographed this year. But because I love it that much, I sometimes forget to love those around me as I don't have time to think about anything else, & this is where it becomes a problem. We are very lucky that we can go away for such a long time, but I definitely think it will take me around ten days to settle - HA! I will try & get a couple of blog posts scheduled for whilst I am away - otherwise see you all in October! I have one more wedding today (later ceremony which is why I have chance to blog) & another on Friday, so if you follow me on social media you will still be seeing new images coming in!

Thank you to all my AMAZING clients so far this year, & to my family & friends who support me, even when I am no joy to be around!

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Source: www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com