What a year! 2017 in review.

Firstly this is definitely the quickest year I have ever known but so much has happened & I'm definitely in a place I didn’t think I would be this time last year. It has been both amazing & tough. We bought a house very last minute in the middle of peak wedding season & I had a double wedding the same weekend as moving, I lost my Grandad who was a very big part of my life, again in the middle of my very busy season where I had three weddings on the same weekend. Not only have I photographed at my dream venue Aynhoe Park but I also photographed my first destination wedding which was on the Amalfi Coast, you can see more about that here.  I did a marathon day in the Flower Fields & photographed nine families in one day which resulted in me getting sun stoke - I can laugh now! I got through to the regional finalists of The Wedding Industry Awards & won the best wedding photographer in the Worcestershire county for the Three Counties Wedding Awards & I have had more features in magazines & blogs. My mentor (now friend) Kate Hopewell-Smith asked me to photograph her wedding in Croatia next year, & I also have some other exciting weddings coming up over the next couple of years, but more will be revealed then. So as you can see - it's been hectic but incredibly rewarding. I am completely overwhelmed by the jump my business has taken this year & what the future looks like. I’ve learnt the hard way & although next year is even busier I will be prepared & have the changes set in place for 2019. Ultimately, I am very proud & grateful.

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I have to dedicate a paragraph specifically to my clients because without you, I wouldn't have my own house - to put it simply. Thank you for trusting me & choosing me to photograph, & be by your side on the most important day of your lives. I have met some incredible people this year & made some very special friends. I am excited to be seeing some clients again next year for baby shoots, it makes me rather emotional that I see so much of their journey together as a couple, so being asked to photograph their new arrival means SO MUCH. Not only am I thanking this years, but everyone who has booked me for 2018 / 2019, I can't wait to work with you.

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I come away from each wedding feeling incredibly lucky due to the people I get to work with & this isn't just my clients, it's my Fiancé Rob. I love the fact we get to work together whether that's when he is my second shooter or working alongside me filming the wedding, & our clients seem to love it to! He is the best support to me & I couldn't do what I do without him. This year I have changed my collections so Rob is also included in my top collection. We will be launching a new film & a page dedicated to this on my website next year. I can't believe this time last year I was writing a blog about us just getting engaged in Paris. We know what we would like to do for our wedding so will hopefully get the ball moving within the next few months, we just haven't had chance this year; but I cannot wait!

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I am taking a bit of time off during January & February for personal reasons & to have a bit of 'me' time before the wonderful madness starts, which includes three destination weddings. However I shall still be blogging so you know I’m still here & haven’t vanished off the face of the earth, so if there’s anything you’d like me to talk about in particular, please leave a comment & let me know. Also there’s still lots of gorgeous weddings from this year to show you too!

Here’s some highlights from the year, I can’t possibly post as many as I would like as I have photographed close to 40 weddings this year so it would take a while! However take a look through the rest of my blog posts & look out for up & coming ones to see particular weddings in more detail.

Have a wonderful Christmas & NYE everybody. Thank you for reading & I’ll see you in 2018.

P.S. I am looking forward to lots of Christmas Engagements.... It’s definatley the best time to be engaged, but I might just be biased ;-) 

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Source: www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com

2016 in Review - I am now a Fiancée!

Well, well, well 2016. Probably the best year of my life & I can guarantee that due to what happened a couple of days ago, but I will get to that. This year my business has completely taken off & I have found my feet & the photographer I want to be. I honestly feel the luckiest person in the world doing what I do, it has introduced me to some amazing people & I have made lots of new friends. Thank you to each & every single one of you who has chosen me to be your photographer this year. Although not everyone's pictures are in this blog as we would be scrolling until 2020; I really mean when I say I have loved every wedding / family I have photographed. So this thank you is especially to YOU.

I have been featured this year on numerous blogs & in magazines, a few of which I have attached in this post. It's so rewarding to see your work being recognised & shared for everyone to see. Also a lovely person has also nominated me for the Three Counties Wedding Awards, so whoever you are - thank you! If I have photographed your wedding in 2016 & you would like to vote for me, you can HERE by using my unique code - WR21 - JRP2017.

If you follow me on Facebook or read previous blogs you will know the person who inspired me at the start of my career was incredible photographer Kate Hopewell-Smith. This year I have had the pleasure of being photographed by her a few times, mainly with Rob, & then I was honoured to return the favour. The image I did for herself & Brent is now on the wall in their home & it really fills me with pride & shows me how far I have actually come. I also now love the fact the four of us are great friends & have enormous laughs whenever we're together!

At the start of this year I set out two main goals I wanted to achieve for my business, as it really helps & motivates me. One was to photograph a destination wedding in Italy, which I have achieved as I am thrilled to be flying over to the Amalfi Coast next year to photograph a wedding! The other was that I really wanted to photograph a wedding at the incredible Aynhoe Park - again this recently has come true when I was booked for a wedding there next year. You may now be thinking I am just boasting in this blog, but I am proud, for the first time in my life I can see my hard work paying off. I am my own worst critique but have learned to start giving myself some credit - it's important! There isn't a day that goes by wherein I am not doing something to do with my business, even on my 'days off'! I gave up everything & put everything in to make this a success & 2016 is where I am watching it all fall into place & it only motivates me to do more. I will never settle, stop learning or pushing myself. I wouldn't be where I am without my incredible clients so again, if you are reading this - I honestly thank you with all my heart!

Aside from the business I have had an AMAZING year personally. Last year was very very tough with family illness' & passings but this year has been very kind. Myself & Rob have had four wonderful holidays together, one of which we arrived back from yesterday. We decided to go to Paris for a couple of days once we finished our last wedding of the year & to see us into the festive season; little did I know Rob was going to propose. So on the 20th December 2016 after nearly seven years together Rob asked me to marry him & it was the best moment of my life. I now really know how my brides to be feel!! I will do a separate blog on Paris but I couldn't end this blog without mentioning it. (Oh, I said yes by the way).

In this blog I have attached pictures of myself at work, a few personal ones & then some of my favourites from weddings & family shoots. I need to re-enforce the word SOME as I would honestly include every shoot if I could but I have Champagne to pop & a lot to celebrate! So thank you 2016 & everyone in it - I am looking forward to what looks like an incredible 2017.

See you on the other side & HAPPY CHRISTMAS.

Jessica x

P.S. Look out for little captions under certain images...

Two of my very special squirrel sister brides might recognise this doormat....it certainly made me smile when I arrived on the morning of Gracie's wedding.

Two of my very special squirrel sister brides might recognise this doormat....it certainly made me smile when I arrived on the morning of Gracie's wedding.

This can be a daunting view - but I love it!

This can be a daunting view - but I love it!

I tend to look slightly mad in shots of me at weddings...

I tend to look slightly mad in shots of me at weddings...

Thanks Alishia Love for capturing these behind the scenes moments...

Thanks Alishia Love for capturing these behind the scenes moments...

I don't just take photos on the wedding day...

I don't just take photos on the wedding day...

Had photos with my one by the incredible Kate Hopewell-Smith.

Had photos with my one by the incredible Kate Hopewell-Smith.

Then returned the favour! Photographing & becoming friends with the photographer who inspired you. I feel blessed they have this on their wall!

Then returned the favour! Photographing & becoming friends with the photographer who inspired you. I feel blessed they have this on their wall!

So grateful to have been featured on numerous blogs & Weddings Ideas Magazine. Oh, & VOGUE!

So grateful to have been featured on numerous blogs & Weddings Ideas Magazine. Oh, & VOGUE!

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Alishia Love took my photograph & I LOVE it. You are allowed to say when you like a photo of yourself, I promise.

Alishia Love took my photograph & I LOVE it. You are allowed to say when you like a photo of yourself, I promise.

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Come rain...

Come rain...

or come shine. I love each & every wedding I photograph.

or come shine. I love each & every wedding I photograph.

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I only photograph hands when they are completely natural otherwise it looks cheesy & fake. I looked down & saw how gently they were holding hands & I just couldn't resist.

I only photograph hands when they are completely natural otherwise it looks cheesy & fake. I looked down & saw how gently they were holding hands & I just couldn't resist.

Seen in VOGUE 

Seen in VOGUE 

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The Lost Orangery, Euridge Manor - BEST VENUE EVER. Truly breathtaking. 

The Lost Orangery, Euridge Manor - BEST VENUE EVER. Truly breathtaking. 

One of my brides was brave enough to have some boudoir pictures taken for her groom on the morning of the wedding. But this is all you get to see....

One of my brides was brave enough to have some boudoir pictures taken for her groom on the morning of the wedding. But this is all you get to see....

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Rain! We can handle you!

Rain! We can handle you!

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This wedding is featured in WEDDINGS IDEAS magazine January 2017 edition.

This wedding is featured in WEDDINGS IDEAS magazine January 2017 edition.

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One of my favourite images, totally spontaneous. 

One of my favourite images, totally spontaneous. 

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Louise, my website designer came all the way from New Mexico to see her family & asked if I would photograph them.

Louise, my website designer came all the way from New Mexico to see her family & asked if I would photograph them.

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"Right, come on girls! I want you all in the bathtub."

"Right, come on girls! I want you all in the bathtub."

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So, this is me after being engaged for about 60 seconds. What a way to finish off 2016. x

So, this is me after being engaged for about 60 seconds. What a way to finish off 2016. x

Source: www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com

I have a new advert!

Hurrah! My new advert is finally finished. I am very lucky that Rob is a film-maker & can help me create things like this. We have been filming snippets in-between a very busy wedding season, but unfortunately on my 'days off' I couldn't bring myself to sit in front of a camera so it has taken longer than I thought. However I am so happy with the end result & it was worth the wait.

I wanted to show people what it would be like to be photographed by me & ultimately show them what I am like as a person! As I always say it's so important to meet / Skype couples before going ahead & taking the booking for their wedding, however sometimes with my busy schedule it's really hard to try & find a mutual time. This video gives a little glimpse for the couples before they decide to go further. They may watch & think "definitely not for me" or "she's the one" - this links into one of my previous blogs about 'Choosing Your Photographer' & attracting your perfect client.

I shall let the video do the rest of the talking. Thank you to my lovely Rob for making this for me. You can see more of his work here: www.fuzfilms.com