2019. Man. A year in review blogpost serves lots of purposes. First, it gets a whole lot of images that would have never seen the light of day (beyond the client galleries/homes of course) onto my blog. Since becoming a mom-of-two my work hours got cut down by about three quarters. I never knew how quickly I could edit until my main editing hours became those I used waking up before the kids woke up, nap time and then the hours after they go to bed. I learned I could be HIGHLY EFFICIENT and honestly do just as thorough an editing job before. If 2015 Jillian could see 2019 Jillian edit she’d be REAL real impressed.¬†But it does mean my blogging time is nearly non-existent. HENCE my massive year in review post that, at the very least, shows you I’m still working ūüôā The second purpose of a year in review blogpost is for me to reflect on the previous year’s weddings and portrait sessions.¬†GOODNESS GRACIOUS so much thankfulness washes over me as I look through these images and think about these souls who’ve entrusted me with something so precious as recording their memories on such special days. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all my clients this past year. Thank you for your trust. Thank you for connecting with me and my work out of the hundredsssss and hundreds of other photographers out there. It means so much to me. If I wasn’t afraid the length of my text would keep you from actually getting to the photo portion of this post I’d keep going. But know, from the bottom of my heart, I am so appreciative of you.

Now on to the photos!

Kicked off 2019 with Connor and Allie’s wedding at The Nest at Ruth Farms. This is one of the *two* full weddings I got up on my blog last year (*Jillian hides in corner in shame*) so if you’d like to see more images from this lovely day feel free to click here for a whole bunch more.

This sweet January babe has just celebrated her FIRST birthday — I can hardly believe it looking at these photos from Sutton’s newborn session.

I love me a family session in homes full of windows and love like the Windle family.

Then came the engagement sessions — I loved each and every one of ’em.

My first time to photograph the lovely Katy was at her bridal session and I knew we were kindred sprits when she started to tear up during her session when I asked her to think about marrying her (now husband) Ryan.

I only did one round of mini sessions in 2019 (after three rounds in 2018) — here were a few of my favorites from that stormy day of sessions at The Lumen Room.

Lily + Nick eloped at the Japanese Gardens and I so enjoyed their quiet little ceremony + wandering the garden together for a bit afterwards.

Katy + Ryan’s got married at the Hall of State in April and a full blogpost from their wedding will be up soon because I have a really hard time narrowing down photos of people as expressive as these two. This first image is Katy’s (now, but at the time very-soon-to-be) step-son’s helping dry her tears after she read the letters + drawings they made for her to read on the morning of the wedding. Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet. More to come from this one.

You’ll note from this teeny preview from Jessica + Sal’s engagement session that I REALLY like photographing these two in a close up hahaha. I just love them so much I couldn’t step further away from them!! (I did, however, put plenty of further back ones in their gallery haha all my favorites just happened to be pretty extreme close ups hahaha).

Oh sweet Katie and Jacob. These two flew me out for their California wedding last May and we kicked off photos with some portraits before their rehearsal dinner.

More portrait sessions — summer engagements, an equestrian shoot (!) and a sunrise newborn session to welcome the third little Vanderpool child.

Aynav + Adam — goodness gracious these two (and their Houston wedding at The Crystal Ballroom) just make me smile.

I had fun at Melanie + Michael’s engagement session playing with shadows and sunset reflections.

No smiles can compete with Lauren and Billy’s smiles, I’m thoroughly convinced. Also that last picture of he and his mom singing through their mother-son dance at the reception is one of my favorites.

Cynthia + Bryan’s June wedding was full of family, mariachi and perhaps my personal favorite detail, her handmade veil from Mexico.

This was my first wedding to photograph at Hidden Waters in Waxahachie and it was such a treat for my first wedding here to be Emily and Trent’s.

You guys, it had been a hot minute since I’d had the joy of documenting a proposal but Casey and Samuel’s at Klyde Warren Park had me feeling all kinds of feelings.

Ahhhhh Ameena + Sahir — it’s almost laughable for me to try and narrow down my favorites from their three-day wedding at The Dallas Renaissance so feel free to check out their full blogposts here, here and here (hey, I told you it was three days!).

In August I had the joy to photograph the lovely Tori at The Lumen Room.

Marion + David were so expressive during their ceremony and I COULD NOT HANDLE the cuteness.

Fun fact:¬†I went straight from Taylor + Ryan’s Dallas engagement session (so. much. fun.) to the hospital to photograph a dear friend’s baby being born. Now THAT is a good day.

Brooke + Gordon on White Rock Lake, what dreams are made of.

Y’all, this is coming to a blog near you REAL soon. The last time I photographed portraits of these two (outside of their wedding day) we hit up the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise and these sunrise portraits for their second anniversary were (IMO) equally as epic. Texas was showin’ OFF that morning.

Tori and Paul —¬†two of the nicest humans around and now they’re married.

I PHOTOGRAPHED THEIR WEDDING AND NOW THEY HAVE A BABY NAMED LUCA AND I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING!!

Baby Henry, your aunt Jillian lovvvvvvvvvvves you.

It’s just. I have no words. I loved this day. I love shooting at Cliff House. I love Erin + Kevin and all their people (and their pup).

Taylor + Micah were married at Knotting Hill Place and danced the night away under a full moon.

Chelsea + Patrick are TOP NOTCH. I want to shout it again TOP NOTCH!! Their wedding at The Fort Worth Zoo was so beyond fun, like these two. I also always, always love working with Jen Rios Weddings and, fun fact, this was our second wedding together at the zoo!

Isn’t it so nice to see people you knew growing up so HAPPY? Does the soul good. It was a privilege to document this jr-and-high-school-friend of mine marry the love of her life in October.

Okay one of my favorite memories of this day was when the groom couldn’t find parking around their wedding venue (which was at The Dallas Farmer’s market on a Saturday) so he went back to the AirBnB and rode one of those rented scooters to his wedding. Still cracks me up each time I see that photo — I just happened to be scouting for their first look when he pulled up with two of his groomsmen on those scooters and I’m SO glad I was there to document.

Too many favorite parts of Taylor + Ryan’s wedding day to even recount — the super touching toasts and Taylor’s dad barely holding it together during the father-daughter dance are at the top for me.

My last wedding of 2019 and MAN did it end with a BANG with Jessica + Sal’s wedding. There is no way I could possibly condense the beauty of this day into a few images but here’s me trying my best. Cloud Creative Events and Moss Floral went above and beyond on this one.

Oh hey, we moved to South Dakota. Surprise. I’m still shooting DFW weddings (I feel the need to compulsively say that each time I share the SD news with people). This was my very first shoot ever in the snow. I loved getting to document a bit of the Carlin’s pregnancy.

Remember Casey and Samuel? From the proposal up there? Well I ended the year with their December engagement session and it was peachy as all get out.

If you made it to the end of this post *HIGH FIVE* Thank you for caring. For supporting. And for listening to my rambling. I’m ending this year in review with a few of my favorite personal photos from the year featuring YOU GUESSED IT my family. They mean the world to me. And I think that should matter to you, prospective clients. If you know I love and treasure my family then you know that I understand the importance of documenting yours — your first day of your new family on your wedding day, your newborn days, your big-kid running wild days. They matter. And I care a whole big bunch, about my family AND yours.

SO MUCH LOVE TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU,

xoxo Jillian

I’m going to share with you some of my favorite images from the course of 2018.¬†I am so unbelievably thankful thankful thankful to all the people who trusted me to document their lives this year.¬†I know these moments are precious, I feel it in my bones, and I never take that responsibility lightly. I witnessed the very first day of many families, the additions of new life into the world and homes. I captured the momentous and also quite a bit of the everyday. With my camera I documented stories of love, hope, growth, waiting, beauty and joy. So much joy. What a beautiful year spent photographing some of¬†the most beautiful souls. Thank you all.

It started off with Jessica + Ryan’s Hall of State wedding

Included a whole lot of families photographed in their homes (my favorite place to photograph families)

Shai + Brent made Dallas look real good for their engagement session.

My first ever round of mini sessions at The Lumen Room were so much fun that I planned a second round of mini’s just five months later. Here are some from the first round:

More state park weddings in 2019, please. I so enjoyed Adi + Julian’s relaxed and intimate Huntsville state park wedding.

I got the honor and privilege of photographing several previous brides’ and grooms’ welcoming new babies into their families!

I documented Jacob + Liz in their first home before they jumped into a brand new adventure together.

In April I flew to South Carolina for Emmaline + Nikita’s engagement session on Duke University campus.

Aanchal + Nick had two full days of wedding celebration complete with mariachi + barat!

Esther +¬†Trevor’s SMU Perkins Chapel + Filter Building wedding day was a dream dream dream.

I so enjoyed shooting at The Darkroom studio for the first time for Taylor’s bridal portraits.

I don’t always get to do birth photography with my wedding schedule but it just so worked out for me to be at little Ella’s birth and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Taylor + Johnny’s Brik wedding with¬†Cloud Creative Events + Everly Alaine Florals was dreamy as all get out.

Annnnnd then came the second round of mini sessions at The Lumen Room (shot while I was 32 weeks pregnant).

Emmaline + Nikita’s wedding was my first Russian Orthodox wedding ceremony to photography, which was so fun. I so enjoyed their portraits + reception at¬†Hotel Crescent Court.

Jessica + Kolby’s Cliff House morning wedding was such an absolute delight.

And I wrapped up 2018 with Katie + Kyle’s Oklahoma wedding at Southwind Hills.

If you’re still reading, GOOD JOB! It’s a longgggg post, a whole year’s worth, in fact!

¬†To end, I could think of no better way to further illustrate how much I value documentation and preserving memories than by showing that I do the same for my family. This year we were so blessed by the addition of baby boy Jones Cedar to our family. Here are a few of my favorite images I’ve captured in my own home over the past couple months since his arrival.

It has been over a year since I’ve written a blogpost about a first look, so I asked Julieta and Phillip if they’d share their first hand impressions from doing a first look on their wedding day. For those of you who may not be familiar with what this is, a first look is when the bride and groom facilitate an intimate moment to see each other for the first time on their wedding day before the ceremony.

Similar to Tiffany and Trevor’s story, Julieta and Philip were not sold on the first look at our initial consultation. And that was okay. I always tell my clients that I talk about first looks to let people know their options, as some brides and grooms do not know that they CAN break tradition and see each other before the wedding ceremony without their marriage being cursed with bad luck. I want clients to know that they don’t have to see each other for the first time in front of 300 onlookers. I want clients to know that if they’d like naturally lit, sunny bride-groom portraits (you know, the ones you’ll actually frame and display in your home) AND an evening ceremony they CAN have both.

Here is a bit of Julieta and Phillip’s first look story, (told mostly by Julieta, ¬†as she is the professional journalist of the two — Dallas Morning News, what!what!):

Julieta: “We wanted to go the traditional route and wait to see each other until the ceremony. Phillip and I were concerned it would detract from the sacredness of the walk down the aisle and the wait at the altar. We didn’t want to gamble with those moments.”

¬†“As the wedding approached and we worked out the logistics of the day, it became obvious that we would have little time to squeeze in our bride-and-groom portraits, wedding party shots and family portraits between the ceremony and the reception. I read every blog post and testimonial I could find about the first look. As I studied the first-look photos of other couples, I was moved by the joy and anticipation captured in those images. I also read that it helped some couples with wedding-day jitters, so I talked to Phillip, and we informed Jillian about our change of heart.”

Julieta: “When my brother drove me to the Stockyards for the first look, I had a pounding headache. It was anxiety, but it wasn’t about the first look; it was the weight of the whole day. But as I walked to Phillip with his back turned to me, I forgot about it all.”

Julieta: “It was rewarding to see his reaction to me up close and without the pressure of everyone’s eyes on us. Phillip and I are awkward and self-conscious photo subjects. Yet when Jillian asked us to smile, or laugh or kiss for our portraits [following the initial candid first look moments], I was just waiting for permission to unleash my giddiness.”

(Photographer insert: I believe this photo above shows the moment when Phillip said something along the lines of him feeling like he shouldn’t even touch her because she looked so perfect. Sweet, sweet Phillip.)

I was particularly glad that Phillip chimed in when it came to how the first look affected how he felt during the ceremony, as I feel like that might be what most groom’s are concerned about.

Phillip: “Seeing (Julieta) in the church was like the first look all over again. It was the same rush. I think it felt new again just because of the environment. Everyone was there and it was time to do this thing for real.”

Julieta: ¬†“As I tightened the hook around my father’s arm and saw the chapel doors in front of us slide open, I was overwhelmed by love. That magic I was afraid we’d lose with the first look was very much still there.”

¬†Julieta: “I smiled wide all the way down the aisle, even when my train got hooked in one of the pews and a friend had to come to the rescue. I resumed the walk, and Phillip was smiling back at me. It was perfect.”

Phillip said he would definitely recommend a first look to others:¬†¬†“I think it paid off greatly. They’re some of the best photos in our album.”

To see the full blogpost from Julieta and Phillip’s wedding day, click here.¬†Thank you both for sharing your experiences with blog readers!

I am personally always giddy when couples decide that a first look is the right option for them. ¬†I chose to do a first look when I was a bride and absolutely loved every second of it, especially James’ enthusiastic facial expressions and embrace upon first seeing me on our wedding day. Those up close and personal photos of James seeing me for the first time in my wedding dress in an atmosphere where his reaction could be completely uninhibited are my absolute favorites of my groom from our entire wedding day. It was a good choice for us.

I hope this post helps educate future brides and grooms on their wedding day options so that they can make informed decisions as to what sort of wedding day layout will be the best fit for their day — whether it be first locking eyes when the bride walks down the aisle or if it be in the midst of a first look set-up.

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