Listen, I know it’s April and we’re a solid quarter of the way into 2021 but this is my first and probably last chance this year that I could fit in the time to devote to a 2020 year in review blogpost. And something in me would just not let me skip it. I think it’s because 2020 was such a hard, hard year for so many that it can almost feel like a pointless, wasted year to some. Or at the very least, a year many would like to forget.

When I reflect back on these photos taken during that calendar year I have to remind myself, there was so much joy in it too. That doesn’t negate the pain of loss many experienced, by any means. But the joy was there too. These moments of beautiful human connection and growth happened too. And these are only *some* that one individual person witnessed + documented. How many more must there have been?

If you know what my children look like, you may notice I mixed in several personal photos I took of them throughout the course of the year into this JZP recap post too. Because so many of my 2020 weddings were cancelled or rescheduled to 2021, I spent a lot more time just being mom and documenting my own kids with my DSLR camera and thought those might be fun to include as well.

So here it is, a look back at JZP’s 2020. I hope it’s as helpful for y’all to look through these as it was for me.

You can see my full blogposts of my last pre-pandemic wedding here and here. For the sake of this post I had to narrow down my favorites from Cybil + Ambika’s three-day wedding weekend — the following is my best attempt at that haha.

I so enjoyed getting to do a photography mentor session with Madeline this summer — it’s such a joy of mine to encourage other photographers in their strengths + growing their businesses (and bonus is getting to give them some updated headshots like the ones of Madeline below). Our models for the mentor session were newlyweds who had a downsized pandemic wedding in the backyard so it was special to be able to take these portraits of them!

My sister had a bone marrow transplant in a pandemic. Any point I felt scared of something in the uncertainty of 2020 I told myself, “If Jalesa can face what she did in the midst of a pandemic then I can certainly face this.” Her God-given courage — which, let us remember is not the lack of fear but the ability to do something in the face of fear — over the past several years as she battled leukemia, went into remission, celebrated, then immediately faced relapse, a bone marrow transplant at the beginning of a pandemic and slow, important, difficult recovery from the transplant throughout the remainder of the pandemic is a source of inspiration to me, and to many. Below are some portraits I took of her (socially distanced) about three months post-transplant.

My friends created thriving, successful businesses in 2020 (both that I recommend SO HIGHLY to each and every one of you)!! Below you’ll see some headshots I took of my long time friend Brittney of BGD Digital Marketing. SO DANG PROUD of what she’s built and she does such quality marketing/social media work. And then you’ll see some mouthwatering photos of some pretzels that come from none other than Heimat Baking Company out of Arlington, TX. I have taste tested (and photographed) each and every one of their German pretzels + baked goods and let me tell you GO ORDER SOME NOW AND THANK ME LATER.

In August 2020 JZP celebrated 10 years of business! It’s still so bizarre for me to type — a DECADE of getting to do this beautiful work with so many beautiful souls. To mark it, some sweet past clients recorded testimonial videos that you can see on my JZP IGTV if you missed them this summer (they STILL make me teary) and James took an updated headshot for me (because I hate being in front of the camera by myself and hadn’t done so in years OOPS).

It was right after the above very photo-ful weekend trip to Texas that I came home to discover that I’m pregnant with our third child! Beautiful, joyful news that was really complicated for me to process two months after a move to a new state (our second cross-country move in less than one calendar year) and still trying to get my bearings in Louisiana. If I’m honest (after all, that is one of JZP’s brand words), I’m still trying to get my bearings in Louisiana after so much transition we’ve experienced in the past year with my husband’s job bouncing back and forth across the country. It’s been a difficult transition for me. But the news of this third child has been a bright spot in the midst of the hard.

And that, my dears, was JZP’s 2020 in photo form that spanned DFW, Houston, Austin, and sent me into Arizona + Oklahoma and on back to Louisiana. If you made it to the end, thank you, I know it was a long post. All these people, all these individual moments of connection + joy I got to witness, are why I do what I do and why I love what I do.

Love, Jillian

Let me tell you all the reasons why I loved this day (lolololol as if I could possibly list every single one of them): 1) Emmaline + Nikita are the epitome of lovely human beings — there is a refinement and softness and subtlety about them mixed with their kindness that just equals loveliness. 2) Nikita’s grandma and her camera is the cutest thing I may have ever witnessed. 3) Theirs was the first Greek orthodox wedding ceremony I had ever photographed — the guests surround the couple in a sort of semi-circle with everyone in pretty close proximity to each other which made for guests a much more intimate part of the ceremony. Plus the amazing St Seraphim Cathedral was full of ornate paintings and a skylight which made for some pretty epic documentation possibilities. 3a) Also Nikita dropped the ring during the ceremony and the progression of those photos makes me giggle each and every time I look at them. 4) Emmaline is a deep feeler (or at the very least was this day) like myself and that always makes my job so fun to document all the emotions. 5) We took portraits throughout the day in multiple locations is always a favorite of mine — a little here, a little there, always enough time to stop and breathe deeply before moving on to the next stop. As you look through the post you’ll see how they were just kind of scattered throughout the day, not one bulk all-or-nothing-set portrait time, more of an ebb and flow. 6) Their Hotel Crescent Court reception was intimate and slow paced and full of toasts and talking and love.

It was a storytelling day through and through and those will forever and always be favorites of mine.

It was just two short hours I spent documenting Valerie and Adam joining their lives together in front of their immediate families — and it made for a most special morning for all.

The following two images are from the moments Adam suddenly realized her dress was backless hahaha.

Y’all hit me up for all the elopements! As much as I will always love large celebrations of marriage too, there is something so lovely about the simplicity of an elopement that feels so incredibly special to witness and document.

Many, many thanks to Valerie + Adam for having me as your wedding photographer.

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