Elizabeth and Tim are one of those couples that you meet and think…”I want to be their friend.” They have a natural ease and joy to them that’s magnetic. Lucky for me, I am able to call them friends and I’ve known Elizabeth now for over 6 years. She’s not only a delightful human, but she’s also one of my favorite wedding planners at Bridal Bliss Events. We’re coming full circle, as she helped plan and coordinate my own wedding, and now I have the great honor of documenting hers this coming March. This is one of the many reasons I love the Portland wedding community! Elizabeth and Tim and I all met up this winter for their engagement lifestyle session at the Portland East Bank Esplanade waterfront park and then afterwards for a cheers at Coopers Hall Urban Winery. Love the fun candid moments mixed with artistic intimacy here and I’m so excited to be documenting their first steps together as husband and wife on the exciting adventure of marriage.
Last April I was given the incredible opportunity to speak at Mystic Seminars, a well-known annual wedding photography conference that has been happening since 2005. Upon walking into the downtown Portland Hilton this January and taking several escalators to the conference level, I slowly approached the stage and my heart dropped into my stomach. Not only was this room filled with over 300 incredibly talented creatives, photographers, and like-minded business gurus – the stage was massive: like mini-football stadium massive; ok, maybe not that big, but it sure seemed like it! With black drapes surrounding the raised 1000 foot stage, I swallowed hard and self doubt started to take it’s toll. How could I, a 5’2″ local photographer with no previous speaking experience stand up there in front of all these intelligent people and give my speech? What did I have to share? What if I failed miserably, what if I forgot my presentation and went blank, what if I threw up all over the place?
Needless to say, I spent the next few days practicing, rehearsing, and reminding myself that I’ve been doing this professionally and loving it for over 15 years. I also took the opportunity to learn from best of the best who spoke before me. My time slot was scheduled for the last day of the conference, which also added to the nerves! Some of my all time favorite photographers spoke on the same stage and it was humbling to share the platform with these rock stars of the industry who have been speaking for years, hosting workshops, publishing books, and inspiring thousands. I realized that if I was able to inspire one person, that would be enough to make it all worth it and that was the confidence booster I needed to kick butt and focus on delivering great info on business.
Even though I barely slept the night before my talk, I had practiced so much and felt so ready for it and I did a pretty good job up there! I spoke slowly and confidently, I truly believed in myself and the info I was delivering. I handed out some great freebies, including some of my favorite business books, a huge gift card from an awesome album company, Finao, and incredible software from my sponsor and friends at Fundy. It felt great to give back to the community that has given me so much for over a decade, plus I didn’t puke!
I have now caught the teaching bug and want to share more business insight to help other photographers live their dreams and have successful creative lives. I’m excited for this next chapter of giving back and am now starting to mentor photographers all over the country to help them succeed. Check out pics from the talk and a few slides from my presentation. Please reach out to me if you’re interested in mentorship or if you just want to say hello! hello@jessicahillphotography or follow me on Instagram at @jessicahillphoto – I look forward to connecting!
Every January I compile a handful of my favorite images from the past year. I like to limit myself, because I would honestly have a blog of 2,910 favorite photos! Since 2012, I’ve done the top 12, 13, 14 and now 15 favorite engagement and wedding images corresponding to the year. It’s been such a pleasure photographing each and every couple during the past 12 months and I am so humbled by the creativity, true love, trust and uniqueness I document at every engagement and wedding and I would honored to document yours. Thank YOU to all the couples over the past 10 years that have trusted me to document their most endearing life moments!
I first met Ellie and Matthieu back in 2012 at an incredible wedding and we just clicked. They are kind, beautiful, creative and intelligent and I remember thinking what a great couple they made. Ellie and Matthieu first met during Ellie’s time abroad in Paris. They met at a cafe and Ellie asked Matthieu to “break” ten euros but in not-so fluent english so it actually meant to tear in half (cute right!) and from that moment on they started falling in love. Over five years, many travels and now speaking perfect French, Ellie and Matthieu are getting married this upcoming September. Because they are still traveling from Portland to Paris, they looked though these engagement images together via Skype and this is what Ellie shared with me about that moment. “He was smiling the entire time. Ear to ear. He told me they are way better than he was expecting. Thank you so much Jessica. You truly made our hearts feel warm, looking at them together. Just no words. They showed who we are and I love that. Thank you thank you.”
Receiving emails like this truly confirm my life’s work and love. Thank YOU both Ellie and Matthieu and I’m beyond excited to be documenting your first steps together as husband and wife this year and to share this with your amazing family and friends.
Monica and Sara and I met up on a gorgeous autumn day deep in the heart of Oregon wine country at the stunning and modern Sokol Blosser winery, which is where Sara and Monica were engaged! This has to be one of my all time favorite vineyards in Oregon, with the sweeping views, angular clean construction and delicious award winning wine, it’s a memorable experience for sure. Monica and Sara are a great couple that balance and compliment each other perfectly and we had a blast hiking around the area with their pup and and I’m really looking forward to their wedding in the Columbia River Gorge this Summer.
Sarah and Carter planned a festive winter wedding at the beautiful Armory Gerding Theatre with lots of personal touches, twinkle and laughter. Although their wedding took place almost year ago, there are so many timeless details and oh-so holiday inspired decor, I really wanted to post this when the season felt right… Christmas! When you find out your bride is also a professional fashion stylist, and the planner is Nora Sheils with Bridal Bliss you know the wedding is going to be on fleek! This couple is just as kind-hearted as they are beautiful and I loved how they involved their family in a lot of the overall wedding themes.Carter’s dad was an architect on the building they wed in, which added to the personal feelings of home and Sarah sparkled with family heirloom diamonds. What a gorgeous couple! The white and pinecone stunned blooms from Zest Floral with the faux fur wraps and sequin dresses looked dazzling on on the bridesmaids and the guys looked dapper in classic black tuxes. Truly a night to remember and happy one year anniversary S&C! Happy holidays everyone and hope your heart and home are warm and cozy this holiday season!
It’s been such an incredible year and I’m so honored that Oregon Bride Magazine named me the Best Independant Photographer in Portland… again!!! I won back in 2013 and it feels so warm and fuzzy to win again. This is a two tiered voting process where the public votes first, and then vendors specific to the wedding industry vote later. From the rooftops I shout… “Thank You All!” I couldn’t have done it without your support and votes and you guys mean the world to me. As you know, I live, eat, breath and dream wedding photography and I feel extremely passionate about this incredible industry. It’s a true joy to be celebrated in this way. Much love and Happy Holidays!
A pic of my husband Evan and I right after the award ceremony!
Desiree and Kate are the kind of couple you meet and just click with. Hours seem like minutes and my face hurt from smiling so much. I loved their plans for their engagement shoot around Portland, incorporating wine tasting at Enso, a vintage arcade and a walk in the woods with their three labs. It makes me so happy when a couple truly uses their engagement shoot as way to reflect on their shared interests and hobbies. The wine was a little more Des, the arcade a little more Kate, and the woods were truly them. We had a blast and I am so looking forward to their downtown Portland wedding in April!