Jessica Hickerson Photography » Blog

 

The other day one of my brides asked me for advice for the last couple of weeks before her wedding day. Of course being an OCD-Type-A-List-Maker, my first thought was to go through my multiple page timeline and to-do list from my own wedding to try and remember where my head was during that time. I know I could rattle off a dozen tips like: getting a manicure but keeping the polish with you for touch ups, or going on a ” last date night” to calm your nerves, asking your caterer to put a slice of wedding cake in a to-go box, clearly labeling boxes of your DIY projects, designating someone to collect your gifts, making sure your vendors have an updated timeline, packing an emergency kit… I could go on and on and on.

But then I considered what really matters to a bride approaching her wedding day. Those little details and to do lists have such an overwhelming weight of importance now, but the moment the wedding reception is over there will be just one person lying next to you. And that person just promised to be in that very spot for the rest of their life.
That’s what the entire day is about; that’s the moment where you become part of something bigger than just you.
Give up.
Life is going to change.
Your relationship is going to change.
More than sleepovers every night and doing your taxes together.
You will disagree.
You will say things you regret.
You might not even like each other at times.
You might loose yourself once or twice.
There will be fights, dirty dishes, hand holding, and fast food dinners.
Milestones, broken dreams, house projects, and dinner parties.
Fits of laughter, butt grabbing, going to bed angry, and second chances.
There will be comfort and there will be fear.
But there will also be love.
A love that will surpass what you used to be capable of, and surround a world and a family that is all your own.
You will learn how to fight fair and accept the things you cannot change.
You will learn what it means to value someone more than yourself.
You will be the kind of happy that doesn’t properly fit into words.
So on your wedding day remember that things can go wrong. But even the rainiest day with the latest guest, missing vendor, and forgotten speech still brings you the best thing: a marriage. It’s big, messy and incredibly beautiful.
Take on these last days with an open heart. Celebrate the ends and the beginnings without letting them pass you by. Take it slow.
Give up.
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  1. I love a good adventure
  2. I have an obsession with Big Sur

Last month Sam and I took a trip up the California coast with our friends. We made a bunch of stops on the way including Cayucos, San Simeon (elephant seals galore!), and all the way up to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Our campsite was in the middle of the redwoods and next to the river in Pfeiffer State Park. It was perfect, despite the fact that I forgot towels + cookware- whoops!  Thanks goodness for the Big Sur River Inn‘s breakfast and forgiving adventure buddies:)

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Oh, we found a four-leaf clover on St. Patty’s day!

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We came across a little beach with the famous “keyhole” rock and the sand was PURPLE!

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Heres a little Super-8 video I took on my phone, because I really do think the best camera is the one in your hand!

If you haven’t been to Big Sur yet, go! Go now! Its magical and just breathtaking. I’m already having withdrawals, but luckily get to go back in a couple of weeks to photograph an elopement. Stay tuned

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  • Jerry & Ann Carroll - Beautiful pictures! Emma is our Great-Granddaughter, and we love her.greatly. We love Conner too.
    Thanks for posting those wonderful pictures.ReplyCancel

Emma and Conner have been best friends since second grade. Their friendship survived cooties, study sessions, first crushes (“You know that first real crush you ever have? Where you write his name on all your notebooks? Yeah, he was mine! “), school dances, and graduations. In high school they were inseparable, and found themselves asking why they weren’t dating yet. And so began one of the sweetest love stories I’ve ever heard. When they finished school, Conner decided to follow his dad’s footsteps and join the Marines. Emma provided endless love and support, leaving no doubt in Conner’s mind that he wanted to marry her. So he took her to the top of the Long Beach lighthouse and asked her to continue the story they started writing so many years ago.

During their session, Emma talked about how they would rather spend a night on the couch with an episode of Friends and a pizza than go out… annndd thats when I knew I loved them 😉 Emma and Conner will be getting married next year at Camp Pendleton and I am so thrilled to be a part of their journey! Conner leaves for bootcamp in a few weeks, so every minute has been filled with wedding plans. It was so fun for them to take a break to explore a spring-y Malibu for their engagement session. Here are a few of my favorites:

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When I was 19 I realized that becoming a wedding photographer was my dream job. So I made it happen. In between final exams, college drama, and moving back and forth between two states, I created this. Now four years later I have built a business that I am proud of and fall more in love with every day. Not only does my job allow me to be creative and my own boss, but I also get to be the only one responsible for my success. Those reasons alone make it obvious why so many people buy a camera to take some picture of their friends or family, and suddenly realize they could do this for a living.

This “easy entry” into the world of photography used to bother me. Photography is MY passion and MY job; it is what makes me unique. I thought all of these new photographers starting their businesses with DIY business cards and a Facebook Page were devaluing my personal struggle. And, more importantly, creating competition.

Los Angeles in particular has an incredibly saturated market. There is everything from the established photographer making a 6-figure income to the mom with a new DSLR charging $50 to take pictures of her friend’s children. Within just a few miles of my home I could find dozens of photographers and that amount continues to grow each year. Most established photographers will look at this growth and instead of embracing the community they fear the potential competition. However, something I realized early in my career changed the mantra of my future business:

“There is enough for everyone.”

Another photographer’s success does not equal my failure. Our clients are different just like our goals are different.  There is enough for everyone.  Competition is something we create and harbor by our own will. When another photographer asks me for the location of one of my sessions or what gear they should buy, I can decide if I want to share my knowledge or keep the secrets I have spend time & money learning. Would I really be loosing business by giving these things away?  Instead I choose to believe that helping one photographer could be helping the industry as a whole.

Here’s the thing. The photographer down the street could have the the same computer, the same equipment, the same presets, heck they could even have the same business name, but they will never be YOU! And the moment you recognize that you are more than those things you will see that it is your PASSION that makes your unique.

I choose community over competition. I want to be an encourager in this industry; I believe in building people up and celebrating their success.  From my very first year of business, I have met new photographers at coffee shops to share my knowledge, created PDF templates to explain my workflow, answered every email that came my way, and wrote blog posts of things I was able to figure out. It has always been a part of my business to share.

Today I am thrilled to announce the launch of my Coaching Program. This program is for the photographer that wants to grow their business and to find their voice. It is for the photographer that believes in community and has a passion that is palpable. Together we will pave a path for your business that is as unique as you are.

Know that I am not here to claim I am perfect or that I have “figured it out,” because that could not be farther from the truth. I am similpy a small business owner that has put a lot of time and research into what works for me, and I want to share what I know. I want to be your encourager.

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Head over to my page For Photographers and please feel free to email me at jessica@jessicahickerson.com with any questions or to begin your Coaching journey.

P.s. As a launch special, I am offer $100 off to the first 5 photographers that inquire about the program! Just mention this blog post in your email. 

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Patti and Nolan’s elopement was everything a wedding celebration should be. After 6 years and a couple of kids, they were more than ready to become husband and wife. They booked their plane tickets a month in advance and set the date for Leap Day. Dragging along three of their closest friends in the process, they traveled from Seattle to the middle of the California desert, a place Patti had fallen in love with during her childhood.

The morning of the wedding, Patti was telling us stories of day she met Nolan and how he was proposing to her and naming their future children by the end of the night. She carefully arranged her DIY bouquet and paced around the room at the Ace Hotel with bubbling excitement.

Patti and Nolan decided to do a First Look at the Ace, and then we all jumped into our cars are drove an hour away to Joshua Tree National Park. We picked a secluded location where the light was dancing around them as they said their heartfelt vows.

As a surprise to the bride, I designed the cake + champagne set up with candles, eucalyptus, dried lavender, and foxtails. The sun disappeared behind the hills and we celebrated with sweet treats and lots of beautiful images. Patti and Nolan shared a quiet first dance to the distant sounds of a drum circle playing off in the distance. It was pure magic!

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