Julie Napear gets a Wedding Wire Couples’ Choice award!

I just got the official word that we won a 2016 Wedding Wire Couples’ Choice award!

According to WeddingWire: “The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016 recognizes the top 5% of local Wedding Professionals from the WeddingWire Network throughout the United States and abroad that demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the organization, the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® are awarded solely based on the reviews from over 1.2 million newlyweds. Awards are determined by a combination of excellence in four factors: overall rating (quality), total number of reviews (quantity), review performance from 2015 (recency), and consistency of reviews from year to year (consistency).”

Thanks to *you*, JNP brides, for the reviews that helped me win! I look forward to another great year…  and to updating the five+ year old pictures that are on there!

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Celebrating 10 Years of Julie Napear Photography!

Hey JNP friends and fans! This year marks ten years of business for Julie Napear Photography. TEN YEARS! A decade! This is kind of crazy to me, since that’s almost all of my adult life. In that time, I’ve gone from just a few weekends of photography annually to my current count of over 300 weddings, hundreds of portrait sessions, and a whole lot of great friends. New JNP team member Erin helped me reflect on my decade of business, so I’m turning the rest of this post over to her! :) -Julie

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Wow – 2015 marks Julie Napear Photography’s 10th year of business! As one of Julie’s former brides I wanted to hear more about her journey so far. Interviewing a busy wedding photographer during peak wedding season is no small feat so we kept it to ten quick questions! It was my honor to chat with her about business, weddings and life. :)

How did Julie Napear Photography come come to be?

“I graduated college at 21 and had various jobs over the years including teaching video, photography and math. I worked at a production company doing video editing and worked at a small TV station. While I was teaching I had some extra time and signed up for a photography class at Northern Virginia Community College. It was the first time I had studied photography since I was 17 or 18 years old, and that was when  I bought my first digital camera.”

“In 2005, after meeting my husband, I was asked to take pictures of a family members at-home reception after a destination wedding. The pictures turned out really good – I surprised myself and everyone else!”

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“I didn’t think it would ever become a career, I was just hoping for a side job that would support my photography hobby. But friends told friends who told their friends and word really spread.”

“In 2007 I did my first bridal show and I booked 40 weddings for that year. It has been the same pace of 30-40 weddings a year since then. I feel very lucky to have had it happen the way it has happened.”

How has your business grown in the past 10 years? How have you grown personally?

“JNP has grown in so many ways! I have learned how important it is to invest in your business. Since I first started I have added my logo, my website, my blog, and an office space. The amount of equipment I own has exploded. I went from just me with one bag to two suitcases, lights, lightstands and an assistant!”

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“I personally have become a better photographer. I knew the basics back then, but I didn’t have the posing skills for example, that I have honed over the years. My knowledge plus my collection of equipment means I’m in a much better position now to change plans and get great photos no matter what. I can shoot beautiful pictures during the golden hour outside, but also in a dark reception hall.”

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Why weddings?

“I do commercial and portrait work, and dabble in food photography, but I really love weddings. There is a lot of pressure in wedding photography and I thrive on it. It’s also nice to be with people on such a happy day of their lives. Weddings are a cool way to connect with people and I have become friends with many of my brides.”

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What do you remember most about the weddings you shoot?

“It is really different things for different weddings! Sometimes it is the super-in-love couples, and sometimes it’s having fun dancing at the reception with my camera!”

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What is your best piece of advice for brides?

“I have two! 1. Enjoy your day! Get everything you can done before the big day and then let everything else go. 2.  Hire professionals and let them do their job! Keep this in mind when creating your wedding budget – decide what is most important to you so you can hire those professionals.”

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What have been some of your biggest successes?

“My greatest success has been the friends I have made through this business. Not just my brides, but also other vendors.”

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What about failure?

“I think work/life balance is really tough. Especially with my daughter Lorelei and all of the attention she needs. I don’t think my photography has suffered since becoming a parent, but maintaining that balance is hard!”

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What is your advice for aspiring photographers just starting out?

“I see upcoming photographers making this one mistake – not having the confidence to charge what they are worth. I really undershot my value in the beginning.”

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Where would you be today if you didn’t have JNP?

“I have no idea where life would have brought me at this point! I was a video major in college but I didn’t want to move to New York or LA. Maybe I would be directing live T.V. My brides know I’m definitely not afraid to give direction! :) Or a teacher. I enjoy teaching and I love math.”

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What is the plan for the next 10 years?

“I would love to make video a bigger part of Julie Napear Photography. I would love to travel more with my photography. I love destination weddings, even if it is just a destination for me! :) I have been to England, Ireland, New York, Colorado, Tennessee, the West Coast of Florida, and Cancun for shoots to name a few places. One of my ultimate goals is to shoot wedding parties and families in front of recognizable landmarks around the world. I already have the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben!”

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“I want to learn to balance life and work a little more and continue being happy with my job. Over the last ten years I have shot somewhere over 300 weddings. I am truly honored and flattered to have been a part of all of them. I want to continue doing what I’m doing, doing it well, and making my couples happy.”

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In case you missed it, check out the pictures from Julie’s first full wedding shoot.

Happy Anniversary Julie & JNP! :) Julie has asked me to thank everyone who has been there over the years, and can’t wait to continue to work with you in the future! 

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