Throughout the years, Austin and I discussed what to do about the growing number of couples we were turning away each year, due to our full calendar. We hated that there were mountains of couples each year that we were unable to serve, but our brainstorming of solutions never produced anything that felt right. It made sense to add an associate to our team, but who? We knew we had to find the perfect person to trust with taking care of our clients on their wedding day. We patiently waited for nearly 3 years before we met Jillian, and then all of the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit.
She first came into our lives when she posted a message on one of our local photographer Facebook groups that she no longer wanted to photograph her own weddings, but was still interested in photographing actual wedding days. She wanted to focus on her family and eliminate the portion of the wedding photography business that she didn’t enjoy: the bookings, editing, and album design. After I shared that we had been considering hiring an associate photographer, she contacted me and we began the process. She (and her sweet family) endured my intense, multiple interview process, has photographed a wedding with us, and we are now confident and so excited to add her to our team!
So, what is an associate photographer? In our business, one of the difficult aspects is that we have built our brand around us, Austin and Erika, but we can only be in one place at one time. We take pride in our customer service and refuse to sacrifice the quality product and luxury experience we are known for. We truly believe that every couple deserves a quality wedding experience and adding an associate is one way for us to provide this to more couples.
Jillian, as our associate, will photograph weddings exclusively for us, Erika Brown Photography. This options allows couples to book a wedding date where Austin and I are unavailable or they are on a tighter budget. Couples who work with Jillian will still work with Erika leading up to the wedding day, just like everyone else. We will build your timeline and work through all of the nuances of your unique day. Jillian will come to your wedding armed with all of the information we have prepared, and photograph your big day, along with an assistant. After the wedding, your images will be edited and processed just like all other EBP weddings.
We are so excited to have Jillian on board and to fill her calendar with beautiful Erika Brown Photography weddings!
Where have you lived, and what have those places meant to you?
I was born in Illinois – but I was too young to remember actually living there. I grew up in Indianapolis and moved to Phoenix for college. I ended up staying in Phoenix for around 11 years!
Arizona is special to me because it’s where I spent most of my adult life up until this point. I went to college, met my husband, and started my family there. I really got to know Phoenix and I love the sunny, warm weather!
But Indianapolis has so much meaning for me because all of my childhood memories were here in this city and best of all my family is here! I get to do things like go to my childhood home for family dinner every week and that’s truly priceless.
Erika Brown Photography is all about the love stories. What’s your love story?
I like to think my love story is basically like a chick flick! lol! I met my husband for the first time at a pool party in college but we didn’t really talk at all. After that it seemed like I started to see him EVERYWHERE. First, he came to my job at ASU to pay a past due bill on his account and it was then that I noticed his bright blue eyes and thought, hey he’s pretty cute.
After that we saw each other on the light rail often (public transportation in Tempe that goes straight to the university) and I’d strike up conversation with him every time I saw him. I felt like I dropped so many hints and kept hoping he’d ask me out but he never did. I stopped seeing him for a few months and figured that opportunity was probably lost but luckily we started on the same light rail route again the following semester. I finally took a chance, gave him my number, and asked him to come out with me and my friends one night. The rest is history!
What brought you back to Indiana?
We were in a transitional phase and Kyle was getting ready to start nursing school. We’d both lived in Arizona for so long and wondered what it might be like to be closer to family, especially now that we had a little boy to raise. The timing felt right so we took a chance and moved back to the Midwest!
What is your favorite thing about Indiana?
Family is my favorite thing! I love that my mom and dad help watch my kids and that my son has such a strong bond with his grandma. I also get to hang out with my siblings so much more now. But besides family, I love the housing here much better than the housing options in Phoenix. I also love Midwest summer nights, rain, and lightning bugs.
What is your photography background?
I did photography as a hobby in high school and reconnected with it a couple years into college. I took a few photography classes at a community college for fun and eventually decided to start my own business in 2012. I’ve shot tons of weddings and portrait sessions since and love it! I feel so in the moment when I’m shooting!
What is your experience with photographing weddings?
I started out shooting weddings in 2012-2013. I’ve probably shot over 30 of my own weddings and second shot for tons of amazing and talented photographers!
Why are you excited to serve Erika Brown Photography Brides and Grooms?
I’m excited to serve Erika Brown Photography Brides and Grooms because I really admire Erika’s dedication and her ability to provide a top notch service to her couples. Her photography is timeless and stunning. I’m excited to be a part of a team that truly cares about their clients, providing quality customer service, and delivering an amazing product.
What is you favorite part of a wedding day?
My favorite part of a wedding day is probably bridal party portraits. I love having fun with all the bridesmaids and groomsmen and capturing memories with the couple and all of their most special friends.
But I really love each different part for different reasons. Weddings are amazing because I get to experience so much variety in one day! And no wedding is exactly the same <3
If you had a day to do whatever you would like, what does a perfect day look like for you?
Honestly, I’d probably be shooting! Taking photos is my creative outlet. I’m truly in the moment when I’m behind the camera – not thinking about anything else.
This day would also probably include a bit of pampering like getting my hair and nails done, a massage, and staying in some sort of quirky hotel (a personal fave of mine is The Shady Dell in Bisbee) with my husband and kiddos with no responsibilities and lots of naps!
What are you most passionate about?
Besides photography, I’m passionate about Dave Ramsey’s plan for financial peace. I’ve hosted two FPU courses and plan to host more in the future. I’m also passionate about my family and living my best and truest life.