Intern Review by Sophie Grace

This time last year, I remember looking at my schedule for 2015 and feeling a little bit of panic. I had 40 weddings on the horizon, 8 alone in May, and I knew that I couldn’t do it all on my own. After talking it over with my main man (hey, Braden!) we decided that it would be wise to hire someone to help me for the year. We decided to hire an intern who would handle culling wedding images and assist me on some of my wedding days. Those tasks sound simple, but they are time consuming! I posted an all-call for intern applications and honestly expected maybe 3 people to apply. Surprisingly, I had an inbox full of applications ranging from high schoolers to stay-at-home moms. It was so humbling and such an honor to read through each application & learn more about each of the wonderful people applying for the position.

Narrowing it down to only 5 people to interview in person was difficult, way more difficult than I expected. I met each of them over coffee to get to know them better:  what they love, their interest in photography, what’s next for them, you name it. It was such a rewarding process because it introduced me to people that I may have never had the opportunity to meet! I remember when Sophie walked into her interview, joyful per usual, and we sat down and chatted like old friends. Sophie and I met my Sophomore year at Clemson, she was in high school and she was wise beyond her years even then. She was a breath of fresh air, she was exactly what I was looking for! I truly believe that the Lord opened my eyes the day we sat down for coffee and said that this was it, Sophie girl was my intern.

That was easily one of the best decisions of 2015. Sophie walked through one very hard season with me, offering encouragement and laughter along the way. She’s one special human, y’all. Some days we would sit at Starbucks and stare at our computers too long, we’d go cross eyed and get slap happy, but she never lost her joy or her willingness to help me. It takes a special person to stare at thousands of images a day & still smile and say she loves helping. Not only was she a huge help for my business, but she encouraged me and spurred me on spiritually as well. She is full of grace, wisdom, and has this natural way with making people feel loved and comfortable. That shined in our personal friendship, and also with each of my brides that she helped with. The Lord has given her a gift that goes beyond photography, He gave her clear eyes to see the beauty in the little things that some people miss. She brings about a joy and a freshness that is hard to describe. She’s just Sophie, those who know her know exactly what I’m talking about!

Sophie has her own business that is flouring and growing with each passing day! I love looking at her photos on her blog, I am in constant awe of the beauty she captures. This is just the beginning for Sophie Brendle Photography, and I love having a front row seat to watching her grow! I wanted Sophie to review her year with me, not only to hear about her internship experience, but to really get her thinking about where her passion lies. I had tear-filled eyes reading through her answers to these questions. I hope through reading her words you can be encouraged, enlightened, and that it makes you want to be her friend! To those who call her a dear friend, we are truly blessed!

1. What brings you great joy (or joy in photography)?

There is nothing more joyful for me than seeing two people who love Jesus come together as one. As a believer, I cannot help but think about what the Lord intended for marriage to be a picture of for His children. Oh how my heart races when I see the bride walking towards her groom. It is hard for me to put into words exactly just how beautiful and humbling it is to capture something so exciting and wonderful. So I’ll let Phil Wickam take it from here. There’s one verse of one of his songs that always enters my mind and I think it perfectly sums of just how joyful it is to capture a wedding day for me.

“When we arrive at eternity’s shore
where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing, You’re beautiful!”

2. What made you apply to be the intern for JNP?

First off, let me start with sharing just how faithful I have seen the Lord to be through Jessi Nichols. When I applied to be an intern for Jessi I was in the midst of one of the hardest trials of my life. I was at a point in my life where I did not know what to do or where to go to next. I have found thought, that in the midst of suffering, then that is when we see the Lord do the most work. Looking back, I remember many tear filled days of crying to the Lord asking Him what He wanted me to do with my life and for Him to take me wherever He had me to go.

At this point, I was approaching my second semester as a junior Graphic Design major. I had taken a film photography class and had fallen in love with capturing moments and turning them into something tangible. So, I started practicing a little more. Until this point though, I really had no experience with the digital side of things but I knew I really wanted to learn. That’s when I happened to scroll across a post on Facebook from JNP 🙂 Jessi was searching for an intern! I could not believe it. I had met Jessi four years prior to that and had since then kept up with her on ALL social media. I absolutely adored her work. So I applied, and I cannot tell you enough just how much I have seen to be true about my Savior since that day. He has continuously revealed Himself to me through Jessi.

3. What are some lessons / take aways you have from working with JNP?

There are so many lessons I learned from working with Jessi, so many that I do not think I could write them all down so I will just highlight a few. If you’ve ever met Jessi you know her heart and how gracious and kind she is to everyone she meets. Something I noticed about Jessi early on was how encouraging she is to everyone she meets. I have seen her rooting for each and every one of her couples and that to me is so rare to see in a photographer. She is a true blessing!

To say the least, Jessi taught me a lot about photography. But something even more valuable that I learned through Jessi and this season of being her intern was just how good of a God I serve. He placed Jessi in my life at the exact time I needed her the most. He gave me a friend to encourage me when I was down, to laugh with, and to just have fun with!

4. What is your favorite / funniest moment this year while working with JNP?

Goodness! So many favorite moments from this year! Picking one is hard! I can tell you though how sweet the time was that I spent traveling with Jessi to wedding days was. Traveling gave us so much time to just talk! Whether that be about photography or just where we were struggling in life and needed some encouragement. I found a treasure of a friend in Jessi and I am so very thankful!

We laughed most wedding days, but I can remember one particular wedding this past summer where Jessi and I got in the PhotoBooth. Let’s just say that things went south real quick when I somehow got the photo prop stuck in my hair halfway through the pictures. We both laughed until we cried! So many fun memories filled with laughter while working for JNP!

5. What’s next for you?!

As I read that question, I felt myself let out a huge sigh. What a scary question because for me graduation is only a couple months away now! Feelings of excitement and fear approach me from all sides. At the moment, I have my own weddings booked until December of 2016! Praise Jesus and thank you JNP! I am also in the middle of tossing possible Graphic Design job opportunities around right now but have yet to finalize anything. I have learn though that it is okay not to know what’s next. Looking back at my journey with JNP I am reminded just how faithful the Lord is and that all He ask of me is to trust Him. He lead me to a wonderful internship and I know that He will continue to lead me wherever I may go to next.

Sophie girl, What a blessing you are. Your radiance in the Lord shines to everyone you meet, and you make those around you more Godly every day. You have encouraged this year more than you could ever imagine, and you have made me laugh until I cried one too many times! I will forever cherish 2015, the year of your internship, and the friendship it built. You are a forever friend. My hope and prayer for you is that you will succeed in anything you do, I am privileged to be able to watch you grow and to step into what the Lord has for you after you graduate! I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished this year! Here’s to 2016 for you:  the year you take on weddings, the year you graduate from college, the year you step into a new chapter. The best is yet to come my girl!

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