We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesslan Urquhart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesslan, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I first started my business full time, work was my life. All of it. I poured everything I had into it, & that is truly what I loved. As life has grown & changed, I’ve gotten married & had three kids, finding a balance has been so so necessary. With my first baby, I tried to be the best at everything all the time. I tried be everything to everyone, & as a result, nothing was getting my best work. My work was suffering, my parenting was not what I wanted it to be, & my social life was close to nonexistent. I had to make a change & decide to be fully present where I was. When I was parenting, I put work & other things out of my mind. When I was working, I gave it my all. I didn’t let myself feel guilty about enjoying the moment anymore. And honestly, things turned around! That balance saved me from burn out in all areas of my life! I really feel like my work reflects that too. As my family grew, I realized where my passion lied in photography–it was in the moments that would last a life time. The ones that would be shared years down the road, with kids & grandkids. The bonds & the moments. Balance is so important, & I really feel like that can be found in being present in the moment you’re in.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I feel like what sets me apart from others is my connection with my clients. I love getting to make people feel comfortable & relaxed in front of the camera. Especially when shooting family sessions, when everyone can feel a little tense with kids running wild & what not, I love getting to get everyone playing & having a good time. & I feel like that comes across in my work–the love & the fun. My business now, has evolved so much over time, & now it’s the most genuine to me it has ever been. In the beginning it was so much work. I was going to art school & building my business full time. Most nights I was getting 3-5 hours of sleep a night because of how much I was pouring myself into this business. I would take any & every job that came along. I did it all, just to build my business, clientele, & to figure out what I really wanted to focus on. For a long time too, I tried to be the trendy photographer, I tried so hard to fit into a certain box & become well know. But then I realized that’s not who I am, & that’s not the reason people were hiring me. When I quit making it about me — about only shooting the trendiest weddings, traveling to some amazing shoots, getting that perfect shot for instagram–it all clicked and made sense. I made every shoot about each client & their story. I wanted to shoot lasting moments for them, & them alone. It was so fulfilling & something that made work, not feel like work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love this question! All my in-laws are from the UK so we do this fairly often! Some of our must-visit local restaurants are the Yellow Deli in Vista. Such a chilled vibe. & the Taco Stand in Encinitas. We also always take people to the Pannikin in Encinitas. & a trip to the Goods Donuts is always a must There’s nothing better than sunset walks on the boardwalk area in Carlsbad too! We always take people to do a “San Diego” day. We take them to Coronado, & Balboa Park. Then walk around Seaport Village & Little Italy. & then follow it up with dessert at Extraordinary Deserts. Most recently we’ve been taking people on a boat ride around San Diego Harbor. My family has a little boat, we get Board & Brew sandwiches, and go out for the sunset, then do a night cruise of the harbor, looking at the city all lit up
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s so many people who have supported me along the way, but to begin with it would be my parents. I started my business when I was just 18, & was working for myself by age 20, & they supported me and helped me navigate all the tricky business things along the way. My parents are both entrepreneurs & have been incredibly successful. So it was amazing to have them to encourage me all along the way. Even now, they are who I go to when I need advice or to bounce ideas off of. There are so many others, but even my clients…I wouldn’t be where I am today without people who were willing to trust a super young, inexperienced photographer to capture their special moments. So grateful for their trust & encouragement.