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Community Highlights: Meet Julia Vrabel of Jewels Photography StL

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Vrabel.

Hi Julia, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.

I took my first photography class when I was in 7th grade. Photography was something that I could be proud of myself for and was one of my only outlets at school, as I was heavily bullies by my classmates. My Mom gave me my first Sony point-and-shoot camera when I started my new school, North County Christian School, my freshman year. I took pictures of everything. Anytime I was with my friends, I was photographing our time together. I loved taking pictures and I cherish those return tickets to the memories to this day. Fast forward to my Junior year of high school, I was on the yearbook staff and was awarded best photographer at our awards night. Senior year, I was chosen as the yearbook editor and was again awarded best photographer. For graduation, my mom gifted me a Nikon D5600 with the kit lenses. I began my business, Jewels Photography StL, shortly thereafter and I primarily took senior portraits of my friends and family portraits of friends families. In college, I entered a contest for Photographer’s Forum Magazine and was selected top 100 out of 10,000+ photos. The photo was The Bean with Chicago’s cityscape behind it. In 2017, I went to Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Madagascar with a humanitarian organization and was selected my team’s “story lead and photographer” out of 50 candidates. That trip really helped me to learn and grow in the art of street photography. Since then, I have upgraded to a Nikon D750 with a 50mm 1.8 and a 70-200mm 2.8 lenses and have worked with hundreds of families, wedding parties, secret engagements, seniors, and models.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

Not at all. My biggest struggle has been overcoming comparing myself to other artists and letting comparison steal the joy of my craft from me. Nothing has hindered my own personal growth as well as my business’s growth like comparison to other photographers. I struggled with this the most in 2017 while I was in Africa, but being secluded from the internet helped me to find more confidence in what I am capable of and gave me motivation to learn and grow in areas that I lacked expertise. My photography style has overall stayed the same, but I have learned so much since I truly dedicated myself to believing in myself and my business.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Jewels Photography StL?

I specialize in wedding and portrait photography. What sets me apart from portrait photographers is that, as much as I love posed photos, I absolutely love a candid shot. I have a bubbling, welcoming and fun personality, which naturally draws people in and makes them feel comfortable (important for their portraits because when someone is uncomfy, pictures don’t lie! lol). Candid portraits show so much detail of a person’s personality and I LOVE being able to bring personality out of a photo. I focus on affordable photography and I have family sessions which are as little as $75. Engagement sessions are always free and can be scheduled upon receipt of the deposit for whichever wedding package is chosen.

I love to travel! It’s my dream to be an elopement photographer.

It’s my goal to plan a styled shoot in St. Louis once a year, starting with this year. I have an awesome team of collaborators, including an amazing hair and makeup artist named Lydia Carter. We’ll be needing models for future photoshoots and I’ll be doing model calls on my social media handles @jewelsphotographystl

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?

I think consistency in every aspect. Consistency in learning new things, researching new concepts, being inspired by other artists and in addition to diligence on the business side of things, too. Discouragement, setbacks, plateaus in life happen, but my Mom always quoted, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” as I was growing up and that has always been a steady reminder that as long as I am consistent, I am progressing.


  • $75 mini sessions, $150 full sessions
  • Wedding packages begin at $1,200
  • Senior Portrait $150
  • Maternity sessions $150
  • Business marketing photography $500

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Julia Vrabel, Esme Cardonne (photographer of my first photo)

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