Thu. Nov 20, 2014 by Mary    Engagements

Candlewood Lake Engagement Shoot: Laura & George

Happy Friday!

We are off to shoot our LAST wedding of 2014! Whew! I can't believe how fast this year has gone by & what an amazing year it has been! Just this wedding & one more anniversary shoot to go!

But before we head out, we just wanted to share with you the adorable engagement shoot we did with Laura & George all around Candlewood Lake! Laura went ALL out for their shoot, bringing the cutest props (hello s'mores!) and planning the most adorable outfits! We started out at one of their favorite wineries and had the most gorgeous sweeping views of the Connecticut hills and this amazing red barn. Then we did a quick outfit change to walk among the vines, before heading out to take a boat over to our own private island where we did a fire on the beach! Incredible!

These two are such a sweet couple & I loved watching how they love together! They are planning a gorgeous wedding for next year at a dream of a venue & now I'm even more excited for the big day to get here!!


Thu. Nov 20, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

Thursday Announcements: LIVE Two Day Event & More!!

Happy Thursday!

There are so many exciting things going on lately & even though this seems like the time of year when things should start slowing so many ways, it's just getting started! Justin & I have SO many cool things coming up both through the end of the year & early next year that we are seriously so lucky to be a part of! And even better is that we get to do so many of them alongside amazing friends! But we realized that with so many fun things coming up, if we did an announcement post for each of them, that would make up an entire week of posts! Whew!

So enter...Thursday announcements!!

First up is that we are incredibly excited to join forces along with a bunch of awesome friends from all over the country to create a really amazing resource for photographers! The project itself is still under wraps so we can't announce exactly what it is yet, BUT 6 lucky folks are going to have the chance to be part of the making of this project!!

We’re going to be filming a TWO-day workshop on Marketing & Getting Booked in our home on December 4th & 5th, and we need a small, LIVE audience! So we’re opening up 6 seats to photographers who want to come and be a part of the filming process AND experience a two-day workshop with only 5 other photographers. Plus you'll get to hang out with us in our home by a crackling fire! S'mores may or may not (but definitely will!) be involved.

We were originally supposed to be charging for this workshop, but the more & more we thought about it...the more we (and especially Justin....God I LOVE that man!) just had it on our hearts that we wanted to do this workshop for FREE for 6 deserving photographers who could just really use a win, and some encouragement, and some life breathed into their business again after what may have been a hard season. We have been soo incredibly blessed this past year by the amazing the photographers that we've met and by the way you all have supported us & our business, workshops, etc SO much. We know we couldn't do ANY of this without you we just wanted to use this as a way to give back to the photography community at the end of the year and do something for others! We just love you guys!

**So here's how it works! Just leave a comment below either entering the giveaway for yourself or you can also nominate a friend who you feel could really just use a boost & have someone pouring into them for a change. Tell us your/their story and why you think you/they should be there & we are going to pick 6 lucky winners to join us at our home for two days & over 12 hours of teaching on how to fire up your business & get your whole calendar booked with your most ideal clients next year!! Plus how to take those bookings and turn them into the "freight train of momentum" that is going to make each year easier than the last! This two day workshop is normally a $750 value that the 6 winners will get for FREE (you just have to cover your own travel to CT & hotel) & we just can't wait to bless the socks off some people! :) And.....GO!!

In other super exciting news, we just announced the theme for our Two-Day Walk Through a Wedding w/ J&M workshop on Feb 11-12th (our April one is now SOLD OUT!) Without further ado, we present to you.....Burberry & Brass!!! We just hung out with the amazing Stacie & Erica from Stacie Shea Events last night & just WAIT until you see what they have planned for this one! There may or may not be a Burberry cake in the mix! :) I'm just sayin!

AND we are SO excited to have been asked by our good friends at Seniorologie to be a guest judge along with the amazing Promise Tangeman & Arlene Evans from Creative Live in their People's Choice Awards image contest that is going right now!! If you are a Senior Photographer, head on over HERE to find out more!!

Wed. Nov 19, 2014 by Mary    Weddings

Chicago Wedding at Salvage One: Sheila & Jon

Happy Wednesday!

Today we have for you the absolutely gorgeous Chicago wedding of Sheila & Jon at Salvage One!

Salvage One is actually this very cool antique shop turned wedding venue, and one of the most amazing things about it is that because it is still an active store with new stuff coming in all the time....the decor is constantly changing! It's new every weekend! How fun is that?!

These two got married on an absolutely perfect day, and what made it the most special was how these two love. How they love each other, how they love their families, how they love everyone lucky enough to find their way into their world. This was one of those days that was oh so pretty, but so much more was a day that was beautiful. And that beauty pours right out of Sheila & Jon's hearts and beams out all around them. It fills the room until you can fill the light and the warmth on your face.

I loved how the girls laughed all morning long. I loved the tears that poured freely during the ceremony. I loved the hugs. And the group prayers. And the cupcakes. And how everybody, everybody was burning up the dance floor.

There is this thing that makes a wedding special and it is nothing that you can buy or hire or decorate. It comes from two truly good people starting a life together and two hearts like that being creates the kind of explosion of goodness that sends ripple effects and shock waves to everyone who feels it. And it reminds them to love a little more and hug a little tighter too.

That's why the world needs a love like this. And we're just the lucky ones who got to capture it that day.

Sheila & Jon, there are just no words for how much we LOVE the two of you! Yours is the kind of love that the world will always remember, We certainly will.

SO much love to both of you!

Mon. Nov 17, 2014 by Mary    J&M Workshops

Charleston Walk Through a Wedding Recap!!

Last week we headed off to Charleston, SC for 48 hours of fried green tomatoes, southern hospitality, old plantations....and our last Walk Through a Wedding w/ J&M workshop of 2014! That's SO crazy to think that a whole year of Walk Throughs is done!! This year took us through our Kate Spade themed workshop in February, the one we did FOUR times through Germany (Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt & Munich), the one at the Lace Factory, the one in Nantucket, our Peaches & Mint themed one at the Veritas Winery in Virginia, our Classic Black Tie themed one just two weeks ago....and now Charleston! Whew, what an amazing year and the chance to meet SO many amazing photographers turned friends!!

And let me tell you, what a way to go out!! First of all, this particular group of photographers was incredible! Kind, encouraging, hard working, positive, and willing to soak up every ounce of wisdom they could. All said, we spent 12 hours with this totally full group of amazing women and the whole day just flew by. None of us wanted it to end! Add to that, some of the prettiest tables we've ever gotten to photograph, the STUNNING backdrop provided by the Old Wide Awake Plantation with the most beautiful light, and our gorrrrrgeous bride & groom, Christen & John, and this day was pretty much perfection!

What an incredible way to close out a year of incredible workshops that we just honestly feel SO lucky to get to do! The pretty stuff is amazing (I mean, who gets to say that their job is to fly to a plantation in South Carolina & shoot things like antique china place settings & peanut butter & jelly macaroons?!), but the real reward in this is the teaching. It's the brand new photographer who walks away believing they can do this & it's the photographer who has been in this a few years who leaves with a renewed sense of purpose of why this calling, all of our calling, matters.

And that this work that we do by it's very nature leaves something behind.

**For those of you who have been asking & want to join us at a Walk Through a Wedding workshop in 2015, our April date is officially SOLD OUT and now February is starting to fill up fast too! If you are ready to nail your lighting, if you are ready to get real connection out of your posing, if you are ready to rock out your branding, marketing & bookings, if you are ready to get a workflow that will give you your life back....we would LOVE to see you there!! Click HERE to grab your seat!

We start the day together with breakfast bars & Odwalla drinks (my favorite!) to fuel up for a BIG day ahead! We get to know each other, share our Why's for why we do this thing we do, dig deep into the bigger purpose at stake here and how our businesses are not just about the pretty, but the truly beautiful, often imperfect parts of life. We take a step back to remember that this work we do today has to stand the test of time for generations to come.

After we walk through the lecture portion of how we approach an entire wedding day, we grab some lunch sitting down together (Panera fuji apple salad & delicious sandwiches for the WIN!). This is a chance for us to all catch our breath, let what we just talked about sink in, and get to know each other over eating a meal together! After that, we start shooting & marching our way through our styled wedding as if we had all been hired that day. It begins with the getting ready, where I demonstrate my 8 rules of posing and getting the Iconic Bridal Portrait. And Justin demonstrates how to shoot the guys specifically.

Godiva truffles and J&M bags....goodies for our attendees!!

After we shoot the getting ready, we head outside for portraits where I demonstrate our "Art of Authentic Posing" approach in action! We show exactly how to pose, exactly what to say & exactly what to look for to get those poses that don't feel like a photographer was there asking the couple to do something stiff or cheesy! And to allow opportunities for the couple to show you exactly who they are together.

Christen & John you guys are BEAUTIFUL!!

Our beautiful bridesmaids Anna & Caroline....more on them in a second!! We talk about our 5 go to poses for bridal party & how to shoot them in a time crunch!

How gorgeous is the plantation?!

Then everyone gets to shoot right alongside us with us giving advice, trouble shooting & tips for improving the result right on the spot!

I was really proud of this table! Mostly, that we were able to fit everything on top in our suitcases and make it through security without causing a national incident!

How beautiful did it turn out?! All the credit goes to Caroline, Anna & Sabrina who set everything up while we were teaching the morning section!

Macaroons!! Get in mah belly!

We talk about shooting details for publication & what editors are really looking for!

The whole crew!!! Whooo Hoooo!!

LOVE these girls!!

Then as it starts to get dark, we start breaking out all the lighting and our go to solutions for every tough situation from shooting the details in the dark, to a dark ceremony, to first dance, toasts & end of the night party dancing. After this section, our attendees know they have NOTHING to be afraid of with tough lighting situations anymore because why? WE BRING THE LIGHT!! And right here, a little dance party ensues!

As always, this whole day NEVER could have happened without some very key people!! I want to give a HUGE thanks to...

First & foremost Justin for carrying the bags, packing the car, driving us to the airport at 4am, unpacking the bags, getting the rental car, and running the final errands all over town while I got work done in the hotel room. Then getting up at 6am again the next day to go set up at the venue and then teach on his feet for 12 hours straight. Not to mention making sure everyone was fed, taken care of, not left out, not falling behind, not eating alone, and had an understanding of light that they never knew possible before. My husband is pretty much Super Man and I will always be the lucky one.

Old Wide Awake Plantation This venue was the perfect was as if it was made for this workshop! A meeting room, a lunch room, a getting ready room, and that gorgeous big front porch, not to mention the tree lined driveway and beautiful light! We were so grateful to find it & that everything could take place right in this one location!

Bridals by Jodi This dress shop seriously blew us away!! Not only did they agree to loan us all the dresses, but when we showed up that day we had free reign of the whole shop to pick whichever gowns we wanted! I seriously felt like Charlie at the Chocolate Factory! And the dress we ended up with?! Are you KIDDING me with this....seriously one of the most beautiful dresses we've ever seen! Seriously, thank you guys for giving so generously, so openly, and with such welcome arms! You were the true definition of southern hospitality!

Our models Christen & John who not only took off all day to come model for us, but were such a source of JOY the whole day! These two have been married three years and just had their first baby, but you would have thought they had actually just gotten married that day with how in love & happy they were all day. Thank you for reminding us all what real love should look like!

Our amazing makeup artist Dannon Collard!! Thank you SO much for making the trip out & making everyone look AMAZING! It was such an honor working with you and we can't wait to do it again!

Caroline "also loves save the world movies" Howard This girl! She is a Charleston photographer who we would have been LOST without! She sent us all the recommendations for location, makeup artist, dress shop....AND we found out that she appreciates a good disaster movie as much as we do. How could we not instantly fall in love with her!?

And saving the best for last, Caroline, Sabrina & Anna who are not only amazing photographers themselves, but who volunteered to come in from all over the country in the height of their own busy seasons to help us out behind the scenes with setting up this whole workshop (breakfast tables, lunch tables, pizza runs, trips to the grocery store, not to mention every single killer detail set up you see!) but then to also model as our bridesmaids. There is not a doubt about it, this workshop would NOT have happened without them and them being there was definitely a God thing. It's not a kindness we could ever deserve, but it's one we will always be thankful for!!

Finally, I just wanted to share quickly an email that we got right after the workshop from an attendee who is just getting started in photography. Because this right makes every 12 hour day this year worth it!!

Dear Justin and Mary,

Thank you for taking your skills and sharing them with the world. You are both such refreshing vibrant people and I enjoyed having the opportunity to learn from you both. You are both such gifted teachers with passion and knowledge. I left the workshop totally inspired to begin my business. I learned more in 12 hours with you than my multiple photography classes and book/blog studying over the past 6 years. I am still decompressing!

I have to be honest, I was sick driving to the workshop on Wednesday because I was scared of how all of these professional photographers would respond to me, the teacher-wanna-go-pro-photographer. Earlier in the week I had gotten a nasty fb message from a local photographer who basically said stay away from me because I'm better than you. I was incredibly hurt by the message, and became paranoid that I would experience the same treatment from all the professionals at the workshop. I shouldn't have feared because you were all kind and welcoming. I did not feel judged at all! I am really excited to be part of this wonderful community of photographers now.

I also feel empowered to start my business on my terms. That is probably the most important lesson I learned at the workshop. I do not have to be cookie cutter, trendy, or mimic anyone else to be successful. I need to know my why and be true to it. It might have taken me years and years to really learn that. Thank you.

Mary, you are so vibrant and fun. I enjoyed all your movie references and jokes. Justin, thank you for taking time to really talk to me about lenses and advice on the future. Thank you for the positive impact you have made on me in such a brief time. I feel that this workshop is the catalyst for me alter the entire trajectory of my life(I know that sounds dramatic, but it is true). I am now settled in my decision to give up teaching at the end of the year and pursue my dream.

I hope your December break is magical and full of rest.



Happy Tuesday friends!

PS: Click HERE to grab your seat to the February Walk Through!!

Mon. Nov 17, 2014 by Mary    Weddings

Chicago Wedding at The Bedford: Nicole & Jeff

Happy Monday!

We are so excited to kick off this week with Nicole & Jeff's Chicago wedding at The Bedford! As you might remember from their engagement shoot, Nicole & I first met in law school when she was my Yale Law Women's Big Sister. She was a year ahead of me & really took me under her wing that first scary year of law school, not to mention getting me involved with the Yale Law Revue (not to be confused with the Yale Law Review, the school's journal)...this was more think Saturday Night Live, but with law jokes & skits about professors. It was amazing! And we bonded over our mutual love of doing the Weekend Report. She was & is the Amy Poehler to my Tina Fey!

Fast forward a few years & when Nicole told us she was getting married in Chicago and we had to be the photographers, it was like life had come full circle! These guys got married on a beautiful Chicago fall day! They did the getting ready at their house, we did a First Look right outside and then we headed over to the Northwestern Law campus to shoot all around their gorgeous archways & ivy. The light was perfect, the temperature was perfect, and these two were perfect! :)

After that we headed off to the ceremony & then to The Bedford, which is this gorgeous old bank vault turned wedding venue, where we did some more photos of them & then got this party started! It was one of the most fun groups we've ever seen & even the kids were burning up the dance floor! One my favorite parts of the whole night was when Jeff surprised Nicole by singing a song to her while playing guitar. Everyone in the room was blown away & it was so clear in that moment that his heart is just for her!

Nicole & Jeff we love you guys & we are SO grateful we got to be there with you that day! We wish you a lifetime of slow dances, surprise songs, and laughs worthy of the Law Revue! :)

SO much love,

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