Fri. Aug 8, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

J&M Summer Bucket List Update

Happy Friday friends!

Can we just talk about how not only is it now August, but we're almost already 1/3 of the way through August at that! Whew! This summer sure has been flying by!

It makes me extra grateful that this year we decided to do our J&M Summer Bucket List to keep us accountable to actually having a summer for ourselves in the midst of busy season. It can be so tempting for photographers to just work, work, work their whole Summer & Fall away, and then we find ourselves in December wondering where the year went! This year we wanted to be more focused on making memories for us rather than just sitting behind a computer & I'm so glad we did!

Now that we're entering the home stretch of summer, we thought we should do an update on where we are on the list. So far, I'd say we're doing really good! We've gotten to do a TON of stuff, a lot of which we shared here on the blog like our trip to Maine, going to an O's game, sailing in Seattle, VooDoo Donuts in Portland, and our fun 4th of July. And then there were smaller adventures that didn't get a post of their own (but we posted over on Instagram), things like going to a speak easy while we were in Chicago, laying out on a blanket & reading books, going to our own beach by us, kayaking a bunch, and cooking while pretending we're gourmet! :)

Thus far, we've marked 15 official things off the list!! But there are still 22 more left! {Insert that bug eyed emoji guy right here! Eeee!}

The good news is that August is our most bucket list packed month yet with trips to Ocean City, Assateague Island, Nantucket, Buttonwood Farms and Rhode Island planned. So we already have it planned to mark off a bunch more of them. We may not end up getting to ALL of the things on the list and you know what...that's ok. Because just having the list & remembering to chase adventure was the prize in and of itself

But I sure do love marking off a you never know, we may just get to all of them yet!

Stay tuned!

*Go to Assateague Island & see the ponies
*Got to Ocean City, MD & eat blue crab
*Attend a clambake
*Go to a speakeasy & get a signature drink
*Go berry or peach picking
*Oysters at the Matunuck Oyster Bar & sit out on the deck
*drive around Charlestown & Misquamicut
*Movie or jazz on the green
*Project a movie in our backyard
*Go to a drive in
*Go to Voo Doo donuts in Portland
*Go sailing in Seattle
*Go wine tasting on Long Island (look for the Graysons :)
*Check out the Montauk lighthouse/ walk around Montauk
*Play bocce & badminton
*Go somewhere fun for the fireworks on the 4th
*Spend a day exploring Kennebunkport
*Lobster & popovers in Bar Harbor
*Brunch in Portland, ME
*Eat almond joy ice cream in Watch Hill
*Have dinner/drinks/go to an event at the Ocean House
*Go back to Nantucket
*Spend a few days on Martha's Vineyard
*Spend a few days on the beach in Stone Harbor or Ocean City, NJ
*Ride bikes at Hammonasset
*Kayak a few different fun places
*Grill out good food....act like we're gourmet! :)
*lay out on a blanket & read books
*spend a bunch of days at our own beach
*rent a house on a lake & take Cooper swimming
*Go to the Mystic aquarium
*Go see an O's game & walk around the Inner Harbor
*Justin to get a hot lather shave at the Quintessential Gentleman in B'more
*Go to lunch/dinner at the Golden Lamb Buttery farm
*Go to the Buttonwood sunflower fields in August
*Go to an amusement park
*Eat clam chowder on a rain day

**And a HUGE congrats to the winner of our "Wifey for Lifey" giveaway, Miss Erin Sennett!!! Just shoot us an email Erin & we'll get you all set up!

Thu. Aug 7, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

7 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Portfolio

Happy Thursday friends!!

As Justin & I are closing in on our new brand, one of the most important decisions we've been having to make is which images are going to make it into our new galleries on our site. We want them to stand for what we want to shoot, the style we want to be known for, and attract our most ideal clients. That's a lot to ask of just 20-30 images! And it's been SO tough to narrow them down!

One of the things that we always do in our J&M Mentoring Sessions & on the second day of our Walk Through a Wedding workshop is to go through each person's website, i.e. their "online portfolio." Because that's what the website really is, it's a way of saying "this is my best work, this is who I am as an artist and a person, this is what you can expect from me if you hire me."

And over the course of time through doing a LOT of these mentoring sessions and workshops, we have noticed a pretty common theme of mistakes that almost everyone makes with their portfolio. We've identified 7 of them in fact! And we are going to be sending them out to our newsletter community this afternoon!

We've included one below to get you started, but if you want to read about all 7 then be sure to click HERE to get signed up for our newsletter to receive this one & all of our future free tips & tricks newsletters to come!

Have an amazing day friends!

1. Try not to show too many images from the same wedding, especially in a row It's ok to have a featured gallery of images from one wedding that is off by itself. But in your more general galleries, try not to put in too many images from the same wedding especially if you have them in there in a row side by side. The biggest problem with doing this, is that it can start to make it feel like maybe you haven't shot that many weddings and that can really scare off potential brides. If you have plenty of weddings to draw from & it's been a while since you've updated your gallery, then just go in and swap out some newer work where you have too many images from one wedding. If it's the case that you ARE just getting started & don't have a ton of weddings to draw from yet, then just make sure you scatter them up in the gallery which will keep it more interesting & make sure the viewer stays more engaged in what's coming next. And as you shoot more, just make sure you're adding new weddings to that gallery as soon as you can!

Wed. Aug 6, 2014 by Mary    Get Fired Up

Move the Decimal Point

BIG things have been happening lately with The Black Tie Bride & The Well Groomed Groom (the two wedding blogs we started at the beginning of this year for those of you who are new around here!)

Last week we went up and met with our accountant & our financial planner for about four hours (it was a marathon!), but when it was done we had officially started our second business ever & I'm so excited to say "The Black Tie Media Group" was born!

Now we're not planning on leaving our first business (Justin & Mary Photography) behind at all, it's just that both of the blogs have really blown up & taken on a life of their own. And it became really clear really fast that they needed to be their own business! So last week we made that happen!

While we were meeting with our accountant, she said something that she always reminds us of when we're with her. She said, "Everybody has the same things they have to think about with their money, everybody has the same choices. It's just a matter of where you put the decimal point."

And I LOVE that because it's so true. It's such a great reminder that in so many ways we are all in this together and dealing with the same kind of things. When we were first starting our business, our decimal was in one place and now it's in another. But that doesn't mean that we don't have to still keep being smart with our money. And making good choices. And working a budget. I think that younger version of us would have thought that if we could ever "just get to that place" where the decimal point changed then we would never have to worry about any of that stuff again. And it's just not true.

It's the same with starting a business. When we're first starting or a few years into it, it's so tempting to think "oh if I could just get to where So & So is then I'll have made it. I'll have arrived. And I won't have to work so hard at it anymore." But the fact is, it's just not true. There will always be work to be done. And hustle. And stress. Fear and failures and triumphs. And small victories along the way that push you forward. There is no "arrived."

There's only "we've come this far, let's see where the road leads next."

Something that we've definitely learned over the years is that whether you are just getting started in a dream or you are years into it- something that at the moment we find ourselves standing with a foot in each place: an established photography business of almost 8 years and a brand new baby of a business only a few days old- either way, we all have way more in common than we have different:

*We have fears and doubts and "what ifs"
*But we also have all of the heart racing, up all night, can't keep from talking about it of what it could look like if it works
*We have email. Lots and lots and lots of email.
*We're so busy building a dream that we go out in public unshowered in yoga pants and a messy hair bun and run into someone we know.
*We work FAR longer hours than that corporate job we left or turned down to chase a dream with more life balance. But somehow we don't mind it at all.
*We sketch out logos and web layouts on notebooks in Starbucks. Even though our drawing skills leave much to the imagination.
*We leap, believing that the net will appear.
*We pray that what we build stands for something, makes a difference, makes a change, leaves something behind, and that it pulls us closer to the plan God has for our lives.
*We get overwhelmed.
*We make color coded to do lists.
*We find people who can help bring the dream one step closer.
*We get brave. We send the email, we make the call, we reach out with the chance they just might say no.
*We're told no.
*But along the way, we find a lot more yes's in places we didn't expect them.
*We're criticized for breaking the lines, for not staying where we're supposed to stay. But we would rather be criticized than ever let the world put us in a box it has with our names on it.
*We create for ourselves. Because it makes us happy. Because it speaks to us and we believe in what we're making. And like Beyonce says, " I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart."
*We look up inspiring quotes from Beyonce.
*We look too much ahead at where other people are and forget to look back at the path behind us. To see how far WE have already come.
*One day we feel knocked down. One day we feel like we're soaring. Either way, every day we get up and go about the work of building a dream.
*We get our hands dirty.
*We put our hearts on the line.
*We give more. We try harder, We believe for bigger.
*And above all, we dream. We sleep less, so we can dream more.

And whether it's 1 year or 10 years, I just never want to lose that. I always want to have that same heart, that same hunger as we did on Day 1. Where the only thing that's changed is time.

Just move the decimal point.

Rock it out!

Tue. Aug 5, 2014 by Mary    Engagements

Sneak Peek: Natalie & Brad in NYC

Last night we hiked down to NYC for Natalie & Brad's engagement shoot all around the City. And it. was. glorious friends!

Can't wait to share more, but for now here's a little sneak peek!


Sun. Aug 3, 2014 by Mary    Engagements

Meet: Jenny & Mike

These guys emailed us over a year ago to contact us about shooting their Maine wedding. They are good friends with one of our past J&M Couples, Ali & Jon, who also got married up in Maine and they wanted to see if we'd be willing to come back. Ummm, YEA we would! :) We absolutely love shooting in Maine: the backdrops are gorgeous, the people are always so nice, and the lobster is a definite bonus! :)

So since we're going to be going up there for the wedding, these two came down to New Haven for the engagement shoot to hang out, get some fun pictures, get Pepe's Pizza, and so their lab Phoebe could meet Cooper (who were best friends right away, obviously!) The day had started off super cloudy & gray, but as soon as we started shooting some golden light started peeking through and gave us gorgeous, soft light. And these guys just brought it (it, it's just what you bring!) They have such a great chemistry together and that made it SO easy!! I could have photographed them all night...and we pretty much did!

Jenny & Mike we had the absolute best time hanging out with you guys! You are funny & sweet & so, SO good together! We can't WAIT for the big day!

So much love

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