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Wed. Jul 9, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

Equipped: A Photography Workshop for Wedding Creatives!!

Today is such a fun day & a BIG announcement!!

It all started with an email from our friend & amazing florist Carrie Wilcox after she did the flowers for our last Walk Through a Wedding workshop (and who will also be helping us out on our upcoming August Nantucket Walk Through!)

She wrote to ask our advice on buying a camera, what to look for, and how best to go about photographing her arrangements before sending them out to the weddings. And then she typed the words that put everything else into motion. Basically, she asked if we would ever consider teaching a photography workshop to non-photographers! Would we be willing to put together a workshop that taught the basics of photography to other creatives- people like florists, planners, bakers & makeup artists- and show them how to get awesome pictures of their work when there isn't a professional photographer to grab some great shots for them (which would always of course be the first choice!)

Now the truth is, we've had a TON of people email us in the past to ask for camera recommendations & to see if we would ever put together a class for amateur photographers who just wanted to get to know their cameras better. And it always seemed like such a great idea, but one that we just haven't had time for before now. But I think there was just something so powerful about the idea of helping other creatives document & market their brand that really got me fired up enough to make it happen this time!

Because let's face it....we are living in a visual world! And SO much of building a successful brand & online presence comes back to having the beautiful imagery to support it. And SO many other types of wedding creatives just don't have access to a ton of beautiful images to put on their websites or images of their latest & best work... so their website aren't doing them justice! Also, if I were a planner or florist or any of the other creatives listed above, not only would I want great images of my work, I would also want some behind the scenes shots to be able to showcase myself in action & put a face and personality to the brand. And the fact is, most of the time, all of that behind the scenes action happens before the photographer even arrives to the reception... so those shots never happen. Even though they would be SO great to have on a website and to post on Facebook & Instagram, to show potential brides what they look like in action!

Add to that fact that sometimes a creative's best work might happen when it isn't for an event at all, but just playing around in the studio trying new things. And so you create this incredible thing (a bouquet, tablescape, cake design, beauty look, etc) that you are incredibly proud of....but then there's no one around to take a picture of it! And it would just be nice to know that whatever happens, you have the ability- in other words, you are equipped -to grab some great shots for yourself!

And now here's the BIG announcement part!! We are SO excited to announce today Equipped: A Photography Workshop for The Wedding Creative!!!

We just love this idea so much because we have such a heart for all kinds of small businesses, not just photographers. We first fell in love with teaching other kinds of creatives a few years back when we first took our "Spread the Love" business workshop to 20 cities across the country in 2010, and we were lucky enough to have a bunch of different kinds of creatives and small business owners (planners, florists, even realtors!) at every stop we did. And then again last year with our What's Next tour when the same thing happened! We've been lucky enough to teach business to other creatives for several years now... and SO much of what we do with marketing, building, pricing, and growing an audience for our own business also translates to those other kinds of businesses. But for whatever reason the idea of actually teaching them photography and what a NEED that fills in the industry right now didn't really sink in until Carrie's email! So C, thank you SO much for that!

Equipped will be held at our home in New Haven, CT on August 5th from 1pm-6:30pm! And just a few of the things we will be covering include:

*The basics of photography & how to get a well-exposed image
*Understanding the different settings & how they work together (introducing the exposure triangle)
*Light and the power it has to really show off what you've worked so hard to create
*The 5 rules of shooting details
*The 3 adjustments that will instantly give you better images
*How to get amazing Instagram worthy photos without using your iPhone
*What brides & editors are really looking for: putting your best foot forward
*Creating a visual brand & leveraging social media
*Growing your audience & gaining raving "Lovemark" fans for your business
*Creating a client experience worth talking about
*Portfolio & brand reviews
*and more!

So that's it!! The BIG announcement is here!! For the first time EVER, we are offering a photography workshop to non-photographers! If you are a wedding creative who is ready to get great images of ALL of your best work & rock out a visual brand worth following, then we would LOVE to have you join us for over 5 hours of awesome learning & amazing networking with fellow creatives! We can't WAIT to see you there!

Seats for Equipped will normally be $350, but for the next 48 HOURS you can grab the Early Bird rate of $295 with the code "earlybird" at check out. Click HERE to reserve your spot!

Happy Wednesday friends!

Thu. Jun 26, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

The Luxe Brand Giveaway!!

Our dear friend Jane Johnson is what you would call the triple threat. Not only is she an incredibly savvy business woman and amazingly talented photographer, she is also an insanely talented designer to boot! When you add in the fact that she's drop dead gorgeous, well if I didn't love her just so darn much I would probably hate her! :)

Well, to add on to all of that amazingness, Jane has just launched her latest project, The Luxe Brand, which offers absolutely stunning brand solutions for photographers and small business owners on everything from websites with matching blog designs to paper, packaging, and pricing folios. It's basically the whole package of pretty!

My absolute favorite part about this, is that if you are someone who is finding yourself in a place where your current brand is holding you back or keeping you from taking it to the next could have a new brand polished and launched by the weekend! With the height of booking season upon us, what we've been telling all the photographers who are meeting with us is that there is absolutely NO time to waste in putting your best foot forward. You have maybe just a couple of minutes (seconds?) to make an impression on a potential bride. And if she doesn't like what she's seeing right away, then she'll be on to the next site! So the decisions we are making now will affect our whole calendar of bookings next year! And now with something like the Luxe Brand, there is absolutely no excuse not to bump up your branding!

**Now for the best part of all! Jane has so graciously & incredibly generously agreed to give away one of her gorgeous blog designs (your choice!) away to one of our lucky readers! You can scroll through some of our favorites below, head over to the site HERE to check them all out & then get entered to win below! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment saying hi in the comment box below! Will will pick & announce the winner early next week! And...GO!!

Wed. Jun 25, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

J&M The Newsletter!!

Our latest newsletter is about to go out all about "5 Tips for More Natural Poses"!! To be sure to get all of our FREE J&M newsletters packed full of tips & inspiration, be sure to get signed up by clicking on the "receive our email newsletter" at the bottom of this post!

Mon. Jun 16, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

The Two Year Anniversary of The Guide!!

Wow! I can't believe it, but it has been two years now since we wrote The Guide!

As we are now currently hard at work on our brand new Lighting Guide, I can remember exactly what a labor of love it was! The Guide was born out of the frustration and all of the mistakes we made when we were first starting our business, trying to build momentum by doing what everyone said we were "supposed" to do. And how that just. wasn't. working. It took us being in the grit of it, taking a really hard look at what actually worked and what didn't, and being willing to take the risk to do the opposite of what everyone else at the time was doing. It took us trusting our gut, and following our intuition, innovating, and developing strategies that didn't exist yet, but ones that aligned with the kind of business we wanted to have. A remarkable one. An incredibly successful one. But most importantly, a business fueled by heart.

The Guide is the step by step instruction manual for how we did just that.

How we went from what we call the "Job Interview Days" of our business (described below) to building something we are so proud of: a dream of a business that more than supports our little family & takes us all over the world while doing it!

In the past 24 months, we have been completely blown away by the hundreds & hundreds of copies of The Guide that we've seen go out. But more so, we have blown away by the emails that we get after. Stories of businesses turned around. Of bookings increasing 300%. Of people who were ready to give up, but had new life breathed into them. That makes every hour of writer's block, re-writes, and digging deeper to be honest about the struggle worth it. WAY more than worth it.

So, in honor of the Two-Year Anniversary, we wanted to do something to celebrate! And to make it possible to get copies of The Guide in more hands who might need it. So for TODAY ONLY, we are running an anniversary special where you can grab your copy for 50% off!! That's the lowest price we've ever done & it ends tonight so be sure to jump on it!

An excerpt from The Guide on "The Job Interview Days"

"It was February of 2005, and we were on our way to yet another client meeting.

The sample albums had been packed. The gift had been wrapped , complete with a brand new box that we had just spray painted earlier that day in our drive way. So it was now a rich shade of chocolate brown...or, y’know, whatever Krylon’s version of chocolate brown was that year. And the ribbon was tied in our signature teal. Bought for $5 a roll earlier that week at our local craft store.I mustered up every ounce of courage & faith I could find. And we walked out the door. Together.

When we got to the couple’s house, we passed another photographer on his way out of just finishing up a meeting. We danced a sideways shuffle down the narrow walkway, as all three of us did everything we could to avoid eye contact. And as we rang the door bell holding our bags of sample albums, I couldn’t help but feel like the vacuum salesman. Readying myself to dump dirt on their floor. Instantly, my only very recently mustered courage & faith deflated. Like a Thanksgiving float, speared by a stray dart gun. They deflated. And right then I knew: this meeting was over before it had even begun.

We sat at their dining room table over stacks of wedding magazines and one “my dream day” binder, and made awkward chit chat. As my mouth grew dryer I silently prayed for a glass of water, but none was ever offered. And when we tried to find out something, anything, that we might have in common they just asked for our price list. Or more to the point, and what it felt like at the time....our resume.They were in the driver’s seat. The interviewer. The judge and jury of our fate. And we, well we....were in the hot seat. As we sat there waiting for our verdict, I couldn’t help but thinking: this couple is NEVER going to book with us. Right? Who among us hasn’t spent two hours getting ready for a meeting, only to be two minutes in to realize that this couple is never going to book with you? And yet, you still find yourself praying that they will. Because you just need to make rent that month. Your dog (or even better, your children!) have gotten accustomed to having food. And as you watch them scan that right column of numbers, adding and comparing you apples to apples with every other photographer they’ve met with that week without ever once asking to look at one of your images, you silently ask yourself if what it is to be living the dream.

The first two years of our business are what we refer to as the job interview days of our business. These were the days of feeling like the traveling vacuum salesmen, of driving out to meet at the couples’ houses only to come back home empty-handed & empty-hearted, and finding ourselves sinking further and further from the dream. During this time with the job interview days of our business, we were booking maybe 1 in 5, or on a really good streak maybe 1 in 3, of the couples we were meeting with. And that’s a really terrible booking rate. Because it meant for the 4 out of 5 couples we were meeting with- or 80% of our resources, our time, our money, our energy, how we felt about ourselves- 80% of that was being wasted. More than that, we just started to feel really bad about ourselves.
This wasn’t life unordinary. The road less traveled. This was every cheesy wedding photographer in every movie ever made. And we started to ask ourselves is this working anymore.

Is it worth it any more?"

What is The Guide?
The Guide is over 50 pages of new ideas, images, and information that breaks out step by step how we went from barely booking in our business, to actually getting to pick & choose our entire calendar's worth of couples. We'll talk about how we got our names out there, what we did to build up momentum when we were just getting started, and everything that we do to give potential couples the ability to decide that we are absolutely the photographers that they have to have with them on the wedding day....or not. And why either one of those outcomes is a win. Just some of the features that The Guide includes are things like our ideal client profile: what we look for in our clients. the top 5 red flags to look for when filtering, 10 easy ways to create more connection on your site, meetings in a box: 4 complete plans for how to set the room, what to serve & booking gifts depending on your brand, the three things we always say in the course of a meeting that allow couples to build the right package for them without ever once resorting to high pressure sales, 3 clauses you should always have in your contract to protect your bookings, our Lexus Theory of Pricing, and our complete a la carte pricing menu with all of our current prices included & more!

***Also, on a completely separate note! We are going to be sending out our next newsletter today all about 5 tips to make your flash look more natural! We have only opened up 150 more spots on our newsletter & as soon as we hit that we're going to send it out. So be sure to be among the first to sign up (by clicking on the "receive our newsletter" button at the bottom of this post!) so you don't miss it! And...GO!!

Thu. Jun 12, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

Profoto and J&M Giveaway!!

Ahhh we are SO excited about this!! Profoto has just announced a killer contest to go along with our "Walk Through a Wedding w/ Justin & Mary" that will be releasing through the rest of the year!! And they are giving away such amazing, AMAZING stuff....I seriously wish we could enter! :) And the best news, is that it's really simple to enter!

Basically, all you have to do each month is watch the video that they've chosen for the contest (for example the first one is the "First Kiss" video) and then submit a picture based on what we've taught you. Then just make sure you share it with all your friends, because the three images that get the most votes each month will get all those killer prizes! That's it!

But wait, there's MORE! :) Each month's first place winner will automatically be entered in the Grand Prize running and at the end of the year, we are going to be part of a panel that will pick one lucky entry to be the top winner. Think of it like American Idol, but for photography! :) (I'll definitely be the Paula....wait, she's not even on that show anymore is she?!) And that person is going to get a B1 kit, a soft light set up, and an air remote!

To enter, all you have to do is head over HERE & get signed up! Also, if you haven't gotten to catch up on all the videos yet, you can find them by going HERE! They are really simple, really helpful videos that show you in three minutes or less what we would do in a series of tricky lighting situations on a wedding day. So if bad light & flash is something that has been scaring you then they are such a great place to start for really getting a handle on it! And they are all FREE to watch!

And if you're ready for something more hands on & in depth, we have our upcoming J&M Lighting Intensive coming to Seattle on July 8th or our Walk Through a Wedding in Nantucket on August 20-21 {only FIVE spots left!!} We just had our DC workshop on Tuesday & here is what some of the attendees had to say!

"This is so much more than a how to use your flash when light sucks kind of class. It goes deep into why we do what we do and how to get a final product that truly represents our clients. It will CHANGE you as a photographer, even on how to use natural light. GASP! I know! I recommend this for every photographer, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned photographer" -Elizabeth Fogarty

"Justin and Mary, Thank you so much for bringing your Lighting Intensive Workshop to DC! Of any course I've ever taken in lighting, especially in regards to off-camera lighting set-ups, your methods were by far the most relevant and made me more comfortable with difficult scenarios than I have ever been previously. Thank you for giving me the knowledge necessary to walk into any lighting situation and feel confident that I will be able to serve my clients well by providing them with beautiful images no matter how much (or how little) natural light is pouring into the room. Most of all, I appreciate how you have transformed my thought process and really encouraged me to consider "why" I approach light and my subjects a certain way rather than being so focused on "how." I am so grateful for your eagerness to educate, and mostly for your friendship and encouraging hearts!" - Nikki Santerre

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