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Fri. Oct 24, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

If You Find This Letter

Ahhhhh I am SOO proud of my dear friend Hannah Brencher who just finished her first BOOK!! If you have ever met Hannah or heard her speak or read anything she's written pretty much EVER, then you know what an incredible, inspiring fire cracker she is! I've watched her go through this book writing process for the past year and I can tell you that she has poured her whole heart & soul into this book. I know it is going to be a game changer for SO many people out there!

The book will be out next March but it is now available for pre-order on Amazon (it's currently #1 in the Inspiration category!) And it turns out that the pre-order sales are a BIG deal in determining how the book does....they show booksellers & publishers just how many people are interested in reading an author and how the distribution goes from there. So if you are looking for a new incredible book to rock your world say somewhere around this time next March, I would SO appreciate it if you would consider heading over and placing your pre-order: If You Find This Letter: One Girl's Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers

I know you won't regret it!
Happy Friday!

Wed. Oct 15, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

Guest Post on Lace and Loyalty: You Wash, I'll Dry

**Recently we had the HUGE honor of being asked by our friends at Lace and Loyalty (a beautiful wedding blog with a focus on building strong marriages) to write a guest post on our own marriage & what we've learned. Well today it went live and we would LOVE for you to head on over & read it. I've included a little excerpt below, but to see the full post be sure to click HERE.

"If you were to go to our website right now or sit down across from us in a cafe, with your hands holding a steaming cup of coffee, and set out to get to know us better… here is what I would tell you. There is a part on our about page, a mere couple of paragraphs at best, that essentially sums up who we are and who we always hope to be in our marriage. It says:

“He picks up our new Crate & Barrel Rococo stripe dish towel and snaps it lovingly in the general direction of my backside. My posterior. Derriere if you prefer.
You wash, and I’ll dry.

But ever since the “You wash, I’ll dry” line made it into first our about page, then our promo video, and then into the talks we’ve been giving at photo conferences all over the world, we have had more than our share of skeptics.

We’ve had people ask us, “I mean seriously, don’t you two have a dishwasher yet?” (Funny enough, we actually don’t. But it’s on our wish list when we do our new kitchen!).

And we’ve had people say, “I mean honestly, do you really expect us to believe that you guys actually LIKE doing dishes that much?”
To which I always say: you’re missing the point.

“You wash, I’ll dry” isn’t at all about suddenly loving all the hard and not so fun things in life simply because you’re married. It’s about how when you take on the tough things together (both the real and the metaphorical dirty dishes here), hard times somehow feel cut in half. And the joyful ones are doubled. It’s about how four hands can build a lot more together than two can alone. And it’s about being a helpmate to each other, even when the thing you’re facing isn’t so fun.

But most of all, “You wash, I’ll dry” is about always being on the same team."

To read the rest of the post & what we've learned about being on the same team, head on over HERE to read the rest of the article on the Lace and Loyalty blog!

Tue. Sep 30, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

The Blog is BACK!!!

So Happy Fall you guys!!

Fall....whoa, when did that happen? The last time we talked- I mean really talked- we were heading into some of the busiest weeks of our Summer and I had decided to take a Summer Sabbatical of sorts from the blog to get some rest, some clarity, and to figure out a new direction that I wanted this blog to go in. And now here we are several weeks later with leaves turning colors and the pumpkin spice latte orders racking up at Starbucks.

And this rest has been GOOD you guys. It has been so, so good.

It was time that I needed. Time that I needed to take for myself. Time that I was, quite honestly, afraid to take for myself because I was afraid that our business would implode if I took off the superwoman cape for even a second. I mean, haven't we all been there & felt that at some point?

But 7 weeks to the day later, and I'm here to tell you that's just not the case at all. The wheels aren't going to fall off just because you slow down for a little while. The world doesn't need to have ALL of you all of the time.

And all of those crazy demands to be perfect that we put on ourselves are just that....they are things that we put on ourselves. WE put them there. And we have to be willing to lay them down if we are ever going to move forward. For they are far too heavy to keep carrying around.

Take that deep breath with me now. I give you permission to exhale.

For me, I had just been going and going with the blog. It was one more item on my checklist to mark off. And THAT I was posting each day became so much more important than WHAT I was posting. It had become hollow. It had become habit. It was lacking in heart.

And from the step back of these past 7 weeks, I've been able to see that. To see what's been missing and what I want to get back to. And to catch a glimpse of the places that we've never been willing to go before. I want to be brave. I want to be honest. I want to talk about the things that matter.

And most of all, I want to make sure that the words I'm writing mean something. That they actually help people. Because otherwise, what's the point?

So get ready, because all of that is coming! :) Posts that are brave, posts that have heart, posts that cut beyond the surface and aren't afraid to get real, post that share our lives with you day to day as we try to get closer to who it is that we're becoming.

Posts that take off the cape of having it all together, and get down to the pieces that make up who we are.

Well that and a WHOLE lot of pretty pictures that we have lined up to show you guys!

It's going to be great, I hope. But even more importantly than that, it's going to be real.

It's really, really good to be back you guys. I've honestly missed talking to you so much.

And we have a lot to catch up on.

**Speaking of taking off the capes, we spent last week at the absolutely life rocking & amazing Pursuit 31 Conference. And the incredible team at Tre Creative put together this video of everything that happened. You have to watch it to understand!

**And speaking of pumpkin spice lattes, as a little welcome back gift from us to you to thank you guys for hanging in there with us let's do a $25 Starbucks gift card giveaway. Just leave us a note in the comments and we're going to pick one lucky winner soon!

Tue. Aug 12, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

Taking a Blogging Sabbatical!

Sooooooo. I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

Next month will mark seven years that I've been blogging pretty much every day Monday through Friday on here. And...that's a lot.

It's a lot to think of new posts. It's a lot to think of the words. It's a lot to put out there & not really be sure if it's making quite the difference I want to be making in the world amidst all the noise. Because with Facebook, Instagram, and all the other news feeds out there...let's face it, there is definitely a LOT of noise these days.

And it's become kind of this grind. This thing I show up to every morning where just getting something up is more important than what I'm actually getting to say. The passion for it is gone. Me having time to write things that matter is gone. Because the next morning rolls around sooner than you think & the whole process starts over again. I've seen that in our blog & I've definitely seen it happening in our friends' blogs out there too. And the truth is, we just have some really big dreams & some really big things happening for us that we want to be freed up to work on. We don't want to just keep doing it the same way because that's how we've always done them. The world is changing & we are changing too. We leapt & started this business in the first place because we didn't want to get caught up in the "supposed to's" of this life.

So it would be a real shame if we let ourselves get caught up in them now.

So after seven years, I've decided I'm giving myself a break! A chance to step back & really think about what I want to say, what I want this blog to be & stand for, a chance to get creative and write for me and shoot for us. A chance to free up 4-8 hours every day to live more of life, to get work done on the things that matter & the big projects that fall by the wayside all while I stop everything to get a post up. To rest and breathe and feel passionate again. To fill the tank. To get some clarity on what the next steps look like for us and get excited again. To get FIRED UP again. To adapt. To innovate. To lead and not follow. To do what has not already been done. To just give ourselves space to be human and take off the superwoman cape. To not feel so BUSY every day and wear that like some sort of badge of honor (which let's get clear on is NOT now nor will it ever be!) And instead, to slow down and be an artist again. To be a crafter of words and pictures. To be able to write the kinds of pieces that are really on my heart & step out more as a writer. To do work that in every way matters and feeds my soul. Not just work that fills a checkmark.

So in pursuit of giving ourselves that space, we have decided to take a sabbatical of sorts for the rest of the Summer to test the waters, clean the slate, and take a step back to gain some perspective. For the next several weeks, I'm going to be blogging somewhere between 1-2 posts a week (or if I don't have anything to say, then zero!) and we will also be shaking up how we approach the posts (more on that once I figure it out! :) And honestly, just even writing these words was such a huge relief so I know it's going to be so great for us!

***In the mean time, you guys can REALLY help us out by taking part in a little survey of sorts in the comment box below. We would really appreciate it if you let us know if a) you prefer to just keep up with photographers on Facebook & Instagram or if you enjoy coming over the blog/ are you reading photography blogs and b) what kinds of posts you get the most out of/most enjoy reading/ would want to see stay moving forward. It would be a HUGE help! Thanks in advance guys!

Thank you guys so much for being with us for the ride! I think it's only going to get better from here!

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!

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