Archive: May 2012  |  View all recent posts

Thu. May 31, 2012 by Mary    The Latest

Speaking: Pursuit 31 Conference

Today I am BEYOND thrilled to be featured over on the Pursuit 31 blog!

I am super excited to be attending the Pursuit 31 Conference in Georgia later this year. I'll be speaking on one of the days, but really I can't tell you how excited I am to just get to GO to this conference. To get a chance to unplug for a few days and spend time with some other ladies, just talking about life, business, and how to hold it all together. Well, y'know, at least most of the time!

A little while back, I got the chance to be interviewed by the oh-so-LOVELY Karen Stott, the founder of Pursuit 31. And we took some time to talk business, balance, and, y'know, how to avoid serial killers! :) And all the things I *wish* somebody would've told me when I was first getting started.

I've included a little excerpt from the interview below, but to check out the full article you'll definitely want to head over HERE!! And if spending a few days recharging with awesome women over bonfires and s'mores (in my head there will be s'mores!) I would love to see you in October at the conference!!

So much love,

How did you get into Photography & Design?

I got into photography by falling in love with a photographer.

Justin & I met the summer after my first year of law school at Yale. He had just moved to the area, and all of my friends had left for the summer. We met on Yes, I know. And no, we have no plans for doing a commercial.

Neither of us had ever done the whole internet dating thing before, and to be honest I was pretty sketched out about it. When we agreed to meet for coffee, I got really worried about what I had gotten myself into. So I did what any red-blooded, savvy modern woman would do. I Googled him.

The results brought in gallery after gallery of Justin’s school projects full of the most beautiful pictures I had ever seen. And right then and there I decided if he could create something so beautiful…he probably wasn’t a serial killer

So we had that first coffee on a Thursday, and then a hike just a few days later. And then we got married the following week.


But that was pretty much it for us. In my heart, I knew I had found my soul mate. And in his work, I knew I had found my path in life. Since I was still in law school, for two years I strictly ran the business side of things (marketing, pricing, contracts) and never picked up a camera. But in 2006 when I graduated, I had to decide to take some very lucrative law firm offers or to hold on to Justin and this dream with all I had and take that leap together. We chose the leap. We chose Life Unordinary.

And we’ve never looked back.

What do you wish someone would’ve told you when you first started out?

To take everything that the “famous” photographers say with a grain of salt. Some of them are really honest and they truly care about helping people. Some don’t. So I wish someone would’ve told me that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

I get it. I do. It’s really hard to stand up in front of a room full of people and say you know what, I don’t have this all figured out. This didn’t come easy. And there are times to this day when we still struggle. It’s a lot easier to highlight the glamorous. The super high end. To pretend that celebrities are just knocking down your door to have you shoot their wedding. That you double your prices every year and have it together 110% of the time. And y’know… wake up with hair that looks like a Pantene commercial. :)

But I just have to keep reminding myself to run my own race, and make the decisions in my gut that seem to be best for us. Because I can never really know what’s going on behind the scenes of those other people I might listen and look up to. And at the end of the day, I know we have to be the ones steering the ship.

Wed. May 30, 2012 by Mary    Pancake Sessions

Join us TODAY for a Live Chat!!

Hey Guys!

We hope you'll be able to join us tonight starting at 6pm EST for a one hour LIVE Chat that will be hosted right here on the blog! This chat is entirely free to join so we hope to see you there & please help us spread the word by sharing about it on your facebook wall or twitter!

We'll see you then!

**Unlike our past two LIVE Chats, this one doesn't have a set curriculum. It will be made entirely of your questions and the different directions that YOU take us. So in a way, it's like we're hosting it together! :) So help a girl out & get those questions ready! And if you already have some you can start leaving them in the text questions area once you've joined the event!

Tue. May 29, 2012 by Mary    Life with J&M

Of Swan Dives & Shoulder Shrugs

It bounced in his hand once mid-swap, and then did the perfect backward two-and-a-half somersault dive in the pike position. To. the. ground.

We watched in slow motion, each of us grabbing at the air just short of the lens- my baby, the 50mm- as gravity did what gravity does. It hit the floor and bounced. Twice. Then army rolled under the cake table. Where it came to rest in three separate pieces, much like the three-tiered fondant masterpiece above. Except nowhere near as sweet.

Suddenly all eyes from the neighboring tables were on us, as we stood frozen in half-crouched fighting tiger, hidden dragon poses. In that instant, it hit me that we must've looked a lot like Scooby Doo & the Gang trying to go unnoticed by the Electric Monster in some underground mine shaft somewhere. In that moment, we knew we had two choices.

We could either release the high-pitched voices that were screaming in our heads out into the world, or we could play it off like it was no big deal. That this sort of thing just, y'know, happens all the time. What-evs. No biggie. We looked at each other, then at the lens, then back at each other. And in that one, brief glimmer of an eye, an entire husband & wife conversation took place. We both popped back up in perfect synchronization. And then, without missing a beat, proceeded to give our best hey, we were just cast as extras in a Friends episode fake laughs in the background. For good measure, I threw my hands up in a Brady Bunch worthy shoulder shrug paired with a signature head shake & smile. As if to say, Oh you, what am I going to do with you! And then somewhere somebody pushed play on some canned laughter from the audience.

Which was really the weirdest part.

In the end, it turns out it really wasn't that big of a deal. We were nearing the end of the night anyway, as our couple was just about to cut the cake. So I just ran back with my three little sad pieces that used to make up my 50 1.4, and swapped them for another lens as we finished out the night together not even missing a beat.

But for you to really to understand why this story is so classic, you first have to understand how insanely particular & protective Justin is of our gear in the first place. I mean, the boy gives me a hard time if he finds even a speck of DUST on the lens. He threatens to take the computer away if I get too close to touching the screen because he can't stand the fingerprints. And he is the only one who shall pack & unpack our gear bags.

And here he had just swan dived the one lens I use 99.9% of the time, and I...I didn't even say a word. Which y'know is really just code for I'm saving it up for some point in the future when I really need it.

Like any good Brady Bunch, sitcom, shoulder-shrugging wife would! :)


Mon. May 28, 2012 by Mary    Spread the Love

The StillMotion Share Project

I've always been a fan of good stories.

Growing up in West Virginia, sitting on a front porch swing or around a good bonfire with some homemade marshmallow sticks, telling stories was pretty much a way of life. An art form. The unofficial state past time. (Well, that and watching WVU whoop up on Pitt. Amen.) And from years and years of listening to other people tell their stories, somewhere along the line I learned how to start telling mine.

A good story makes you feel something. And, it makes you feel like you were right there. It takes you along for the journey, puts you right in the action, and when it's all said and done....the best stories will change you. Charge you. Call you to do higher things.

It's this kind of story that I'd like to share with you today.

Our amazing friends at StillMotion have just launched a new project that they are calling "Share." A grassroots initiative to tell stories that matter. In their own words:

We had considered donating a percentage of our profits to the many good causes out there, but it always felt like we could do more. With that, the idea of Share was born. Rather than donating a percentage of our profits, we thought, what if we donated a percentage of our time. In doing so, we could tell stories that could reach and help in a much bigger way than any single donation we might make.

Our first story is for Old Skool Cafe, a youth run supper club. Teresa, the first heart behind Old Skool, was a correctional officer who was really affected by how few options there are for youth after they have entered the system. She would get so connected to many of the youth with the time she spent with them inside of prison. Sadly, many ended up right back inside shortly after being released. The environment many of these youth come from, and the environment which they are released into gives them little chance of breaking free. Teresa wanted to created a way out, another options that could offer these youth a positive community support system as well as an income. With that, and 8 long years of hard work, Old Skool Cafe was born.

We started Share because we wanted to give back. we wanted to help illuminate some very valuable causes or projects that need to be seen by larger audiences. What we didn’t fully expect, was just how much we would gain from the experience. We’ve long said that the process of filmmaking is as valuable as the result itself, and nowhere is that more apparent than the creation of this film.

stillmotion: Share. a story a year.

Every year stillmotion will take on one cause and tell their story on a 100% volunteer basis.

if you have an idea for a story that needs to be told, whether that is your story or one you know of, please email

if you’d like to lend your support and get involved in Share, whether that be in your time or skills, you can also email

And even if you don't know of another story, you can help by spreading this one. Just by doing what the project says, and Share.

With HUGE thanks to folks at still motion for being the amazing hearts that they are!
So much love,

Thu. May 24, 2012 by Mary    Life with J&M

Friday Meet & Greet: Roll Call!!

Happy Friday friends!!

Today we have the perfect way to kick off your weekend. We recently saw the idea for a meet & greet over on our friend Promise Tangeman's amazing blog (definitely add her to your list if she's not already on it!), and totally loved it! So... we decided to steal it! :) Here we go!!

Stand up & be counted!
Tell us your 1// Name, 2// What you do (for a living or for fun), 3// any links you want (Facebook,Twitter, website) and 4// anything else you us to know!

And if you need help getting started on what to say, you can just weigh in on the following "this or that's." Tell us which ones you like better!!

Ryan v. Ryan

Ice cream or cupcakes (thank goodness we live in a world where we don't actually have to choose! Can I get an AMEN??)

Dream vacation: Tropical sandy beach or Old World Charm

Which one scares you more: Nikki Minaj or Toddlers & Tiaras?? I'd say it's a dead tie.

Also before we send you off smiling into the weekend, there are a couple of matters of business to take care of!

*This coming Wednesday, May 30th we will be hosting a one hour FREE Live Video Chat here on the blog starting at 6pm EST. So be sure to mark your calendars! We will be spending the whole hour taking & answering your questions, so if you have any questions you already know of feel free to leave them in the comment box below. And we would love it if you would help us spread the love by spreading the word on fb & twitter!
** Speaking of the wonderful Promise Tangeman, we are ready to announce the WINNER of her SiteHouse Design giveaway that she did for us while we were away!! A HUGE congratulations goes out to Marivelle Baumgarten!! And we also have the winner of Julia's Home Depot giveaway.....Kathryn Denelle Stevens!! Both of you can just shoot us an email at and we'll get you all set up!

Happy Friday, y'all!

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