Archive: June 2012  |  View all recent posts

Fri. Jun 22, 2012 by Mary    The Latest

The J&M Lighting Intensive: Atlanta, Miami & Tampa

The other night I asked Justin to bring back some ice cream from the grocery store, and instead he came back with a loaf of bread.

Yes, a loaf of bread. From the oven, baked with love, dusted with flour...bread.

As we stood together barefoot in our kitchen, I leaned against the butcher block and the following conversation went down. I've included the transcripts for your viewing pleasure.

Me: Hey hon, where's the ice cream? Did you remember to get it?
Him: What ice cream?
Me: Remember, how I said "Hey, why don't you pick up some ice cream for tonight!" Yea, that ice cream.
Him: Mmmmmm, no. You didn't ask me to get ice cream. You asked me to get bread.
Me: Uh, no I didn't.
Him: Yes you did.
Me: Uhhhhh, NO I didn't.
Him: Ummmm, YES you did.
Me: Babe. I stood right here and said why don't you pick up some GELATO.
Him: No, you stood right there and said why don't I pick up some CIABATTA.
{long, dramatic married couple pause for emphasis. three emphatic blinks.}

Together: Ohhhhhhhhh.

So yea, needless to say our ice cream sundaes were a little on the dry side that night. And in other "sometimes you just need people to say it a different way before you can see the light" news (see what I did there?! I'm the Dean Kamen of segues....think about it, it'll come.) we are so THRILLED to announce the next 3 cities & dates for our J&M Lighting Intensive!!






Atlanta, Miami & Tampa are now all open, and for today only when you sign up using the code "gelato" that will get you $50 off your seat! :) But be sure to jump on this fast, because the last two cities SOLD OUT completely! We hope to see you guys down there! Where we will have a feast of bread sundaes and ice cream sandwiches. Word. And....GO!!

The formula is simple. It's a five hour (starting at 4PM), super-intensive, incredibly hands-on lighting extravaganza with one goal in mind: no one goes home that night until they convince us they are 100% confident that they could fully rock their flash (both on and off camera!) at their next shoot.











Wed. Jun 20, 2012 by Mary    Weddings

Stone House at Stirling Ridge Wedding: Katie & Jeff

She sat in the car alone, and waited quietly for her turn. The sounds of the bridesmaids heels going up the front church steps click-clacked their way in through the open car window and floated away on a warm summer breeze. Katie smiled softly to no one in particular and gently rested her hands in her lap. The perfect picture of grace. And all things beautiful.

He stood at the front of aisle surrounded by all the people who mattered most in the world, and quietly waited for her. The sounds of the bridesmaids excited laughter and last minute well-wishes, marched their way up the center aisle and fell away into a reverent hush as they approached the altar. He knew that she would be next, so Jeff smiled a smile for one person in particular. And when she got to him, he gently took her hands in his. He looked on this face, the face of his best friend, and right then he knew. She was the perfect picture of grace.

And to him, she would always be all things beautiful.

Married: Katie & Jeff

Katie & Jeff were married on a gorgeous June day at the Stone House at Stirling Ridge. They were surrounded by all their friends & family, and bridesmaids with gray dresses and yellow toes. :) Not to mention some of the sweetest little details you ever did see. They ate and laughed and danced the night away. And there wasn't a person there who saw the two of them together who didn't already know....they were looking at love. Katie & Jeff we cannot thank you guys enough for inviting us to be the ones there with you on your day. My wish is that you will love like this always: quietly and fiercely, and with words that don't even need to be spoken. Your love is beautiful.

So so much love,
J&M






























































I'll end on that note of Katie's beautiful mom laughing it up at the end of the night! But you can CLICK HERE to see the full slideshow of their gorgeous day!!











Wed. Jun 20, 2012 by Mary    Life with J&M

Happy Birthday, Cooper Boy!

Today is my Cooper Boy's birthday, so I'm writing this post to remember life with him just as it is.

The truth is, I wanted this post to be perfect. The perfect lifestyle shot of the three of us, looking like the cover of Golden Retriever Weekly ( I have no idea if this is an actual publication, but if it isn't....it should be) and laughing effortlessly in unison. Yes, in unison. Even Cooper would be laughing in my perfect world.

But then it took 457 tries for us to do a self-portrait. And Coop never did look at the camera. He just covered us in dog fur and then ran away to chew on his birthday hat. We tried carrots. No, not like the figurative carrot a la the carrot & stick approach. An actual baby carrot. That Justin scotch taped to the top of the camera. Hey don't judge us. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

On try number 458, Cooper head butted both of us in an attempt to give kisses, and we decided to take another approach.

So we brought out his annual birthday yogurt, lit the candles and sang. But when he nearly singed his whiskers off, we decided that maybe fire and golden retrievers don't mix.

So in a last ditch effort, we hid some food under his hat and that seemed to do the trick.

Cooper, my boy. Life with you is not perfect. Not in the Golden Retriever weekly sort of way, anyway.

Our floors- and our clothes- are constantly covered in tumbleweeds of golden fur. You go crazy and like to maul new people just to show them how much you love them. Last night you chewed up a dollar bill, just because you could. And if we ever let you off leash, I'm pretty sure that you'd just keep running like "yellow dog" in that Chevy Chase movie Funny Farm.

But when you come and put your head in my lap and sigh, all is forgiven. We often tell you that you're lucky that you're cute, but the truth is....we are the lucky ones. You have filled the past 7 years with more laughter, stories, an abundance of cuteness, antics, and yes, headbutts than we ever could have imagined.

And even though we have to buy stock in lint rollers now, every time I see that golden fur I'm reminded.....

I would rather have our imperfect life with you than perfect any other way.

So Happy Birthday Coo-Coo-Kachoo. Here's to you!
xoxox
Me





PS: you also let us know exactly how you feel about having your picture taken













Tue. Jun 19, 2012 by Mary    Pancake Sessions

Guest Blogger Jen Bebb on Asking What If

*As you might have seen, Justin & I both attended the inaugural What If Conference this past January in Cabo, and we are SO excited to have been invited back again to speak at the next one: the What If Portland Conference taking place next month on July 23-26th, where we will be speaking all about going from Dreamer to Doer and What If's to What's Done. We're excited and honored to be there as speakers, but I can't tell you how much more excited we are just to get to go. To sit there as an attendee and soak up as much as we possibly can from people like Anne Sage, the editor of Rue Magazine and Fer Juaristi. To talk and dream out loud with the other attendees. And to....quite frankly....get uncomfortable again. When we went in January, that was the direct spark that led to us doing a Walk Through in Australia and honoring a soldier at our WPPI talk. It challenged us. Pushed us. Got us out of doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result, and gave us a healthy shove back into dreaming again. And I'll be honest, I'm ready for another kick start like that again. I can't wait to see what comes out of this next one. We wanted to give you guys a little taste of what What If is all about, so I am SO excited to introduce Jen Bebb (one half of the dynamic duo that is Jen & Steve Bebb of Bebb Studios and the founders of the What If movement) to talk to you guys a little bit today about getting back to dreaming. She's amazing....soak in everything you can!

“Boring is already full.” This is one of my favorite lines from Seth Godin. He’s right, you know, boring is full to overflowing, yet people stay there. Why? Because while boring is already full, it’s also a safe and comfortable place to be.

So how do you know if you're living in boring? Often we don’t even realize it until something shakes us out of that place and forces us to take a long hard look at what we’ve built.

That’s where your dreams and “what if”s come in. Life is filled with “what if” moments where decisions, big or small, that chart our lives are made. How often do we let those moments pass by because of fear or distraction or, well, fear? Uncertainty is scary, it really is, but dreams are made reality with a little leap of faith and a whole lot of planning.

When you are a Creative, ideas are your life blood. Without them you stagnate and wither. Growth as an artist and a person becomes all but impossible. It is our dreams and our crazy ideas that propel us, inspire us and keep us alive. Creatives live to create - and dreams drive that creative spirit.

If you aren’t used to acknowledging your dreams, pursuing them can feel all but impossible. We get so busy working in our businesses and trying to find balance, that we forget it was a dream that brought us here in the first place - a “what if” that we followed through on. We dreamed once, didn’t we? When we picked up a camera or started a business. How can we do it again? Here are a few tips to get you started:



1. Give yourself permission to dream and brainstorm each day.
Find a place that inspires you or do something repetitive to free your mind (like jogging or washing dishes, for example). Let your mind wander freely and the ideas will come. It might take some time if you’re out of practice, but they will come.

2. Write your thoughts down.
It may only be a word or a half-formed idea, that’s alright. If you write it down, you can come back to it later when inspiration strikes again, fleshing out what you have into something tangible and doable.

3. Honor those thoughts that come into your head, seemingly from nowhere.
Stop what you are doing and let the ideas flow. Share those thoughts, however crazy or silly they might be, with someone. Write them down and see where they take you. It is often the most outlandish idea, the “what if”, that becomes something incredible.

4. Start. Then finish what you’ve started.
A dream is just a dream until you make it a reality. Big or small, ideas are worth seeing through to the end - some will be successful others not so much. For Creatives, though, the act of seeing one idea through is important to seeing other ideas through. As we create we dream bigger, it’s a cycle that feeds on itself.

We want to learn about your “what ifs” and help you bring them to life. That’s what the What If Conference is all about - creatives working together to facilitate each others dreams. This is a place where “creative” is not defined by work product (like photography or graphic design), but by the Creatives themselves.

**To help get you there, we are giving away one seat to a Creative who is ready to make their dream a reality. Simply write your “what if “ down, along with ideas of how to make it happen. Send that to hello@whatifconference.com no later than June 30th and we will pick a winner.

Not ready to share? That’s alright too. We have a gift for you also - a $50 discount off our Learner Plus tuition. Just use the code ‘JUSTINANDMARY’ to claim your discount. We can't wait to see you guys there!











Mon. Jun 18, 2012 by Mary    Life with J&M

Doubt & the Silver Frame

A couple weeks ago as we were driving home late at night from a wedding, I felt myself sinking into the depths of a rare moment of doubt.

Oh don't get me wrong, I have doubts all the time. Doubts about if we're good enough. Doubts about where we're going. Doubts about if we're getting there fast enough or if we'll ever get there at all. Doubts about my seriously suspect cleaning abilities. (Note to self: the magic eraser is not in fact meant to go on EVERYTHING).

Me and doubt...we go way back. Kind of like that girl in seventh grade who invited me to her slumber party only because she wanted to put peanut butter in my hair. Yea, doubt is kind of like that seventh grade mean girl...she has a tendency to stick with you.

But that's never really been the case when it comes to what it is that we do.

Wedding photography. The photography of weddings. Photography for people who believe in love. There has never been a moment of doubt in my mind that what we do matters. It's a constant. A given. A universal truth. Like "you will never find the perfect outfit when you're actually out shopping for one." Some things you just know, free from doubt.

That is, until the other night a couple weeks ago.

When in one exhausted moment, for just a glimmer of a second I caught a glimpse. It washed over me in a wave, and all at once sucked the air out of my lungs with hurricane gale force and then landed with a thud in the pit of my empty stomach. It was like getting the wind knocked out of you....with a soccer cleat.

You know, what if all we do is really just to create another pretty thing on the wedding day? Something that's enjoyed for a while, but then tucked away and forgotten about alongside the dress and the veil as life moves forward.

It suspended me. Hung me there for a second. Reeling. As the world spiraled beneath me.

And then I caught hold of an image that in an instant just as quickly...redeemed me. I clung to it. Held onto with everything I had.

It was an image of a wedding picture in a silver frame. And it sat on my grandparents' mantle for sixty-two and a half years. It's the two of them on their wedding day, staring out as they started a life together. A life that would span over the next six decades, through children, grand-children and great-grandchildren. Through World Wars and recessions, sickness and health. And as life moved on and children grew and her raven hair turned gray, it stood there as the one constant. The reminder of what it felt like to hold hands and look out in the same direction. Together. To be those young people again. And then to look back and know that this life and this love was always worth the risk.

And then I thought of all the wedding images in all the silver frames that might be out there in the world somewhere right now because of us. Because of all of us. And this crazy thing that we do. And how that sixty-two and a half years from now, it might be one of our images that grand-children and great-grandchildren are still holding on to. And in that moment, somewhere in the darkness along the corridor of I-95, my faith was restored.

And I was reminded to do everything I can to shoot every image, as if it might one day end up in someone's silver frame.

















 
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