December 30, 2011

11 Images That Defined 2011

Happy Friday!

Justin & I are off today to do maybe one of the coolest things we’ll ever get to do in our lives, with much thanks to our beautiful bride Jil. But before we go and since this is our very last post of 2011, we wanted to leave you with something extra good. So we decided it would be this great idea to pick 11 images that have defined our 2011. Yea, until we had to actually pick them! Put it this way, our first round of narrowing got it down to 160. And then much healthy debate ensued. :) But it’s all good, because what it made us realize is that 2011 was blessed with more beauty, love, light, friendship and trust than two people could ever deserve. To all of our 2011 clients, seriously….you complete us. You had us at hello. And in all honesty, you should know that it is because of you that we are able to do what we do. To live out the biggest, hairiest most audacious dreams possible. :) And to know that they always started with love. There are no words to thank you enough for that. But we thank you just the same. And our wish for you is a lifetime of love & happiness.

So much love,

1. You allowed us in.
In 2011, we were allowed in to people’s lives in a way that we never have been before, and that was especially true of our couples. From being trusted to be the one there when the tears started to fall, to being asked to fix the dress or the one turned to to give advice on how the day should go, to being the only witnesses to the start of a life together….this has been the year for unconditional trust. And I can’t begin to fathom the words that would fully express what an honor and a gift that has been. But this image of Anna below says it all for me.

2. A return to classic.
This year, whether it was a beach, a barn or a grand ballroom, we saw our clients take a return to simple, elegant and classic. To black ties and red roses and lace veils and heirloom jewelry. To something that will stand the test of time. And we couldn’t have loved it more!

3. Personal, authentic, organic details.
In the same vein, we saw our couples working even harder on their details to make sure that everything that was there felt like them. That it was quality over quantity, and that everything there added to the story of the day. I think the image below of Kristen & Stephen also represents a softer feel to our portraits that was new in 2011 and a pairing of those authentic details with the people who worked so hard on them to help tell the whole story of the day.

4. Finding joy out of sorrow.
In 2011, we shot Lara & Peter’s wedding after finding out that morning during the getting ready that my Grandma Goldie had passed away. But what I think is most remarkable about this story is that it shows that our couples are so much more than our clients….they are in the truest sense of the word, our friends. Lara, who had also lost her mom and was missing her so much, hugged me, we cried together a little, and together we determined to find joy. And when I look at this picture below, that is what I see. Joy from the two people who are in it. And joy from the person lucky enough to take it.

5. Evocative.
In 2011, Justin & I worked really hard on defining & refining both our Why and the words we want our work to stand for. We’ve posted before that we selected as those words AEIOU. Authentic, Emotional/Enduring, Intimate, Organic, and Universal. But as the year went on, somewhere along the line we decided we wanted to replace “Emotional” (looking at an image and seeing the people in it were feeling something) with “Evocative” (looking at an image and actually feeling something yourself). This image below taken at Malika & Arjun’s wedding by Justin in the pouring rain does that for me. It makes me feel something. The rain on my skin, the electricity in the air, the beat of the drum. And in that instant I’m taken right back to that day.

6.The Third Angle.
This year Julia has grown as a photographer in waves & ways we couldn’t have imagined. The stuff that she’s getting simply blows my mind. Not only because it is fantastic imagery (which it is) but because it is simply things that we never would have gotten without her. Hers is not just double coverage of moments we’re already getting. She sees the world differently, and that makes the story complete. So when I say “third” angle, please don’t mistake that as a ranking. It’s more like the third leg of the tripod….without which, it would fall over. :)

7. The Why in Action
I wrote an entire blog post about this one, but this year I wanted to push myself on our Why to create even more authentic images and to “tell the story without being a part of it.” This image below came about from the decision to be quiet and shoot instead of immediately jumping in to direct. And it makes my heart happy because of it.

8. No Dream is Too Big For Dreaming
In 2011, we saw some of the biggest dreams we ever had for our business come true. And I’m talking about the kind of dreams you feel silly for even saying out loud. So you whisper them quickly when no one is looking, and then laugh at just how ridiculous you can be. But if there’s one thing this year taught us, it’s that there is no dream too big for dreaming. Because maybe, just maybe, they’ll come true. And wouldn’t we feel really silly if we missed out on that? With so much love, thanks & appreciation to Kim & Steve Slaton for making one of our biggest dreams ever come true this year. We love you guys!

9. You don’t have to do it the way everyone else does.
I think so often, it can feel like there are these rules. A way things ought to be done. Because that’s how they’ve always been done. Or the way someone else said they should be done. And for sure, some rules are there for good reason. But there just comes a point when you have to listen to your own voice. Whether that’s on a website v. a blog, to first look or not to first look, to outsource or insource or do it yourself. Posing, pricing, packaging….you don’t have to do it the way everyone else does. This year we shot our first “maternity session” and we decided instead to treat it like a portrait of a beautiful woman who just happened to be pregnant. We did it our own way….and we got some of our favorite images ever because of it.

10. The introduction of editorial.
We got some really, really big lights. And they’re rockin our cotton socks off. I think it’s safe to say, this is just the beginning.

11. Iconic
The other adjustment to our AEIOU that was made this year, is that in addition to the “Intimate” in the letter I we also wanted to add the word “Iconic.” This image that Justin grabbed of Mel & Geoff as they sign their marriage license is both of those things for me. It is intimate….and it is iconic. And I kind of want to wallpaper our entire house in it. But that’s probably a different letter altogether. :)

Cheers to an amazing year! This was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do, narrowing down to just 11. But like Justin told me, next year should be easier….because next year we get 12!

Happy New Years to you all!

  1. athena p

    I am so incredibly happy for you. So amazingly proud of you. So honored to ‘know’ you. I cannot wait to see all of the dreams you dare to whisper shout in 2012. To feel all of the things that your images make me feel. To continue to watch you both grow as photographers, as people, as friends. I am so happy to have found you, and so honored to know you. Always love, J+M. Always.

  2. Ashley B

    #7 is my favorite….. the image in #7 is just absolutely amazing. It just feels so… REAL. Because it is real, and because the two people in it are so so obviously head over heels in love.

  3. Abby Grace

    You two never fail to inspire me. I can’t get over how perfectly perfect your images are! I love that maternity session- it’s the entire reason I’m trying my first one next month. Thank you for an amazing year!!

  4. Ashley Terry

    Everything about this post answers what I love so much about photography and why it has such a hold on my heart. I have a feeling that "unbelievable, indescribable, and unforgettable" will define 2012 for J+M. Much love for a happy new year!

  5. Kate Douthwright

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! The last one is by far my fav! Can’t wait to see what you two do in 2012!

  6. Jen Jar

    Absolutely stunning images! I love #7 and #11…they are both so REAL and really speak to me. Love you guys!!! Have an amazing New Year’s!

  7. Trude

    So much gorgeous imagery. Your images (and words) are all so inspiring, and truly fit your brand and personalities as well. Love! And thank you!

  8. Stephen Gosling

    The final iconic image is wonderful!

  9. ashley barnett

    Love this take on the year in review! Thank you for sharing the ways your images have helped you shape and continue to grow your business. Happy New Year J+M + J + C(ooper)!!

  10. Alicia

    Absolutely amazing! every time I look at your work it just takes my breath away! I don’t know how you narrowed it down to just 11!! I hope one day I can only be SO lucky to be one of your clients! your Love and passion for Photography oozes out of every last one of your photos (art they really are art!) best of luck in 2012!!

  11. Dominique

    What an amazing year you’ve had! A beautiful set of images and love the way you took us through them. Happy new year! Here’s to a great 2o12!

  12. rich

    Such amazingly beautiful imagery! So inspiring!

  13. Christa

    Here’s to 2011 and even more for you in 2012

  14. Carissa

    Love. Simply love, love, love. Thanks for inspiring me this year. I cannot wait to see how you inspire me next year :) XOXO

  15. Josh & Kylie

    Your work rocks guys! Love your personal posts too!

  16. sharon elizabeth

    loved this post!!!!

  17. Kristen Barrante

    I am so excited for you that you are achieving your goals and dreams. Thank you for helping us achieve ours this year too! I can’t wait to see whats on the horizon for you next year! Happy New Year! Cheers :)

  18. Moch


    Great post for the last day of 2011! Thrilled to see what will come tomorrow for you guys :) love all your images and thank you for always sharing the truth :) Happy New Year!

  19. Stephanie Stewart

    Oh my goodness, cannot fathom how to only choose 11 of your images, but I must say you did choose the perfect ones. Love your work, love you even more! Happy New Year!

  20. Victoria Harding-Wakeen

    These are ALL terrific, but I’m particularly fond of how you created photo #11 – so classic, I love the grain. B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!

  21. Nancy Mitchell

    This is why I LOVE you two!

  22. Jil


  23. Lisa Cour

    That is one of the most precious things to me about photography. The stories behind them and how just that one image can tell such a book of tales.

    You have reason to be so proud of your 2011. Congrats!!

  24. denise karis

    amazing! Happy new year to you both and many x’s and o’s! :)

  25. Michelle Feeney

    Wow, what a beautiful post. I’m sure it was tough to come to these images as your 11 but they compliment your words and intention perfectly. The happiest of New Years to you and J.

  26. ashley goodwin

    that last photo is MONEY!

  27. Deji Osinulu

    That last frame … love it!! I think their grandkids will too!

  28. Ray

    This post almost brought me to tears. It did. Your writing does that to me. And your photos are definitely, "Evocative." That last photo is proably one of my new favorite weddings from you. Everything about that wedding was perfect. ;o)

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