March 20, 2015

Announcing: The J&M Lighting Guide!!

Whew! This is a post that has been a long time in the making! We have been working on writing our new J&M Lighting Guide for what feels like forever now….but that’s ok, because we knew we wanted to take our time with it to make sure we poured all of our hearts & all the lighting info in our heads onto these pages so that you got the best information possible!

The simple fact is, Justin & I love lighting. We believe that when you look at an image that takes your breath away, but can’t quite put your finger on what makes it so amazing….chances are, it has to do with the lighting. We believe that good lighting breathes life into an image. It weaves itself into moments and shines a spotlight on the people in it and the emotion that’s already there. We believe that lighting done right, just makes the viewer more aware of the people in the photo and their story…and never what photographer did. And we believe that that can be done just as beautifully and natural-feeling with a flash as it is with natural light, which is always our goal….to make flash feel as natural as possible.

We also believe that there will always come a time (many, many times in fact) in a wedding photographer’s career where natural light simply isn’t an option. And in our ten years of shooting together that has come up in pretty much every part of the wedding day, from the getting ready to the ceremony to the portraits to the reception. And simply put, if we hadn’t had a working knowledge of our flash and an OCF (off-camera flash set up) we wouldn’t have been able to deliver for our clients. That is what the heart of this Guide is about….equipping our generation of wedding photographers to love and serve their clients in every situation, and to make sure that their story gets told as beautifully as possible.

So here goes……Introducing: The J&M Lighting Guide!!


This ebook will be the first & the foundational guide in our lighting series. We are actually going to be rolling out a whole series of smaller guides over the next few months that deal with more specific lighting scenarios like dark ceremonies, shooting the couple at night, shooting in barns, shooting in tents, shooting the reception details, and more. But this Guide lays the foundation for all the other ones, and covers all the basics of our philosophy of lighting. This includes: creating directional & dimensional light, the 5 characteristics of light, finding your angles, making the light go to work for you, how to set up & work your off-camera light and where to place it, how to determine which power to set it to, Manual v. TTL, the benefits of umbrella v. soft box and why you need both, how to make the most of your bounce flash & make it feel like a larger light, how to say goodbye to awful, mixed light once and for all, how to have the confidence to know that you always bring the light no matter what, and much, much more!

Our biggest goal in writing this Guide was to take away the “scary” factor of flash and OCF for photographers. So it is written in a way that is meant to be very accessible for anyone to learn…and a way that never makes you feel dumb for not already knowing the answer. Our first level goal is that you won’t be afraid of your flash anymore….and our second goal is that you might actually fall in love with it & never be one of those people who hates their flash anymore! :) Speaking as someone who used to be one of those people, I can tell you that this approach has changed everything for me!

And in closing, here are some of our all-time favorite images that never would have been possible without a flash! :)






















  1. Sarah H.

    did I miss out?! the link isn’t working

  2. Amanda

    The link goes to paypal but nothing else…. is something broke?

  3. admin

    Hey friends! The link should be working now!

  4. Mary

    I just purchased! Happy Bday to me! haha

  5. joan solitario

    just preordered the book! yay! thank you! looking forward to getting it when it’s ready!

  6. admin

    @Mary: awww YAY!! Happy Birthday!!

  7. Abby Grace

    Please please do one on editorial portrait lighting! The ones y’all have done in front of the gray backdrop with Leeann (sp?) are some of my all-time faves :).

  8. Jen Bacchiocchi

    Very excited to dig into this before our season starts! (And especially excited about the video because I am one of those visual learners!)

  9. Annette Whelan

    Hi guys,

    I purchased your lighting guide just a little while ago but used my phone to do so and I think I may have missed the download code. I have the paypay receipt stating I have paid for the ebook and hopefully quaiify for the 45 minute video. However, it was the first time I used my phone to pay via paypay! I am a newbie 3G phone user…lol! Please advise

    Thank you,
    Annette Whelan

  10. Annette Whelan

    Ok just realized it was a preorder….ignore previous message! First day with new brain ;)

  11. Mary Marantz

    @Annette Yep, pre-order!! You’re in! :)

  12. Rosie

    Hi there! When will this be available for regular sale? So excited to get it but I missed out on preordering! Thank you!

  13. Lauren

    Second to Rosie’s question. So bummed to have missed the preorder, but hoping the guide will be available for regular sale in the near future?? I hope hope!

  14. Off Camera Flash » Intimate Virginia Beach Wedding Photography by Heidi Calma

    […] this year, I invested in the Justin and Mary Lighting Guide. Oh photographer friends! This is a game-changer! I read the entire thing cover to cover in one […]

  15. Teira

    Is this e-book still available for purchase?

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