January 10, 2013

Guest Blog: Lauren Wakefield on What She’s Learned

Today we are SO honored to have past workshop attendee turned one our dearest friends in the WORLD, Miss Lauren Wakefield, on to guest blog for us about three of the things that she took out of the different workshops she did with us (Spread the Love, Walk Through a Wedding & the J&M Lighting Intensive) and what she’s done with them since. Because when it comes down to it, that’s the really important part. Going to workshops & classes is fine. But it’s what you do with them after that counts. And that’s why I am so proud to know Lauren….because she is a DOER if I ever saw one. And someone who is destined to set the world on fire.


I honestly believe there are certain people that come into your life for a reason. People that are just meant to be there. You may not always know the exact reason they’re there…or exactly how they will change your life. But you know somehow it is meant to be.

Justin & Mary are those people. When I met them back in 2011 at their Spread the Love workshop…I knew my life had changed. I was sitting in that dark room listening the Mary’s soft voice and I just knew that the things she was telling me were things that were going to stick with me forever. My mind was running a million miles a minute as I watched these people I admired so much pour their souls out to everyone in that room. They gave everything they had to each and every one of us and from that day forward I knew that was how I wanted to run my business. And more importantly…live my life.

When Mary asked me to guest blog today, I immediately had a panic attack followed by an overwhelming sense of gratitude for everything she has done for me and my business. How day in and day out she keeps pushing me to dream big and do bigger and constantly reminds me what it means to live your best life.

Since Justin & Mary have given so much to me over the years I wanted to share with you some of the things I have learned from them that have changed my business drastically…and more importantly…changed me. Here are my top 3…

Fear does not equal excuses

When I started my business I was afraid. So afraid of everything. Failing. Rejection. Not being good enough. And I let that fear stop me from going after the things I wanted most. Until WPPI. I sat in a giant room full of people just as scared as I was and Mary said something that to this day has stuck with me:

Action trumps fear.

I was looking ahead at the scariest year of my life and something about that sentence made me feel like I could do it. Like fear all the sudden seemed like this silly little road block that I could easily overcome. And I did. I took my business full time. I booked my first full wedding season. And as I sit here now I am looking ahead at a year full of my biggest dreams yet…and everything I need to make them come true.

My Why

When I started shooting weddings I was shooting them like everyone else. I was taking the shots I was supposed to take and at the end of the day I had a portfolio full of pretty pictures. But I felt like something was missing. After I went to J&M’s Walk Through a Wedding Workshop it was like I saw things so differently. Mary talked to us about her ‘Why.’ The reason behind why she shoots and how in every photograph she always keeps that in the front of her mind. And she challenged us to really stop and think about our ‘Why.’

Once I really focused on the reason I was shooting weddings in the first place…once I defined my ‘Why’…my photos changed dramatically. They became so much more than pretty pictures. They became emotions and memories. And work that I can be truly proud of.

Lighting with Intention

As someone who went to photo school I just always assumed I had the lighting thing down. I understood it…knew how to make it do what I wanted. I felt like I was set in that particular area. After Justin & Mary’s Lighting Intensive I felt like my world was rocked. They didn’t just teach how to light…they explained how to light with intention. How to use light to better tell the story and ultimately end up with images that reflected everything I was trying to say. It was like a light bulb moment and now I actually get excited for receptions! Who would have thought? Needless to say…it is something that has become so valuable in my business and constantly reminds me that we’re never done learning.

These are just three of the biggest things I’ve learned from Justin & Mary. Over the years they have been invaluable teachers to me and most of all…lifelong friends. The kind of friends that are meant to be in your life…and make you better just by knowing them. Justin & Mary…thank you for everything you do every day to help make this industry the best it can be. You guys are truly remarkable.

  1. Amanda

    YES YES YES! To all of this!

  2. Tiffany Bolk

    Thanks for sharing this Lauren! I totally know how you feel about going to school for photography and thinking you kind of know everything. I have two degrees in photo and I totally thought I just had photography down, but then I started doing weddings, and I suddenly felt like I didn’t know anything anymore! It’s a different world from art school! :) But it’s also really exciting to be learning new things! I have been following Justin & Mary for over 2 years now and I’m finally going to one of their workshops! I just bought my ticket and I can’t wait! You are so lucky to have a friendship with them.


    Thank you so much J&M for featuring the AMAZINGNESS that is Lauren Wakefield!!! I have been in awe of each of you, your images and how you all encourage and inspire others for quite a while now and I, too, am ready for "a year full of my biggest dreams yet…!" :)

  4. Kristin

    Love this!

  5. Christy Tyler

    LOVE all of these, and love the idea of lighting with intention – with the story you want to tell in mind.

  6. Monica Justesen Photography

    Thanks for this, what a great post!

comments & responses

Add a Comment