March 12, 2015

Meet our WPPI “Year of Mentoring” Winner!!

As you guys probably know, for our Platform Talk at WPPI last week we were also giving away a grand prize to one lucky attendee that included a YEAR of mentoring with us, a year of Showit, $1000 to Tonic & a brand consult with Jeff and Jen, and some fun Profoto lighting gear. And when it came time to announce the winner, we decided to channel a little of our inner Oprah or T. Swift! We told her she was a finalist in our giveaway, but still had another round to make it through. We told her to meet us at the Showit booth at 1pm for an interview that would determine if she moved on. We lied. :)


We got her there & I asked questions just long enough to stall until Justin came sneaking up behind her with this big bunch of balloons! We had our friends Matt Kennedy hiding out shooting this video & gave a bunch of people in the booth confetti to throw at her! :) We are so TRICKY!! :) It was awesome!

So without further ado, we would LOVE to introduce you to our year of mentoring winner….Carissa Uribe!! We are going to be bringing her back on here from time to time throughout the next 12 months for updates on how she’s doing, so you guys can cheer alongside her! So we thought it would be good for you to get to know her right off the bat!

First up, her winning entry: “If nothing else, hearing Mary speak made this entire trip worth it. Exactly what I needed to hear & yep, there might have even been tears. Something she said in the first 10 minutes, maybe even one of those things she said in passing and didn’t expect to stick,  but it kinda punched me in the stomach because, I’m going to be honest, it’s been kind of hard for me lately with moving to a new place and trying to be a good wife and good mom and a successful business owner…it’s been discouraging. But her words reminded me WHY I do what I do and that what I do is important. Thank you SO much Justin & Mary for being so genuinely interested in helping the photography community! I don’t know if I can ever really thank you for the inspiration you’ve given me.”

Let’s hear from Carissa!


Hi everyone! First let me just say how truly honored I am to be on Justin & Mary’s blog (!!!), and have this chance to introduce myself today! I can still hardly believe that I’ve been given this opportunity. I’m one of those people who never wins anything! Haha. A little about myself… I started my photography business five years ago in Park City, Utah, but I just moved to Conroe, TX, with my husband Jake and our little girl Natalie! We moved for here Jake’s job, and though we decided together that the move was best for the three of us, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about what was going to happen to my business!

We’ve only been here for a couple of months, but so far I’m realizing starting over in a new place is not going to be easy. In the least bit. It took me a few years to really build my business to a successful level in Park City, and it seems it might be the same thing here in Conroe. I guess deep down I knew that, but actually admitting that it’s been tough feels like defeat for some reason, so I was kind of burying that feeling. Until WPPI. When I heard Mary speak, and found out about this incredible giveaway, I suddenly realized that asking for help shouldn’t be something I shy away from out of fear of looking lost. Because everyone has been there at some point or another! And if I am helped along right now, and then can in turn help out others from this experience, well, that’s kind of a beautiful thing!


So here are a few things I want to work on this coming year! First, growing a clientele base here in Texas, but that’s probably an obvious one, LOL. Second, balancing the jobs of being a wife, and mom, and a business owner. Having Natalie was the best thing that’s ever happened to Jake and I, but it definitely changed our daily routine! Gotta keep it real, I kind of flew by the seat of my pants last year, being my first year as a mom and a business owner. I made it, but it wasn’t pretty. And I got a LOT of help and support from not only Jake, but also our families. Now that we’ve moved away from our families, though, it’s just me, Jake, and Natalie, so I need to figure out how to better manage my time and workflow in order to be there for them, and for my wonderful clients!

Third, I need a bit of a rebrand!! I’ve had the same logo and website for almost 5 years. Not that it’s bad to have the same logo for 5 years… Unless you’ve outgrown your old brand and it doesn’t properly convey who you are as an artist! Which is definitely where I am. It’s time to step it up. Lastly, I want to put myself out there more and try to get published. I haven’t worked that hard at it because of the fear of being turned down! But I’m ready to put that fear behind me. Hopefully with a little help from Justin and Mary ;)


Here are 8 things you should know about me!

1. Jake and I are high school sweethearts. In fact, he’s the only person I’ve ever dated! Some people think I’m crazy when I tell them that. But I’m married to and madly in love with my best friend, and I think it’s pretty awesome that soon we’ll have been together longer than we’ve been apart.

2. I also happen to be the mom of the cutest 16 month old on the planet! Ok, I might be a little biased.

3. I’m a dessert addict. No really. There is not much else in this world I love more than dessert. Just as anyone who has shared dessert with me. You’ll have to fight me for the last bite. Especially if it’s warm chocolate cake. Mmmm.

4. I’m pretty competitive. It runs in my family. (Well, my dad’s side. My mom is the sweetest and doesn’t have a competitive bone in her body.) In fact, Jake and I don’t compete in anything unless we’re on the same team. It’s just best for our marriage. Haha.

5. I’m actually very introverted. I can pretend to be an extrovert when I need to, i.e. photographing weddings! Haha. But truthfully I love nothing more than an evening at home by myself on the couch with some tea and a good movie or book. Well, Jake can come too. ;)

6. I really love to run. I’ve run two half and two full marathons, and I hope to run a few more before my running days are over.

7. I’m a dog person. We have two German Shepherds who would sleep in the bed with us if Jake would let them!

8. Last, and maybe the most important, you probably don’t want to talk to me in the morning unless I’ve had my coffee. It’s a bit like the zombie apocalypse until I do. Fair warning!

Carissa-5Photo Credit: Amy Lashelle Photography

Finally, to Justin & Mary- I just want to say thank you one more time!! I literally cannot tell you how grateful I am that you guys chose me! I won’t let you down :) And I will probably say thank you about a thousand more times throughout the course of the next year!! Can’t wait for everything that’s in store!!

  1. Deborah Zoe

    Congrats on winning a year of mentoring with J&M!! So exciting, you’ll learn so much!! I have an almost two year old at home and I can completely related to balancing business and baby! Hang in there, you can do it!!:) Can’t wait to hear more about your journey throughout the year!!

  2. Lindsey LaRue

    Congratulations, Carissa!!

  3. Carissa

    Is this real life?! Seeing this blog post and my face up there just makes me feel so overwhelmed and excited! THANK YOU again!! (There’s one of those thousand times haha.)

  4. Ramie

    Carissa… Congratulations! I can’t even imagine how AMAZING this year is going to be. What a treasure to be able to work with such an awesome couple.

  5. Stephanie

    Congratulations, Carissa!! What a wonderful opportunity and a huge blessing! Looking forward to seeing how you progress in the coming year as you work with J&M (and transition into life in Texas)! :)

  6. Change is a Good Thing » Dulce Photography Blog

    […] from WPPI when they surprised me as the winner (you can read more about it on J&M’s blog HERE!!). Huge thanks to my sweet, talented friend and WPPI roommate Sarah Knight, for these photos! She […]

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