December 31, 2015

The 15 Images That Defined 2015

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I can’t believe it, but this is the LAST day of 2015! Any oh my goodness what a YEAR it has been! Every year around this time for the past five or so years, rather than going through the hundreds & thousands of photos that we took to even TRY to narrow it down to our favorites (which always turns into the world’s longest posts!!) we like to pick a number of photos that have defined that year.

See, there is this tendency when one year ends & another begins, to want to slam the door shut on it. To put it behind you and never look back. But the truth of it is, the real gift doesn’t just lie in wherever it is that we’re going. In the tender, tentative steps we have yet to take.

The gift lies behind us too.

It lives and breathes in the giant strides and leaps we have already taken. In the places on our foreheads still bruised & a little battered from coming up against the brick walls. It’s in the scar we now bear that has somehow only made us stronger. It’s in the fights and the hugs and the laughter and the salty, stinging tears that stitched up the three-hundred-and-sixty-odd-some days that made up this last year.

Because the fact is, the gift in any journey is two fold. It’s in the looking forward at the horizon and believing, even for a whisper of a second that you might one day actually get there. That there are miles left in you that no one has even begun to really see yet. And… it’s in the pausing before you step forward to look back just one more time, wind whipping against a new winter’s wind, to be amazed- truly amazed– at how far you’ve already come. Farther than anyone ever thought you would.

So today, for just a little longer, we look back. At the 15 images that defined our 2015.

And we take time to be thankful for the gift it really was.

1. Launching the New Brand. That first photo you see up there represents the turning of a brand new page for us with the new look that we unveiled in January-thanks to the design genius that IS Miss Jen Olmstead– that finally feels like US and our “forever brand.” And with it, it feels like we also turned a new page in our career…one where we were almost overnight suddenly recognized for our work in a way that we never have been before. As if people instantly finally got what we were about. A powerful, authentic, legacy brand full of heart can do that for you!

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2. Light, light, light. We actually technically shot this in December of 2014 for Profoto‘s brand new B2 light…but we weren’t allowed to show it until 2015, so it totally counts! Falling more & more in love with light and using it in brand new ways we never have before definitely defined our 2015!

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3. Gorgeous, classic, iconic brides. Our J&M brides are a mix of Grace Kelly & Audrey Hepburn all rolled into one and they love us for our iconic style! This was the year-maybe because of the new brand!- of us attracting our most classic, iconic J&M brides yet!

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4. Nantucket…and Pink…and throwing your arms up to enjoy the ride. When I get to heaven, I’m pretty sure this is what it’s going to look like for me. Just fields and soft blankets of pink cherry blossoms as far as the eye can see. And Nantucket. Always, Nantucket. We’ve worked SO hard to climb to the top of the roller coaster…this was the year of just throwing our arms up & enjoying the ride!

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5. Big, Crazy Dreams Realized. But make no mistake about it, we also worked our TAILS off this year! The only difference is that this time we were able to see that work turn into something BIG with the launch of not just one but TWO amazing courses for photographers that we have been talking about doing forever– The J&M Lighting Guide & The Art of Authentic Posing e-course! We are SO proud of both of these and we have gotten to hear from the hundreds of photographers who have taken them that they are changing everything for them. One of my favorite quotes we’ve gotten is “My life is changing. My art is changing. I cannot thank you both enough!”- Bessie Watson (PS: if you want to grab the Lighting Guide before 2015 is up, it is marked down $79 TODAY in the J&M Store!) 

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6. Shooting in Rome. We did it! And what a DREAM come true it was! A HUGE thanks to our J&M Couple Tiffany & Charlie who first trusted us with their wedding, and then brought us to Italy with them 5 years later! We have big dreams of doing more of these destination anniversary shoots especially in Ireland, Paris, Provence, Venice, Hawaii, Bora Bora, Vienna, the Amalfi Coast, and Scotland! Let us know if any of you want to go there and we’ll dream big together!!

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7. Our own Anniversary Shoot in Venice. Do you want to know one of the stories we’ll tell our grandchildren one day? It will be waking up at 4:30 am to catch our own private (and stunning!) wooden speed boat to dash across the water from Lido to Venice in a black sparkly dress & a tuxedo just as the sun came up pink over the Piazza San Marco. That’s some James Bond stuff right there! :) And at to that, that we got to have the whole gorgeous morning (and to me what is even more beautiful.. our marriage!) documented by the crazy talented & amazing Nadia Meli. Well that’s just the stuff dreams are made of right there!

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8. Seeing things differently. We are two people who never want to stop pushing ourselves. We want to have a life long love affair with photography, and I hope that when I’m on my death bed I’ll still be trying to think of ways to tell better stories. Justin grabbed this incredible image, and one of my favorite things about him is that he always sees the world differently than anybody else does. I read a quote recently that said “I like to stay quiet in a world that is so loud with people all scrambling to say the same thing.” To me, that quote defines my Justin perfectly!

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9. The truth is we take them for her granddaughter to find one day. I hope legacy and the generations to come and the generations before will ALWAYS be a standing definition of our year.

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1o. Bringing Black & White back…and Hayley Paige! It became our hashtag mantra of the year! And also our heart for photography. And this particular black & white photo of a Hayley Paige gown that I took went kind of viral on the internet and opened up some crazy big doors for us  in 2015!
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11. Our Grooms Have That Iconic Style Too. This was a year when Justin rocked out our groom portraits, and we love that our grooms are as much a part of our brand as our brides are!

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12. The Marantz House project! We made some MAJOR progress on the Marantz House Project this year with the addition of the new kitchen island AND the new back deck! Amen!

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13. The Studio Sessions. We have been moving more & more towards some editorial work and breaking into that crazy world. And Justin got to have a lot of fun with that at United this year with his Studio Sessions, which included playing with a medium format camera and this INCREDIBLE backdrop (built by Jason Lackey!) that looks like it was straight out of Vanity Fair. And major bonus that we got to grab this image of the Academy crew all dressed up!

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14. Images that tell Stories. A good photograph either tells a story or is beautiful. A GREAT photograph does both. That was our hope for this year & images like this make us feel like we were doing something right!

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15. Ballerinas…More Pink…Even Prettier Light!! And what better way to sum it up than with this one! You done good 2015, you done real good!! :)

  1. spring

    scotland… yes. yes. and more yes. and I will get silas to wear a kilt and a tux. :)

  2. Danette Chappell

    Seeing all these photos, and the great stories behind them, and the opportunities you’ve had over the past year is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing, and for all that you do, and especially for the passion that you both have doing it!!

  3. Rici

    Loved to read your anniversary destination dreams!! Really like that list ^^

  4. Lisa Cour

    Gorgeous, amazing images. The one that really stopped me and took my breath away is the one of the grandmother. We live in a society that celebrates youth and surface beauty. In this year of battling cancer I’ve learned anew how fleeting this life is, how temporary youth and Hollywood beauty are. That grandmother’s eyes tell pages of stories…of joys and sufferings, of blessings and hard stuff. And that she has family surrounding her who will carry on that legacy, that is beautiful and you captured it perfectly.

  5. Jennifer

    How how could I miss this post? I love your end of year post and though just finding it on the 1st of February I loved reading through it. I am so excited how the crazy rollercoaster ride continues for you in 2016!

  6. Sarah Miller

    SO beautiful! We are fans and love your work.

  7. Amy

    Beautiful pictures and the stories behind them, that cherry blossom field!! Sigh! I want to go there!

  8. instagram

    This is so stunning!! Wow! Called these photos wedding photos is not enough! So artistic! I love the 6th and 7th the most! The 9th is so dreamy. Thank you for sharing!!

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