July 12, 2012

The J&M Lighting Intensive

The past two days, we kicked off our J&M Lighting Intensives with a bang (in a flash? they have a really bright future? hmmm…) with two absolutely INCREDIBLE groups in Richmond & Charlotte that made me understand why people fall in love with the South. Both nights we didn’t wrap up until well into the night, so my brain is feeling a little empty right now. But my heart is so, so full.

We’ve been getting some questions as to what, exactly, The J&M Lighting Intensives look like. So we thought we’d use these first two stops to give you a behind the scenes pass. Here we go!

We kick everything off with a little mix & mingle as people arrive into the room, which we have brought a few personal touches from home to make it feel a little more cozy.

We pass out the champagne…

….and we get this party started, while everyone gets to know each other. There’s a little Keith Urban playing in the background.

In Charlotte, Justin was the only guy in the room. Lucky for him, he knows how to charm the ladies.

While everyone is getting to know each other, we bust out a little photo booth action. It gets a little crazy.

I like to do the Kid N’ Play pose.


HUGE thanks to Sharon Whited who grabbed this great portrait of us…..and then one of how we REALLY are.

There aren’t enough “thank you’s” in the world to give out to Alicia White & Ashley Barnett who were our hosts, coordinators, and all around miracle workers in Charlotte & Richmond respectively. Simply put, the Lighting Intensives wouldn’t have happened without them. And I love them both to the moon and back.

Once we get all warmed up, now it’s time to get down to bid’ness. For about two hours we sit down and talk step by step through pretty much everything we know about lighting. I went to law school so I’m a very layered learner…I like to start at the beginning, lay a foundation, and then once we’ve all grasped that, we’ll start layering things in. But always coming back to remember the foundation it’s built on.

So for lighting that means starting with the “Why” of how we’re using lighting in the first place, and talking at great lengths about how we make light- starting even with just natural light- go to work for us. Here, Justin is demonstrating that directional, dimensional light can even make a brown paper bag look good! :)

From natural light, we build into on camera flash, its different functions, and how we bounce to create the best quality of light. Also, we’ll show you a little trick with the infrared that is going to make your dancing pictures WAY more fun. We played Justin Timberlake for this part. :)

After on camera, we demonstrate our “one-light” set up and show 10 different ways that has saved our booties. Then we take a break for dinner, where there’s tons of time to talk to us one on one.

After we come back from the break, fed & ready to rock it out, now we build on that foundation we’ve been laying by adding in a few more advanced set ups like the two-light and larger modifiers. But my favorite part of the night is when people realize that if they can master the on-camera & the one light set up….they can handle any of these like a champ! After that, the formalities are over and we just let people shoot like crazy for a couple of hours, trying out the different set ups as we’re right there to help out in any way they need.

This is a straight out of camera (SOOC) shot that Laura Gordon got! Way to ROCK IT OUT Laura!!

We bring in some (clearly BEAUTIFUL!!) models for the attendees to be able to shoot, and we also have some table set ups.

And we pretty much go like that until every question is answered & the location kicks us out! :)

The Charlotte Crew if full effect (minus Alicia, our host!)

Virginia, REPRESENT!!

Our next J&M Lighting Intensive is taking place THIS COMING Monday in Boston and we still have a few spots left. And our next round of dates is Miami on August 13th, Tampa on August 14th, and Atlanta on August 15th. We would LOVE to see you at any of those! For today ONLY, you can use the code “FLASH” to grab $50 off your seat!

With HUGE thanks to the following people for making each of our stops possible:

Host & Coordinator: Alicia White
Location: Porter’s Landing
Cake: Sky’s The Limit
Florist: Chelish Moore Flowers
Makeup/Hair: Jessica Parker
Models: Megan & Brendon Gielow & Nicole Rogers

Host & Coordinator: Ashley Barnett
Location: Tredegar Museum
Florist: Chelish Moore Flowers
Models: Carly Arnwine & Jessica

  1. Graham

    I like to dance…what can I say!!! :)

  2. Laura Gordon

    I seriously can’t thank you guys enough! I could say it a million times! You really don’t know how much I hated flash before yesterday. You have opened my eyes to a whole new world!!! I haves gained such an extraordinary amount of knowledge in such a short length of time. I am bursting with all that I learned! The first thing I did when I woke up today was order what I needed for the 1 light setup. I am SO excited to start shooting my weddings WITH a better knowledge of external lighting. I am feeling so much more confident! I know I still have a LONG way to go but you’ve provided the tools to start me off in the right direction! And the fact that you really helped us one on one until we got it right was so beneficial. It’s easy watching a pro do it and take notes on it- but actually stepping in and doing it yourself is a whole ‘nother story! So thank you times a million for EVERYTHING! I LOVE you guys :)

  3. Tori

    well, Laura pretty much worded it perfectly down there! i feel like i gained SO much confidence and knowledge – all the while having FUN! somewhere in that handful of hours i went from feeling like flash is just a necessary evil for receptions, to realizing how much of creative outlet & asset it really is for TONS of situations! so, again, thank you, thank you! you guys are just so awesome, and so much fun. :)

  4. Faye Bernoulli

    Light Whisperers FTW!

  5. ashley barnett

    SO amazing!!!!! :) I was so excited to be a part of this!!! Thank you for being so giving of your time and energy….this was the most helpful workshop I’ve ever attended! Here’s to facing our fears!

  6. Sarah Goodwin

    Absolute fabulousness. The dynamic duo never ceases to amaze me. You showed us a different perspective to lighting gear and the basic necessities to get it going, all while taking the mystery and hairy scary thoughts out of it. Now, I just wonder how I can have a personal modeling light follow me around 24/7 so I’m always ready for my closeup? Love you guys bunches xoxo

  7. Stephanie Stewart

    Gorgeous!!! Such a great pair of teachers!!!

  8. Jessica

    Thank You Mary & Justin!!! What a fantastic workshop and I SO enjoyed meeting you guys and all the ladies :) And thanks for catching that goofy look of mine holding the camera in the air lol!

  9. Amanda Truth

    Justin and Mary!!!! First of all, Mary I adore that photo of you and I, it’s wonderful! Second, you guys continue to rock my world always. The way you give your knowledge so freely in order to help others, it is so inspiring and so wonderful! Can’t wait to see you again in New Haven :)

  10. sharon elizabeth

    hearts and hugs all around!!! =)

  11. Jen Jar

    OMG! So sad that I couldn’t make this! You guys are such amazing and wonderful teachers and mentors…I hope to see you sometime soon :)

  12. Jessica Fike

    Still voting you add more cities! Pittsburgh would be grand, but I’d also be up for somewhere near Morgantown, WV. I’d totally host you, but my apartment is small. HOWEVER, my parents have plenty of room in their house…an hour south of Pittsburgh. You guys rock!

  13. Tiffany Bolk

    Still waiting for that Minneapolis "Lighting Intensive"! ;)

  14. Kim Lee

    Justin and Mary, thank you for being so generous with your time, patience, wisdom, and encouragement. I’ve already implemented some of the new techniques I learned from the workshop in my photo shoot today. Mary, I appreciated your critique of my pictures during the workshop and now have that "protractor" concept of degrees in my mind when analyzing light and the angles to the subject. Justin, I will never forget your analogy with the paper bag. Gives new meaning to the phrase, "She would look good in anything, even a paper bag." :-) Thank you for challenging us to grow as photographers as well individuals who are intentional and responsible with how we represent our businesses. Blessing on you both! :-) Come back to Richmond any time. :-)

  15. Meredith Sledge

    WOAH!! That SOOC shot is amazing!!!!!!!

  16. joan solitario

    any plans for southern california J&M Lighting Intensive? :D

  17. rich

    wow – the images coming out of the workshop look beautiful! totally jealous of the attendees!

  18. Tiffany Deming

    Love to see you guys keeping it fresh and offering new things every year! Great to see your success…you’re an inspiration to us! oxo P.S. Ummm…if your ‘Follow Your Heart’ sign ever goes missing, you may or may not want to check our house first! ;)

  19. Brooke

    This looks like fun! We definitely need you to come out to Volorado. I will host! :)

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