November 20, 2014

Thursday Announcements: LIVE Two Day Event & More!!

Happy Thursday!

There are so many exciting things going on lately & even though this seems like the time of year when things should start slowing down….in so many ways, it’s just getting started! Justin & I have SO many cool things coming up both through the end of the year & early next year that we are seriously so lucky to be a part of! And even better is that we get to do so many of them alongside amazing friends! But we realized that with so many fun things coming up, if we did an announcement post for each of them, that would make up an entire week of posts! Whew!

So enter…Thursday announcements!!

First up is that we are incredibly excited to join forces along with a bunch of awesome friends from all over the country to create a really amazing resource for photographers! The project itself is still under wraps so we can’t announce exactly what it is yet, BUT 6 lucky folks are going to have the chance to be part of the making of this project!!

We’re going to be filming a TWO-day workshop on Marketing & Getting Booked in our home on December 4th & 5th, and we need a small, LIVE audience! So we’re opening up 6 seats to photographers who want to come and be a part of the filming process AND experience a two-day workshop with only 5 other photographers. Plus you’ll get to hang out with us in our home by a crackling fire! S’mores may or may not (but definitely will!) be involved.

We were originally supposed to be charging for this workshop, but the more & more we thought about it…the more we (and especially Justin….God I LOVE that man!) just had it on our hearts that we wanted to do this workshop for FREE for 6 deserving photographers who could just really use a win, and some encouragement, and some life breathed into their business again after what may have been a hard season. We have been soo incredibly blessed this past year by the amazing the photographers that we’ve met and by the way you all have supported us & our business, workshops, etc SO much. We know we couldn’t do ANY of this without you guys….so we just wanted to use this as a way to give back to the photography community at the end of the year and do something for others! We just love you guys!

**So here’s how it works! Just leave a comment below either entering the giveaway for yourself or you can also nominate a friend who you feel could really just use a boost & have someone pouring into them for a change. Tell us your/their story and why you think you/they should be there & we are going to pick 6 lucky winners to join us at our home for two days & over 12 hours of teaching on how to fire up your business & get your whole calendar booked with your most ideal clients next year!! Plus how to take those bookings and turn them into the “freight train of momentum” that is going to make each year easier than the last! This two day workshop is normally a $750 value that the 6 winners will get for FREE (you just have to cover your own travel to CT & hotel) & we just can’t wait to bless the socks off some people! :) And…..GO!!

In other super exciting news, we just announced the theme for our Two-Day Walk Through a Wedding w/ J&M workshop on Feb 11-12th (our April one is now SOLD OUT!) Without further ado, we present to you…..Burberry & Brass!!! We just hung out with the amazing Stacie & Erica from Stacie Shea Events last night & just WAIT until you see what they have planned for this one! There may or may not be a Burberry cake in the mix! :) I’m just sayin!

AND we are SO excited to have been asked by our good friends at Seniorologie to be a guest judge along with the amazing Promise Tangeman & Arlene Evans from Creative Live in their People’s Choice Awards image contest that is going right now!! If you are a Senior Photographer, head on over HERE to find out more!!

  1. Brandilynn Aines

    I want to nominate Krysta Norman for this! I have gotten to hear you two teach now several times and it seriously was worth every penny! You two have helped me out tremendously with business and the why in what I do. This year is Krysta’s first year as full-time wedding photography & she has been wanting to learn from some amazing photographers but feels the need to keep a big cushion in savings for the "just in case". I think she would benefit from it and would be forever grateful for this opportunity! You wouldn’t be disappointed in picking her for this spot!

  2. Jessica

    I would like to nominate myself for this opportunity. I am Jessica, of Jessica Ryan Photography, located in the Hampton Roads of Virginia. I have had my business license for almost two years, and started my wedding photography business when I was still attending college. My business has grown and my talent has increased but I always feel that you should never stop learning. You always have things that you can improve on. Wedding photography is my dream, my passion and I am looking for more knowledge on the business side of things. I also want to be someone that participates in anything that could expand my creative side and truly inspire me and my work.
    I feel that I am a likeable person and very creative, but need to gain more knowledge in business and marketing myself to truly book enough weddings to make this dream into a full time career! Thank you and I hope to be selected for this experience!

  3. Stephanie

    I am nominating myself and my sister Katrina. I am recently coming off a hiatus that I took because life just needed to slow down and also to reasses where I wanted my business to go. As a single momma, my funds are tight and I am very careful with making sure I balance business and family time/money.
    I am also nominating my sister Katrina! She is an incredibly gifted creative Christian woman (drawing, crafting, photography, you name it!) and as a new mommy her photography has soared to new heights, because after all, our children are our greatest inspirations. She’s a full time nurse, mommy to 8 month old Lyla, wife – she spends every waking moment dedicated to those rolls and many sleepless nights dedicated to growing her dreams by the glow of her monitor as she creates precious treasures for her clients. in a nut shell. She deserves this.
    Thank you Mary and Justin for this amazing blessing you are sharing with the world. Your work is truly inspiring. Good luck to everyone!

  4. Brittany


    I want to nominate.. ME! This is my fourth year in business and I’m STILL not 100% satisfied or content about the growth of my business.
    After I graduated WVU, I moved to Miami and started my business. What better place to start a wedding photography business than in Florida?! My business was growing fast.. and then life happened. I moved back to Clarksburg, WV and soon after had my first child. Life was great, but my business suffered due to my health ( I become severely anemic from pregnancy and child birth. I’m back to feeling normal as of the last couple months).

    I’m no longer in my ‘ideal" market, and I know I’m not charging what I know I deserve. BUT I know this is possible and you two are the proof! I just need some help. I would be honored to attend your workshop.


    A new mom struggling to run her business.

    Ps. A few years ago you asked for a second shooter for a WV wedding, I referred my friend Nicole to you guys :)

  5. Lanie Kay

    I would like to officially nominate one of the most beautiful and amazing friends i have, Meagan Fisher! Our friendship is because of you and Justin!!! We met at the Nashville, TN What’s Next Stop. Little did I know where that would take us. She has literally dove into the trenches with me. Not only in my daily life, but my photography business! She supports me, pushes me, inspires me, leads me, educates me, encourages me, hugs me, cries with me, prays for and with me, calls me out when necessary, speaks TRUTH to me and all around loves on me! In this short (almost) two years I’ve developed a sense of love and respect for her like no other! And I truly can’t imagine my life without her in it! We connected at What’s Next as simple accountability partners for our "what’s next" because they were the same. Little did I know what God had in store with our friendship. She has a goal of going full time with her photography business this coming spring and this opportunity would help push and motivate her and her business to the next level!!! She loves learning from you two and could really benefit from this platform! If you choose Meagan I can guarantee that she would squeal with excitement and I will drive to Murfreesboro to do a happy dance WITH HER! And she would be eternally grateful! I would love to watch her spark a fire in her business to make it explode… SHE DESERVES THAT! Please consider Meagan Fisher for one of the seats in this filming! (PS… you two are two of the most generous and AWESOME persons I know! BLESS YOU BOTH!!!)

  6. Meghan Murphy

    I feel almost awkward nominating myself for this, but I would be absolutely ecstatic if I could be a part of the class! I’m a nineteen year old wedding photographer who still has moments where she second guesses her decision of not going to college and jumping straight into photography full time. I’ve been shooting weddings for a little over a year and I know that it’s for me. I adore beauty and thrive off adventure… So getting to be a part of the most adventurous and beautiful day of a couple’s life, gives me chill bumps and even leaves me in tears at times. I’m struggling with not charging too much because I’m young but at the same time I always hate it when a bride chooses me because I was cheaper than "so and so". Trying to figure out how to build my clientele and build relationships, is basically where I’m at right now… sometimes it feels like I’m fighting an uphill battle. I’m scared to death of getting stuck in a rut and not striving forward for greater excellence. I try my hardest to shoot each wedding as if it were my own, and with that in mind, I finish each wedding realizing just how much farther I have to go. In a way I’m glad of this and it’s exciting to think of the future, but I would give the world to gain some direction from two photographers I greatly admire!! Thank you so much for investing in the next generation of photographers in this way- it’s inspiring!

  7. Robyn

    I also feel awkward nominating myself, but here it goes. I have been in business since 2011, sort of full time starting this year, but I can’t seem to get my business to fully take off. Numerous times, I’ve gotten the dreaded "we love your work but have gone with someone else" email and I haven’t booked a wedding in almost six months. I’ve done everything from advertising online to bridal shows to designing a whole new website, and nothing seems to work. This is all so embarrassing to admit but I feel like something like this would finally help me to achieve my goals. Its hard to make friends in this business and have someone else who genuinely wants you to succeed and encourages you. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

  8. Brittney Kreider

    Oh boy, here goes nothing :) I would like to nominate myself and my husband Mike. We just finished our 3rd wedding season together and there are big possibilities on the horizon for us but they are super scary. We would love for Mike to go full time with me in photography in the coming years (and possibly start his own photobooth company)… he works for his dad right now and it was always assumed he would take over his dad’s business… the only thing is, he hates it. There are SO many unknowns going into something like this… the fear of the unknown just stops us in our tracks. We have wanted to meet with you two for a mentoring session for some time now (and get the kick in the butt we need to take the next steps) but we are on track to being debt free in 2015 , so money is a bit tight as we pay off school loans. Paying off our school loans is one step closer to being able to realistically make this crazy dream work. I just feel like this would be an amazing experience for both of us. Thank you for everything you two do for this community!

  9. Meagan

    I cannot let this opportunity pass by without taking the time to nominate my friend, soul-sister & long-lost twin, Lanie Coulter. I don’t know for sure how many lives you guys touched & changed with What’s Next, but I can personally testify to two. Lanie & I met at What’s Next in Nashville & took the some what scary step of exchanging information & deciding to hold each other accountable in our ‘what’s next’ steps. Neither of us thought, or could have possibly known how that simple act, made possible by you two & your bHag goal of What’s Next, would impact our lives in such an indescribably profound way. I have been blessed with many friends & a few mentors in this crazy wedding industry, but none in quite the same way as Lanie. She is an incredible, beautiful, loyal, fierce, amazing woman who I consider myself so fortunate to know. She faces opposition & obstacles on the paths to her dreams & I am awed at her determination, her grit & her refusal to sink. We share the same brain waves so often that it creeps us both out & sometimes, just knowing someone else feels/thinks/experiences things the same, is all you need to be reminded you aren’t alone. I have no doubt Lanie would absolutely love this opportunity as you two are some of our favorite people to learn from & with, you inspire us regularly & this would be one more chance for her to glean from you. Lanie is so deserving, she is humble, driving, loving, kind, thoughtful & truly, a kick-butt photographer who I want to see reach the stars. You will not be disappointed if you choose her :-) Also, thank you guys – for having the hearts you do, for serving the industry like you do & for opening up your lives, your hearts & your homes to those around you. I love you for it!

  10. Krista Reynolds

    Hi! I would love to be considered for this! I’m not even sure I know how to describe the way I have been feeling. I love everything about my work and the incredable people I get to meet I just can’t seem to feel content. Always feeling like I need to be doing more and horribly compairing myself to others in the industry. What an incredable opportunity it would be to learn for such inspiring people.

    Thank you for your consideration and heart for teaching and uplifting others.


  11. Addie Eshelman

    Justin and Mary, you two seriously have hearts of gold and the way you so generously pour into other in the photography industry is SO admirable :)

    I would like to nominate myself for a seat at your live event. I just wrapped up my first full time wedding season as Addie Eshelman Photography located in Central PA. My husband and I are (unexpectedly!) expecting our first baby in March and I am dying for some inspiration and encouragement going into the upcoming 2015 season before our new addition. I’ve toiled over different workshops, dates, prices, etc. and I really struggled to find something that fit into my schedule to provide me that encouragement for the upcoming year since my travel must be limited during my third trimester. I was going to risk it and sign up for your February Walk Through a Wedding, but we just found out last week that my husband’s company is going to be laying off 15% of its employees at the beginning of December. At this point we don’t know if he’ll be part of that or not, but we’re struggling to find peace and direction and save as much money as we can until we know one way or the other. I know that everything about my life is going to change dramatically after this little one arrives, so who knows when my next opportunity to attend a workshop a will be. With the added financial stress we are preparing to enter into, winning a seat would mean the world :)
    It would be such an amazing blessing to be able to sit in on your workshop and gain some inspiration and refreshment from such amazing souls as yourselves!


  12. Tonya Damron

    We all have our stories and all of us have our loads that we have bore to get us to the point of just needing a break and some refreshing, thats where I’m at. Loving life but just needing that reset button for the upcoming year so God can yet again rock my world with his blessings!

    For me, its simple I’m at the 5 year mark where I kinda feel like its gonna be a make it or break it year. I have an amazing business but the tug for "there needs to be something more" and stepping outside my comfort zone is an ever present scream for a little revamp.

    Gods incredibly blessed me with a wedding business and serving on the mission field as a new added bonus.
    I’m excited and elated for life and business but a little revamp and refocus right before the beginning of the new year would be awesome!

    There comes a point where the replay but needs to stop and a new song needs to play…and Im there!

  13. Maggie Trice

    I would like to nominate myself and/or my business partner and best friend, Rachel Brewer for this seat. We began this beautiful journey together just 9 short months ago and it has been 9 of the most challenging, heart-breaking, tough, stressful, rewarding, wonderful months of my life. We have both worked our tails off to deliver amazing images to our clients with a super-fast turnaround time, be open and generous to vendors with our images, and courageous in reaching out to local photographers for community. I think either Rachel or I should attend this workshop because as hard as we’ve worked this year, doing everything we can possibly think of to do, we look at our empty calendar for the next year with fear and doubt. Fear of the unknown future of this little business of ours that we love so much and feel is so much a part of who we are now. Doubt about whether we’re good enough to make it, whether we have what it takes to chase this crazy dream of ours. For Rachel and I both, THAT is why we need this. We need a win for sure and learning from two of our most favorite and inspiring photographers would be both humbling and beneficial to our wavering confidence and struggling business. You both have hearts of gold and we would be honored to learn from you! :)

  14. Joe Don Richardson


    It’s Me, Joe Don that’s two names in one it’s a Texas thing.

    Why do I want to go well besides being with two of the best and most wonderful people I know I want to contribute to the conversation, to add some life and spice to the program. I have been shooting weddings for a number of years but still struggle to get bookings.

    Thanks so much for your generosity and willingness to do this.

    Love you both to the moon and back!

  15. Anna K.

    I love this and I love y’all!!! Your workshop is going to make a HUGE impact on someones life! P.S. Maggie Trice and Rachel Brewer are AMAZING ;)

  16. Rachel Girouard

    So I’m nominating myself.. totally awkward. :) I graduated hallmark in 2011 and immediately fell in love with both of you (in a totally not weird way) when you came and spoke to us. I met Alicia Daw and have been beyond grateful to work with her and learn from her! She has opened my eyes to the amazing photography world and I could not of more appreciative. I am at a crossroads in my life and I am unsure of what direction to take. I know god will lead me in the right path, but right now I am struggling. I would love the opportunity to learn and grow from both of you. I have heard that your workshops are truly amazing, and was very blessed to of modeled for one of them. I would love the opportunity to sit down and look at the heart of my photography and why I am doing it and what my goals are. I’m looking to find my sense of self and what this world is telling me to do in my career. Thank you for considering me :)

  17. Chelsea Anderson

    Justin and Mary! I cannot believe how generous you two are in the way that you love and bless others. Anyway, I would love to nominate myself to come to your marketing extravaganza in December. I feel like this year was my year to really figure out my style, my ideal client and make sure that I know how to work my camera properly. I feel like I had a really great year and enjoyed all of my weddings, but I am COMPLETELY at a loss for how to get more clients! I moved to a new area last year and I’m really struggling to find clients in my area so that I don’t have to travel 4+ hours for every wedding that I do. I’ve been looking into advertising with local blogs, referral program, and all the like and I have no idea where to go! My goals for this next year are to better be able to book weddings so that I can provide a little for my family. My husband is the campus minister at a college ministry at ODU, so photography is our main hope of being able to provide for children long term and to be able to build a life together, and I want to be able to do that for him and my future family. I love this business because I love photography, but I also think it should ultimately serve my family and make sure that I’m loving them. I can’t love them if I’m just in this thing to spend time away from them to serve a creative bone on my body, instead I need to make it work for them and I really think this workshop could help me do that. Also, I just love you guys and I would love to learn even more from you! <3

  18. Abby Grace

    Oooh, I’m nominating Kaitlyn of Kaitlyn Phipps Photography! She was one of my interns this year and she has SO much talent! The area in which she’s located though (SW Virginia) doesn’t lend itself to the kind of clientele she’s looking to book, and so she’s not able to charge nearly what she should. Kaitlyn & her hubs are also on staff with CRU so she’s splitting her time between ministry with college girls and a photography business. She is so, so talented and so deserving!

  19. Sarah Jane

    Thank you for being so generous with your time, knowledge, and talent. I have had a few incredible mentors in my life who have taught me technical skills and have encouraged my artistic growth. I’ve grown as a photographer over the past few years and look forward to improving my craft in the future, but as a business owner…. I’m struggling. I feel stuck. I want couples to find me (or I want to find them) and it’s not happening. Maybe you can help me? Thank you again for your generosity!

  20. Kiera

    Hi you two! I was so excited to see this opportunity today on Instagram and couldn’t wait to jump in the mix. I am proudly nominating myself for the chance to learn invaluable ways to take my business to the next level through creative marketing strategies. I left my career as a criminal defense attorney a little over 3 years ago now so that I could pursue photography as a career full time. The journey so far has been nothing short of incredible. I’ve met wonderful people along the way and have gained experiences to help me start to hone in on the areas of photography that I want to specialize in. My goal for this next year is to present myself as a creative custom portrait artist who helps my clients portray themselves in a natural and approachable way. I want to help people realize their best potential and take stunning images along the way. It is a time of great growth for my business and a time where I want to move past my fears of failure so that I can reach my full potential. I am so ready to participate in and soak up all of the goodness that your course has to offer. Thank you so much for this opportunity. You guys are so wonderful.

  21. Caitlin Gerres

    Wow! What generous hearts you guys have! I am sure you have already received dozens of amazing stories, but I just can’t help throwing my name into the bin.
    In many ways this was a great year for my business, but it was also a hard year. It was my first year full time and I took the leap in January to quit my part time job because in many ways it was a stress on my marriage. So all of a sudden with only 3 weddings booked, I had to make up that extra income. And God blessed throughout the year and I managed to pay myself what I had been making at my part time job. But I know I’m not paying myself enough for the time I’m putting into my business! I have big goals for booking next year in order to invest more in my business and pay myself a more fair wage, but I have to book 11 more weddings in order to do that! This workshop sounds like just what I need to get more bookings nailed down for next year so that I’m not just treading water in my business but I can really start to move forward. I’ve had a couple inquiries recently that didn’t pan out and it’s been disappointing, but they’re not even my ideal clients. I need help booking my calendar with weddings but also with the RIGHT weddings.
    I can’t wait to hear more about their resource that you’re working on! Your lighting intensive was so helpful for me. I just love your hearts for education!

  22. Lou Blasi

    Hello Justin and Mary! I implore you to consider my wife, Robyn Blasi, to be one of the chosen few. She is immensely talented and has spent the last few years building her businesses and honing her craft. Robyn is an artist first and foremost, with a kind heart and an eagerness to make everyone she meets happy. Her work speaks for itself, it’s absolutely stunning. She captures moments like no other. The only issue is that not enough people are seeing her work. With your help, she might finally make the jump from super awesome unknown to super awesome highly sought after photographer extraordinare! She’s also super cute and looks great on video :)

  23. jamie

    Wow, I would love to be considered for this amazing opportunity! Justin and Mary you are so generous to give of your time and energy in this way! My story- Three years ago I took the plunge, quit my day job and started on this wedding photography journey. I have a passion for helping couples celebrate their wedding- but most of all I love documenting the start of their marriage! It is such a privilege knowing that the images we create together will be cherished for a lifetime. I LOVE that part of wedding photography and it is always such a joy to be allowed in to such an intimate and important day. I have been so blessed by the couples I have worked with, but I do feel like their is an invisible wall separating me from accessing the clients I would love to reach and really gaining steady booking momentum. I feel like my business is still on the launching platform in many ways. I spent a lot of energy marketing last year and I know this workshop would be SO refreshing, encouraging, and enlightening for me and a great propeller for 2015 success. 2014 was a very busy year both personally and professionally, and in some ways I feel overwhelmed and daunted continuing forward. This workshop would definitely be the business caffeine boost that I so desperately need haha (plus it would be FUN!). I have learned so much from you two already and know that you are just a wealth of knowledge and information! This opportunity would be invaluable to me and I SO appreciate you doing this and your consideration! :)

  24. Erica

    Hi Justin & Mary – I would love to nominate my husband, Josh, for this wonderful learning opportunity. For now, I am the main shooter for our business, Erica Loewenguth Photography. Josh is the often neglected & rarely recognized behind the scenes force that helps the business to succeed and grow. To expand a bit – when I asked him if he could build my Photography website, he scoured online feeds to learn how to design a web page then worked endlessly until it was done. When I decided to grow my business to include wedding photography in addition to portraiture, he supported me…which is a BIG DEAL because we have 2 and 4 year old girls that he single-handedly entertained for countless Saturdays in 2014. (By the end of the summer, he was painting tiny fingernails, putting hair into pony tails and singing Frozen songs with the best of them!). I could go on and on with the loving support & encouragement that my husband has given me over the years. He is truly my biggest fan and whenever I question if my work is good enough he knows exactly what to say to help me to regain my confidence. Josh is such an asset because he is business savy even though he has had very little formal training. If he could attend this workshop to learn more about marketing and getting booked in 2015, it would help him play a more integral business role and bring us that much closer to achieving our goal of one day becoming a successful husband and wife Photography Team….just like you two :) Plus, he’s handsome and very put together (much more than me, his frumpy wife) so if anyone should be on camera in our family it’s definitely him! (I can send pictures if you want to see for yourself). Thanks so much for the opportunity to enter this contest. I am so inspired by both of you and grateful for everything you’ve taught me on my journey.

  25. Mary Verett

    I want to nominate my great friend, Beth Szmodis. We used to be neighbors (like duplex neighbors so…we became really close!) while our husbands were stationed at McGuire AFB in New Jersey (she’s still there but I have moved…tear!) We were able to encourage each other so much as we both learned photography and how to run a business. Beth is just such an encouragement to me and I think this would be an awesome opportunity for her to learn some invaluable knowledge.

  26. Michael Patterson

    Hey Justin and Mary.. Ok, sooo my wife won’t stop talking about you guys… For years we have tried to gather the money for her to come to your workshop but we just couldn’t seem to save enough. My wife is an amazing photographer with a huge passion for her craft. For whatever reason she just has not been able to get steady business. We talked about trying to pay for this workshop but we just cannot pull it together for reasons I wont get into on here. BUTTTTT please please consider my wife, Jaqueline Faria, for one of your free seats. I will do whatever I can to cover the flight and lodging costs involved, BUT she absolutely has to be one of your choices. She is so talented and I know that you will be able to breath fresh energy into her business. She may be on the brink of quitting what she loves to do but I know you can save her. Please contact me as soon as possible with your answer so I can get things moving on this side. She really does deserve this opportunity. Thank you!

  27. Stephanie

    You mentioned crackling fire, so I just had to apply :) I can totally bring the Hershey’s! I started to write way to long of a paragraph, so I figured I would sum it up with bullet points instead :)
    • I’ve had a few bridal meetings that didn’t turn in to bookings… and for months I agonize myself trying to figure out what went wrong! Did they not like my personality? Was it something I did? Was it something I said? It drives me crazy not knowing why!
    • I have narrowed down what I want to be my target market yet I don’t know how to reach them. I want to find brides and grooms that want Christ-centered marriages. I also love the idea of photographing couples that have been married 25+ years. They have a life-long story. They have so much wisdom when it comes to marriage. I want younger couples to see how amazing a marriage can be from an older person’s perspective. I want to raise the bar for marriages. I want people to see the beauty of how God created marriage to be.
    • I’ve been on my own since I was 18. I had been a loan officer at a credit union for 8 years. I was always thinking about finances and how our future would be. How our 401K looked, and how much did we have in our savings, our kid’s savings, our Christmas fund account, our vacation account, and so on. Then (almost) 4 years ago, I gave birth to my son. Our last child. I had this overwhelming tug on my heart to walk away from my job to be a stay at home mother. I basically missed out on my daughter’s first 5 years because I was never around. If I wasn’t working, I was going to night school. I didn’t want to make that mistake again. After the first year of being home, I started playing around more with photography… which then led me to where I am today. Now I sit here with this being my last year before my son starts school, and I’m scared. Scared of not really knowing if this business will do anything. Scared that I’ll have to go back to a corporate job and miss out on spending time with them. Scared that I’ll never see a profit margin to start back a 401k, savings, vacation, and Christmas accounts. I don’t want to look like a failure to my kids, and I think that’s what scares me more than anything else.

  28. Sarah

    Justin and Mary-
    I would be honored to attend the filming at your home. I went to photography school and now am working full-time while trying to grow my business. I continue to get frustrated at the cyclical pattern I see happening, both because I am not focusing my efforts on marketing myself well and because I need that fire under me to know I have what it takes. It’s so easy to get caught up in seeing others succeed and I would love to be encouraged by the two of you while spending time with a small group of photographers who may be feeling the exact same way I do.
    I yearn for those ‘aha’ moments that the Lord blesses me with – the moments of capturing the wiggly 2 yr old to the nervous bride who’s waited for her wedding day her whole life, and I hope one day I get to be that bride and have that wiggly 2 year old; I’m so excited for someone to capture those moments for ME! I would love to join you in a few weeks!!

  29. Moriah Nelson

    Hi! I have a gazillion people I could nominate, but especially Moriah Sutton of Moriah Sutton Photography. Not only do we have the same name(how cool is that?!), but she is so wonderful, inside and out! I just recently launched my photography business, and she has been such a help and encouragement for me! Moriah is always ready to help other photographers, and is AMAZINGLY talented!!!!! Seriously, her photos are so beautiful, and truly tell a story. I could go on and on about why she is the obvious choice… ;)
    I know from experience that sometimes after pouring into so many people, you need someone else to pour into you. That’s why I think Moriah deserves this! :)

  30. Rachel Brewer

    As I read theses stories from photographers who are in the same situation as I am, I cannot help but feel like a drop in the bucket. When Maggie and I started our business this year we set goals and thankfully met them. But we really could not have imagined where this giant dream we had would take us. There were times where you are on an emotional high because of all the great things going on and times where there are breakdowns (mostly me, not Maggie ;) ) because the stress and fear of it all. Yes, this is probably the biggest/scariest dream we have had so far, and yet it seems like there is so much more to come. It has given us amazing opportunities to meet such great people. Great industry friends and wonderful clients! But, we feel like we give our all to something that we love so much, and yet somehow cannot seem to get the momentum we need to make it off the ground and really fly. And that right there is probably what makes this dream the scariest: the fear of failure. I don’t say all this to sound sad, I am truly excited to see the direction that the Lord will take our lives in this! Maggie and I would LOVE to be able to learn from you two and for you to light a fire under us! To be able to gain some of your knowledge and to be able to push ourselves with that momentum in the direction we need to go. We are so humbled and thankful that you two would give so freely of yourselves and that we have the opportunity to learn from you!!

  31. Anna Sawin

    I would love this so much, you guys! And mostly because I find that time with you two is something worth BOTTLING! I need my annual dose of pep talk/inspiration/instruction/great ideas/go get em talk, especially since I have three businesses I’m now working on instead of one! And, while I know you’ll have lots of newer folk wanting to jump in, I’m here to say its not just for them! I’ve been hearing you speak since 2008 and I ALWAYS take away something new and inspiring. You guys are fab! Hope to see you by the fire in Dec!

  32. Lee Mitchum

    You GUYS! I would LOVE to win one of the seats! I mean, talk about a DREAM! I started my business this past May, and I’ve just decided to make a go of it with doing weddings! I would love to learn about branding and how to market myself effectively! I just KNOW that if I could win one of the seats, then I could turn my dream of being a successful wedding photographer into a reality! God bless!

  33. Kaitlyn Phipps

    Eek! I get nervous to even submit my name in here! I’ve been following your work for quite sometime and have benefitted from your business advice via your blog and at the What’s Next tour! I’m currently in my second year of business and struggling to find my style and ideal clientele! I live in Southwest Virginia and the type of weddings/clients that are most often in this area, don’t really lend itself to what I want to do! I’m constantly left feeling like I’m undercharging, while still being told that my wedding package is too expensive. I’m also doing all of this while working for a college ministry: CRU. I’d love to learn how to balance these two passions and grow my business.

    I’ve been working with Abby Grace for the past two years and it has been such a wonderful help to my business (literally don’t know where I’d be without her)! I’m honored that she threw my name in :]

  34. Katie Ingraham

    I definitely know that I would get a lot out of attending a business workshop with you both. Since moving to Syracuse, my bookings have all but stopped. I haven’t been able to figure out how to get my name out there again and have more than once, thought maybe I should just quit. I used to dream about being able to go full time with my photography, but that seems like such a far off goal now, more than ever before. Either way, I plan on keeping fighting for my business because I love the few people I do get to work with and I love photography.

    I also would love to nominate my friend Donna Boyle ( She is such a wonderful, giving person who loves her family and the community around her. Right around this time last year, her family experienced some real hardships with health and job security and it really rocked them and her to the core. She is branching out to wedding photography after just having done family photography and I cannot think of a better person to attend something like this. She is the type of person who would soak every single word in and really utilize the whole time to make amazing changes for her business, her life and her family.

  35. shannon

    Four years ago on a beach in the DR I watched 2 of my closest friends get married as my heart filled with love I wondered how can I have more of this magic in my life. I was just getting into photography back then, shooting landscapes and children, I watched their wedding photographer with curiosity and envy… she had the most amazing job in the world capturing the love an excitement of a wedding day. I followed her around the rest of the week picking her brain asking her everything I could think to ask, just before we boarded the plane to go home to Canada she looked at me and said I like you, you have passion come assist me sometime. I was thrilled, excited over joyed that she would offer me such an epic opportunity. I shot 1 wedding with her that year and I am so sure the images I gave her were horrific but she asked me to come to a few more the next year, I learned, I listened, I learned and asked a ton of questions each year she brought me back for more an eventually she encouraged me to start my own business and she was there for me every step of the way… I still assist for her any chance I get because I am great full for her kindness love and mentorship. I now consider her to be one of the most important people in my life she is a great friend and an all around great person. She has been in business for over 10 years and is talented and very popular in our area but she tells me all the time she needs a new spark for her business. I would LOVE to see her win one of the spots at your workshop. I nominate Andrea Husted of Splash Photography and it would mean the world to me if she won.

  36. Casey Edwards

    You two seriously have hearts of GOLD! Not only will the videos produced from this be so helpful to so many, but what an immense blessing this will be to those 6 live audience members. And, of course, I have to at least put my name in the hat to be one of those lucky six. I mean, why on earth would I not want to hang out with you guys again and keep soaking up as much of your goodness as possible?! Also, s’mores. :) So, after my job working part-time for another photographer for almost two years recently came to an end, I decided to make a bold move & open my own company….and go full time right off the bat. Potentially not the smartest decision I’ve ever made, it’s still TBD. But with all that I had learned from my part-time photography job, I knew that if I was going to choose to do this, that I wanted to pour everything I had into it. So I quit my other part-time office job, and just went for it, even though I was told by a few people that I was a little crazy. (They might be right.) And it has been exhilarating but also hard. And scary. And sometimes I freak out about whether I’m going to have enough income in January or if I’m going to have to go back to finding another job to pay those bills & keep the heat running. (Because I can’t edit if my fingers are frozen!) Having worked and trained under another brilliant photographer was the most amazing gift & what I learned was invaluable…except that now, as I go out on my own for the first time, I’m looked at as a "newbie" in the industry by clients. I feel like the experience & skills that I’ve gained over the past two years are being ignored and devalued. And while I haven’t just come out of a "hard" or "slow" season, it would be such an unreal opportunity to start right off the bat with the knowledge of how to attract my ideal client & how to my fill my schedule with what I LOVE to shoot. It’s literally like breathing life into my baby of a business! :) I’ve already seen how being desperate for business can steer me down paths that I don’t have the desire to focus on, and there’s definitely a snowball effect. However, the idea of that snowball effect happening with my ideal client seems like a dream. And maybe it is a dream, but it’s one I’d like to try & run after, and I’ve love to learn from you two to be able to make that happen.

  37. Gabriela Mata

    Being the oldest of five, there was no way my parents could ever afford a camera. I got my first camera when I was 10 years old, it was disposable but my excitement for that agonizing hour waiting for my pictures to be done in Wal Mart, was so much I knew a dream of mine was to become a photographer. Now 12 years later I have finally decided to give it a shot. I absolutely adore taking pictures of anyone who lets me, I daydream of places where to take them, of future couples that will let me capture their special day. I would love to do this professionally but I have no idea where to start. Of course I’m still learning the ins and outs of my camera but I love doing it. I love capturing moments and people being happy and excited when they see my pictures. When I found your blog, I was beyond excited and love the pictures you guys do. I would be honored to attend your workshop. However, I don’t have the years of experience many do who have submitted a story, but one thing is true we all have the same dream. Thank you for this opportunity you’re giving, one day I want to be giving an opportunity like you guys are.

  38. Tammera Reynolds

    Wow wow wow! I can’t imagine how you guys are going to decide on just 6, thank you for giving us all a chance to potentially be a part of something circumstances may of not even let us even hope for without this opportunity. My very long story includes the 2 of you in a big big way. I attended hallmark institute if photography from 2008-2009 I took the huge leap of faith that it is to attend that school and left my full time job and fiancé at home. Early on in the program you came to speak and I was so overjoyed and ready to follow your lead, I just couldn’t wait to take what I had learned from you in that one short day and put it to use. I graduated that summer booked my first wedding for the weekend after graduation and 3 for the following summer. I thought I was onTop of the world and how could it possibly slow down from here… Well life happened, long story short but a wedding of my own 2 babies, job layoffs and exploding student loan payments as well many many other financial obligations took me away from my dream of being a successful wedding photographer. My husband believes in me so much and is always supportive of me making a big financial leap (for us) to attend one of your walk through to get back to where I was after the first time I heard you speak. He himself is working on becoming self employed and because of this I often find many "good enough" reasons as to why to not click that purchase button to attend a walk through. Ever since that winter snowy day (I don’t know if you guys remember that) at hallmark when I heard you for the first time, I read your blog every day and in every business transaction I make I try to think what would justin and mary do. Attending this would mean the world to me and my business. Thank you so much for reading all of our stories and being so generous!

  39. Janine A. Enold

    I would love to attend your workshop on December 4th & 5th! I can’t even believe that you guys are going to be selecting six winners to attend! Attending a WTAW and a J&M Lighting Workshop are on my photography business goals list! Your workshop topic is covering exactly the things I have been working on to improve and grow my business in 2015. I have had my photography business for three years now as a second job. My husband and I had planned to continue growing my business until I was in a good position to leave my full time job. We were hoping that transition could take place in another year or so while we payed off a bit more debt and had backup funds. However, I unexpectedly lost my job recently. To be honest, I don’t want to return to a full time job. I would like to be working from home to support our family by photographing seniors and allow us to start a family and me to stay home with them. If I can book enough work next year, I know I can achieve that! I find your knowledge and wisdom about entrepreneurship and about life inspiring, encouraging, and so informative! I’d be honored to learn from the two of you! Thank you so much for this opportunity!

  40. Lauren Wright

    I’d also like to nominate Maggie Trice and Rachel Brewer of Maggie & Rachel Photography. They have worked SO HARD to build their skill and their business over the last year, and I would love to see either of them be chosen to learn from you! Joyfully,

  41. Angela

    So beyond being so thankful to even be considered for such an amazing opportunity, having what I feel would be the "just press play" moment of my business would be a wonderful experience. AND at the hands of a pair of photographers that I have considered the best mentoring photographers out there! I’d simply scream out loud!! When I first started following you I purchased "The Guide" and considered it my business bible full of advice to getting the clients I so desperately wanted to work with. Enter a complete set of inside out events that changed the momentum I had started with your guidance: My hubby and I had a beautiful baby boy (and a year off to enjoy our little puddle duck) and then we moved to a new home far enough away from our old clientele that it was as if we are starting all over. Starting in a new place and in an extremely saturated photography market I have found myself overwhelmed and even questioning my decision to keep doing wedding photography as a whole :-/ After much soul searching, there is no way I could not do this one thing I love! Weddings remind me each time of my love for my husband, for our couples, and for how deep that one little moment in time really means.
    I know I need to approach our relocation as a blessing and I know coming to be a part of your filming would give me the correct fresh approach to do just this!! I’m humbled and so thankful for all the warm hugs you send to us- the other photographers – in each of your blog posts. I’m in shock of how you guys can balance so many adventures and workshops and weddings and e sessions and life and yet still have the will and heart to always pay it forward! You two are an inspiration and always give me courage to write down my big hairy aspirations and goals! Thank you again for all you do, will do, and for yet another opportunity to learn! Hugs

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