March 28, 2011

What Is “Walk Through a Wedding”?

So we’ve been getting a ton of emails and FB posts asking about what, exactly, Walk Through a Wedding is and what all it covers. Specifically on whether we think it would be a good investment & fit for them for where they are in their businesses. But the funny thing is we’ve been getting those questions from people all across the board: from people who have never shot a wedding to people who have been in it for years and everyone in between. And for each one we get, I always have the same answer: I just give them the low down on what all WTAW covers and then leave it up to them to decide. Because not so secretly I’m really proud of what we’ve put together for Walk Through and I believe it has something for everyone to be able to take it to the next level….but I also know I’m really biased! :)

And at the end of the day, I want everyone who is there to be there because they really want to be and because they really believe it will help! Not because I talked them into it with my mad debating skillz. :) So in the interest of answering all of those questions in one place and then leaving it up to all of you to decide, I wanted to do this blog post. First I wanted to give that quick description of what WTAW covers, and then I wanted to let you hear from the attendees themselves from our first stop in Charlotte about what Walk Through a Wedding was for them. Because y’know, they’re not as biased as I am.

And frankly, they give much better answers than I do.

What is Walk Through a Wedding??

Walk Through a Wedding w/ J&M is a full day workshop that is pretty much just like what it sounds: we literally walk through an entire wedding day with everything from the getting ready to a dark church to posing the couple to shooting the reception complete with killer details. We start bright & early at our suite at 9:30 am talking about the “Why” and the day typically goes until at least 10pm, where we wind back up in our suite for some wine & post-processing fun. Throughout the day we cover all of those trouble spots like posing an unruly bridal party, organizing the family shots, off-camera lighting at the church & reception, what to do if you only have 10 minutes for the portraits, and how to have a game plan to shoot the reception details before the get destroyed. We have everything set up to be just like a real wedding, so this is literally a one-stop shop for all those things you struggle with. We hope to see you there!!

And now, a word from some of our Charlotte attendees!!

Sharon Whited:

Firstly, thank ya’ll so much for everything this past week – I had an AWESOME time!! It was a huge blessing meeting ya’ll… I mean that! And I wanted to submit my thoughts on Walk through a Wedding! =)

All of my expectations for this experience were wrong. I’ll admit honestly. Although I knew that I would like J&M, I didn’t expect them to be the soft-spoken, humble and inspirational people that they are. Although I knew I’d learn a lot from this experience, I didn’t think I would have almost an entire notebook full of, not only business ideas, but ‘life’ ideas. I walked into this experience feeling as though I was going about my photography business the wrong way, but I walked away from this experience feeling as if I was a photographer – not just someone who likes photography. Up until Spread the Love, it’s been difficult to admit that… But now, I’m confident and motivated. I’m eager and I’m more prepared. I would be lying if I sat here and said, ‘Oh, Walk through a Wedding was a workshop where I took pretty pictures and learned a lot…’ because it’s so much more than that. It’s Mary threatening to take the batteries out of your camera if you take one more picture while she’s explaining something… It’s Justin knowing a camera inside and out and talking about off-camera flash like he invented it… It’s Julia getting honey in her hair. It’s so many things, but it’s definitely not just a workshop. You’ll take pictures – yes… You’ll meet new people – yes… But you’ll walk away a different person. A better person! I did!

Ashley Gillett:

After second shooting for a while, I decided to go full time with with weddings. Justin and Mary’s Walk Through a Wedding could not have come at a better time for me. Yes, they took us through photographing an entire wedding, from the jewelry and perfume, to the cupcakes and flash. But that doesn’t even begin to cover it. The day started with Mary telling us why they do it. Why are we there on the wedding day? What does this mean to us, to me? Justin and Mary taught me to have a game plan, how to interact with clients and make them feel comfortable, how to get through crunch time when the day has flown by and you only get 5 minutes for portraits. Most importantly, they taught me how to see the light. Yeah, I know, I already knew how to see the light. However, now I know how to position my bride so that she looks absolutely amazing and what angles to position her for the most flattering look. The list goes on and on. I can’t wait use all these new techniques at my next wedding!

Katie Jordan:

I am SO thankful that I came to the Walk Through A Wedding workshop in Charlotte. It was invaluable to have the ability to slow down the wedding day and ask as many questions as I wanted. Justin and Mary took ample time to talk with us one-on-one to make sure we understood different shooting techniques, photographic concepts, and the thought process behind why we do what we do. We had the opportunity test out different lighting equipment, lenses, and the techniques we learned on the models. I learned so much from Justin and Mary, as well as the other attendees in the workshop. Most importantly, we had an incredible time and made lots of new friends! I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I chose to make the 6 hour drive!

Katelyn James:

I didn’t really know what to expect…however, I have been to Spread the Love and have also seen j&m speak multiple times in Vegas so I worried that maybe “Walk Through a Wedding” would just be the same information. I was wrong! Very wrong. WTAW is a completely different experience. Walking through a Wedding with Justin and Mary taught me so much about the technical side of my business. The teaching was hands-on and totally applicable to my shooting style. I was challenged to take a different approach to light and to not be so TRIGGER HAPPY! ha! It was refreshing to learn new techniques for the actual wedding day rather than just business training. I am definitely not a seasoned pro but after shooting over 50 weddings, I feel like I’m starting to really understand my craft. I was concerned that this workshop wouldnt provide me with any new knowledge and I feel so silly for thinking that now! “Walk through a wedding” is for ALL photographers…new,old, and those of us who are stuck in the middle! It was a great investment for my business and I left feeling even more equipped for the 2011 wedding season! Bring it on!!!!!!

Rupa Kapoor:

This past week, I was able to attend Justin & Mary’s “Walk Through a Wedding Workshop”. It was preceded by their ‘Spread the Love’ tour this past week in Charlotte, NC, and needless to say, I was challenged in the best way possible! Never was I told, “this is the absolute right way to do it” or “change up your style so it will work” or anything of the sort. Instead, I was given skills that I could use to move forward, was inspired to create my art in a new way and challenged to really think and “push the envelope” just a little bit more. I was up for it – “I am ready — bring it on J&M” I thought to myself when sitting in the hotel suite, at the Church and then again at the Reception venue. Maybe it was the Starbucks that was served first thing in the morning or later that day (uh, yes, Mary did know where the Starbucks was in respect to the Church…gotta’ love it!!) to give me that blast of energy that lasted the entire day, but I think it was just because I knew I wanted it and was so ready for it all! Looking for light, using light differently, learning technical aspects of lighting, working with the bride and groom and bridal party, being able to ask any question without Justin or Mary looking at you like you were an alien – all this and so much more throughout the day – I felt like nothing was held back and we were always being asked, “give us more that you want to know” and when we did, it was always answered with a smile!!

Mary & Justin, thank you so much for truly having an open heart – I knew that you would but didn’t quite expect how much! For letting me still be ‘me’ but inspiring me to be better and to think differently and pushing myself just a little bit more – it means a lot! And Mary, when we chatted on Tuesday, you said to me, “keep on being open Rupa, keep doing it – be who you are – it will come back to you in a good way…I promise.” You probably didn’t realize the impact that those words made on me, but they did, and in that moment, I realized that I can only be who I am – as a person, a business woman, and a photographer – and I promise that I will.

Whitney Gray:

Thank you again for sharing your knowledge last week! I came away inspired and humbled. Humbled because I have such a respect for weddings and the responsibility we have to deliver an excellent experience and product. You proved to me that I have so much to learn! Justin, I loved all of the instruction on lighting and agree that in order to set ourselves apart from the masses, we need to use directional lighting and off camera flash. LOVED playing with the flashes to get the night shot of the house! Your genuine love of the craft comes through in your attention to every detail. Mary, you taught me SO much about working with clients and posing- something I really need to work on. I was blown away by your system of getting the formals done and will definitely be using this at my next wedding in May. I completely agree with your philosophy that the wedding isn’t about US- we need to respect and “protect” our clients. AND Julia, thanks so much for all of your hard work- a wedding on such a windy day isn’t easy! :) The details were beautiful and creative. Maybe you have a future in wedding planning too?? I’m so grateful for the experience and am excited to use what I learned. All the best to you!

Karen Shinkins:

Do it! Absolutely. If your on the fence about wether or not to take the plunge and sign up for the J&M “Walk Through A Wedding”, I will tell you with no hesitation, “Do It”. This is one of the better decisions I have made for myself as a photographer. Every aspect of what we face as photographers on a wedding day is addressed. Everything, including those situations of awful light, tight unattractive spaces and dark churches. Justin and Mary show you how to handle all of this so that regardless of the set-up or situation, you can walk away with images that look like they could have come straight out if a magazine. But more than that they give you the knowledge and tools to help build your confidence in taking control of every situation on a wedding day. Trust me, your clients are going to not only listen to you, but they will trust and love you like a family member because of the way you will treat and communicated with them. And those moments when you suffer a brain-freeze, and can’t think of how to pose or place your bride & groom or their bridal party, yep, that gets covered too. There is no part of a wedding day that is not discussed or demonstrated and following each demonstration, is the freedom to shoot and play. You will learn so much about yourself and your camera, You will think and see things in different ways. You will struggle, yes you will, but the good thing about struggling in this environment? You have a team of the most phenomenally talented wedding photographers on hand to help you find the solutions. You are not leaving this workshop with unanswered questions, Justin and Mary work tirelessly to ensure this does not happen. What you will leave with is confidence, confidence to handle every challenging situation that can present itself on a wedding day. You will learn to see the light and use that light to nail the shoots, taking your images from good, to POW! You will learn to communicate. You will walk away having captured some amazing photos cos if anyone knows how to put on a wedding, its Justin & Mary. You will also walk away with friends. People to talk, share and laugh with. People who will inspire you and make you think. I have done 3 other photography workshops, but this is by far, my top choice. No other workshop stages a full on wedding day from the “Getting Dressed” to “Reception” like this. It is the best environment for learning I have participated it. I would absolutely do it all over again.

And for one more behind the scenes look, here’s a lil video our incredible Best Man, Graham Terhune, shot of our end of the night “team building” exercise we do! :)

Our next WTAW is this Thursday in NYC for “Newsies & Knickerbockers” where we have just a few spots left. The one after that is San Diego on April 15th, and we’ll be revealing the design board later today!! To sign up for any of our stops, just scroll up to the pinned post at the top of the blog.

  1. Katie Jane

    I have been looking forward to this week for months now! I am so excited about NYC STL & WTAW! It’s so great to read the Charlotte crew’s experiences.

  2. sharon

    hahahaha! the video cracks me up!!! and i’m pretty sure that katelyn and i weren’t even moving at the beginning – WHOOPS! =)

  3. chesley

    I 2nd all of the above! This was such an amazing experience! I loved every & felt like I gained so much practical knowledge! I have a wedding this weekend & I feel so much more prepared & confident now! You guys are absolutely amazing! Thank you so so much!

  4. Karen (Mikols) Bonar

    holy cow! you created your own lightning storm!!!! ;)

  5. Katelyn James


  6. Michelle

    Whereas I’m just the tinesiest bit jealous that the attendees in Charlotte are wearing SUN DRESSES already, I think NYC is going to be daaa bomb!! Can’t wait (even if we have to bundle up a bit in this balmy 40 degree weather lol)!!!

  7. MM

    @Sandra: oooh we totally should!! :)

  8. Ashley Gillett

    I almost had a seizure after watching that video! So much fun. :)

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