Ooooh it is that time again! Another season has come & gone. We have closed down for the month of December. And that has been giving us some time to look back on this past year at all of the amazing engagements, weddings & shoots we got to be a part of, all of the wonderful places in the world this job of ours took us (Germany, Antigua, California, Colorado, just to name a few!), and all of the incredible people (heyyyyy J&M Brides!) we got to meet along the way.
It is also the time of year where we can look back at all the shenanigans we got up to behind the camera in making those shoots happen.
This is one of my favorite posts of the whole year because it gives me the chance to look back through the whole year and stand in wonder at every good thing that has happened (and remember Who every good thing come from) rather than it all just be a blur and then be on to the next thing! And it also gives me the chance to remember just how very lucky I am to do this all side by side & shoulder to shoulder with my very best friend and the cutest boy in the world.
So here it is, our 2014 Behind the Scenes Recap! Try not to be jealous of all our utter coolness, especially when you see that very last shot! :) (hint: it's the exact opposite of cool!) Since this post is so massive, we've broken it up into some very appropriately named categories, as you'll see below!
Cheers to an incredible year you guys!
**First up, we call this first section, "This is how we DO, New England Style!!"
There WILL be lobsters on my clothes, do not be concerned. I'm from Connecticut, not crazy.
Polka dots and plaid.
Navy & white is my jam.
Polka & pink. Real men wear pink! :)
Striped sweaters & puffers for those chillier months.
Next up is our "Anything to get the shot!" category. We'll wade right into the water, get down in the grass....
We'll shoot one handed while we share a bottle of wine with our couples...obviously!
We'll shoot in tight spaces....
We'll shoot in the rain....
Like, a LOT of rain!!
We'll shoot in high heels boots on the snow.
We'll actually get IN the fountain...
We'll wrap ourselves around this random post because that's where the angle needs to be.
We'll create makeshift backdrops...
And we'll get dangerously close to the cliffs (even when warned against it)!!
This next section is our "Profoto on the GO-GO" category!
Really on the go in NYC.
True story: this nearly turned into a Mary Poppins moment. Chim Chimeroo. But it's really good in case of rain.
And Profoto on the go to these awesome steps in Chicago!
Which leads me into our next section...."Oh the places you'll go"!! On location in the Garden of the Gods, CO.
The top of Foss Mountain in NH for sunset.
A catamaran in Antigua with one of my all time favorite J&M Brides, Lauren Wakefield!
The shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago. With a bird.
On our own personal sailboat for the day in Rockport, Maine.
And on an almost totally frozen Belle Isle...it was beautiful!!
Next up is our "Justin looking dapper" category! Naturally!
One handed. Just how he rolls!
But he always makes time to groom the next generation of photographers!
Laid back J.Crew for those more casual days.
Suspenders and satchels for the win.
And when in doubt, add a sailboat and a puffer vest in Nantucket! Plus that adorable smile! :)
His trusty Fuji with the leather strap.
This brings me to our "Stuff that happens at weddings" category. Bridal party of 20? NO problem! Big groups totally think I'm funny! Totally.
Do that thing that makes your heart smile.
The Well Groomed Groom.
Breaking out the longer lenses.
Ride along on the party bus!
Group photos with our AMAZING J&M Couples, like these two- Rene & John, who were one of our absolute FAVORITES!!
Light testing for epic room shots.
More light testing. And more polka dots!!
Photo booth fun! Even better if there are shark heads. Actually, there should always be shark heads.
Annnnnnnd then there's.......THIS. Which I'm pretty sure gets a category all it's own. :)
While we were down in Virginia working on our brand & new website this past week, we were also able to spend a day in Richmond meeting up with some of our favorite people! We sent them an email to let them know that we were coming & we told them to show us how RVA does Christmas....and BOY did they deliver!!
We had dinner at the absolutely STUNNING Jefferson Hotel that was decked out to the nines for the holidays, complete with a huge christmas tree and giant gingerbread house. This hotel is gorgeous and the meal was pretty amazing too! But the best part of course was the company with Annamarie & RyanBuddy & Jill , Katelyn & Michael and Matt & Carissa. We just LOVE all of these guys and getting a chance to have a night off of just pure fun with them was just what we needed!
After dinner we headed back to Katelyn & Michael's house for some games (hello Ellen's heads up game!), hot cocoa, and delicious square cookies :) where we got to meet up with Ali too! And of course maybe the best part of the whole night...getting to meet Matt & Carissa's new puppy!! Ahhhh SO cute!
In short, it was a magical night spent with some of the best people we know! Their friendship is such a huge gift!
Happy Thursday everyone!
**Photos stolen from everyone's various Instagrams & a couple from the Fuji....don't judge the quality!! :)
Featured: The Shoot Dot Edit Recharge Your Business Guide
Well this is fun! We have been SO excited for this to come out & now it's here!!
We are so honored to be included in the latest marketing guide from the amazing folks at Shoot Dot Edit, Recharge Your Business: The Wedding Photographer's Off Season Checklist! This is such an amazing resource on everything we as business owners should be doing in these quieter months (y'know besides drinking a ton of hot cocoa & watching Elf, which are obviously at the top of the list! :) to set ourselves up for success next year! It covers everything from marketing, social media, systems, SEO, blogging & workflow. And the best part? It's absolutely FREE! All you have to do is click over HERE to grab your copy!
For our part of the Recharge book, we have listed out four things you can do to market your business & reposition yourself to attract your most ideal clients right now! And if you want to read more about our entire strategy for how we went from getting clients who saw us as merely transactions to getting our name out there & booking a calendar full of people we absolutely love & who love us in return, you can read the full story & our step by step marketing plan in our e-book The Guide. Head on over HERE to purchase your copy and get set up to make 2015 your best year yet!
We just got some emails from people who grabbed The Guide recently & it's been amazing to read what they had to say about what it's doing for their business!
From Sarah Beth:
"I just finished reading the Guide...my goodness, what a WEALTH of information! I'm not a huge reader, but I couldn't put it down! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom!"
"I purchased The Guide a few weeks ago and not until a few days ago did I get the chance to actually started reading it. I haven't been able to stop and we've already started implanting the NEW ways we interview clients. PLUS, making website changes, even home changes, to reflect more of US. What an ah-ha moment!"
We are currently snuggled up in the mountains of Virginia wrapping up the final work on our brand new website (we can't WAIT to show you!!) with our insanely talented designer & friend Jennifer Olmstead! It has been so incredible to watch her work and the genius that she can come up with on the spot over and over again, and it's been amazing to watch the whole thing come together right before our eyes. We are so so so SO grateful to have found her!!
All of this talk of branding combined with a really good question we got asked the other day- what do you recommend for people who are just getting started, who might not know what they want their style & brand to be yet?- got us thinking about the top 5 things we wish we would have known to think about when we were first getting started with our business and needed to put together our first polished brand. Read on to find out what they are! :)
1. A good brand is a matter of trust. I think a lot of times, people feel like a good brand is a splurge or a luxury thing that they will do "someday." That it's not a requirement for right now. But you have to keep in mind that the website/blog is often the first experience a client is having with you. And if what they see when they get there is out of date work or a very amateur looking logo, then there is a very good chance that they will start to worry that your work will be amateur/not established too. And whether or not they can TRUST you to do a good job! A good, polished brand says to the world we're here to stay & we're taking this seriously.
2. Get a bird's eye view. When you're trying to figure out what would even feel like you for a brand, it is very easy to be inspired by what other photographers are doing in the same industry. Instead, try to get a step removed. Flip through magazines and books that inspire you & put sticky tabs on things that speak to you. Don't think about it, just go on gut reactions. Now do the same thing by doing a "scavenger hunt" on Pinterest. Let one thing lead you to another and another and just pin anything that speaks to you. Now give it a few days to walk away from it. When you come back, ask yourself what do all of these things have in common? What am I naturally drawn to without even thinking too hard about it? Chances are that's going to give you a really good place to start.
3. Go your own way, but don't go it alone Don't be afraid to do something different from everything else that's out there at the time. Stay away from questions like "what am I supposed to do? what's everyone else doing?" Because if they've already done it, then it's already been done! And the last thing you want is to box yourself in just looking like everyone else. Be willing to be the purple cow in a sea of brown ones. It's scary to be different. It's scary to step out. But there are rewards for those who are willing to do just that! At the same time, bring along people who are really good at making you look better. Just like we all say that just because a friend has a camera and can shoot your wedding, it doesn't mean they should! Well in the same way, just because you can use photo shop & make a logo, it doesn't mean you should! Be willing to go with people who are especially gifted in the area of design. If you don't have the budget to hire someone to do a custom design just yet, there are still some really GREAT resources out there of customizable website designs that will get you most the way there with beautiful design and functionality. But then you can still really make them your own with the customization abilities! One of our favorite resources for that, that we tell EVERYONE about, is the Tonic Site Shop (started by Jen & our other good friend Jeff Shipley) that has all of these incredible, editorial, luxury styles, so that you could really have a beautiful brand up and running in just a few days. If there's any chance at all that you are losing inquiries because of the first impression your current brand & website are making, then there is NO time to wait on this. After all, the inquiries you are getting (or not getting!) now will shape what your bookings & calendar are for all of next year!
4. Don't be defined by past mistakes I think a lot of times we see photographers who started with one name or brand, and because they have already invested time & money in it they have a hard time changing it or moving forward if it's simply not working. Let go of that! Be willing to trim the fat of what's not working & move forward in 2015 lean & mean! When we first started, we chose the name "Imagine Imaging" and it was kind of a disaster! :) We got everything from "Images Imaging, Imaging Imaging.....and my personal favorite, Imagine Imagining (that's really deep when you think about it....just imagine imagining!) Even though we got off to a rough start, when we realized it wasn't working we were willing to change it. Even though we had already invested in it, even though some people already knew us as that, we decided instead to let our mistakes just be these steps on the way to success. Not something that had to define us. So if you don't love your name, logo, colors, website design business cards...whatever it is, be willing to just change it and not miss a step. While you keep sprinting toward your dream for what this business could one day be!
5. Go with a platform that will allow your brand to grow with you. When we were first getting started, things like customizable websites didn't exist. So every time we wanted to change something, we had to hire a designer and start from scratch. And the second that the website was done, we were locked into it until the next time we hired a designer again. I can't tell you how THANKFUL we are to now live in a world where something like Showit exists (I've said this before, but I think it always bears repeating....we don't get ANYTHING for mentioning Showit & we still pay for our subscriptions just like everyone else! We just love them as a product!) And what we love the most about them is that as we grow with our brand, it can grow with us. So if you're first getting started and you end up choosing something that doesn't ultimately fit where you're going, there's nothing lost if you have a platform that can be changed and updated and made to go live in an instant. Trust me, it's a HUGE blessing!
Today we have the stunning Boston Public Gardens wedding of Annmarie & Gil to kick your week off right! These two got married on a day when they were calling for it to absolutely pour all day. And it did rain quite a bit in the morning, but the second that we were ready to step outside for the First Look....it stopped! And it stayed that way & beautiful for all of their portraits and the rest of their day!
Which is exactly what these two deserve, because they have two of the most beautiful hearts we've ever had the honor of meeting! Annmarie & Gil found us from when we shot one of our all time favorite past Clients Turned Friends, JC & Esther, several years ago. Which totally just reaffirms my belief that awesome people are friends with awesome people! :) Because honestly, it just doesn't get any sweeter than these two. They are kind and thoughtful and neither of them has a selfish bone in their body. They love their families fiercely and their friends with their whole heart. To know them is to feel like you've been friends with them for years. And everyone who is lucky enough to be around them feels like they are witnessing love in action.
Everything about this day was so incredible. From Annmarie's gorgeous lace dress (and those awesome blue shoes!) to the guys all decked out in gray tuxes to the Kenyan choir that Annmarie surprised Gil with at the ceremony....the whole day was elegant and classic and full of joy. In short, it was a DREAM to photograph and we just feel so lucky to be the ones who were there. Annmarie & Gil, we ADORE you guys! Thank you so much for letting us be there with you on this perfect, perfect day!