This past week I took a trip to beautiful Connecticut for great bonding with other wedding photographers and a seminar of learning and being inspired that I will never ever forget. If you’ve never heard of Justin & Mary, well then,… where have you been? They have taken the East Coast by wedding photography “storm” – with their smart business practices, beautiful work, and inspiring hearts. I had the great privilege of getting to know them while at WPPI Conference in Las Vegas this past February, so of COURSE when they opened up their beautiful home office to a group of us excited to learn and be challenged over a full two day workshop “throw down” – I was of course there. It’s so refreshing to be around professionals who hold nothing back in terms of learning. We could have asked anything (and boy-oh-boy did we ask), and they would discuss, challenge, hands on instruct, and present any information we had a question about. Did I mention their chemistry as business partners and a married couple? Lets just say it’s magical. I admire the strong love and admiration they have for one another and it’s been such a privilege/honor to see their personal interactions up close and personal. Day 1 was filled with both presentation, hands on learning, and an island adventure where a beautifully detailed Styled Shoot was set up and waiting for us to practice the skills that were taught to us all morning (did I mention this was on an island in Connecticut? … yes, I said an island). To be honest, I was so busy writing notes and soaking in the information, I didn’t shoot as much as I originally thought I was going to. You know it’s funny, after shooting for a long amount of time, one would think they have a “system” worked out that might be the “best” for them. While this may still be true, I loved the opportunity to learn and practice other techniques and camera modes I don’t typically put to use. At the end of the day, we all agreed it physically felt like we had shot a wedding. Our brains were brimming with knowledge and our feet were aching (but in a good way). Day 2 started out a little bit later (sleeping in was a must!), but once we started, let me just say wow. In true Mary Marantz fashion, we started the day with being inspired, asking the “why” questions, and wiping away tears. We then transitioned into a full day of business & editing, asking all sorts of questions and being challenged along the way. I felt myself feeling so incredibly blessed and inspired throughout the entire experience. Actually, by the time Day 2 ended, I think a Downy commercial could have sent me into tears with how inspired and in awe I felt of the experience. To Mary – I will never forget our one-on-one chat. I hope you know how much it truly meant to me (especially since we discussed such mentally rich subject areas) and how thankful I am that I was able to openly discuss my biggest hopes, dreams, and fears. Thank you for believing in me – and yes, the Dawson’s Creek theme song still continues to play through my mind. For anyone that is thinking about going to a Styled Shoot/Workshop, without any hesitation I would say THIS is the one to go to. No matter if your just starting out or have ten years experience, you will gain new knowledge (insane amounts) and feel inspired to believe in yourself to go out and make a positive difference. I have a fresh burning desire for great new things to come – thank you J & M for helping me not only dream for greatness, but helping to carve out the ideas and pathways to help me achieve those dreams. Watch out world, I’m ready. There are ridiculous amounts of things I could tell you about this past week, and like an amazing picture, it’s hard to put any words to the emotion I’m feeling. If you would like to know more information or are interested in attending one of their future workshops, you can check out their workshop website here, or send me a message of any specific questions you’re wondering about (I’d be happy to answer!) Below are some images captured via instagram and a few that were taken during the Styled Shoot. I feel incredibly blessed and honored to have had this opportunity – and cherish the meaningful friendships I have made along the way. Enjoy!