Two months ago, I was lucky enough to snag a mentoring session with Mary Marantz through Delight & Be’s fundraising campaign. Justin and Mary have been in the game for a bit longer than I have (lol) and they are SO full of business and technical knowledge when it comes to photography and more specifically, light. During our mentoring session, Mary had mentioned that a spot had just opened up for their lighting intensive in Hampton Roads… and you would think after spending 2+ hours learning from someone, you wouldn’t necessarily be inclined to spend even more money to learn from them again, but the exact opposite was true in my case! I was SO inspired to want to learn even more about what I was doing with photography and why I was doing it. From sales to marketing to how I shoot and pose, I was intrigued about the “Why” behind it all. I had actually watched Mary’s “Dare You To Move” talk from United 2013 just a couple weeks after our mentoring session and as I sat bawling on my bed with my box of tissues and bowl of popcorn (could I get any cheesier???), it hit me that as photographers… as artists… as people who are responsible for encapsulating memories and moments of love into a medium that can last generations… we owe it to not only ourselves but our clients and the world to be able to answer “Why?” Why am I doing this? What is at the heart of the matter? Sure, Justin and Mary could teach 101 steps to how to light a portrait to create an iconic black and white image… but if we can’t answer WHY… our art falls flat. The meaning is lost in translation, somewhere between programming my flash into manual mode and aiming my umbrella at the center of the dance floor. I can take a million photos of a wedding day but if the passion to create something that will LAST isn’t there, it’s much easier to fall victim to just doing what’s “in” and what’s trendy and never questioning why. And this is where Mary would throw up a photo of a wedding portrait photoshopped onto a brandy snifter as Exhibit A ;) Yesterday at Justin and Mary’s Lighting Intensive, I was challenged to push myself not only in how I understand and manipulate light, but also to really KNOW why I do what I do. So, that’s my “homework” right now and even though I shared a little bit of my why through tears at the workshop yesterday (I’m such a cry baby!), I still have some work to do as I really dig more into that motivation at the core of my passion for photography. When the why and the how meet… that’s when magic happens :)

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I think the most valuable lesson I learned about the “how” was that I really don’t need to be afraid of light. It IS something I CAN control. I actually don’t think I’ll ever look at a photograph the same way again and I totally blame Justin and Mary for that!!! Every time I see an image now, I’m questioning where the light is coming from, how it’s falling across the image, what angles are being created, where the photographer stood, what was creating the light, etc. etc. The list of questions goes on! “Your lighting is 90% being afraid of it and 10% technical.” And that is SO TRUE. I’m so excited to put this to practice on my next wedding day in April! Until then, I’m swooning over these studio portraits of our two gorgeous models! I had so much fun at the intensive yesterday, Justin and Mary, and I can’t wait until our paths cross again! Xoxo

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And I have to include the black and white of that one…. I’ve never before felt so happy with a black & white image of mine! The dimension! Thank you Justin and Mary!!!

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