Frivolous Friday vol. 10

Frivolous: playful, lighthearted, trivial; the little things in life that should be savored.

Favorite Outfit of the Week: Dress: Ruche / Striped cardigan: J Crew / Belt: Urban Outfitters / Heels: Nordstrom / Jewelry: Can't remember -- sorry!

I know -- seriously white legs. Haven't seen the light of day for months. But you've got to break them out sometime, right? Hopefully by the time summer rolls around, they won't be physically blinding people.

Highlight of the week: SUCH a great week. Hard to pick. But it's got to be the launch of Align. Thanks for all your sweet comments & help spreading the word guys! I'm pumped that you think my baby is cute :).

Yes, I did this:
1 -- Thought two complete strangers who made weird comments about my green sweater were off their rockers until I realized it was St. Patrick's Day THE DAY BEFORE. Guess I was a little late to the party.
2 -- Ate pasta three nights this week to avoid having to go to the grocery store.

If you got married after 2007 or are planning on tying the knot soon, please fill out this short survey. The wedding industry thanks you.

Celebrating: Divine weather. I'm convinced I bring unseasonably warm weather with me wherever I go. I just shot a wedding in MN in March in the 70s. I rest my case.

It's the start of spring wedding season in Phoenix. I work full-time year round, but come spring and fall, I rarely STOP working. I wish I had more of a personal life to reflect on here, but that's the nature of the beast. Thankfully I mostly enjoy the beast (my case I lost you).

Feeling Blessed: Traveling is fun but coming home is better. I wish I could bottle up Dixie-dog's wiggle & whine when I come home. Priceless.

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For Photographers

Align Album Design!

I'm SOOOO excited to finally announce to you the project I've been working on for nearly a year now! I feel like I had a baby and I'm posting photos of her for the first time today -- haha! Whatever you do -- don't call my baby ugly :).

Today I'm launching a new business to help photographers get their lives back. It's called Align Album Design and we are an outsourcing solution for professional photographers who want to focus on what they love doing -- whether that's shooting or building your business. Do what you love. Let us design your albums.

I know there are other resources out there for album design. But we specialize in offering clean, modern designs, both fast and affordably. Album designs are done in 4 business days or less and 3 rounds of revisions are included for the low price of $4/page or $8/spread.

We have a GORGEOUS website with branding and design by the incredibly talented Promise Tangeman and expert programming and implementation by Brock with Infinet Design. I couldn't have even fathomed taking on this project without this dream team beside me! Here's a screen shot of the home page, but click here to see the full site!

Photographers get to choose from three design styles. You can see descriptions and examples of the various styles here.

The designs that come out of Align are clean and simple -- and really show off your images.

In addition to offering clean designs super-fast at an affordable price, we top it all off with a cherry:

Woot woot! That's right -- you know that studio sample you've been meaning to design? Or that one album you just haven't gotten around to yet? We are here for you my friend! Take advantage of the 1/2 off deal and see for yourself if Align can be just the thing you need to help free you up to focus on your business and get your life back.

Click here to check out the website!


Note to photo friends and faithful fans: I would LOVE LOVE LOVE if you guys would help me out by spreading the word about Align! You can find us all over the web here:

Align Website
Facebook -- Please like us!
Twitter: @align

Anything you are willing to do to help spread the word about Align -- blog, twitter, FB -- would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks best blog readers ever!!

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Weddings by MJ

Sunil & Amanda

They met at youth group as teenagers and though she doesn't remember thinking he was cute right from the start, she remembers thinking he really knew a lot about the Bible because he could answer every question the teacher asked.

But Sunil was more than just knowledgeable - he was sweet, charming, and had a gift for putting people at ease. Sunil could walk into a room of strangers and walk out with a room full of friends. And he couldn't help but notice Amanda from the very beginning.

Their love for each other is inspiring: it has spanned many miles (Sunil lives in Kansas, Amanda in Minnesota), faced challenges, and grown stronger because of both. And while they are beautiful, perhaps the most captivating thing about the two of them is their love for the Lord. It is nothing short of breathtaking.

Not only was it an honor to shoot Amanda & Sunil's wedding because of how special they are, but Amanda is a photographer herself. It's such a compliment when another photographer chooses me to capture their day.

Amanda started out getting ready in her family home where she has lived her whole life. I really enjoyed getting to know her sweet family. Her dad has been fighting cancer for 2 1/2 years. I loved being able to capture their special relationship.

The ceremony took place at The Woods Chapel in Orono, Minnesota. The little cottage where the girls got ready was picturesque:

Amanda prayed with her dad before heading out to meet her groom for their first look.

So sweet:

This venue was a dream to shoot at, and we couldn't have had a more gorgeous Minnesota March day!

Amanda looked stunning:

I loved Sunil's vest/tie combo:

The bridal party:

Cute kids abounded everywhere you looked:

I couldn't resist sharing this family photo of the girls on Amanda's side. They all looked so put together:

The ceremony took place in the chapel on the property.

Jason Thon, my second shooter, captured this sweet image before Amanda's dad walked her down the aisle:

Amanda passed Sunil this note right before the ceremony:

The ceremony was full of meaning with lots of prayer for the couple, worship music, and the exchanging of personal vows:

We were able to take a few more portraits after the ceremony of the newlyweds!

The reception took place at the Minnetonka Community Center and featured some really fun DIY details. I love how Amanda and Sunil's personalities were evident throughout:

The father/daughter dance was sweet (they always get me!) and I love this image Jason captured of Amanda's parents after it:

All done with long-distance! Yay!!

Sunil & Amanda -- I feel so honored that you chose me to photograph your special day! I loved meeting you and can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

To see even more photos of this amazing day, click here to watch the slideshow!


Equipment used for this shoot:
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50mm 1.2 lens
Canon 24mm 1.4 lens
Canon 70-200 2.8 lens
2 Canon Speedlite 580 EXs
Gary Fong Lightsphere
2 Lumedyne HV Tinycycler Battery Packs
2 Pocketwizards
Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe

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Sunil & Amanda's Engagement Photos

Sunil and Amanda flew me up to Minnesota this weekend to photograph their engagement shoot and wedding. Today is the wedding. And although I only met them in person two days ago, I adore them. Their love for Christ and one another just radiates through their beings. They are stinkin' adorable and I feel so blessed to have them as clients.

Their engagement shoot was a photographer's dream. We shot on a private property near Long Lake, Minnesota, that Amanda has long admired. She asked permission and the owners graciously agreed to let us use it. The light was amazing, Sunil & Amanda were naturals in front of the camera and I was completely giddy the whole time. I had such a hard time narrowing down my favorites, but here are a few of them:

Amanda is SO gorgeous:

There's one guarantee for Sunil & Amanda's children: they WILL have amazing hair.

Couldn't love these next two images more if I tried.

Have I mentioned I have the best job? Sunil & Amanda -- thanks for allowing me to witness your amazing love!

Stay tuned -- wedding photos are next!


Equipment used for this shoot:
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50mm 1.2 lens
Canon 70-200 2.8 lens

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MJ's Camera Bag


Frivolous Friday vol. 9

Frivolous: playful, lighthearted, trivial; the little things in life that should be savored.

Favorite Outfit of the Week: Sweater vest: RW&CO. / Striped top: J Crew / Infinity scarf: Anthropologie / Skinny jeans: H&M / Boots: Cathy Jean / Boot socks: Madewell

My wintery outfit is in honor of the fact that I'm in Minnesota shooting an engagement shoot and wedding. Even though it's in the 60s & 70s, I felt justified breaking out my favorite fluffy scarf. I had to step over a melting pile of brown snow in order to take this photo, after all.

Highlight of the week: Had a completely free Saturday. It's a rare commodity in my world. I managed to fill it with a good work-out, catching up on laundry and work, snuggling Dixie, and quality time with some of my favorite TV shows. Nothing glamorous. But there is something so precious about a completely open day available to be filled in any way you please.

Yes, I did this:
1 -- Slept on a plane with my mouth open. Not sure there's any other possible way to do it.
2 -- Prayed my way out of getting kicked out of a park during a styled shoot. Guess we were supposed to get a permit. Oops! Thanks God for helping me out with that one.

Celebrating: I'm on the CUSP of making a big announcement (hopefully before the next Frivolous Friday) regarding a project that's been in the works for nearly a year now. BURSTING. AT. THE. SEAMS.

This trip I brought my cute sis along as my assistant. We are originally from Minnesota. So it's super-fun and nostalgic to come back here with her. Today we plan to visit our neighborhood in Eden Prairie where we lived from when I was 2-12 years old.

Feeling Blessed: Shot a super-fun engagement session for the most adorable couple. Met them for the first time yesterday, but I feel SO BLESSED to have such amazing clients and to get invited into people's lives like I do.

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