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About my engagement ring… Loving each other well

Some of you may know, I got engaged to my ever-love on Good Friday.
I’m so excited, after telling all my clients’ love stories for years, to be working on my very own is much better than I could have ever imagined.

A few folks have noticed that I am wearing a ring already and asked if we already got married and why I’m wearing it… It’s my engagement ring!

Love well

To understand my engagement ring, you need to know that the purpose of relationship, in my eyes, is to care for one another… To love one another very well.
This maybe an oversimplification, but I’m going with it (obviously there’s many other benefits such as growth, companionship and a tool for sanctification – But in my mind those are benefits and not the purpose of relationship) 😉

I’ve always thought it strange that women wear rings, an outward sign of commitment, at the moment of engagement but guys don’t until they’re married.
As it turns out: There’s not really any good reason for this one sided signaling to the world you’re taken. Rings have been a part of marriage for a long time, often times in Middle Eastern culture as a sign that the man respects and trusts his wife with his estate and household, a sign to others.
As modern Western culture has evolved into a more consumer driven society, jewelry companies have done a really good job pushing us to buy engagement rings, and spend lots on them, before the wedding. The problem is, it’s just very one sided.

Part of loving Sarah, my ever-bride, really well is telling her heart, my heart, (and the outside world) that I am hers and she is mine, I am taken. So wearing my little silicone wedding band (my dad has been a 9 fingered daddy my whole life…) as my engagement ring is one little step in that effort.

She said yes Nashville

© 2017 Justin Wright

Added bonus: Sarah bought me my ring and proposed to me with it, on one knee and all. Not sure what you call a proposal, after you’ve already proposed yourself? I said YASSS! (me wearing the ring as my engagement ring was 1000% my idea – not influenced by Sarah in the least)

What do you say fellas? How about you ladies? What’s your thoughts?
Should more guys wear engagement rings or am I just cray-cray?

P.S. a HUGE thanks to my dear dear friend Justin Wright for capturing my proposal so well. I love you buddy 🙂

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Introducing • Custom Framing

I’m so excited to announce that 2015 is the year that I moved to completely custom framing and away from the Hobby Lobby framing nightmare!

Custom matting, a carefully curated frame selection. All hand assembled with the precision your memories deserve.
The perfect complement to my 100% cotton fine art prints • Showcase your love.

Wedding photo framing

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Love is patient…

Somewhere there’s a couple vowing to loves eternal splendor in light of our finite condition and it’s beautiful and extraordinary…

I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.
Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

First looking bride and groom Nashville

I often have at least 2 or 3 sessions or weddings waiting to be edited and it’s rare I have a Saturday off from capturing a wedding or engagement photos, so when I do you can often find me editing and either watching a movie or listening to a podcast while I edit and return emails etc.

Today’s movie was My Old Lady (spoiler alert!!!), a Kevin Kline & Maggie Smith film set in France. It’s an enjoyable film and of course great acting.
The main character, played by Kevin Kline, finds himself at odds with Maggie Smith and her daughter, played by Kristin Scott Thomas. Kline and Thomas basically hate each other the entire movie and then through a series of 2 or 3 events, that forces them to see the humanity in each other, they decide one night they like each other.
So what’s the natural progression from noticing attraction (ie I no longer hate this person)? Why you have sex right then, right?

What ever happened to, I don’t know, waiting until you’re mutually committed to one another before you introduce sex into the equation?
Respecting yourself (and others) enough to exhibit self control and patience.

I’m so concerned with the cheapening of love and sex our media is all to happy to parade around. I’m concerned with the fact that one of the most talked about films of 2014, which doesn’t come out until 2015 and it’ll probably be the most talked about this year too, is a film adaptation of a book that glorifies and glamorizes abuse, manipulation and violence against women… Fifty Shades Of Gray is not a healthy depiction of any form of love or healthy relationship.

Maybe I’m a romantic but I’m comfortable in my belief that love is bigger and far more important than sex and maybe it’s time our media reflects that.
I have 8 nieces and nephews, spanning the ages 1 to 24, and I want them to grow knowing…

love is patient

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How secure are your memories?

Our relationships and our memories are all we really have at the end of the day. How secure are your memories, really?

Backup hard drives photography

The power of a photograph to evoke our memories, things that we thought might be lost, are priceless. These moments from your wedding, your family portraits, cannot be replaced or recreated.

I have always taken this very seriously, this is why I have over 7 years of wedding photos archived (every wedding) on my hard drives. This is why when one of my brides contacted me last year to tell me in a panic that she had lost her disc with all her wedding photos (taken 6 years ago) on it that I still have them all and not to worry as I could send her a link to download them.

You see; I truly believe you should have your photos, your digital photos, even though I believe your wedding album is the single best thing you can get from your wedding photography. I truly believe these are some of the most meaningful photos you’ll ever have made and it’s important to archive them for generations to come.

So what steps do I take to ensure your photos will always be with me?
Great question 🙂
I have a 4 step backup/archive system!

1: Have 4 copies (one main & 3 backups) of all your photos.
2: Have one complete backup copy on-site in my office in a fireproof safe.
3: Have one complete backup copy off-site in a safety deposit box.
4: Backup everything into the cloud (online) using a service like Crashplan, Dropbox or

Now very little about any of this is sexy (not like it’s a new Shakira music video) and the only reason I share it is because a couple recently asked and I think it’s important for you to know that your photos are safe.

wedding data

The Workflow

•day 1•
Capture your photos for you. Return to office and use ViceVersa Pro to CRC copy to working RAID drive and backup to local drive and to external hard drive in firesafe onesite. Keep data on camera memory cards until finals are delivered to client.
Start cloud backup.

•day 2•
Pull externals from firesafe and swap with externals in safety deposit box. Return to office and backup new data to safety deposit box drives and place in firesafe. Start cycle over again.

•1 Year•
I archive aprox. 1 year old photos onto my archive drives that are in the same cycle and places/number of copies that my working drives are. This allows me to keep extra space on my working drives. I can always go back and get these photos at any time.

Why This Matters

I can’t tell you how many professionals and photographers I know that I’ve had to help recover data or photos, all simply because of lax backup standards. If you put a rock solid system in place and treat it like it’s your job (scary thought, right?), you’ll never have to use recovery software again 😉

It’s important to use a program like ViceVersa Pro that is capable of doing a CRC check of the data when it’s copying it so you know it’s not only copying a portion of the data and are then surprised that your photos don’t open (not surprised in a good way) later on down the road.
It’s also a good idea to double check the bytes sizes of your source data & target data folders when uploading to the cloud etc. as any program can mess up and it only takes one mistake!

The Low Down

Even with all this in place, it’s still a great idea for you, the client, to backup your photos on your end. USB sticks are cheap and great for this.
The hard part is not misplacing your backup, so if you have a safe etc. it’s a good place for it.
But just know that I take every bit of my job as your photographer very seriously and have systems in place to keep on top of all the important stuff.

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10,000, 20 Hours To Become A Master? Why It’s Important.

Child dance wedding
Hint, if you wanna be a dance master 🙂

The rule

So many of us are very familiar with Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘rule’ of 10,000 hours doing something required to become a master at a skill… Some have taken exception to that and say you can do it in 20 hours.
I think an important distinction is that Malcolm Gladwell is referring to becoming a true world class master, on such a level that you’re known for it – or more accurately when people think of whatever it is you do, they think of you.

The rule comes from Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success To become a chess grandmaster also seems to take about ten years. (Only the legendary Bobby Fisher got to that elite level in less than that amount of time: it took him nine years.) And what’s ten years? Well, it’s roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of hard practice. Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” — p. 41

Have you ever considered

What’s going on here? Is it the sheer repetition that makes them good at it? The experience gained from that much practice make the difference? Are they smart enough know what corners to cut or shortcuts to take without shortchanging their product or endresult with that experience?

I think yes to all of the above.
What’s going on here is that there comes a point when practising (ie doing) a skill that you move from moving through the motions to the skill becoming muscle memory | second nature.
This is where, I believe, you start to move toward that mastery mantle.

This is why elite military put such a priority on practising and drilling again and again.
Because when your skill moves to being muscle memory, it takes your decision making out of the equation.
   We all have a limited amount of decisions we can make a day before it starts taking a toll on us both mentally and physically or we shut down. The more you can take this entirely out of the equation the faster you’ll be, happier you’ll be and less drain this skill will take on you.

Why it’s important;

When we’re talking about something like your wedding day; you want someone capturing it that’s REALLY good at what they do, there’s no redos 🙂

Take what you do, maybe a doctor, banker, landscaper, blogger, mom etc.
What you do is very important and serves a need, the better you become at doing what you do the better for those you serve (well duh) and happier you’ll be doing it.
This because of this little known thing called decision fatigue •click here to read an exhaustive study on it

I don’t know about you, but I want my doctor, banker etc. to enjoy what they do so much that they’re excited to be helping me, and I’d want it to be second nature to them! I’d want the same out of my wedding photographer.
I may not have 10,000 hours yet, rough estimation is 3,000, but I’m working on it 😉

Life Hacks

Here’s some life hacks I implement into my own life to help with decisions, task management etc.
Hopefully they’re helpful to you

• Making my bed every morning, first thing.
Admiral William H. McRaven gave me this bit of advice in his 2014 University of Texas at Austin Commencement Address
McRaven, Navy Admiral & SEAL, said;

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”

So first thing I do is make my bed in the morning.

• After this, I workout. It’s not a matter of willpower, it’s a matter that I made that decision and now it’s what I do, end of story.
Exercise plays a major role in mood adjustment, in proving to yourself that you can conquer what the day has and be proactive about it.

• Daily devotional time is very important to me. I’m a frequenter of

• I make a To Do list (oh, the horror) at night for the next day. I try to include only 3 or 4 big tasks for the day, then when those are done I can move on to lesser tasks. If there’s too many items on the list it’ll seem insurmountable.

• Try your best to not check email, FaceBook etc. until you’ve finished these first 3. Email, text messages and social media as a whole put you into a reactionary position to what others are saying, doing and asking of you. Being proactive is your best friend, being reactive is the enemy. So put off being reactive until you’ve gotten the important things done.

• When you feel the drain coming, break away and get to a new setting if possible. Take a minute for yourself and eat a chocolate covered almond or a protein bar. It’s a refocusing time.

Have I mastered life? Not even! But I’m getter better 🙂
What do you do to master your life?
What works for you, what doesn’t?
Comment below and join the conversation

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