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The new Don’t Give Up project site and HOORAY! Registration for the next Don’t Give Up project is now open!!!

Good morning, friends!
It’s a really good morning around here. The music is playing, the candle is lit, and tiny green buds are starting to appear on the old tree across the street from our house. It’s time for spring, for new life and for new things!

With this lovely season of renewal and rebirth of energy and creativity, we are thrilled and over the moon excited to share with you what we have been working on.

The Don’t Give Up project has had a pretty pathetic virtual home for the past couple of years, and we have longed to share more, to engage more, to invite more, and to hope more to see this movement, this tribe, grow and grow into what it is supposed to be. With that said, we are happy to share the new online home of the Don’t Give Up project. To go there, simply click the image below, and happy browsing! We will be adding posts regularly to this space and we hope that all of you will frequent this space, interact with us on it, and share any feedback or questions you have along the way.

You will notice the top post is also announcing our next don’t give up project is now open for registration!!! you will find all the details there on the Don’t Give Up blog, so go there now!!

wp blog join the tribe

Breadwinners: a transformative experience for image-making couples

First, watch this. . .

bread winners 2014 from WE ARE THE PARSONS on Vimeo.

Being a couple in this industry can be so much freaking fun. You start out, and every day almost feels like a holiday with your best friend at your side. You both are on a mission together, growing together, and discovering how wonderful it is to tell stories together. And yet, the honeymoon phase can’t last forever. At some point, you actually have to learn how to experience deep joy, meaning, satisfaction, purpose, focus, and drive together as you wade through the dailyness of daily life. It is no picnic, y’all. Well, sometimes it is. And those days are really fun. But there are other days where the bills are due, the wedding files are past due and the stress of being partners in life is just a bit too much . . and the gloves come off. We have experienced the wide range of highest highs and lowest lows that this “job” can offer. And we know you are in the midst of going through your own highs and perhaps on the bring of some lows. What is breadwinners about? It’s about locking arms with other couples, becoming a small tribe of friends and allies who share, grow, learn, tell the truth and walk away saying “we did it. we did it real and we did it up close and we embraced the mess and the chaos and the beauty and we are on a really good journey together.”

If you are a couple holding cameras, part time or full, hopeful or successful, you are welcome here and you will not leave the same. join us.

in the words of brad and jen, one of our past breadwinners attendee couples, and now a part of our tribe:
“imagine your closest friends sitting in a living room together, addressing the things in life and business you’ve always wanted to talk about but never had the courage to ask. ashley and jeremy’s living room quickly becomes sacred ground, and the people around you become more than just other photographers. you leave hugging one another feeling like you’re parting ways with family. because you are.

in our three years of marriage, breadwinners has been one the best things that has ever happened to us as a couple and us as a business. ashley and jeremy broke down barriers we didn’t even know existed and we are forever grateful.

take a chance. dig deeper. invest in an experience that will last a lifetime. and our advice…if you want to best out of this experience, come with humble hearts and nothing to prove.”

What is it and what are the details?
we are thrilled to invite any and all image-making couples (photographers / videographers) to join us in our home for this transformative experience. Knowing first hand just how challenging it can be to exist as both business partners, lovers, friends, parents and a creative team, we are excited to talk openly with other couples about our lives, relationship, mistakes, making images, work, and balance. this is for those seeking to be honest, looking to be pushed, encouraged, kicked in the ass, and lifted up, all while locking arms with other couples who “get it”.

we will talk in-depth about the inner workings of what it takes to look our mistakes in the eyes, live intentional lives and go into the bones of creating meaningful stories, purging our lives of the meaningless, and forming a small community of like-minded couples who encourage and push one another toward the hope of more.

When is it?
May 5-7, 2014
couples should arrive around or before noon on monday, and depart late afternoon/early evening on wednesday.

Where is it?
our 114 year old home in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri.

How much does it cost?
$1600 per couple
Includes all meals, transportation in town (to/from airport), and lodging
A 50% non-refundable deposit will reserve your spot, remainder due two weeks prior to the event.

How long is registration open?
we have decided to keep bread winners small and intimate, in order to have a closer community/family feel and adequate time to devote to investing in each of the 4 couples who come, so registration will be first come, first serve. If there are not enough spots available, we will gladly add you to the mailing list for future bread winners experiences.
How do we join you?
send an email to with the subject line of “breadwinners”.
tell us about yourselves, and tell us why you hope to come be a part of this family.
we will contact you asap with a link to register.

We came to a previous Don’t Give Up project, will this be the same curriculum?
No, bread winners is specifically tailored to couples, and although we will discuss some similar themes, the experience will be completely unique to anything we have ever done before.

this experience is the heartbeat of who we are, of what we have learned and what we continue to grow in along the way. we are so so so excited to share with those of you who are meant to be here with us.

We can’t wait!!!

by the parsons

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Monika - You two are truly remarkable. Thank you for your hard work and diligent efforts to make changes in others' lives, and especially in their marriages. This work is so worthwhile! Immensely grateful for your honesty and vision.

damian burcher - Hey congrats on the top wedding photographer award, think I found at about you guys few months ago and have been a fan since.

Heidi + Kevin - It's the best thing you could do for yourself, your marriage and your love of making images that matter. You will not regret it. We don't. :)

Dee - Dave and I had to sit down when we read this, what a great idea! we would love nothing more than to break bread with others that are going through the same experiences as us, love, love love the idea. It is a times like this we regret not having a teletransporter or our own private jet! :-) such a shame Ireland is so far away and our own wedding is in May, otherwise we would be there in two seconds flat, we will be at the next one for sure! :-)

Julia - You two are so special.. Adore and love you both and your sweet boys. Big hugs.

adventure is in a little english town called matlock, where georgia and ali grew up and then got married.

first, the story:

as always goes in a story like this one, we had no idea what to expect as we rode the train from Knutsford, England into the Peak District. we knew that georgia and ali were going to be wonderful, and that her family had already been so kind and generous as we emailed back and forth. but as we arrived, as we went on hikes through the stunning wintry green hills of county derbyshire, as we unpacked our suitcase and camera gear at their family home in Matlock, we began to realize how blessed an opportunity we had been given in sharing this particular time with this particular family.

it struck me as I watched them that we had been invited, even paid to come eves drop on, something sacred. we weren’t just watching a bride as she got ready to be married, but as she turned in her key to the house, as she said goodbye to her childhood bedroom, and hugged her parents goodbye as their youngest child, their only daughter. we were watching them turn from a family into two separate families – the empty nesters and the newlyweds. history was happening right before our eyes, a right of passage unfolding, and we were invited to be the historians. and filling that role meant that we got to learn about the house they called home. We got to learn the soup recipe that her mom would always make on the weekends. We got to sit around and listen to her dad’s favorite records, and hear First Aid Kit (artists of the second song used in the slideshow) reverberate off the walls. In fact, despite family coming in from around the world, we were the ones who were offered the guest room in Georgia’s parents home.

We tell our couples that we come to their weddings not as a vendor, but as a close friend or family member. We have arrived at a wedding to discover we are staying in our own cottage next to family and friends. We have been given place cards and shared the reception meal with the couple’s loved ones at nearly all of our weddings. We have even been sat at the head table before. But we have never been so brought in, so honored, so made to be a part of the family in this intensely personal way. and what a family to be invited into!

these people were extraordinary and truly unique. and not just because it’s cool to say that about other people these days, but because for them it is true without their even trying to be. to be greeted in the peak district in the wintertime, arrive to a warm home and be offered slippers to put on our feet. then fed a hot pot of soup and offered good, cold beer while holding hands and thanking God for the food around a family table. that is truly unique. for a father to sing a song to his daughter all the years that she grows and then to learn to play the harmonica and perform this song for her with her mother and brother at the wedding, that’s unique. A bride who doesn’t need a fancy dress or kate spade shoes to impress anyone, but just has a dress made that she feels like herself in and can wear her favorite slippers with, that’s unique. the love these people had for each other, the lack of need to do the “status quo” for a wedding day and replace etiquette with house slippers and blue tights complimented with a flower crown, reindeer jumper and a brass band, it was all surprisingly poetic and wonderful. There are so many stories we could tell you about these dear ones, so many little endearments about each person we came across, especially georgia and ali. But part of the joy of being invited into a family is that sometimes, you just had to be there. and if you weren’t you have to hope that the pictures will somehow allow you to peek in the back window and feel what it might have been like to be there.

to georgia and ali and your wonderful families, this is our thank you note. it was one of our greatest honors to share that weekend with you.

to everyone else, this is the back window, we invite you to look in.

next, the experience, in motion:

georgia and ali from WE ARE THE PARSONS on Vimeo.

finally, the stills:

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by the parsons

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pen - These are beautiful images, as are the words you wrote above them. I love how you shoot from the heart, and connect with your couples the way you do. It shines through the images and will be treasured for generations.

Charis Warrell - beautifully real stunningly innocent. powerfully God-filled. x

Mercedes - I'm having trouble expressing what I want to say about this wedding. It is an incredibly precious skill to be allowed such intimacy into a couple's wedding day. You guys have an amazing gift with people and it comes out so beautifully.

Chris & Carly - Jeremy and Ashley, what amazing memories you have recorded! It was so good meeting you. You know where to come next time you're in the area!! God bless you. Chris and Carly

Jeremy Brown - Congratulations to the lovely bride and amazing groom. And to the photographers, darn it you guys. You made me cry again. Thank you for being you in front of all of us and showing us what you see. From my heart to yours.

andy - wonderful pics guys..lovely to have met you at ali and georgia's memorable was special without your pics..but it has been made all the more memorable with all your pro work.. love the editing, and the use of contrast and have captured the beautiful essence of the wonderful couple and the most amazing day. Well done guys another great job in the bag! Andy and Jane

christopher messenger - beautiful, my friends. :)