Justin & Mary's Blog http://www.justinmarantz.com/ Justin & Mary's Blog en-us Chicago Engagement Shoot: Nicole & Jeff http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1945 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1945 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:08:00 GMT two engagement shoots with our J...M couples...both who are getting married later this Fall. But a love of autumn wedding dates isn't all these two couples have in common! You see, Sheila (who you will remember from our University of Chicago engagement shoot we just posted) was a former classmate of Justin's in the photo program at RIT, and Nicole is a former classmate of mine at Yale Law. She was actually a year ahead of me, and my first year she was my "Big Sis" in the Yale Law Women's group! So we dubbed this the week of alumni shoots!! :)

Nicole was also the director of the Yale Law Revue -our year end comedy show (think Saturday Night Live, but with law jokes!)- my first year ... passed the director title down to me the following year. So basically what that means is that she's super funny AND super smart, not to mention beautiful! She is now off in Chicago taking the legal field by storm ... that's where she met Jeff! These two share a love of their bulldog Basil, their super cute Chicago neighborhood, and sushi....all of which we got to enjoy with them while we were out there! Here are just a few favorites from our shoot ... we can't wait to head back out that way at the end of September for the BIG day!


J&M Summer Bucket List: Seattle & Portland http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1944 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1944 Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:52:00 GMT
But besides that, we also got to grab brunch at Skillet with our recent J...M Couple Michelle ... Matt, walk around the Public Market, stop off at the original Starbucks (of course!), go check out a lavender field with fellow photographer ... friend Laura Marchbanks, grab dinner with our past J...M Couple Malika ... Arjun (who also modeled for both of our workshops!), grab brunch (brunch is my love language!) with designer extraordinaire Jeffrey Shipley, and ride a ferry boat over to Bainbridge Island (while channeling my inner Meredith Grey) with the wonderful Candice Hackett.

From there we hopped in a car ... drove down to Portland, where we kicked off that part of the trip right with an adventure to VooDoo Donuts. I had the maple bacon one and it was INCREDIBLE! Most of our time in Portland was taken up with the World Domination Summit, but we did get to drive past Powell's Books and eat dinner (complete with one amazing view from the 30th floor Portland City Grill) with our favorites Karen ... Isaac Stott!

Whew! It was definitely a whirlwind, but I am so SO grateful for every minute of it! Here are a few of our favorite shots from the trip!

Happy Monday y'all!

Featured: Well Wed National http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1943 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1943 Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:25:00 GMT features!! First Indhu ... Greg in The Knot magazine, then Walk Through on Style Me Pretty, and now Kayla ... Brendon's absolutely stunning Wadsworth Mansion wedding has been picked up by Well Wed as one of their "national real weddings" which means it was featured in not one, but all FIVE of their regional publications!! We are just so excited because Kayla ... Brendon (and Kayla's mom!) worked so SO hard on putting together all of the amazing details of this day, it was definitely a labor of love for them. So that just makes me all the happier that so many different people are going to get to see it! Such awesome news to kick this weekend off right!

We are off for a productive weekend full of getting caught up from our trip out west, adjusting back to East Coast time, and gearing up for Erin ... Christian's big day tomorrow!! Whatever you're doing this weekend, we hope it makes you happy and is full of the things you love!

Happy Friday!

University of Chicago Engagement: Sheila & Jon http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1942 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1942 Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:59:00 GMT
We emailed back ... forth in preparation for their engagement shoot ... Sheila sent me a picture of the incredible navy Modcloth dress she was going to be wearing. She described it as a "poofy, retro-inspired, party dress." And that's when I knew she most definitely was our ideal J...M Bride.

But it was afterr the shoot, after we were on our way back home, when we got not one, but two emails- one from Sheila AND one from Jon thanking us for everything....that's when I knew that we had been lucky enough to book our ideal J...M COUPLE! The kind where we just connect so much with both of them, they are both so super kind ... thoughtful, they have amazing, classic style, they are funny, they are both into planning the wedding, they both value photography, love the work and knew they wanted to work with us in particular, and they are the kind of people you just want to be friends with....the kind of people where you are the best version of yourself when you're around them. Now THAT'S our idea couple!

Earlier this week, we got together with Sheila ... Jon to shoot all around the University of Chicago campus. As soon as we walked through our first stone archway ... saw the ivy growing up the wall....it felt like we were home! And we thought....these are our people! :) I have to admit, I think the UC campus might even be a little prettier than the Yale Campus. And that's saying something! Everywhere you looked, there was some new amazing corner to shoot in! Let's just put it this way, it took us about a half an hour to walk twenty feet, we just kept seeing so much we loved! This is a classic photographer's DREAM backdrop and we were loving every minute of it!

I think this shoot was made even better because Sheila ... Jon are both creatives themselves, so photography ... art are really important to them. Jon is a designer ... Sheila is actually photographer herself (she ... Justin were at RIT at the same time!) who does a lot of editorial work in Chicago, so it was such a HUGE honor to be asked to be her photographer! We were joking that I think this must be the year of the photographer wedding because Sheila's will be our FIFTH photographer wedding of the year! Amazing!

Sheila ... Jon we had the BEST time hanging out with you guys and seeing a part of Chicago we've never seen before! We loved every minute of getting to know you guys, hearing your story, and winding up the night in a pub together. It just got us SO excited for the wedding ... now we can't wait until October to see you guys again! Until then, here are a few of our favorites from our time together!

So much love!

Featured: Walk Through on Style Me Pretty http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1941 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1941 Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:51:00 GMT Walk Through a Wedding Workshop is being featured on the Style Me Pretty Little Black Book blog today! They put together a beautiful feature and it was so cool going back through those images and seeing all of the INCREDIBLE details that the amazing creatives who came together to make that workshop happen had created! These were some of the prettiest flowers that we have ever seen created by the amazing Carrie Wilcox! And every single detail of the day was planned flawlessly by superwoman ... powerhouse event designer Miss Stacie Shea Events!

And that just got me all the more excited that they are BOTH are already on board to come out with us next month to Nantucket to put on our next Walk Through a Wedding w/ J...M workshop out there! And from what they've been telling me, they are going to go ALL OUT for this one! I seriously can't WAIT to see what they come up with!

We are down to just our LAST few spots for Nantucket, so if you've been thinking about joining us be sure to grab your seat before they're all gone! And to make it even easier, we have set up a payment plan of three payments, which means that you can reserve your spot today for just $400!! We also have a hotel block for affordable accommodations on the island, so now there isn't a good reason not to come! :) With wedding season in FULL swing, wouldn't it be amazing to give yourself the gift of a few days away to rest, re-center, and get re-inspired for the rest of the season?? I think SO! :) We would love to see you there!

**To lock in your seat to the August 20-21st Nantucket Walk Through just head over HERE!

Featured: The Knot Magazine http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1938 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1938 Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:43:00 GMT B.Belle Events ... it makes my heart happy to see them in print!

Happy Tuesday!

J&M Photo Recipes http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1940 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1940 Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:59:00 GMT World Domination Summit).

We got to hear the amazing Jadah Sellner, the co-founder of Simple Green Smoothies, talk about using your platform to love and serve others first. She talked with incredible ... powerful passion about serving people not numbers. And to focus on service, not stats. Because the truth is, you can have all the "followers" in the world, but if you aren't finding a way to serve then they're just that....numbers.

And the truth is, that is something that has been on our hearts for a long time ... we've been trying to think of more ... more ways to use the different platforms we have (this blog, Facebook, Instagram, in person!) to make them about something bigger than us. But it wasn't until we heard Jadah speak that this latest idea hit us like a ton of bricks with one big incredible DUH moment! :)

You see, Jadah ... the Simple Green Smoothies team send daily recipes for healthy smoothies to their followers. It's that, well....simple. But it's turned into a really powerful thing. It turns out that one small daily improvement, that one small focused action....can turn into really BIG results over time. And they are helping every single person who follows them come closer to reaching their goals on a daily basis. Talk about a powerful use of platforms!

So we thought....how can we do the same thing with our community? And just like that, the idea of J...M Photo Recipes was born!

Basically, once a day during the week, we are going to be posting one of these recipes over on my Instagram page. Sometimes it will be about the lighting set up, sometimes the posing, sometimes the behind the scenes that went into it. And then we'll always try to include our settings on each image. We chose Instagram because we liked that we could a) update it daily b) everyone who follows along can be sure to see it (unlike Facebook) and c) we can hashtag it #jmphotorecipes so it creates a searchable archive of them that people can always go back through ... find them all in one place. So that's it! The J...M Photo Recipes are born! If you would like to keep up with all of them, just be sure to head over HERE ... follow along!

Happy Monday friends!

On Sweaty Palms & Stepping into the Arena http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1939 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1939 Fri, 11 Jul 2014 12:33:00 GMT
We are just wrapping up an incredible week in Seattle (but not before one last adventure to take the Bainbridge Ferry ... channel my inner Grey's Anatomy!), and then we're headed down to Portland to attend the World Domination Summit! The WDS was actually the original reason for this trip out west ... we signed up for it about a year ago. Every time we tell people that's where we're going, they ask us if it has something to do with Mussolini or Dr. Evil, lol! But it is actually this incredible conference put on by Chris Guillebeau, the author of The Art of Nonconformity ... The $100 Start Up, and every year it sells out in a matter of minutes! And we were two of the lucky few who got seats!! So yea, we're pretty pumped!

I'm in this really interesting season of my life where everything could just not be going more amazingly with the business ... photography and all of these BIG amazing things keep happening. We honestly could not ask for more ... I feel so incredibly thankful and grateful and just don't believe most of it has actually happened most of the time, actually! Like I said, we couldn't ask for more....and yet at the same time, I'm in this season where I feel like I'm being called to more.

See for me, the dream always started out with writing. I was that weird kid who would walk around thinking in her own narrative ("She picked up the toy ... walked through the yard.") And I'm lucky in that I get to do a good bit of that here on this blog and through things like The Guide. But I'm definitely walking into a season where I'm feeling called to have a part of my life where the writing stands on its own two feet, not necessarily photography specific. In truth, I think that part of the dream is to write business and/or motivation books and then to get to go around and talk to people about them. To look at them face to face and hear what's going on in their lives. I want to give a Ted Talk. I want to have people read or hear my words and know that in, at least some small way, those words and that work helped somebody and made their lives at least just a little bit better. Basically, people like Brene Brown and Gretchen Rubin and Jon Acuff and Christine Caine are my heroes. And I'm feeling the call to take at least the tiniest "toe in the water" step into that arena. Whew. That just got real, really fast you guys. I'm sweating over here putting that out for the world to see! Talk about listing out some big ole' hairy AUDACIOUS goals! Yikes! :)

Anyway, the WDS for me is the chance to get away for three days, not have the pressure of speaking at the conference ourselves, and just let people who've been there ... are living the dream pour into our tanks for a while. It's kind of a chance for me to take this dream of mine "to the mattresses" (not to go all Godfather on you) and see if it has legs to stand on. My hope is to do a lot of dreaming. And a lot of thinking. And come out of it with at least a vision for where to go from here.

Dreaming is scary you guys. Putting it out there ... saying what you want for your life is super uncomfortable. It's that sweaty palms, pit in your stomach, "who am I to say I want this" icky mire that all of the dreamers out there have to take their own turns wading through. Like molasses. It's slow going and a lot of times it feels like you go it alone. But just know that you are not alone. If you are out there ... there is a dream in your heart that kind of makes you want to throw up a little....just know that I'm right there with you. And honestly, I think those moments in life where we have the sweaty palms and the shaking hands and we want to throw up a little....those times when we stand right on the edge of the arena and then take that step....those are the times when we are most alive.

Let's do this!

The Hydrangea Chronicles http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1936 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1936 Thu, 10 Jul 2014 17:37:00 GMT
Sure, the pink peony rings in a close second. And I will always have a special affection for the, well, lilac colored lilac. And standing in fields of lavender last summer is a moment I never want to forget.

But the simple fact is, the blue hydrangea has always been first in my heart.

We had blue hydrangeas at our engagement party. I had hydrangeas in my wedding bouquet. I think they are, simply put, the prettiest of all the flowers.

Four years ago when we bought our house, there were those who, shall we say, thought we had lost our fool minds. And, for a second there, they could have almost been right. Having been built in the 1880s, it was nearly 130 years old. It was run down. It had mold in it. Oh, and the ceiling and the walls were falling in from the 20 feet of water it had been under when a pipe burst on the third floor. And the only way they caught it was when they saw water pouring out of the second floor window.

Yea. It was not the obvious decision to say the least.

And yet.

And yet, from the second I walked through the front door, moldy air and all....I knew it was ours.

I can't explain it. I just get these gut feelings on things. And at this point in my life, I have just learned to run with them. No really, run with them. Full on sprint, lungs burning, legs on fire, side stitches RUN with them. Because they have always led me to the best things in my life. It was a gut feeling that said I should put off going to law school for a year, and I ended up studying in London and having one of the best year of my life instead. It was a gut feeling that said I should get in my car ... go meet up with a brown eyed boy at a coffee shop, and I ended up marrying him. :)

And it was a gut feeling when I walked through the front door of this big old white colonial and side stepped a huge chunk of ceiling, that told me we should put in an offer on a certifiable disaster area (did I mention that the same people who cleaned up Katrina were the ones we had to bring in to make our house actually livable? yea, amazing.) And... it ended up becoming the beautiful place we now get to call home.

The day that we closed on the house, we weren't able to go inside because they were still making it, y'know, breathable. So we did what any new homeowners would do....we started working on the yard! The front of the house had been completely overgrown with these huge weeds every time we had gone to visit, so we set about doing the work of cutting them back. Machete in the jungle style, we hacked it all back. And guess what. When that all fell away to reveal what was behind, what did we find hiding that we never knew was there?

Two beautiful, big, blue hydrangea bushes that just keep getting prettier every year.

Which we keep right there front ... center as a reminder to always trust our gut. To be brave. To be willing to take the long way around and do the work. To start with what we have and build from there.

No matter who might think we're crazy. No matter who can't see what we see. No matter how messy things might look in the beginning.

For there are far, far more beautiful things just on the other side. If you'll just have the courage to step through that door.

Rock it out friends!

*Yea. You could say we were happy.

Equipped: A Photography Workshop for Wedding Creatives!! http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1935 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1935 Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:20:00 GMT
It all started with an email from our friend ... amazing florist Carrie Wilcox after she did the flowers for our last Walk Through a Wedding workshop (and who will also be helping us out on our upcoming August Nantucket Walk Through!)

She wrote to ask our advice on buying a camera, what to look for, and how best to go about photographing her arrangements before sending them out to the weddings. And then she typed the words that put everything else into motion. Basically, she asked if we would ever consider teaching a photography workshop to non-photographers! Would we be willing to put together a workshop that taught the basics of photography to other creatives- people like florists, planners, bakers ... makeup artists- and show them how to get awesome pictures of their work when there isn't a professional photographer to grab some great shots for them (which would always of course be the first choice!)

Now the truth is, we've had a TON of people email us in the past to ask for camera recommendations ... to see if we would ever put together a class for amateur photographers who just wanted to get to know their cameras better. And it always seemed like such a great idea, but one that we just haven't had time for before now. But I think there was just something so powerful about the idea of helping other creatives document ... market their brand that really got me fired up enough to make it happen this time!

Because let's face it....we are living in a visual world! And SO much of building a successful brand ... online presence comes back to having the beautiful imagery to support it. And SO many other types of wedding creatives just don't have access to a ton of beautiful images to put on their websites or images of their latest ... best work... so their website aren't doing them justice! Also, if I were a planner or florist or any of the other creatives listed above, not only would I want great images of my work, I would also want some behind the scenes shots to be able to showcase myself in action ... put a face and personality to the brand. And the fact is, most of the time, all of that behind the scenes action happens before the photographer even arrives to the reception... so those shots never happen. Even though they would be SO great to have on a website and to post on Facebook ... Instagram, to show potential brides what they look like in action!

Add to that fact that sometimes a creative's best work might happen when it isn't for an event at all, but just playing around in the studio trying new things. And so you create this incredible thing (a bouquet, tablescape, cake design, beauty look, etc) that you are incredibly proud of....but then there's no one around to take a picture of it! And it would just be nice to know that whatever happens, you have the ability- in other words, you are equipped -to grab some great shots for yourself!

And now here's the BIG announcement part!! We are SO excited to announce today Equipped: A Photography Workshop for The Wedding Creative!!!

We just love this idea so much because we have such a heart for all kinds of small businesses, not just photographers. We first fell in love with teaching other kinds of creatives a few years back when we first took our "Spread the Love" business workshop to 20 cities across the country in 2010, and we were lucky enough to have a bunch of different kinds of creatives and small business owners (planners, florists, even realtors!) at every stop we did. And then again last year with our What's Next tour when the same thing happened! We've been lucky enough to teach business to other creatives for several years now... and SO much of what we do with marketing, building, pricing, and growing an audience for our own business also translates to those other kinds of businesses. But for whatever reason the idea of actually teaching them photography and what a NEED that fills in the industry right now didn't really sink in until Carrie's email! So C, thank you SO much for that!

Equipped will be held at our home in New Haven, CT on August 5th from 1pm-6:30pm! And just a few of the things we will be covering include:

*The basics of photography ... how to get a well-exposed image
*Understanding the different settings ... how they work together (introducing the exposure triangle)
*Light and the power it has to really show off what you've worked so hard to create
*The 5 rules of shooting details
*The 3 adjustments that will instantly give you better images
*How to get amazing Instagram worthy photos without using your iPhone
*What brides ... editors are really looking for: putting your best foot forward
*Creating a visual brand ... leveraging social media
*Growing your audience ... gaining raving "Lovemark" fans for your business
*Creating a client experience worth talking about
*Portfolio ... brand reviews
*and more!

So that's it!! The BIG announcement is here!! For the first time EVER, we are offering a photography workshop to non-photographers! If you are a wedding creative who is ready to get great images of ALL of your best work ... rock out a visual brand worth following, then we would LOVE to have you join us for over 5 hours of awesome learning ... amazing networking with fellow creatives! We can't WAIT to see you there!

Seats for Equipped will normally be $350, but for the next 48 HOURS you can grab the Early Bird rate of $295 with the code "earlybird" at check out. Click HERE to reserve your spot!

Happy Wednesday friends!