Justin & Mary's Blog http://www.justinmarantz.com/ Justin & Mary's Blog en-us NYC Washington Square Engagement: Jenn & Jon http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1991 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1991 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:36:00 GMT
Today we are so excited to share Jenn ... Jon's NYC engagement shoot! These two met on the very first day of law school at NYU, when on a small group scavenger hunt they realized that they were the only two people who had ever lived in New York before. And since this was the amazing city where they first fell in love, we decided that there was no better place to do their shoot!

Justin ... I have shot in NYC about a million times before, but we have actually never been to the Washington Square part of the City. So it was so cool to walk around with these guys ... see NYU for the first time, meander through the arch at Washington Square, hang out by the fountain, and end over drinks at one of their favorite local places! It was an amazing day and these guys are an amazing couple! They are so easy going and kind and so much fun to be around....they are the kind of people who instantly put you at ease ... make you feel like you've been friends with them forever. We are seriously the luckiest people on the planet to have couples like them!

Jenn ... Jon, we can't thank you enough for such an incredible day! And we can't wait to see you for the really BIG day next year! Here are just a few of our faves from the day!

So much love!

Chicago Engagement Shoot: Sophie & Zach http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1990 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1990 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:19:00 GMT
We got to hang out with this amazing couple, Sophie ... Zach, when we were out in Chicago earlier this month and we had the BEST time with them! Not only are they so great together with this natural ease between them that made shooting them a DREAM, but they are also just a ton of fun too! After our shoot all around the planetarium and natural history museum, we hung out with them over fried pickles and wine and talked about everything from amazing movies to good books to them introducing us to the incredibleness that is Postmodern Jukebox (google them, trust me you won't regret it!) Sophie ... Zach are just the kind of couple you want to be friends with and hang out with on the weekend! And that's our favorite kind of couple to have! So now we are even more excited than ever for their BIG day next year! Until then, here are just a few favorites of our time with them. Enjoy!


Pancake Session: Shooting in a Cluttered Room http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1989 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1989 Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:40:00 GMT beautiful old colonial right on the coast of Maine. It was gorgeous! And it was packed full of beautiful, pristine, clean bedrooms where everything was neat ... tidy and we could have shot everything.

The only problem was that those rooms weren't getting the best light in the house. Either they were in darker corners of the property or they were on the side of the house and facing green trees which was making all the light coming in have a green tint to it as well. It just wasn't working. And so we went in search of the room in the house with the best light, which turned out to be this front room where all of the floral prep had taken place that morning. Not only was the light streaming in beautifully ... directionally from the left, but it was also the part of the house that was facing the shore so we had a nice neutral white balance coming in. Score!

But the only problem with that of course was that now we had positioned ourselves in a room that had a LOT of extra stuff in it. So the challenge now became: can we shoot all of the details in this room ... never give away just how cluttered it actually was?

As photographers, we find ourselves in cluttered rooms ALL of the time! Sometimes that's where the best light is, sometimes there's only one hotel room to begin with. But it happens a lot! So shooting in tight situations ... making it feel like there was nothing else in the world going on in that room has become a challenge that we've had to get good at fast! Over time, we've come up with a few go to tips ... we wanted to share our 5 favorite ones with you today!

1. Choose light, then location. If the light is really beautiful, then you don't need to see a lot of the rest of the room to make an image pop. And conversely, even the most beautiful background will fall flat if the quality of light is lacking. So in any situation, we are choosing our light (direction, intensity, neutral white balance) first and then our location. Even if that means we end up in a room that would seem pretty surprising to anyone else!

2. When in doubt, go closer and use a wide open lens The magic of a photograph is not pointing a camera at a situation and just pushing the button so you see everything. Anyone can do that. The real magic is looking at a situation, seeing it for what it is, and then seeing it for what it could be through your lens. Of how you can change it, and thus how the world sees it, if you just go a little closer, take a step to the right, or see a little less of the background. Right outside the frame, the rest of the room (and the world) might be chaos. But you as the photographer are the only one who will ever know that. You get to decide what makes it in ... what doesn't. You get to decide what you focus on and what you don't. You get to be the one to tell the story. And sometimes just a step closer and a stop more wide open is all you need to make the difference between a story of chaos and a story of calm.

3. Use the elements of the room that are working. What I really liked about this room in particular, besides the light, was this one rustic wood chair and this very cool distressed blue floor. So I made the decision pretty quickly that I was going to shoot all the details (besides the dress) on those two surfaces, making sure to pull elements of blue into every shot so that they all tied together in the end. So in the image above you see just a little bit of blue floor peeking through the slats of the chair (same thing is true with the picture of the blue pitcher), and in the image below, I pulled some blue dishes from the house to style with the invitation suite. So now we're highlighting the elements that we like and making sure the whole detail set flows together nicely!

4. Don't be afraid to claim just one corner You don't really need the entire room to be cleaned out to make it feel like the whole thing is. Sometimes just claiming one corner and taking a few extra minutes to restore order is all you need for the whole getting ready space to feel peaceful. We already wear a LOT of hats as photographers on a wedding day (planner, friend, emergency seamstress)...don't be afraid or above adding cleaning crew to the list as well!

5. Have a vision for what you want the space to say. In this case, I decided I wanted the vibe of the getting ready photos to be rustic Maine farmhouse. So I used the rough wood chair and the scraped floors for my surfaces. And I pulled in the blue pitcher and plates to emphasize that theme. If I had instead decided to go more preppy or clean with the details, I might have used that white striped chair you see in the picture above. Or if the vibe was meant to be more elegant, I might have pulled in the velvet chair I saw in another room. The point is to choose the message that you want to send, keep it consistent, and then crop everything else that would confuse that message out of the picture. Having that clear vision means that it will all feel effortless, flow seamlessly, and make sure that no one would ever guess what kind of room you were actually working in!

We hope that helps! Happy Wednesday!

J&M Halloween Through the Years http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1988 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1988 Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:20:00 GMT
It is NO secret that we take Halloween very seriously here in the Marantz household, and in fact it has become one of our favorite things to do together every year: coming up with our costume and putting on a party for all of our friends....AND the 500 or so trick or treaters we get every year!! We go all out with how we dress up and the candy we give out (it takes a LOT for that many trick or treaters!) and projecting scary movies in the front windows and decorating the house. We LOVE it!

As we are getting ready for our annual party and putting our costume together (it's going to be excellent just wait ... see!), we thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and look at all of our past costumes through the years!

The very first time we dressed up together (and knew that it was love!): the first version iPod, I was the earbuds.

2008: when we first became obsessed with The Office. I was "three hole punch" Jim, Cooper was Michael Scott, Justin was Dwight Schrute!

2009: that time we went all political when we were Cash 4 Clunkers

Oh and Cooper was....our British Racing Green Mini Cooper!

2010: an off year when our costumes didn't go together. I was Taylor Swift and Justin was Cigar Guy (Google it!)

2011: Back to our true roots (and a matching costume!) when Justin was a 4x5 Speed Graphic press camera (the flash actually fired!!) and I was a 1940s reporter

2012: The first party! Our friends definitely represented with that lamp from A Christmas Story, Mary Poppins, Where's Waldo ... Wanda, The Couple from Up, and us as Princess Peach ... Mario!!

2013: And of course, last year it got really serious with our rendition of the Wizard of Oz. Justin MADE his Tin Man costume in the basement with sheet metal and riveting equipment. It went kind of crazy on Pinterest!


Cooper as the Cowardly Lion! It lasted for about 30 seconds. Lauren was an amazing Scare Crow!

And the whole group! Katniss, Amelia Earhart, a Minion and the little girl from Despicable Me, the guys from the Hangover and Baby Carlos (amazing!), a Starbucks barista ... her coffee, KJP ... Catwoman, and one of the ladies from Downton Abbey!!

***Soooo....what are YOU guys planning on being this year? What is the favorite costume you've ever done?

Hopkins Vineyard Wedding: Heather & Mike http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1987 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1987 Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:15:00 GMT
Today we are SO excited to share a wedding that was one of the biggest honors of our lives to get to photograph! Heather is not only a fellow photographer, but a dear friend, and someone who has been one of our biggest cheerleaders from the very beginning of our business. We got to meet Mike a few years later when the two started dating ... from the very first time we met him, we just adored him (and them together) and we knew this was a forever kind of thing. So when the two of them asked us to be their photographers, we were SO happy and we knew even a year ago when they booked us that this was going to be the most amazing day!

And BOY were we right!! :)

From the absolutely STUNNING decor (Heather's mom did all of the incredible flowers herself....how amazing is that?!) to the beautiful bridesmaids (two of which are Heather's awesome sisters who surprised everyone ... sang during the ceremony....LOVE those Colt girls!) to the gorgeous, SO in love couple to all of the amazing, emotional moments during the day (I definitely even lost it myself!) ....this was the kind of wedding that reminds us of why we do what we do, sets our hearts on fire, and makes us feel like the luckiest people on the planet that this is what we get to do for a job!

Heather ... Mike, we LOVE you guys!! This was the BEST day ever! And we can't wait to hug you again soon!
SO SO much love!

If You Find This Letter http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1986 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1986 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:48:00 GMT Hannah Brencher who just finished her first BOOK!! If you have ever met Hannah or heard her speak or read anything she's written pretty much EVER, then you know what an incredible, inspiring fire cracker she is! I've watched her go through this book writing process for the past year and I can tell you that she has poured her whole heart ... soul into this book. I know it is going to be a game changer for SO many people out there!

The book will be out next March but it is now available for pre-order on Amazon (it's currently #1 in the Inspiration category!) And it turns out that the pre-order sales are a BIG deal in determining how the book does....they show booksellers ... publishers just how many people are interested in reading an author and how the distribution goes from there. So if you are looking for a new incredible book to rock your world say somewhere around this time next March, I would SO appreciate it if you would consider heading over and placing your pre-order: If You Find This Letter: One Girl's Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers

I know you won't regret it!
Happy Friday!

Sorrento, Maine Wedding: Jenny & Mike http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1985 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1985 Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:05:00 GMT

Anniversary Shoot: Louise & Aaron http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1984 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1984 Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:18:00 GMT really been loving all of the anniversary shoots we've been getting to do lately ... even more so when the couple goes all out and does something really iconic ... elegant! This sweet couple came all the way from England to do their one year anniversary photos with us in NYC (how amazing is that?!!!) and as soon as I saw Louise's one shoulder lace gown, I knew this was going to be one for the record books! Add to that Aaron looking sharp ... so classic in a black tie tux and the perfect backdrop provided by New York herself, and this shoot was the stuff our little photographers' dreams are made of!! Enjoy!

Walk Through a Wedding: Veritas Winery http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1983 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1983 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:45:00 GMT Walk Through a Wedding Workshop down in Virginia at the absolutely gorgeous Veritas Winery and let me tell you, I could shoot there ALL the time! Not only was it absolutely stunning, but the staff there went above ... beyond to make sure that our whole group had an incredible time....right down to the amazing lunch they made for us complete with chocolate truffles!

Add to that, that we got to work with the creative genius that IS Amanda Veronee and we were pretty much in heaven! This girl is an absolute ARTIST with flowers and she totally took our "peaches ... mint" theme and brought it to life in ways we could have never imagined! I mean, just wait until you see the archway she made! It was an honor just to get to photograph her work, as well as all of the other amazing creatives she brought into the mix for invitations, vintage furniture, and one of the prettiest cakes we've EVER seen!

Finally, this Virginia group of attendees was one of the BEST (kindest, hardest working, most excited ... willing to learn) groups we've ever had! Their amazing energy kept us going strong all the way up to the end of this twelve hour day ... we are better for having met all of them!

We have just TWO Walk Through a Wedding workshops left in 2014 and they are both taking place next month! Our New Haven, CT one will be taking place on November 5th at our home and our Charleston, SC one will be on November 12th. We have just a couple of spots (I think like three total!) left, so if you've been meaning to sign up for a Walk Through this is your LAST chance to do it this year ... start next year swinging! We would LOVE to have you join us!


Venue: Veritas Winery
Styled Shoot Coordination/Florals: Amanda Veronee {Anthomanic}
Cake Designer: Maliha Creations
Invitation Suite: Meant To Be Calligraphy
Vintage Furniture: Paisley ... Jade
Gowns/Formalwear: Bella Rosa of Charlottesville
Our adorable couple: Lindsay ... Zach
Photography: Justin ... Mary

10 Ways To Keep Your Balance as a Business Owner http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1982 http://www.justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1982 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:59:00 GMT
You go into it because you can set your own schedule and work from home and never get out of your yoga pants if you want to! Put your sensible corporate black heels on the top shelf of your closet....it's Uggs all the way for you, baby! :)

And in SO many ways, working for yourself is one of the greatest, most satisfying, exciting things you can ever do. Justin ... I are SO grateful that we get to work together and travel together and build things together and go on this adventure together every single day.

But owning your own business can also take its toll. Spending too many days in a row in yoga pants can take its toll. Having work hours that blur into one another and countless hours at a computer- your desk covered with empty coffee mugs and Lara bar wrappers- can take. its. toll.

Not having a regular grocery routine. Not spending our Saturdays like normal people do. Not having a regular pay check that gets deposited every Friday like clockwork.

And the fact is, somewhere around your fourth day in a row in yoga pants and your 117th episode of the Law ... Order SVU marathon you've been putting on while you catch up on editing.....you can start to feel not so human anymore.

And that's the catch 22. We started this business because we want freedom and adventure and to break the rules of normalcy. And all of that is amazing.

But somewhere in there, I think at our most basic human level, we crave some structure ... routine ... to feel normal too.

We've been learning this slowly but surely, and over time we've figured out a few things that we can do every day to give us back some of that normalcy but still allow us to be the great adventurers we want to be too! Here are a few of our favorite ones, in no particular order.

1. Make your bed every day. It sounds silly and small, I know. But a few things happen when you start out the day this way. First, you feel like you've accomplished something right off the bat. And that productivity is contagious....it's a small win that spurs you on to get even more stuff done. Second, it brings order to the room. And that order is calming. Which is a great way to head into the day. And finally, I just find that I sleep better at night when I'm crawling into a bed that has been made rather than a tangle of sheets and pillows. And that sets me up for a good day the following day.

2. Clear the clutter. Speaking of order creating calm, if I ever find myself feeling anxious ... distracted, 9 times out of 10 it's because our work area/house is a mess. And it's a mess because we're actually here 24 hours a day, unlike people who go off to a day job. If I will just take 30-45 minutes to go through the house ... do a quick straighten up before I try to tackle any work, then suddenly I feel like a) I've accomplished another thing and b) we are people who actually have it together and now I can accomplish anything. Even better: try doing this quick clean at night before you eat dinner/take off for the night. It will make dinner more relaxing ... you can wake up to a clean house/work space rather than having this on your list first thing.

3. Have a morning routine One that doesn't involve email! Before I ever delve into email or the work of the day, I like to start my mornings for me. I wake up around 7am and put coffee on (this in itself is such a relaxing ritual for me with grinding the beans ... prepping the coffee maker). I cozy up with a blanket, sip my coffee, do a little bible reading, put on some good music, and start my day slow. When you start the day in email, you start the day with a million people pulling you in every direction before you've even had the chance to wake up. And that sense of being spread too thin carries throughout the day. Starting the day for yourself, fills up the tank so you can be more for other people. This morning routine is a relatively new change for me ... I can tell you that it's making a TON of difference!

4. Write your "Win the Day" list the night before. The "Win the Day" list is something I've been using for years now that is basically the 3-5 things you want to accomplish in a day (as opposed to a super long to do list that no one ever finishes). And even if nothing else gets done, if you can finish those three to five things, then you can call that day a win. But something that I've been realizing as I do this, is that if I will sit down and write out tomorrow's list the night before it does two things: 1) first I know exactly what I need to work on when I sit down at my desk the next morning and 2) it helps to calm my brain as I should be turning off for the night. Writing it down gets it out of my head!

5. Take breaks throughout the day. Go on a walk with your dog, drink your afternoon coffee in quiet rather than on the go, sit somewhere and close your eyes and breathe. Study after study after STUDY has shown that regular breaks throughout the day make you so much more productive. And it helps you to feel like you're not chained to your computer.

6. Shower ... get ready. When we were at the Pursuit 31 Conference this year, I had a bit of an a-ha moment: I was getting up ... getting showered AND getting ready every day. And I felt a million times better. When I work from home on the other hand, I'm (usually) showering but then I'm skipping the getting ready part because I'm just going to be working from home. So why put in the effort? And that has meant a LOT of days in yoga pants and buns on top of my head. And I realized that even though that sounds amazing, it was actually taking a toll on me. I just started to feel blah all the time and that's how I was approaching every day. When we ran out to grab lunch or run to the bank, that's how I was approaching other people too. When I shower ... actually get ready, I feel better and more productive. And then I act that way too.

7. Download. On a very regular basis, sit down and write out everything that's swirling around your brain. Keep it somewhere safe like a notebook dedicated to just this. This way your brain will know that it's somewhere safe and it won't try to keep track of everything, which keeps it constantly racing.

8. Have designated days Have set days when you do your grocery shopping ... run errands. Have set days when you do all of your meetings. Have days when you sit home ... edit uninterrupted. This will foster focus in your life. And help eliminate those days where you feel like you just ran one place to another and never really got anything done.

9. Keep a notebook with you I pretty much always have a notebook with me in my purse. It never fails that as we're going somewhere or running to pick up something or grabbing lunch, suddenly my brain starts spinning with a hundred things I need to do. Having the notebook means I can write it down ... then forget about it for the time being rather than trying to remember it all.

10. Shut down for the night. We like to have a couple of rituals, if you will, to signal to our brains that we're shutting down for the night. I'll shut my office door or Justin will turn out the light in his, I'll light candles, I'll turn on music for us to cook to, we'll have a plan for what movie we're going to watch that night or where we're going to go. Having that ritual ... that reward to look forward to makes us work harder when we should be to get everything done ... then it helps our brains to shut down for the night and actually feel rested when it's time to turn off.

We hope this helps if even in some small way!! Here's to chasing the adventure...AND feeling like you have a life!

** So tell us, which one of these 10 are YOU going to try this week?? Here's to finding the balance!