Fri. Oct 31, 2014 by Mary    Engagements

NYC Washington Square Engagement: Jenn & Jon

Happy Friday!

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!

Thu. Oct 30, 2014 by Mary    Engagements

Chicago Engagement Shoot: Sophie & Zach

Happy Thursday!

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!


Tue. Oct 28, 2014 by Mary    Pancake Sessions

Pancake Session: Shooting in a Cluttered Room

At a recent wedding this Fall, we were shooting the getting ready at a 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!

Tue. Oct 28, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

J&M Halloween Through the Years

Happy Halloween week!!

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?

Mon. Oct 27, 2014 by Mary    Weddings

Hopkins Vineyard Wedding: Heather & Mike

Happy Monday!

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 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!

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