Justin & Mary's Blog http://justinmarantz.com/ Justin & Mary's Blog en-us Friday Randomness... http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1877 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1877 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:57:00 GMT
*Last weekend, we started off cleaning out a closet which turned into us cleaning out my entire office. No joke, we filled up an entire weekly trash bin, an entire weekly recycling bin (the huge, blue stand up kind), and sent three bags of stuff to Goodwill. It is crazy how much stuff a person can accumulate! My office already feels lighter ... more productive for doing it!
*We leave next week for Antigua! There are visions of floppy hats ... frosty fruity drinks already floating through my mind.
*My Senior year of college, I met with my advisor before my last semester and we realized that I had already met all of my major's requirements a while ago but I was 19 credit hours short to graduate. So I either had to take all 19 hours in one semester or do classes over the summer. That didn't sound like any fun at all so I went for all 19 hours my last semester! To make it all fit into the schedule, it ended up being the most RANDOM stuff. Things like Italian II (even though I'd never had Italian I), Intro to Dance, Non-verbal Communication, Statistics, Metaphysics, and An Independent Study on the Philosopher Rousseau. I think that's what they call a well-rounded education.
*I'm terrified of snakes. Terrified of them. Put it this way, if I had been Noah the snakes would have been given wrong directions to the ark. In all the time I've lived in Connecticut, I have never seen a snake here and I had started to convince myself that we were indeed living in the promised land. But a couple days ago we went hiking and we saw not one, but TWO. I've already begun making plans to move.
*Noxema is my face wash of choice. Every time I smell it, it reminds me of high school ... summer.
*I shoot 90% of my images vertically. I have to constantly remind myself that I can hold the camera the other way too.
*I think it would be awesome to visit Alaska ... kayak up to a glacier. But I'm not going to lie, all of those pinterest pictures of the guy in the kayak with the whale right underneath totally freak me out. Do you think that's a real thing? If the whale knocked you out of the boat, do you think he would then come save you Free Willy style? Because that could be cool.
*It's April, which means it's almost May, which means it's almost MY BIRTHDAY!! :)
*Watch this video of golden retriever puppies. Thank me later.
*Speaking of, I think our dog is anti-selfie. Because every time we try, this is what we get.

Happy Friday y'all!
M:)




And as an extra Friday bonus, anybody who signs us today for our May 8th J...M Lighting Intensive in New Haven can take $150 off with the code "JM150" !! See you there!!

]]>
Marantz House Project: The New Spring Mantel http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1876 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1876 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:34:00 GMT
We were sitting on our first floor couch the other evening, about to wrap up work for the day, when he said it. You know we still have garland and glittery Christmas trees up on our mantle and it's now APRIL, right? Yeaaaaa....about that! See we had taken down the tree and the outside decorations a long time ago, but I left the mantel up. In February I argued that the decor was more "Winter" than "Christmas specific." In March I argued that as long as there was snow on the ground (and there was!) it was still relevant. But now, now it was April. April and the sun was shining. April and things were starting to bloom. April and there were Easter egg wreaths in Home Goods.

April and my season of denial finally had to come to an end.

So we hit up said Home Goods, by passed the aisle of Easter egg wreaths, and I set about to making our Spring/Summer mantel. We knew we didn't want to spend a ton on it ... if we could we wanted to repurpose things we already had. So we invested in a big silver mirror and some small flower arrangements (I LOVE having fresh flowers in the house but they die way too fast....Home Goods actually sells some pretty convincing fake ones that are really nice!), and we went to work. We already had the candlesticks, the mercury glass votives, and the wreath. This is what we came up with and I have to say I'm really proud of it! In person, it just makes the whole room feel lighter ... airier. Way more April-esque.

Which y'know, should at least get me through to October. :)

Happy Thursday y'all!
M:)









]]>
Pancake Session: Running the Client Meeting http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1875 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1875 Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:34:00 GMT Instagram of us getting set up for a client meeting ... we had a lot of people comment to say that they would be right over! :) And that got me thinking that one of the biggest strategies of our client meetings has really come to be just that: making them so fun that people actually WANT to be there! Making them so comfortable that we get a chance to really get to know our couples ... none of us even realizes that several hours have passed by.

Let's face it. I can remember from when Justin ... I were getting married: meeting with vendors can be stressful. Sometimes it can very really high pressure ... salesy. It can feel like you're not getting all the info up front. Or it can feel like the person across the table is only saying what they think you want to hear.

So we decided in every way possible, to be NOT that. And we came up with a whole strategy for how we want our client meetings to run- in a way that will actually lay that foundation so that our clients quickly become our friends (Clients Turned Friends). Here are a few of our favorite tips that we've come up with!

1. Serve up some food ... drink! If you had friends coming over, I'm guessing you would offer them something to eat or drink when they got there. The same should be true for our clients! Putting out a spread of food automatically makes it feel more like you're entertaining guests than putting on a high pressure business meeting. Plus, some of the best conversations happen over food, so it just naturally makes people more relaxed. Finally, it's just that above ... beyond experience that you're doing for them right from the first second they walk through the door. We've had clients tell us that even their caterers didn't serve them food when they met with them, which is CRAZY to me because that's what they do! So when we do it, it's something unexpected and something that feels different from what they get anywhere else.


2. Pick things YOU love. While I'm at it, when you're picking the things you want to serve it's always best to go with the things you really love. Because then you're not just serving them something, you're sharing stories and more about who you are too. So when we have our meeting we serve wine, but not just any wine....our favorite wines (like the Kim Crawford New Zealand Sauv Blanc that tastes like grapefruit....incredible! or a Napa Valley Pinot Noir). And then that also opens the door to talk about our trip to Napa or how we're DYING to go to New Zealand! And we can also turn them on to new things, like our obsession with robusto cheese from Whole Foods paired with the fig spread. Which, incidentally, we were turned on to by our amazing past Clients Turned Friends, Kristen ... Stephen, who brought it with them to their first meeting with us. So its full circle! If wine, chocolate ... cheese are not your favorite things, then serve cookies ... milk. Or Spanish tapas. Or Cheesecake Factory cheesecake ... sweet tea. Make it your own ... share who YOU are with your clients too!

3. Don't ask what you think you're SUPPOSED to ask. When Justin ... I were looking to hire people for our wedding, we were absolutely amazed at how every one we were meeting with was asking the exact same questions. When's the WEDDING? What are your COLORS? Have you gotten your DRESS yet? And we very quickly started to learn that every one of those questions, at least when they came out in the first 30 seconds, was code for "I would like to sell you something." It felt fake. And it was a turn off. Instead, we like to start our meetings talking about anything else under the sun OTHER than the wedding or our photography. This is SUCH a great chance to find out how much you have in common with this couple ... whether you guys will actually be a good fit. We'll talk about tv shows, where they went to school, where we went to school, what they do for work, what they love about it (or don't love about it), what the dream job is, our favorite wines, recent movies we've seen, trips we've just taken....basically, we share real life! And that's one of the reasons we are HUGE advocates of meeting on your own turf: it provides an endless list of options for conversation starters, like how we had to gut renovate our house or the amazing sunset right outside our window.

4. Don't try to sell them anything. Here's a crazy idea that changed everything for us: what if we truly went into our meetings with no agenda ... not just going after the sale? What if we just approached our meetings as a cool chance to meet some new people ... do kind of a "chemistry check" to see if we would be a good fit for each other? I can tell you what it does: It turns everything on its head. In the best way possible! It takes the pressure off!! It not only takes the pressure off of them because you aren't doing any kind of high pressure sales, it also takes the pressure off of you too. You can relax. You can be yourself. You can not TRY so hard. And in a weird, flip everything on its head twist of fate, it turns out that the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed they will be with you. The more yourself you are, the more you are going to attract your ideal clients. And the less you try to SELL yourself, the more people are actually going to feel good about buying from you. I've always been a big believer that business is a lot like dating. And just like dating, spending time with people who are trying too hard or have a hidden agenda....well, it's a major turn off! So let's be NOT that.






5. Give them something just for meeting with you. This goes back to that above ... beyond idea. This couple had to take time out of their schedule ... possibly drive a good way to meet with us. The least we can do is give them a small thank you gift. We like to do the following: a gift bag filled with a wedding magazine (Well Wed or Martha usually), our pricing sheet, our sample contract, cards of vendors we recommend, and then a gift just for gift's sake. We like to do our "Stuff We Love" card that says "Mary: Starbucks Junkie" with a $10 Starbucks card and "Justin: Apple fanatic" with a $10 iTunes card. But again, it can be anything. And it should always be something YOU love.

6. Bring it on home. So just to recap, our usual meeting looks like this. Couple arrives ... we greet them with an awesome spread of food ... wine. We spend about two hours getting to know each other with no pressure or set agenda. At the very end of it, when THEY ask about pricing, we give them the gift bag and spend about ten minutes going over everything. Then we don't ask for the sale. We keep it low pressure and try to be as opposite of a used car salesman as possible! If they want to go ahead and book (which about 95% of the couples we meet with do!) then they initiate it. Which means that they always feel really good about the decision and feel like it was their own/they were never pressured into it. And that's the best way we can start that Client Turned Friend relationship!

As always, we hope this helped! If you are looking for more information about how to run a successful client meeting, we go over this a TON in The Guide including: what to say, what to serve (our "meetings in a box" ideas for four different kinds of branding styles), the "reverse sell," the two-minute drill, our pricing sheet ... all the contents of our info box, plus a few other fun surprises we have up our sleeves, as well as a ton of other info on marketing, branding ... getting your name out there. If you want to grab a copy, head on over HERE!!

]]>
Featured: The Knot National & More! http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1874 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1874 Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:18:00 GMT
A not so fun day most of the time, and an especially not fun day for us this year. Sometime in the future, say about 10 YEARS from now, when I can actually laugh about it, remind me to tell you guys about the time our accountant of the last five years decided to go AWOL one week before tax day and stop returning phone calls ... emails. Yeaaaaaaaa.

It was awesome.

So we've been scrambling to find a new accountant and get everything done in time. But as these things tend to do, I think it might have actually worked out for the best because we found a new accountant and she's AMAZING! She's already asking us about deductions ... strategies that our other accountant never did, so we feel really lucky to have found her. And she was a total champ and somehow still managed to get everything done in time, even though we only found her a few days ago!

So it all worked out, but it's been an interesting few days to say the least!

So in light of that fact, and the fact that it's tax day and I'm sure we could ALL use a distraction.....here are some pretty features that we have been really lucky to get lately! First up, we got our very first feature in The Knot National magazine!! We've been really lucky to be featured several times in some of the regional ones, but this was the first time ever in the national one so we were PUMPED! They did a style piece on Brooke ... Shaun and her incredible handmade gown!


We also have a full wedding in this issue of The Knot NY with Shannon ... Luke's stunning Larchmont Yacht Club wedding!



And finally, Vermont Vows featured Liz ... Jason's Saltwater Farm Vineyard wedding as one of their National Real Weddings!!


Happy Tuesday friends!! And go pop some bubbly....taxes are OVER! Well y'know....until next year.
xo
M:)

]]>
Garden of the Gods Engagement Shoot: Rene & John http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1873 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1873 Sun, 13 Apr 2014 17:47:00 GMT
And ohhhhh do we have just the shoot to kick your week off right!! We met up with Rene ... John last week while we were out in Colorado to do their engagement shoot at The Broadmoor ... Garden of the Gods....and did I mention there was a pink tulle skirt involved?? Yea, it was amazing!!

You'll recognize Rene as our stunning model from the Denver Lighting Intensive ("Rene in Red"), and I just feel SO darn lucky to be able to call this girl a Justin ... Mary Bride!! We first met her about five years ago at a conference (Rene is a photographer herself!) right around the time she had first started dating John, so when we got the email from them saying they wanted to hire us for the wedding we were absolutely over the moon excited! These guys actually ended up hiring us before they were even officially engaged because they knew they wanted us ... didn't want the date (Memorial weekend!) to book up.....I mean, talk about your IDEAL couple!! :)

We met up with these guys early on the day of the engagement shoot to drive down ... scout out where the wedding is going to be. And just WAIT till you see this place...AND the place where we're going to go for our second round of portraits. Yea, they are giving us TWO rounds of portraits to make sure we get all the best light....like I said, ideal couple!! But for me, what makes them the most ideal is just how great these two are together. The ease and comfort these two share. The calm that John brings to Rene and the light that Rene brings to John's face when he sees her. These two just....fit. They have fun together, they laugh together, they plan and dream together. They are each other's biggest cheerleaders. And I for one, am going to be cheering right alongside them not just for this wedding...but for the beautiful marriage that they're building. Together.

Rene ... John, we had the BEST time with you guys! Exploring Canon City, walking around The Broadmoor, frrrrrrrreeezing at Garden of the Gods...it was an incredible day!! And now it has us all the more excited for the really BIG day, just over a month away! Before you know it, we'll be back out there ... all together. Until then, we hope these get you really excited for all the fun to come!!

So much love,
M:)






























]]>
J&M Editorial: Rene in Red http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1872 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1872 Thu, 10 Apr 2014 21:28:00 GMT

Photography: Justin ... Mary
Location: The Studio
Model: Rene Tate











SPRING MENTORING DATES:
April 4th AM SOLD OUT
April 4th PM SOLD OUT
April 16th AM SOLD OUT
April 16th PM SOLD OUT
May 9th AM SOLD OUT
May 9th PM
May 29th AM
May 29th PM SOLD OUT
June 11th AM SOLD OUT
June 11th PM SOLD OUT



UPCOMING WORKSHOPS:
J...M's Lighting Intensive- New Haven, CT on May 8, 2014
J...M Lighting Intensive - Seattle, WA on July 8, 2014
Walk Through a Wedding w/ J...M - New Haven on November 5-6, 2014
]]> Stuff We Love: Mark Seliger & The Coolest Gift Ever!! http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1871 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1871 Thu, 10 Apr 2014 11:17:00 GMT Mark Seliger.

We absolutely adore what he does with portrait lighting and his black ... whites are incredible. He has an ability to capture people in the in between with an honesty that tells you more about them in a single frame than an entire interview could. And of all his work, one of the first pieces that Justin ever showed me back when I was first falling in love with photography was his "In My Stairwell" series: an entire series of portraits of people, some famous-some not, taken in the exposed brick stairwell at Seliger's studio.

While we were out at WPPI last month, Justin got to go attend an evening with Mark Seliger put on by Profoto while I was out at another dinner. He came back raving about it ... we put it on the blog here as one of our highlights of the trip. And that would have been that. Would have been, except for one incredible person who was reading it....someone we were about to meet in Denver.

We had plans to meet up with Miss Rachel Gomez (who you met yesterday) for a mentoring session in Denver. And when we got there and met up with her in the lobby of our hotel, boy did she have one HECK of a surprise for us!!! You see, Rachel went to Brooks Institute for photography and one her good friends had gone on to be the first assistant for Mark. So she called in a couple of favors, and not only did she have the book "In My Stairwell" for us when we got there.....She had gotten Mark to SIGN it!!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!! Our names, written out by Mark Seliger, right there in black ... white!!! Seriously, what a DREAM come true!!

It just blows my mind how this little business ... this little blog have brought SO many incredible, amazing, above ... beyond people into our lives. People we do not deserve. But we are all the better for knowing. People we would have never gotten to meet if we hadn't started typing a few words in a free Blogger blog seven years ago. Don't be afraid to put yourselves out there, friends. Don't be afraid to put words up for the world to see. Don't be afraid to let people in. Because those people could change everything for you. Rachel, we are so so SO thankful for you!! There are no words. You're amazing my friend!

Happy Thursday y'all!
M:)





]]>
April Mentoring (Part I) http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1870 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1870 Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:06:00 GMT Rachel Gomez ... Kathryn Dokter!! I LOVED sitting down with these two and hearing their hearts for where they want their work ... their businesses to go. And I am SO excited for this new season for each of them! A season of making BIG things happen and building up crazy momentum, and most of all creating work that sets their hearts on fire and is exactly the kind of work they want to be shooting!

I think when we try by ourselves to figure out how to make these BIG dreams happen, it's really easy to get stuck. And that's why we LOVE mentoring so much! Because we can be the ones to help people get un-stuck! We are able to sit down with people ... push them on the hard things, ask the tough questions, and come up with ideas together that they wouldn't have thought of alone. In particular, we really love sitting down ... helping people whose bookings might not be where they should be for this year or next, or who are having a really hard time getting people to value their work at higher prices. I feel like those are two areas that we can really make a big difference, so if that sounds like something you've been having trouble with, definitely grab a mentoring spot ... we will come up with a "rock it out" next action plan together! We have just ONE spot left in our April Mentoring on April 16th ... we are also bridging our June 11th mentoring to Baltimore and have just one spot left for that one too. All the remaining dates are at the bottom of this post, so grab yours before they fill up!

xo
M:)

Meet: Rachel Gomez








Meet: Kathryn Dokter








SPRING MENTORING DATES:
April 4th AM SOLD OUT
April 4th PM SOLD OUT
April 16th AM SOLD OUT
April 16th PM SOLD OUT
May 9th AM SOLD OUT
May 9th PM
May 29th AM
May 29th PM SOLD OUT
June 11th AM SOLD OUT
June 11th PM SOLD OUT



UPCOMING WORKSHOPS:
J...M's Lighting Intensive- New Haven, CT on May 8, 2014
J...M Lighting Intensive - Seattle, WA on July 8, 2014
Walk Through a Wedding w/ J...M - New Haven on November 5-6, 2014
]]> Short Stack: Our Secret Weapon http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1868 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1868 Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:36:00 GMT
Here is a little bonus short stack addition to the letter I wish I could have written to myself my first year of shooting weddings.

I think we've all found ourselves in that position where there is just nothing to hang the dress on. Or maybe there is a pretty cabinet to hang it on, but it is nowhere near the good light or not in the direction that we want the light to fall on the dress (we like it to rake in left to right or right to left to create direction ... dimension). And it can be super stressful trying to get a good dress shot.

Well in those cases, we have just learned to turn to our go-to secret weapon that we try to always carry with us: a silver 3M Command Hook!!

We keep one of these little babies in our Think Tank Airport International bag, along with some refill strips. You just peel off the back of the strip and now you can hang the dress anywhere you want! Plus it still looks really nice because we spring for the pretty "silver" looking ones ($3.88) instead of just the plastic white ones. :) Then when you're done, you just pull the tab on the bottom and it pops off the wall and no one will ever be any the wiser.

A few words of disclaimer. This will work on most dresses, but if it's an extra heavy dress it won't be able to hold it. Also, we have never had any trouble getting the hook to come off without leaving any marks/taking off any of the paint, but still be extra careful and just pull the tab really slowly so you make sure it doesn't cause you any problems.

Ok, that's it! Go rock it out friends!

xo
M:)



]]>
Pancake Session: Notes to Myself My First Year of Weddings http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1867 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1867 Sat, 05 Apr 2014 12:47:00 GMT really love it, you Forrest Gump it. Just when you think you've arrived, you turn around and start running back the other direction. Just so you can get a look at the opposite side. While a Bob Seger song plays in the background.

But y'know, I recommend not growing the beard.

Still, even though I know there are many more miles to go and even 8 years in, this journey is really just getting started for us ... photography....there are a few things that we've picked up along the way. Things that if I could, I would go back and put in a letter to the first year of shooting weddings me. The me who had no idea about aperture and shutter speed and ISO (funny enough, they don't teach that in law school). The me who thought the "Exposure Triangle" was a new gameshow that just started on NBC. Hosted by Howie Mandel. The me who was still just trying to figure out where the road even was. Let alone whether or not she had it in her to run.

Yea, I would like to give that girl some Cliff's Notes.

Dear Boo (I think I would call myself Boo),

A lot of this won't make sense yet, but you just gotta trust me on this. Kind of like Bill ... Ted and their excellent adventure. But without the phone booth. And George Carlin. And all of the causality problems.

Here are some things you're GOING to want to know about weddings:

1. You will be served some shockingly bad things in some shockingly bad seating conditions (like that one time you're given actual fried spam for dinner and are asked to stand INSIDE an unfinished wall with open electrical wires to eat it). Always, always, always pack apples and protein bars.
2. Let's just get this one out of the way now. Holding your camera at a crazy tilted angle does NOT make you artistic. Please stop doing that. You'll regret it later.
3. While we're at it, trying a totally different action at 100% on each image in a blog post also doesn't make you look artistic either. It makes you look like you don't know who you are. Which I guess is part of the process, because right now....you don't yet. But don't worry too much about it, someday you will.
4. Now this is a biggie. Those stunning bangle bracelets at your first Indian wedding? Yea, they go in a specific order. Don't mess that up.
5. This is another biggie. Try to remember that the mom's of the brides have also been looking forward to this day for the past 27 years. It's an emotional day. Don't forget to take care of them too.
6. Start this early. Try to train yourself to never get so caught up in what you have to get done and the way you like to do things that you miss real life unfolding right in front of you. It's way more beautiful that some shoes on a chair.
7. Learning to shoot manually is a great, important skill. You should know your camera inside out. That being said, there will come a time in the industry when people try to make "shooting manually" the pinnacle of what it is to be a professional. Trust me on this, there are far, far, far more important things (like developing a lifelong love affair with light, cultivating an instinct for anticipating moments, and pursuing simplicity of background) you will need to push yourself on to make yourself the photographer you want to be. Because the truth is, it's really hard to be a storyteller if all you're ever doing is looking down at your camera.
8. You are going to put the dress, shoes, rings, and pretty much anything else they'll give you in some CRAZY locations. Do yourself a favor: if you can't tell a logical story for how those things might have ended up where you put them without you being there, then mayyyyyybe don't put them there. Authenticity, simplicity ... honesty are beautiful things.
9. When you're posing people, figure out ways to add in movement to everything, even the still poses. And for the love of man, please stop having them do the "back to back" pose. Unless you happen to be photographing Kid N' Play. Then I guess it's ok.
10. And finally, STOP trying to be like everyone else. Just stop it. Take this deep breath with me and listen. Everything about your work and the way you see the world that's different....well that's the best thing that could have ever happened to you. And there's a reason you were created that way. Stop tying yourself in knots trying to be not that. No, run with that. Do MORE of that. Make yourself known for that. Because when you're not like anyone else, guess what. It means you're not competing with anyone else either. And more importantly, it just might be that the world is waiting for your voice.

That's all I have for now Boo. Except to say never stop running. And never, never, never give up.

Oh and listen to more Bob Seger. Because he's just awesome.

xo
me


And if you're looking for some more advice on the wedding day, they have officially announced all the release dates for our new Profoto videos (whoop whoop!!!) You can see the full schedule of dates in the ad below, but a brand new one- The Girls Getting Ready- just came out today. So head on over HERE to watch it ... to catch up on any that you may have missed so far! Happy Monday you guys!



]]>