Justin & Mary's Blog http://justinmarantz.com/ Justin & Mary's Blog en-us Our Germany Trip Part I: Heidelberg & Stuttgart http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1951 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1951 Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:26:00 GMT
We have been home for the past 12 or so days straight (which is pretty strange for us!) and we will actually be mostly home for the next two weeks as well. And that has been awesome because it's given us a chance to get caught up on those projects we have been pushing off, like finally getting around to making a book of our travels in Germany ... Austria this past March.

It's been so fun going back through the pictures ... we thought we would share some with you guys as well! We're breaking it up into two parts so it isn't too overwhelming ... this part covers our time in Heidelberg ... Stuttgart. Over these couple of days we got to walk through castles, roam down cobblestone city streets, sip warm beverages in cafes, eat some of the most amazing Italian food I've ever had (funny enough), visit the Porsche flagship store ... museum and....roam through more castles!! You do a LOT of castle roaming in Europe! And I LOVED it! One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to meet up with a long time blog reader, Rici, who came to our Stuttgart stop on the tour and stayed to hang out with us the next day! We had spaghetti ice cream together (don't worry it just looks like spaghetti!), visited a castle (of course!), and got the sweetest card from her! I think it's SO amazing that the internet is this crazy thing that brings us all together ... that we can make friends over the years that we finally get to meet in real life thousands of miles from home. It just makes me so so grateful for this blog ... all of the amazing people it has brought into our lives because of it.

Speaking of amazing people coming into our lives, we are also super grateful that we had Philipp (who organized the tour) and Jennifer ... Conrad from Jennifer Hejna Photography along to adventure with us ... show us around. Most of these pictures are from Jennifer ... we are SO thankful that she was there to capture so many amazing memories ... moments for us! We LOVE you guys!

Looking back through all of these pictures is getting me so excited because we are currently in the process of planning our NEXT European adventure for October! We're heading to a wedding in England ... while we're there we're also going to try to hit up some combination of Paris, Scotland and/or Ireland!! So I'm just saying....if there is anyone out there who has been dreaming of doing an engagement, elopement or anniversary shoot in any of those place....we're going to be there the last week of October! I'm just sayin!! We should definitely make that happen! :) :) Wheee!!

Enjoy Part I!
M:)









How adorable are Jennifer ... Conrad??















Philipp, Conrad ... Jennifer hiking up to the castle!













Me ... Rici!!


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Lace & Loyalty Giveaway!! http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1950 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1950 Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:33:00 GMT
Recently our friends over at the newly launched Lace and Loyalty wedding ... marriage blog were posting pictures from their shop, including this amazing grey hoodie with gold foil writing that says "Wifey for Lifey." I instantly fell in love with it ... left a note saying how awesome it was. And not more than a few days later a box was sitting on our front porch with my very own shirt as a gift from these amazing ladies! How INCREDIBLE is that??

What's even cooler is that they also agreed to give us one to be able to give away to one go our lucky readers! This makes my heart happy because so many of our giveaways are just for photographers, but this one can be for photographers AND our brides (past, present ... future!!)

To enter, just leave a comment in the box below saying hi ... we are going to announce the winner on Friday! And...GO!!

Happy Tuesday!
M:)





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Deanna & Matt Maternity Shoot http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1949 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1949 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:02:00 GMT
And do we have just the thing to kick this week off right!! A while back we were contacted by Deanna to see if we would ever consider doing a maternity shoot for her ... her husband Matt. She said that she had always wished that she would have been able to have us there with them for their wedding ... that this was the next best thing. Now, how am I supposed to say no to THAT! ? :) Normally, we do tend to just focus in exclusively on "couples" with engagement shoots, weddings ... anniversary shoots. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that our version of a maternity shoot could be just that: a focus on a couple who happen to be starting a very big, exciting new stage in their lives! And as long as we kept it about that and focused on their interaction and excitement, who they are together ... who they are going to be as a family, then it could still fit very much with our style and what we love shooting! So we said yes!

And y'know what...I LOVED it!

I already knew that I loved shooting anniversary sessions because it shows what a love has grown into. And I think you just see that even more when a man is looking at a woman who is about to be the mother of his child. It's a deeper love. An awed love. A love that deserves capturing.

These two are due next month with a baby girl, in the same month when they will also be moving into a new house. So BIG things on the horizon! And it was just such an honor to capture them right now, right here, right before life changes forever for the better.

Deanna ... Matt, we had the best time with you guys! We wish you a lifetime of happiness!
xo
M:)

































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NYC Engagement Shoot: Emily & John http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1948 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1948 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:41:00 GMT
And boy do we have something to send you off into the weekend right: Emily ... John's sweet engagement shoot all around NYC!!

We met up with these guys ... had the best time roaming around some of their favorite streets, taking pictures, and finishing up at their favorite Mexican restaurant. And along the way we got to hear their amazing story! These two first met when they were both in the tropics for family weddings when they were teenagers. They saw each other, struck up a conversation and then a friendship. And Emily joked even then that that was the boy she was going to marry.

Fast forward a few years and they bumped into each other in passing in college. Fast forward a few more years after that and John was still in Emily's heart. As she says, just like in that movie Serendipity, she just couldn't shake the feeling that she was supposed to find him one more time. And so she took a chance and sent him a message. And pretty soon that message turned into dating, into John moving from Denver to NYC to be with her, and now....a wedding next year back in the tropics!!

How AMAZING is that!!? Incredible, right!!

Emily ... John, we had the BEST time hanging out ... getting to know you guys and talking about big dreams. And now we are even MORE excited for the big day next year! Until then, here are a few of our favorites from our time together!

Love you guys!
M:)


























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Pancake Session: 5 Steps to Better Bridal Detail Shots http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1947 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1947 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:38:00 GMT
And I also love it because I really do just love shooting all of the pretty details that a girl will put on as she gets ready to become a bride. Her grandma's locket, that beaded belt she spent months searching for the perfect one, her perfume that will remind her of the day every time she smells it, that amazing pair of shoes.

As anyone who has ever heard Justin ... I teach on pretty much anything can tell you....we're big on starting with Why. On doing everything with purpose. And letting every choice you make as a photographer flow from that place

And for me, getting amazing shots of the shoes, the jewelry, the dress....this all fits with our own Why because we believe that the fashions of the day can be as much a part of the nostalgia of images as what's happening in them. Think about Jackie Kennedy in a pink Chanel suit or Grace Kelly in long lace sleeves, I think about my own parents on their wedding day with my mom's lace flower child dress and my dad's powder blue suit. Or my grandparents at City Hall, and my grandma's suit and pillbox hat. When I see those pictures, when I see what they were wearing...it makes me feel like I was there. We love giving that gift to the future kids and grandkids yet to be.

And, over time, we've figured out a few things to make those shots even better.


1. Shoot the details where they feel natural. In keeping with part of our Why which includes the phrase "exercise the restraint to tell those stories through the veil of authenticity," it is very important for us that, even if we are styling the details and changing where we found them, they should still be placed somewhere that it's reasonable that they might have actually been found. So for example, shooting the shoes on a chair or side table, which is normally where we find them anyway...we just move them to some good light. Or hanging the dress on an armoire or on a door, where a bride would most likely hang her dress. So in keeping with our own Why (and we know that our Why is not the same as everybody's out there! and if it's not yours that's ok!), for us we would never want to hang the dress in a tree or put it in the bath tub or do anything with it that a bride might not actually herself do. Because when she gets those pictures we want her to remember how excited she was to put on the dress.....not wonder "hmm...when did my dress go outside!" :)



2. Create simplicity of background. If you're shooting something like the dress full length, remove as many distracting elements as you can out of frame. Either crop them out or actually move them. Simple is beautiful. And nothing will ruin a beautiful shot like having a plant in the corner of the frame or random things sitting on top of the armoire. In the same vein, when you are shooting the small details, try going closer. For example, when I'm shooting the shoes on a chair, I almost always try to have the background of the chair fill the frame. It gives me a nice clean background and makes the eye focus in on the subject!



3. Try to shoot across the subject rather slightly down at it. When I'm shooting those smaller details like the shoes ... jewelry, I'll sit down right on the floor so that I can bring my lens to be able to shoot right straight across it at an even height as the subject. What happens when I do that, is that by shooting at a wider aperture I am able to keep the subject tack sharp but then use that shallow depth of field to make the background fall off really quickly which makes it soft ... pretty. I'll even make sure I enhance that effect by moving the subject toward the front of the chair ... even further off the background. If I were instead shooting slightly down on the subject then the subject would be in focus, but so would a good bit of the "seat" of the chair because it's not that far from the subject and the planes of focus wouldn't fall off fast enough. The result is that it looks like I'm shooting at much more stopped down aperture, which tends to have more of a point ... shoot look. Also, because we now see so much more of the detail ... fabric of the chair, it becomes a lot busier (i.e. not as simple) of a background! I will say though that sometimes shooting straight down on the subjects can make for a really interesting shot...just stay aware of your background!



4. Keep your lens parallel. In addition to shooting straight across the subject, we also take care to make sure we're holding our lens in a way that it is staying parallel to the subject. What I mean by that is that even if you are low enough to shoot across the subject but you are tilting your lens up or down, then it will distort the parallels in the background of the image (like the lines or edges of the chair). Our eye is really attracted to images with very little distortion because we understand them more. They make more sense/look how they should look in real life. So just that simple change can create a much more simple, beautiful image.



5. Try to make it feel like they were found that way. Now obviously this rule has kind of a gray area, because the truth is that we often find the shoes still in the box or the dress still wrapped in plastic. But I guess what I mean is to try to shy away from setting up the details in an overly staged/too perfect/shot in every combination possible way that makes the viewer feels like "oh look what photographer did" and instead feels more like someone is just getting a behind the scenes glimpse into what that morning really felt like. What the dress looked like hanging there waiting to be put on. What the perfume bottle looked like that she was about to spray on. Which is really what we're trying to capture! So allow in some of what we call "benign neglect" where it's pretty but not necessarily perfect, to make it feel more like real life. And so sometimes, the best way to get details shots is to simply shoot them as the bride is actually about to put them on!


As always, we hope that helped!! And if you would like to receive even more free tips ... tricks, be sure to get signed up for our newsletter below! We are going to be sending out one next week about "5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Portfolio" and it's going to be a GOOD one! :) You don't want to miss it! We have been really loving our newsletter community so far ... we've had thousands of people sign up in just the past few weeks! We would love for you to join 'em so you don't miss out on a single one!


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Coastal Connecticut Wedding: Erin & Christian http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1946 http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1946 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:33:00 GMT
This past Saturday we had the absolute honor of shooting our second Mulrane girl's wedding!! We shot Erin's sister, Kristin's wedding when she married an amazing man in Bill a few years ago. And this weekend we got to watch Erin do the same thing with an absolutely amazing man in Christian. AND Kristin ... Bill's absolutely adorable little girl Madeline was the flower girl (who you guys might remember as baby Carlos at our Halloween party!) So it was pretty much a Mulrane reunion love fest for all of us! :)

There are days that a photographer could order up as their perfect scenario for shooting a wedding....and this day was IT! During the first look (which we absolutely LOVE that Erin ... Chris opted to do! It was such a stress free day because of it!) we had soft gray clouds, a cool breeze, and gorgeous light! That doesn't always happen in mid-July so we were over the moon about it! And then when we went back out for their evening portraits (have I mentioned how much I LOVE these guys....they gave us so much time to shoot ... all of these beautiful portraits are the result of it!) the clouds broke away and golden light poured in across the water. It was perfect!

Erin ... Chris got married at the Wilton Library, so I just LOVED how they carried that theme through all of their details from the card catalogue program holder to the book centerpieces (which Erin hand painted herself!) to the book mark place cards to the dictionary guest book. SO awesome! Even their cake had book rosettes on it! I just love when a couple takes their day and makes it so personal ... their own!

But maybe my favorite part of the day would have to be when Chris said his vows to Erin. We have been shooting weddings for a long time now (8 years for me, 11 years for Justin) and these were hands down some of my favorite vows EVER. They were heartfelt, poetic, honest, and in that moment there wasn't a doubt in my mind that Chris is going to love Erin forever. And I love my Mulrane girls....so this made my heart very very happy indeed.

If that was my favorite part, then coming in at a very very close second would have to be when Kristin stood to give her Maid of Honor speech....and ended up rapping it to Eminem's 8 Mile song instead! AMAZING!

I told you I love these girls! AND the incredible men that have stolen both of their hearts!

To Erin ... Chris (and the whole Mulrane ... Qualey crew!) thank you for letting us feel like the luckiest photographers ever to get to be a part of your lives. And thank you for making us feel like just part of the family. We love you all! Love like this always.

So much love,
J...M






































































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Chicago Engagement Shoot: Nicole & Jeff http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1945 http://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!

xo
M:)



























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J&M Summer Bucket List: Seattle & Portland http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1944 http://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!
xo
M:)
































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Featured: Well Wed National http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1943 http://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!
M:)


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University of Chicago Engagement: Sheila & Jon http://justinmarantz.com/index.cfm?postID=1942 http://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!
J...M


































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