Monday, January 28, 2008

I heart dry cleaning!!

I heart dry cleaning!!, originally uploaded by justinmarantz.

I LOVE picking up our dry cleaning! I literally count down the days
until it's ready! Everything is so crisp and neatly folded. It's
almost as good as going shopping....almost! AND it's even better, when Justin carries it all! :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fashion Revisited

A couple nights ago we grabbed drinks with Steve... and he was telling us this funny story about his painting class and his blue tomatoes (but you'll have to ask him to tell it!) Steve was working with an underpainting to create a certain mood for his final painting, which got me thinking about working more with textures to create more depth in my images.

I've been shooting textures for a while now, just here and there, whenever we visit someplace new... and I ended up with a really cool set from our trip down South. Here are a few of them applied to a few images from a fashion shoot we did for Traci Romano Events last Spring. Check 'em out!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Post Production Recipe Cards

One of the things we have been talking about to all the PUG groups on our tour is the amazing Pro Retouch action from the Totally Rad Actions set, which Mary and I call "digital botox." It's the best for smoothing out skin imperfections without losing the detail or texture. Mary always takes the time to do this extra step before we show our slideshows at the wedding, and the response has been huge. I've always loved the post production work that Doug Boutwell (founder of Totally Rad Actions) has done and was very excited to see on his blog "recipe cards" for creating some awesome eye popping images. Check out the recipe cards for photographers:

John Michael Cooper
Jessica Claire
Victor Sizemore
Joseph Victor Stefanchik
Susan Stripling
and Doug himself

I was first sold on Totally Rad Actions when I saw this video on how to use Pro Retouch. It's a 150 bucks for the whole set of 40 something actions, but in my opinion, Pro Retouch is worth that alone! Be sure to check 'em out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You've Got Mail...

I hold my breath and I push the button. "Connecting"....(spinning circle)...."Checking for mail"....(spinning circle)....give the iPhone a little shake to encourage it to hurry the heck up... (spinning circle)....and finally when I'm just about ready to throw the phone out the window and onto the ever-expansive interstate flying by..."UPDATED!!" My eyes dart from the progress bar and ravenously search the inbox like a child racing down the stairs on Christmas morn', pausing just long enough to look up at the tree before tearing into all the gifts.

And then, that rush.

We have mail. Good, kind, warm-the-heart, belly laugh, how on earth did we get so lucky mail. And just before tearing into them to read and re-read each one again and again, I pause to look up at the road ahead and think about what a gift they really are.

In the past week we have gotten so many wonderful emails & comments pouring in from the incredible people we met on the PUG tour. And that seems so backwards because we should be the ones thanking THEM!! You all were so amazing and took such good care of us and we appreciate that SO much! Since we couldn't possibly do service to your words by just trying to repeat them, we decided to pick a few of our favorites to put up (and believe me there were so many more than this! it was so hard to choose!) We've been working really hard on writing back to each of you, so if you haven't heard back from us yet I promise you will very, very soon! You guys amaze us!

Much love,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Roots Workshop 7/13-7/17!!

Just wanted to post about a really awesome workshop that our awesome friend J Sandifer just told us about! The Roots Workshop is in Cape Cod this July and it sounds AMAZING. It's all about getting back to the roots of what photojournalism really means. J is not only helping out with the workshop, he's also going to be there as a student and I think that speaks volumes about how valuable this is going to be. Here is some more info, so make sure to check it out. Seriously, how awesome does this sound?!

"Wedding photojournalism is a popular buzz word in our industry. But few know that photojournalism actually refers to news photography. Instead of just adopting the trendy style, invest the time to truly learn the craft.

Roots Workshop is an introduction to photojournalism for already-established wedding photographers interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the roots of this chosen genre. Taught by some of the best photographers and photo editors in the country (including visual editors from National Geographic and Newsday) and wedding photographers with a background in news photography (including Greg Gibson, Jennifer Domenick and Emilie Sommer), Roots is different than other wedding photography workshops because it blends students with staff who have actual experience in the editorial photography, all living together under the same roof.

The workshop's final night will include a sunset harbor cruise with live music and a clambake not to be missed! There will also be a slideshow of student work and newspaper mock-ups of each picture story designed by a graphic designer. This is the only wedding photography workshop that begins with an assignment and ends with a finished layout suitable for publication.

The staff line-up includes Greg Gibson, Arnold and Andrea Miller, Kevin Eans, Jennifer Domenick, Tyler Wirken, Vince DeWitt and Emilie Sommer. Roots is sponsored by Adobe, News Wedding Photographers, liveBooks and ShootQ. For more information, please visit or email "

J was so awesome to come down and speak to our PUG group a couple weeks back (can't believe we're just getting around to posting about this now!!) and he ROCKED the house!! We had by far our largest turnout yet- 54 PHOTOGRAPHERS!!- and everyone was blown away by J! He talked all about how to get the most out of our websites and then ended the night by giving away one FREE website and a $500 gift certificate for another one! We met J this past May at the Chicago PartnerCon and he has quickly become one of our absolute favorite people in the industry. You will not find a more genuine, kind, generous heart around. He's just one of those people you instantly fall in love with and hope to know for a very loooong time! We love you J!!!

Here are some fun pics of the night's festivities stolen from the adorable Joy Moody's blog...who also was the big winner of the night!

us, Joy, and J

Monday, January 21, 2008

A lil' preview....

...of big things to come! We're SO excited to announce this one we can hardly wait, so we'll be telling you what it's all about in the next week or so. So make sure to get yourself signed up for the newsletter (check out the sidebar) to be the first to know!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Big BLUE!!

That's right!!! My boys in BLUE pulled off another huge win in the frigid land of Lambeau. It wasn't the prettiest game I've every seen, but the Giants fought hard and now they're headed to the SUPER BOWL!!! I've been waiting since 2000 to host another Super Bowl party (we're going to try hard not to think about that game) and so I finally get the chance again! Super Bowl Sunday is at the Marantzs this year! Mark your calenders, February 3rd, for a rocking good time with the Giants taking on that other team to the North. All are welcome (even Pats fans) Who's in??

Hana Floral Design

Yesterday we had such a blast hanging out with the oh-so-lovely Yumiko Fletcher of Hana Floral Design. We worked with Yumiko on Alana & Dan's wedding (two of our favorite clients in the world!) this past summer at the Florence Griswold Museum, but we hadn't gotten to really sit down and talk to her until yesterday when we all grabbed coffee together in New Haven. Seriously, what a doll!! Yumiko is absolutely adorable!! And incredibly talented on top of that! She even surprised us with a stunning bunch of flowers when we walked gorgeous in fact that people were actually stopping me in Starbucks to ask who had done them. Her work clearly speaks for itself, so just check out the amazing job she did for Alana & Dan:

She also did this really beautiful ribbon display for the ceremony site...

...and these luminaries for the reception!

Thanks so much for an awesome day Yumiko!! We can't wait to do it again!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Love Affair with Apple

My love affair with Apple continues. I just downloaded the new updates for my iPhone and I am VERY excited about the new and improved maps application, and SUPER excited about the customizable home page. No more navigating to my favorite bookmarks... now we're just one touch away from the blog! Check out this really simple tutorial on how to use some of the new features. Also be sure to go HERE to download some awesome new Apps for the iPhone!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Date Day

One of the many things that we have learned this past year has been to always create time for Mary and I that is just for the two of us. Owning a business together is amazing, and it means that we do get to spend a ton of time together anyway, but we also need to make sure that we set aside time to just enjoy being married (and there is no better feeling than being married to Mary!) The answer: Friday Dates! We now schedule at least one day a week together where we're not even allowed to think about work and just have fun together.

So, today we're kicking back after 15 loooong hrs of driving yesterday, for a much-deserved date day and a double feature movie marathon. One of our big things has always been having "themed" movie marathons...some of our favorites are "save the world" & "scary movie" marathons. The common theme can also be centered around the actor, like when we had "John Cusak" day. Today's theme I guess could best be described as "crude romantic comedy" with The Heartbreak Kid & Good Luck Chuck on the line up. We'll let you know how it goes. But for the next 24 hours we are officially on our day off and thus will be blatantly disregarding :P all email & phone calls until that time! But we definitely have some really awesome messages to get back to, so we'll be sure to do that as soon as date day officially ends.

So as to not leave you totally empty-handed, here are some fun pics (from the point & shoot) from our last date day when I took M ice skating:

Double trouble!

Isn't she so talented??

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Destination: Asheville, NC

The third stop on the tour had us rolling into Asheville, NC last night, where we had a chance to hang out with some awesome friends, Regina & Corey, and make a bunch of new ones too!

Chillin' with the Asheville PUG!

Meet Detra! After the meeting we had a chance to grab dinner with the group, and she was so sweet to come up and introduce herself and ask if we could grab a picture. She's been reading along on the blog for a while and I'm so glad we all got to meet in person! What a doll!

After dinner we headed over to the McNabb pad to check out Corey's AWESOME studio...and to try some of these chocolate martinis we've been hearing so much about!

Chillin' with McNabb

Corey's lovely wife Jill... who makes the BEST chocolate martinis ever!!

I grabbed this one of my love while playing with Cory's D3 and 200mm f2 lens. (at iso 5000)

Kicking back with our 'tinis.

Good times!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Road to Raleigh

So we left beautiful downtown Charleston and Rainbow Row around 11 yesterday and headed back North on our way to Raleigh, NC. Coming up I-95 it's impossible to miss the 80 MILES worth of billboards for something called South of the Border. So how could we NOT hit it up?! This place is absolutely crazy! Check out that sombrero....

After the pit stop we made our way into NC to join Millie Holloman and her awesome Raleigh PUG! What a fun group!! Their PUG has only been around a few months and it's already growing by leaps and bounds. I can already tell it's going to turn into one powerhouse group! We had such a blast hanging out and getting to know everyone! You guys ROCK!!

Ok, now it's on to Asheville!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Morning refuel

Morning refuel, originally uploaded by justinmarantz.

Last night's meeting was AWESOME!! The whole Charleston group is so
nice! More to come on that including some really cool pics...but for
now we're off to Raleigh. Not before stopping off for a morning refuel
at Starbucks & checking out Rainbow Row!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A hint of things to come!

A hint of things to come!, originally uploaded by justinmarantz.

This is a hint for one of the big things we'll be announcing in the
next month or so. Any ideas? :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Kickin' off the Tour!

Today we're headin' out to start the first leg of our tour, with the first few stops in North & South Carolina. There are some awesome groups of photographers down that way and we're so excited to hang out with everybody!! We're going to be talking all about creating "loyalty beyond reason" with our clients. This is the kind of relationship we should all be striving for with our clients, one where they think of us as their photographers for life and go out of their way to tell all their friends & family about us. This then gives us the freedom to actually pick the clients we work with and the weddings we want to shoot. You can check out more about it here:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Unexpected Gifts (KD&J Botanica)

"What, for me?" I cradled the delicate green bloom like it was the official Miss America bouquet and I was about to embark on my victory lap, while a sullen first runner-up Miss Texas watched in the background. The stems were wrapped in a regal coppery-blue fabric and adordned with a lush brown velvet ribbon. All I was missing was a wobbly three-tier crown and waterproof mascara. Oh how I relish life's unexpected gifts.

And that's exactly what Katherine Jacobs of KDJ Botanica is to of life's best unexpected gifts. This past October when Jus & I needed extra flowers for our wedding, Katherine stepped in at the last minute and absolutely rocked the show! Last night we had the distinct pleasure of taking her out to dinner so that we could even begin trying to thank her for all that she has done for us. To say that Katherine is a florist would be something akin to saying Monet liked his dots. Her work is nothing less than sheer artistry...always taking it to the next level, it's like she's giving Mother Nature a much-needed makeover. She's a good heart, giving soul, and a kindred spirit. And we are so, so lucky to call her friend. But don't just take my word for it...head on over to the Grazier's blog to see some of their killer shots of her AMAZING work.

C'mon! Just look at that tiny clothes pin!! ( Check out Justin's adventures in painting with light photography )

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Be the first to know!

We're going to be launching the first ever Justin & Mary newsletter this month, and to keep it nice & spicy we're going to be unveiling all of the BIG announcements that we have coming up THERE first!! Plus, we'll be showing you updates and posts that won't be available anywhere on the blog! So make sure you sign up, and be the first to know all the juicy details! :) Just type in your email in the box below and hit "Go" to get yourself registered.

Sign up for Justin & Mary's Newsletter

Monday, January 07, 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Headin' to Newport

Mary & I have been invited to go hang out for the next couple days at the La Bella Bride Magazine Showcase in Newport, RI. We're really looking forward to spending some time with some of our favorite people in the industry and seeing the show that Katina & crew put on...from what we hear, it's going to be amazing! We'll be staying at the Hotel Viking, where the party kicks off tonight with the welcome cocktail party. Be sure to grab us and say hello if you're there! Tomorrow you'll most likely be able to find us in & around the Traci Romano Events & Grazier Photography joint lounge. These guys all rocked out our wedding and we would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone who asks!! Mary will also be there modeling a Thread dress for the show, so I'm sure you won't miss us!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

When Greatness Follows

In the days and weeks leading up to tonight, eighty-four percent of the masses called out for their defeat. In the entire country only one state... their own...continued to cling to its faith in them. They had suffered devastating loss, watched their dreams of a national championship disappear, and been abandoned by the very coach that was supposed to lead them to their rally. All the experts agreed, the game was over before it ever began.

"When you are part of something so great, that greatness will always follow you."

Here's to the experts...the critics...the fairweather fans. Here's to the naysayers...the bandwagoners...the play it safe friends.

May you always be as wrong as you were tonight. For without you, we would never know just how capable we are of believing in ourselves.

Tonight millions of Mountaineer fans stand shoulder to shoulder in the silent solidarity that comes from never having wavered in our faith...

but then that's just how it's always been where West Virginians are concerned. Now let's go burn a couch!