February 7, 2017

Justin & Mary’s Walk Through a Wedding Workshop Recap [Carmel Valley, California]

Back in October, Jon and I attended United, a wonderful conference for creatives held in Phoenix, Arizona. One of the keynote speakers was Mary Marantz, who along with her husband Justin, lead the wedding photography industry as role models, teachers and speakers. If you are a wedding photographer, their name is not new to you. If you aren’t one, I encourage you to check out their work because it is, without a doubt, the most beautiful wedding photography I have seen. We happened to sit with them one evening at dinner and began chatting at their wedding workshop. Hearing the earnest interest from both Justin and Mary to encourage other creatives, we knew one of us had to attend this workshop. Last month, I flew out to Monterey, California and the Carmel Valley area for their Walk Through a Wedding Workshop.

It had been raining for weeks before this and the day I arrived was no exception. I made my way through the rain to the rental facility where I was told my rental had been upgraded to a Mercedez-Benz. Pretty great right? I dubbed this the “Justin and Mary Effect”- this phenomenon that I had heard about, where after meeting with the two of them, you take your photography business up a notch. Since I normally drive a Ford Flex, this was up about 5 notches, so I am hopeful what I learned will leap our business with the same momentum! The J&M Effect was in full force for the full workshop! Pour rain clearing as we stepped outside for portraits, sun breaking through clouds during the portion we are to shoot in harsh light….no matter what the obstacle, it cleared every time! I know it was all coincidental, but it added some extra enjoyment for me to see all the details coming together.

They started off the our first evening together with a welcome dinner in an amazing restaurant, Fandango. I loved meeting the other attendees and I knew that this was going to be a wonderful time of learning and  camaraderie. The first full day was so full of information, and self evaluation. I wish I could find all the words to explain just how transformational this workshop was. I have attended other workshops and while inspiring, I always left with a formula of how they did what they did and a check list to be successful. The end result left me scrambling to try and be someone else and try all the things that worked for them. With Justin and Mary, I feel empowered to be myself. I left with new skills to improve my work. I left with personal feedback to enhance our brand and a better understanding of the value of what we create. I left feeling inspired and with a vision for new things to implement, but also a reassurance that what we are already doing is enough. We have a new focus….well not new exactly…more like a return to what we always were. We have had a why before, but it has only been what drove our business. Now that why will drive our imagery as well. Jon and I are two people that believe in marriage. We believe in creating images that last. We believe in encouraging marriages and doing so with emotionally authentic images of people, that capture an essence of who they are as a couple. Through some new lighting techniques learned at the workshop, we have new skills to create consistent images that match this ideology.

There were two days of styled shoots, as we walked through all aspects of a wedding, from the details, to the ceremony, bridal portraits, and reception lighting. All the details images you see below were taken with off camera flash! This is huge for me. I have been resistant to using flash beyond the most basic of lighting, but through their instruction I learned how to use this tool to add consistency to our images so that no matter the lighting we are given, we will have images we are proud to give our clients!

I took exactly two behind the scenes photos as the majority of the time, my hands were furiously taking notes! The opportunity to practice what we are learning immediately in a real life scenario was what made so much of this workshop stick with me. It isn’t just theoretical, it is practical application.  If you are looking to breathe new life into your business, to find practical ways to grow as an artist, then the Walk Through a Wedding Workhop is something I think every photographer should invest in.

Thank you Justin and Mary for giving so much of yourselves to this experience. I am so thankful for you both!

Vendor Team:

Hair & Makeup :: MUAH makeup and hair

Wedding & Bridesmaid Dress Boutique :: Epiphany Bridal Boutique

Florist :: Willow & Plum Event Floral and Decor

Dessert Bar :: Room For Dessert

Bartender :: Pour Girl Bartending

Venue :: Folktale Winery & Vineyards

Wedding Dress Designer Day 1 :: Hayley Paige

Wedding Dress Designer Day 2 :: Watters

Bride and Groom Day 1: Jess & Rene Velarde
Bridesmaids :: Rachel Ze Photography & Olana Sullivan

Bride Day 2 :: Jessica Dilullo
Groom Day 2 :: Emerson Hardy

Justin & Mary

Behind the Scenes :: Laura & Rachel

Bridesmaid in a lavender WattersWtoo gown walking on cobblestone Ivory Kate Spade Shoes Hayley Paige blush wedding gown worn by a bride in Folktale Winery and Vineyard. Black and White photo of a groom in a tux from Epiphany Bridal Boutique in Carmel Valley, CA. Lavender and ivory bouquet created by Willow and Plum. Haley Paige blush wedding gown. Black and white photo of Bride in a veil from Epiphany Bridal Boutique. Bride in a blush Hayley Paige gown walking with her groom and looking over her shoulder. Mary Marantz at work photographing the bride and groom. Groom in a classic tux posed next to his Bride wearing a Hayley Paige gown. Bride shown in black and white gazing over her shoulder. Bride wearing Hayley Paige blush gown and walking with her groom at the Folktale Winery and Vineyard. Bride and groom embracing on a dirt road lined by vineyards. Bride an groom in the entrance door to Folktale Winery and Vineyard. Bride in a vineyard wearing a WattersWtoo gown. Bride in a floral gown wearing a sleeveless ivory WattersWtoo gown. Bride twirling in a sleeveless ivory WattersWtoo gown. Bride in a Watters Gown at Folktale Winery and Vineyard. Bride and groom gazing into each other's eyes. Bride dancing in a WattersWtoo gown at Folktale Winery and Vineyard. Blush and Crystal table decor by Willow and Plum, Carmel Valley, Ca

These two ladies are the creative team behind Laura & Rachel. They are amazing photographers, teachers and friends. I love their helpful hearts that are so willing to share what they have with those around them! They made this workshop extra special!

Two Photographers walking at Wedding Venue. Amber Lea Photography posed with Justin and Mary Marantz Workshop attendees group photo with Justin and Mary Marantz

  1. This is so amazing! I love hearing about workshop experiences. It helps me narrow down which one might be right for me! And these images are absolutely spectacular!

  2. BreeAnn Orser says:

    Thank you for sharing! I have been wanting to attend this workshop!!

  3. Aida says:

    I love workshops! Can’t wait to take part in a couple this year! 🙂

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