Studio Jay: Blog en-us (C) Studio Jay (Studio Jay) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:35:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:35:00 GMT Studio Jay: Blog 120 80 Elopement With Style What comes to mind when you hear the term "elopement"?  A young couple sneaking off to the next town to get married because their parents don't approve? Or a couple who's been together for years and goes to the local courthouse to make their relationship official?  Those are great examples of what elopements used to be all about.  Webster (yes, I still own a dictionary) defines elopement as to RUN OFF SECRETLY to be married, usually without the knowledge or consent of one's parents.

That may be what elopement is for a small percentage of those who choose that style of marriage.  But the meaning is shifting, wedding trends are changing and planned elopement weddings have become popular. When a couple contacts us to photograph their elopement, I know they want to forgo a formal affair and have a simple ceremony that's short and sweet.  In other words, a mini destination wedding.

Perhaps the number one reason to elope is financial.  Obviously a small destination wedding will be tremendously less expensive.  Wedding venues not only book up quickly and can be hard to procure, but they have also gotten quite pricey.  Full-on dinners have become the norm at weddings and, too, are costly.  Flowers, photography, food, and attire for a bridal party will all be scaled back for an elopement.  Couples also elect to elope to avoid stress and perhaps escape from possible family drama.

Consider location!  Central Oregon elopements have almost become a happy challenge for couples to 'escape' to somewhere spectacular.  Mountains, lakes, forests, flowered meadows all come to mind.  You are only limited by your imagination.  And usually no fee or reservation is required.  

Did I mention food, flowers, and photos?  Scaled back but certainly not forgotten.  Yes, many photographers are up for a hike to some incredible location.  And don't forget the dress. Nothing more breathtaking than a beautiful bride in a gorgeous gown surrounded by aspen trees and wildflowers or perhaps rocky cliffs and a waterfall.  Bring your dearest friends or closest family members to share the experience.  

Yes, you can have it all even if you elope, or perhaps you can have it all BECAUSE you choose to elope.

(Studio Jay) central Oregon wedding elopment Studio Jay wedding elopement wedding photographer Sun, 26 May 2019 03:03:21 GMT
Hooked on the Hallmark Movie Channel Like most wedding vendors, Studio Jay's busy seasons are spring and summer.  Last winter, with some quiet down time, Tom and I discovered Christmas movies on the Hallmark Movie Channel.  We did a movie marathon of corny, sappy, G-rated flicks and we thoroughly enjoyed it!

Fast forward through another busy season and as life began to quiet down for us, we turned the TV on to discover the Hallmark channel showcasing a series of WEDDING movies.  Who knew?!  Yes, corny, sappy, G-rated, same actors, same plots, predictable.  And with titles like All of My Heart, The Perfect Wedding, My Favorite Wedding, A Perfect Bride, Wedding Bells, and Bridal Wave.  I'm so lucky to be married to a man who loves popcorn and chick-flicks.  

Always on the lookout for blog topics, Hallmark wedding movies seemed like a perfect subject.  I started watching with pen and pad close by to jot down sweet sentiments and wedding advice one liners.  Here's my short list:

+ you deserve to be with someone who makes you happy                                                                                                                                                             + I want to make you laugh the rest of your life                                                                                                                                                                               + be the best possible you                                                                                                                                                                                                               + I want to marry the person who loves me, supports me, and makes me laugh                                                                                                                             + I want to make all your days happy                                                                                                                                                                                              + brace the imperfections                                                                                                                                                                                                               + the important things in a relationship are love, respect, honesty, trust, support, forgiveness, compromise, and listening                                                            + let go of the things you can't control                                                                                                                                                                                           + don't settle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  + there is no such thing as perfect                                                                                                                                                                                                 + making a dream come true is hard work                                                                                                                                                                                               + a wedding is a dream turned into reality                                                                                                                                                                                      + love your partner unconditionally                                                                                                                                                                                                + love yourself                                                                                                                                                                                                                               + marry your best friend

One time I stepped away from the TV and Tom added this profound line from the movie:  "I'm glad you're not wearing heels".  I laughed, drew a line through that, but then decided otherwise.  It's actually great advice for brides.  So many choose gorgeous heels that become miserably intolerable after a few hours.

Last, but not least, my favorite:  I love you as big as the sky!



(Studio Jay) Hallmark Movie Channel Studio Jay wedding wedding movies Mon, 05 Nov 2018 18:00:00 GMT
Where's The Cake? Have you attended a wedding this year?  DId you enjoy a piece of wedding cake?  Yeah, probably not.  Me neither.  A new trend is upon us and I actually think it's a grand one!

In the caveman days when my then-young friends were getting married, wedding food consisted of cake and punch along with mixed nuts and mints.  The cake was generally a large, multi-tiered, beautifully decorated dessert.  After the bride and groom ceremoniously cut the cake and shared a piece with each other, they would dismantle the tiers and cut the cake for their guests.  (That, by the way, required some training by the one who baked and assembled the cake so as not to mutilate the confectionary creation).

Things have changed in the wedding world. All but one of the last two dozen weddings Studio Jay has been a part of has served a delicious dinner, or at least heavy hors d'oeuvres, as well as abundant beverages.  I confess to having a sweet tooth and even after an amazing catered meal I'm still anxious for the dessert to be unveiled. 

What do wedding desserts look like these days?  Just like weddings - unique, romantic, fun, and a reflection of the bride and groom and their personalities.  Cupcakes seem to be most popular currently. And what a smart choice.  Cupcakes can be made in multiple decadent flavors and frosted with a beautiful array of colors and flavors.  They can be arranged elegantly.  Cupcakes are easily served, easily eaten, and enjoyed by all ages.

Doughnuts have also made an appearance at several weddings this summer.  In the form of a doughnut WALL.  Sweet!  Someone obviously more creative than I thought of that.  Again - clever, colorful, and easy to serve. 

Other dessert ideas we've partaken of included a dessert bar of brownies, cookies, and fruit bars. One couple and their wedding party took turns whacking a multi-tiered wedding cake piñata!  A vintage turquoise van pulled into the outdoor reception of another wedding to serve up unique flavors of ice cream on a hot summer evening.

These new/different desserts have come from home kitchens, the local grocery store bakery, and upscale bake shops.  And yes, alas, there was almost always a CAKE.  A mini wedding cake, however.  Because even though one tradition has faded, the tradition of the bride and groom cutting a wedding cake and offering a piece to each other is still very much alive and well.  


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(Studio Jay) central Oregon wedding Studio Jay wedding budget wedding cake wedding dessert Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:30:29 GMT
Vetting A Venue So many venues, so little time.  Choosing a venue for your wedding ranks high on the list of decisions that must be made early in the planning process.  Venues book quickly and often a year in advance, and many other decisions cannot be made until an event location has been established.  Studio Jay has had the pleasure of being a part of weddings at dozens of locations throughout central Oregon.  We often get asked about wedding venues and our opinions of such.  I've compiled a list of a few things to consider when vetting a venue.

1.  Will this venue accommodate/fit the number of guests we are planning for?  Most venues have a maximum capacity or recommendation.  If you're hoping for a party of 200 don't try to squeeze into a venue that comfortably seats 150.  The flip side is that if your dream is an intimate affair with 30 of your closest friends, find a smaller, cozier wedding space.

2.  Does this venue fit my budget?  The cost of event venues in central Oregon range from zero (grandma's backyard) to $50 to reserve a city park area, to $20,000 for the private upscale destination resort.  Be realistic and tour venues that really are within your range.  That said, often you can be flexible with your date or season and discover a discounted rate at a more expensive venue.  What you spend on your venue, like every other decision, is based on your priorities. I met one couple who spent 90% of their wedding budget on their venue because they absolutely wanted to be married at a certain location and agreed to cut costs with food, flowers, and photos. 

3.  Does the venue fit my style?  Perhaps you envision your perfect day in the park, a forest, a vineyard, or perhaps by the lake or a waterfall.  Maybe your dream wedding takes place in a barn, a rustic lodge, or that modern amazing country club.  Tour venues and find the one that fits your 'feel'.

4.  Consider the logistics.  Will grandma and your guests be able and willing to hike to that waterfall wedding?  Studio Jay was DJ at a beautiful country affair this summer in a cool barn in the middle of thousands of acres of wheat fields 100 miles from the nearest airport.  The guests found their way, partied & danced into the night, and it was magical.  But that wouldn't work for everyone.  

5.  What are the venue's rules regarding food and drink?  Would you be allowed to have Uncle Bob bring his secret recipe BBQ or hire your favorite food cart, or  would you be obligated to purchase food from the venue's restaurant?  Can you employ your favorite brewery and bartender or must you use the venue's bar?  

6.  Is the venue host/owner/coordinator personable and helpful?  Remember, you and your vendors will be working together to bring the venue to life and make it reflect your vision.  

7.  What amenities can I expect for the price I'm paying for the venue?  You will need tables & chairs, linens, lighting, and a dance floor.  Ask which of these are included in the venue fee.  Also consider the ambiance and if you will need lots of flowers and decorations.  Or perhaps those can be minimal because of the natural beauty of the location.  

8. If your dream is an outdoor wedding, is there a Plan B for inclement weather?  We're so fortunate to live in central Oregon because most days are sunshine and blue skies.  There is wind at times, however, and cool nights and occasional summer afternoon rain showers.  An available canopy, barn, lodge, any type of shelter is always a good idea.  

After you've come up with a few venues you're interested in, call and make appointments to tour them and meet the venue hosts.  Ask questions.  Agree on the venue because, of course, the wedding is for BOTH the bride and groom.  Love the venue, love the process, love the day.  

(Studio Jay) central Oregon wedding choosing a venue Studio Jay wedding budget wedding venue Sat, 29 Sep 2018 17:45:00 GMT
Toasting Tips Lucky for me, my middle son Jeremy provides me fodder for my blog posts.  This summer he was best man at his buddy's wedding in Idaho.  Provide support and assistance with the wedding plans.  Easy.  Plan and host a bachelor party.  Easy.  They all went camping, by the way.  Stand at the alter with the groom.  Easy.  Write and then deliver a wedding toast in front of all the guests.  Yikes! 

Jeremy called me numerous times lamenting over what he should say when the spotlight and microphone were his.  After 15 years of friendship with the groom there were funny stories, not so funny stories, pranks and misdeeds, camping and hunting adventures, one ex wife and several ex girlfriends.  Should he share words of wisdom, points to ponder, or a funny story?  All of the above or none of the above?  As the day grew nearer, Jeremy - who has much experience facilitating professional meetings - became increasingly nervous about the toast.  He also reported that the maid of honor was threatening to escape to Mexico rather then have to give HER wedding toast.

My son had the forethought to Google "wedding toast" and that provided some relief.  A good deal of info, advice, sayings & poems, and opinions were found online, as obviously choking at the thought of giving a toast is a common problem.  Here are some toasting tips we came up with:

1.  Keep it short.  This isn't the State of the Union address but rather a statement of their union.  Two to three minutes tops.  The guests will remain attentive and be relieved.

2.  Demonstrate self-control.  In other words, don't hit the bar until after the toasts.  Being drunk will not make the toast better or funnier.  YOU might think so but no one else will.  

3.  Always be appropriate.  Remember that your audience is all ages, religions, cultures, and sexual orientations.  Be nice.  Keep it clean.  No exes, no past embarrassments.  If you're not sure something would be funny or appropriate, run it past your friends.  Better yet, run it past your MOM.

4.  Practice.  With friends, with family, even in front of your mirror.  This might feel silly but I guarantee it will help squash some of the nerves and help you remember what you want to say.  Oh - notes or cheat sheets ARE allowed.  

5.  Actually TOAST.  Remember to raise your glass to the wedding couple as an end to your words of congratulations.  

I'm happy to report that Jeremy's toast went well, he was pleased with it, and several people had positive comments to share afterwards.  And, yes, the maid of honor pulled off her toast as well.  Don't stress, appreciate the honor of being asked to be best man or maid of honor, and enjoy the day.

(Studio Jay) central oregon wedding studio jay wedding wedding dj wedding toast Thu, 13 Sep 2018 18:14:32 GMT
Printed Treasures I'm recently back home from a week in Wyoming attending a funeral of a family member.  Randy was killed in a tragic accident that took his life at age 53.  Though he didn't raise all of his kids due to divorce and adoption, he did eventually have a good relationship with each 5 of his children.  Luckily each had their own good memory of their dad with a fond visit or a hunting, camping, fishing trip.  

In preparation for the funeral, old family photo albums, digital cameras, and cell phone pictures were all perused, enjoyed, and discussed as the search was underway for meaningful pictures to display on poster boards for all to view.  That endeavor elicited lots of memories, laughs, and tears.  Four large posters were assembled and placed on easels at the funeral and luncheon which followed.  The flowers were beautiful, the 2 daughters who spoke delivered sweet stories of their dad, the church ladies provided an abundance of food for all to enjoy.  

For myself, always thinking of family and photos, it was especially touching to see the value each person placed on pictures of themselves with their dad/brother/son/grandpa.  However, as the week progressed, one son came to the sad realization that not even one picture existed with just himself and his dad.  As more pictures were discovered each day, he was hopeful and searched diligently to no avail. How could that be?  They had had a relationship for many years and had a number of trips together, including fishing in Alaska.  Two days after the funeral and the final day of Jeremy's stay in Wyoming, more photos were discovered.  Not in anyone's camera or phone, not in an album or framed.  Just 4 months previous Randy had visited Jeremy, taking several dozen pictures with his camera.  He actually had those pictures printed and they were found in plastic baggies in his dresser drawer.  Among the pictures was a 4 x 6 print of Jeremy and his dad!  The discovery brought shouts, laughter, and tears of joy.  

Trip to Wyoming: hundreds.  Cost of a funeral: thousands.   4 x 6 print of son and dad: priceless. 31084146_10216282330959197_4035700461305593856_n31084146_10216282330959197_4035700461305593856_n

(Studio Jay) family photos family treasures pictures at funerals printed images Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:00:00 GMT
Fading Wedding Fads I honestly don't spend much time surfing the web.  But I do 'click' on wedding-related articles and blogs as I'm always interested in learning more and reading other wedding opinions.  I got a good chuckle out of a recent blog written about all the "overplayed wedding trends".  So, either I'm behind the times, the Northwest lags East Coast trends, or maybe/mostly who cares?!

My philosophy is "it's my party and I'll do what I want to."  Really - everyone has different tastes and that's what makes your wedding unique and personal.  We photograph and DJ at the same venue multiple times a year.  But I am always sweetly surprised at the uniqueness of each event.  It never looks or feels the same and that's one of the things I love about weddings.

So here's the list of "overplayed trends".  But don't let some journalist discourage you from doing just what you like, what fits your personality and budget, and feels fun and right to you and your quests. 

1.  Mason jars.  Ha! I love these - perfect for everything from juniper sprigs to roses.

2.  Photo booths with cheesy props.  Really?  I love these, too.  Photo booths offer guests another layer of fun and entertainment with the bonus of a take away photo of themselves having fun at your wedding.


3.  Barn weddings.  Are they kidding?  Barns can be rustic or romantic, casual or classy.  Weathered barn wood serves as a striking backdrop for a gorgeous wedding couple.  Maybe this author just hasn't experienced a central Oregon barn wedding.

4.  Cutesy signage.  Love that, too.


5.  Quirky footwear.  Yeah, love this, too.  Photographing fun and unique socks, shoes, sandals, etc. shows off personalities.  Look at this groom and his buddies.  They're having fun and are totally engaged in the wedding day.


6.  Choreographed dances.  This could only go wrong if participants have had too much to drink.

7.  Personalized cocktails.  I don't drink so I can do without this, but it's very popular around here.

8.  Wedding hashtags.  Hey, if it works for you and your guests, go for it!

Remember, it's your day and it's your party!

(Studio Jay) barn weddings central oregon wedding mason jars photo booths quirky footwear studio jay wedding dj wedding photographer wedding trends Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:00:00 GMT
Wedding Show 101 Whew!  Taking a breather after last weekend's Cascades Wedding Show.  For vendors, it can be quite a lot of work.  We chose to go with simple this year and that worked out well for us.  There's still the stress of making sure you've packed everything you need.  Last weekend I forgot my 'tool box' of duct tape, scissors, extension cords, etc. but managed without all that stuff this time.

We talked to hundreds of wedding couples Saturday and I never sat down once.  It was loads of fun and hopefully those brides and grooms will choose Studio Jay for their wedding needs.  But what about those nuptials wandering the convention floor?  I'm sure many of them got a bit overwhelmed with all the beautiful possibilities and, yes, often expensive possibilities!

I came up with a few tips for wedding show attendees in hopes that they will have the same fun day that the vendors experience.  

1)  Relax and take your time.  If you walk slowly you'll notice more details and gather more ideas than if you're speeding through the convention center.  If your BFF wants to tag along but has another appointment in a few hours, leave her home.  This will take awhile.  

2)  Talk to the vendors even if you don't think you need their services.  I can't count how many groups I talked to about wedding venues after handing them our card for photography and DJ because so many were still shopping for a place to host their special day.  Most vendors have participated in lots of weddings, love weddings, and are more than happy to share the experiences they've had with venues, florists, caterers, etc.  

3) Put your name in the hat for all the drawings and give-aways.  Hey, somebody has to win and it might just be you.  I will tell you, however, that most vendors who gather names and emails will contact you after the show.  Endure those extra emails in your inbox and, again, use them to your advantage by asking for wedding tips even if you don't need their specific services.

4) Don't stress about having it all or doing it all.  You really wouldn't want it all anyway because many different styles are represented at the show.  Breathe and don't worry about trying to do everything you see at the wedding show.  Snap some images with your phone of the cake you like, flower arrangement, table setting, wedding dress, etc.  

5)  Take notes!  Or at least write a big YES! on your favorite caterer's business card.  You'll get home with a bag full of business cards and brochures, and then agonize over which DJ was the one you enjoyed visiting with and wanted to revisit.  

Bottom line - ENJOY.  Not just the wedding show, but the whole wedding journey.  Reach out and let all of us who know and love weddings help you.  


(Studio Jay) cascades wedding show central oregon wedding jay professional photographer show studio wedding wedding dj Sun, 04 Feb 2018 22:33:00 GMT
Can You Afford To Be A Groomsman or Bridesmaid? A friend's son was recently a handsome groomsman in his friend's wedding.  It was an out of state, destination style event at an upscale ski resort.  It wasn't ski season but rather a gorgeous setting of brilliant fall colors in the mountains of Colorado.  Jason was in awe of the whole production and it was fun to get in on all the photos, selfies, and marco polos he sent home.  The amenities were over the top.  Even a dinner for guests 2 days before the wedding included a live band.  The groom was reportedly an average guy whose good fortune was to marry a pretty gal WITH a good fortune.  

Jason enjoyed his few days among the rich and famous. When recounting the amazing details, he couldn't help but lament what the wedding had cost HIM.  When average Joe first announced his engagement, his buddies were happy and honored to be asked to be groomsmen.  A destination wedding?  That was a stretch for most of them, but they decided en masse to support their good friend and make it happen.  Jason saved and took the opportunity to make the wedding event a much needed vacation.  All was well until the sweet rich bride sent the guys her specs for their wedding attire.  It was a relief that they weren't asked to rent tuxes.  The bride had selected kaki pants, a nice shirt, and wool vest.  Easy peasy until the guys discovered the pants and shirt were to be ordered from a high-end east coast menswear store with price tags of $120 and $90 respectively.  Jason had never spent $90 on a shirt in his northwestern casual life and didn't intend to for someone else's wedding.  The groomsmen all felt much the same way and thought they might be able to substitute a J.C.Penney version.  Said rich bride was not amused.  Fortunately the groom had volunteered to pick up the tab for the $300 vests.  In the end everyone complied with the assigned wedding suit and everyone looked great and had a great time.  No hard feelings but some of the guys said they would certainly keep that in mind for their own future weddings.  

It's an age-old problem but most often we hear the murmurings from the bridesmaids who have to shell out big bucks for some formal dress they probably will never have occasion to wear again.  Every so often a letter to Dear Abby is from a bride's friend who is considering backing out of the wedding party because the price tag is not in the budget.  In this modern day there is no firm wedding etiquette telling us how to remedy this dilemma.  There certainly is nothing to prevent the bride and groom from offering to pay for the tux rentals or dresses, or at least offering an allowance to each participant for their required attire.  When Tom and I got married 10 years ago we actually purchased suits (on sale!) for the guys and street length dresses (on sale!) for the gals.  Of course we were the mom and dad and the guys and gals were our kids but we recognized that not everyone was in a place where they could shell out $$ for clothes, especially having travel expenses as well.  

When shopping for an over the top bridesmaid dress, the bride-to-be should consider how she might feel if the situation was reversed.  Jason and friends actually found a shirt that matched in style and color that was much less expensive, but the brand name was very important to the bride.  She honestly didn't understand what the problem was, but maybe the average Joe groom should have stepped up to quietly defend his friends and find a compromise.  My common sense suggestion is simply that engaged couples be mindful of not only their own wedding budget, but mindful and considerate of the financial requirement that will be placed on their friends to be part of the wedding.  

(Studio Jay) destination wedding studio jay wedding budget wedding party expense Thu, 02 Nov 2017 22:03:53 GMT
Vintage Is In Don't you just love a beautiful wedding dress?  Where's the one you wore on your wedding day?  Mine resides in a garment bag in the guest room closet.

Studio Jay has been a piece of dozens of weddings and, obviously, every wedding dress has been unique.  We have seen dresses purchased from the internet as well as those from custom bridal suites; short, long, western, simple, elaborate, straight, puffy, with and without a train.  But no matter the dress, the dress is always breathtaking and the bride is always breathtaking in the dress.

While most brides seem to want their own new wedding gown, I have noticed an uptick in a movement of those who find great joy in walking down the aisle in their mom or grandma's wedding dress. Vintage is very much "in" with regards to wedding decor and photo sessions.  And honoring mom and grandma is always a lovely gesture. 

A recent Pop Sugar article told of a bride wearing the wedding dress that had been worn by both her mother and grandmother.  Not only was the dress stunning, but mom and grandma were great examples of long, happy and successful marriages.  A Boise, Idaho bride featured in a news clip surprised her sweet grandma by wearing grandma's wedding dress, eliciting memories from grandma of her own love story.

This idea seems like a win-win to me.  The bride saves money on a wedding dress, looks stunning, AND pays tribute to wonderful women in her life. Hmmm, I hope this trend never goes out of style.  I'd love to see one of my own granddaughters in MY wedding dress.  

(Studio Jay) studio jay vintage wedding wedding budget wedding dress wedding photographer Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT
Total Eclipse of the Heart of Oregon The headlines have moved on, but for awhile this summer the hottest topic was The Eclipse.  As it turned out, our little community was in the path of totality and people arrived here in droves.

Our town prepared for many months for this great influx of people.  Stores, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs stocked up as best they could.  Town folks were encouraged to stock up as well in case stores sold out or we couldn't get through heavy traffic.  Parks and businesses spruced up to look their best.  It reminded me of when I lived in Idaho years ago and Cycle Oregon came to our town.  It was population 380 with 2,000 cyclers expected for an evening and overnight stay.  Individuals and civic and church groups tackled projects up and down our little main street.  It all got a face lift and even the few fire hydrants got new paint.  It was fun then, as it was recently, to be a part of pride in community and helping to host a community-wide event.  I ventured to town the weekend before the eclipse to take in a vintage market and have lunch at one of the local restaurants.  The mood was joyous and festive.  Things didn't turn out the way many of us anticipated but it was still fun and amazing.  

Similarly, but on a much smaller scale, it's fun to be a part of the planning and execution of a wedding.  From a vendor's point of view, networking is so very important to the success of a wedding where many colleagues coordinate happily with the goal of producing a breathtaking wedding.  And, just as in the planning of most events, things don't always turn out as planned.  Fortunately, even the unplanned moments are beautiful and memorable, fun and amazing.

(Studio Jay) networking studio jay total eclipse wedding planning Mon, 09 Oct 2017 03:00:00 GMT
RSVP! RSVP, an acronym for the French line "repondez s'il vous plait".  In English that's the favor of a reply is requested, or hey, let me know if you're coming or not!  Sounds like a simple request.  But over and over I hear brides and grooms and their families lament that many guests have failed to RSVP even though that request was sent with the wedding invitation.  A co-worker's daughter is getting married in 2 weeks and they are encountering the same problem.  They have begun calling those they haven't heard back from.  Holy cow, what bride or mom of bride has time to do that?!  

An RSVP requires a phone call, a text, an email, or perhaps dropping the return RSVP card in the mail.  I suppose there's a number of reasons why guests don't RSVP.  My own daughter didn't respond to a wedding invite last summer (for which I scolded her).  She really had no excuse other than she's a royal procrastinator.  I suppose some people simply don't/can't commit.  Most others know they can or can't attend a function but just don't bother with the RSVP - "forgot", "of course I'm going to be there", "they already know we're out of town that weekend",  "what does it matter", etc., etc.  

I don't want to sound snippy, but if you don't RSVP when it's requested, you're being rude.  To respond yes or no is very important.  In this day and age most weddings are expensive and couples are working to stay within a budget.  Venues may charge thousands of dollars and sometimes the fee is adjusted according to how many guests will be attending.  Tables, chairs, and linens are rented and nobody wants to pay for empty tables.  Food is probably the #1 most important reason brides need an RSVP.  Most weddings are providing hors d'oeuvres and/or dinner.  Not only do caterers need to know how much food to prepare, they often charge PER GUEST.  It's customary for a caterer's contract to require an exact head count by a certain number of days prior to the event and that's what is charged no matter who doesn't show.  And, how does a bride know how many cupcakes, brownies, or desserts should be ordered?  

Be helpful, be courteous and let your host know how many from your party will be attending the event.  It will be greatly appreciated!

(Studio Jay) central oregon wedding rsvp studio jay wedding budget wedding invitation Tue, 01 Aug 2017 05:00:00 GMT
Dancing at 95 (degrees, that is) Last summer I blogged about wedding plan B or what if it rains on my wedding day.  We're lucky in central Oregon because we boast sunny skies nearly 100% of the time.  Hot summer days sometimes bring an afternoon thundershower, but it's generally short-lived.  Those storms actually produce dramatic pictures in that the sky turns dark and the wind blows in.  We DJ-d a wedding just two weeks ago on an unusual day of pouring rain.  It came to a halt and the sun popped out long enough for the outdoor wedding ceremony.  The reception inside was beautiful with the doors flung open to the warm summer air, rain falling again on the pond nearby.  And ahhh, everyone should experience the smell of summer rain in central Oregon.  Unforgettable.

Interestingly, the only real weather-related issue Studio Jay has encountered in this part of the country is a too-hot wedding day.  A beautiful Eagle Crest wedding last summer was dampened a bit by temperatures that hit 102 degrees during pre-ceremony outdoor photographs.  With the bride we had selected specific backdrops to include the Deschutes River and unique juniper trees.  While Tom and I generally smile and endure whatever comes our way, the bride was having none of it.  Of course she was the one wearing a tight 30 pound dress!  She didn't want to expose her bridal bouquet to the heat either, for fear it would droop before she even walked down the aisle.  River Run event center has some beautiful indoor (and air conditioned) architecture so all was not lost.

Two weeks ago we were loading gear to DJ an outdoor wedding and reception with a forecast of 94 degrees. This was to be out of town on private property with natural terrain and vegetation, but with no shade trees.  How many canopies should we pack?  Maybe fans, ice, lots of water obviously.  What a relief when we pulled up to the wedding site and discovered that the nuptials, with the same concern about the heat, had rented a heavy-duty 40' x 40' white canvas tent, big-top style.  Lights had been strung along the perimeter and throughout.  The whole day was comfortable and fun and the shade was enough to encourage guests to get up and dance.

The take-away here is still that a Plan B is important for any special event.  Mother Nature is unpredictable, and hot sunny summer days can be just as much a problem as a threatening storm.  Plan so that you and your guests will be comfortable and able to enjoy the day. 

(Studio Jay) central oregon wedding outdoor wedding plan b studio jay wedding dj wedding photographer Fri, 14 Jul 2017 15:15:00 GMT
Wasted Money On Your Wedding? A recent internet article listed the top items couples felt they wasted money on for their wedding.  Some things were a surprise, others not.  What do you think?

~Programs.  "Who cares.  Everyone knows what's going on anyway".  Studio Jay hasn't done many central Oregon weddings that included programs, so, yeah, maybe I agree.  Except for those programs that doubled as fans for the heat-of-the-day ceremony.  Great idea.

~Wedding favors.  "Cute but thrown in a junk drawer after".  I've seen favors at about half the weddings we've been a part of, everything from small jars of homemade jam to monogrammed golf balls.  Yeah, fun but not necessary.  

~Shoes.  We love to photograph the shoes!  Fabulous, fun, funky, or flip-flops.  There are so many great choices without spending a bunch of money on them.  My biggest advice when it comes to shoes is COMFORT.  I've seen many a bride kick off their heels early in the evening because "my feet are killing me".

~Dress.  This goes either way.  We have photographed brides who looked stunning in an inexpensive dress purchased online or at Macy's and also the gorgeous bride in a more traditional and more expensive gown.  Go with your style and your budget on this one.

~Flowers.  I LOVE flowers.  But they can be expensive and sadly they only live a week or so.  Many brides and their friends are putting together their own arrangements with flowers from Costco, Trader Joe's, and those ordered online.  I like a combination of professionally done bridal bouquet, boutonnieres, and corsages with other flowers arranged by talented friends.  

~Guest book.  I really like the idea of a guest book and they aren't expensive, so I don't know why couples would think this was a waste.  A guest book is a great way to help remember who was at your wedding.  And there are so many simple creative ways to have your guests leave their name and well wishes.

Anyone preparing for a wedding can attest to the fact that there are literally thousands of wedding ideas from friends and the internet.  Tom and I recommend you pick and choose what fits your style and your budget.  Don't try to do too much or you'll make yourself crazy AND poor!  Decide what things are "must haves" and then minimize the rest.  Whether it's elaborate or simple, your wedding will be beautiful.  


(Studio Jay) Studio Jay central Oregon wedding wedding budget wedding photographer Sat, 01 Jul 2017 01:30:00 GMT
Traditions Changed By Technology I got a kick out of this recent read:  "Things we don't do any more because of technology."  I did discover that I'm old fashioned, or just plain old, 'cause I still do some of these things.  How about you?

~Memorize phone numbers.  I only know 3 - mine, my husband's, and my mom's - the house number she's had for 50 years.

~Use a phone book.  Guilty!  I still do this.  My co-workers want me to alert them when I'm headed to the phone book so they can race me to see if they can find the number faster on their smartphone.  Guess what?  It's always either a tie or I win!

~Use a phone BOOTH.  Do these even still exist?

~Call a theater to get movie times.  Nope.

~Cut things out of a newspaper and mail to others because "I thought you might find this interesting."  Guilty.  Just ask my kids.

~Get your checks back from the bank.  Thank heavens we don't have to mess with those anymore.

~Have a CD or record collection.  I got rid of my records, though I feel a little sad thinking about that.

~Make photo albums.  WHAT?!?  If you don't know how I feel about this just read a few of my blogs.  Everyone please, don't let this tradition die out.  Print some of your favorite pictures and stick them in an album.  You'll thank me later.

~Record your favorite TV programs by popping in the VHS tape and hitting record.  That's actually a sweet memory, and I have to confess that I still have a VCR!

~Send a handwritten letter.  Again, guilty, on purpose - or maybe I should say - with purpose.  My dear grandma died over 30 years ago and I so treasure the cards and letters she sent me.  Of course, they're in an old fashioned scrapbook.  I love that I know her handwriting and want my grandkids to know mine.


(Studio Jay) Studio Jay handwritten letter photo album printed pictures Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:45:00 GMT
Get Me To The Church On Time DSCF0709DSCF0709 Another beautiful wedding on another beautiful central Oregon spring day.  The snow-covered Three Sisters and Broken Top mountains stood majestically in the background behind the wedding arch.  Mt. Jefferson loomed off to the right.  Just barely noticeable between the outdoor ceremony area and the mountains is Reif Road.  This quiet country road takes a few travelers to their homes beyond and also serves guests turning into the venue.  So as wedding guests face the nuptials and the mountains beyond, the road is hidden until a vehicle cruises by.

This blog is not directed at the bride and groom and the wedding party, but rather at all you who will be wedding guests this summer.  Vendors and those involved in the production of a wedding always arrive well ahead of the designated ceremony time.  Get Me To The Church On Time is code for wedding guests, don't be late!  In fact, if the invitation says 4:00, guests should be seated by 3:45.  Everyone should allow buffer time to find parking at the venue, maneuver to the site of the wedding, and be directed to their seats.  

What prompted this blog is that beautiful outdoor wedding with the mountains in the background.  The 4:00 wedding ceremony actually didn't start until 4:10 since a few cars could be seen trickling in.  With the bride and her dad making their way down the aisle, here came another vehicle slowly driving by and turning into the venue.  And another and another.  I counted 4 late-comers.  If the venue access was behind the scenes we would be none the wiser.  But in this case all of the wedding was witness to late arrivers.  Not just the guests, but the photographer and wedding videographer with cameras pointed at the bride and groom, the arch, the mountains, and - YIKES - the stray cars looking for the wedding.  I cringed every time and would have liked to put up a roadblock as the wedding began, stopping traffic with "you're late and you'll mess up the pictures and video and scenery and you'll be a distraction to the wedding.  Grrrr."  'Fashionably late' is a lie.  There is no fashionably late when it comes to a wedding.  Be considerate and be a bit early.  You'll have a few minutes to wave hellos to other guests and soak in the ambiance.  A wedding is a magical event and you'll want to be a part of it all.  

(Studio Jay) Central Oregon Wedding Event Studio Jay central Oregon wedding outdoor wedding wedding etiquette Mon, 05 Jun 2017 22:00:00 GMT
Print Those Pictures! It happened again.  And I'm going to say it AGAIN:  Print your favorite pics!

My son was visiting last weekend and brought his 6 month old son, Colt.  He's such a cutie (i'm talking about Colt, but his dad is, too) and proud dad was doing the father/son selfie thing with his phone.  We got into a discussion about who Colt looked like.  I went to the shelf and retrieved the little photo album I had made for my son with random pictures from birth to about 3 years old.  And there it was - a snapshot of my son looking exactly like Colt.  What fun we had with that.

Then my son made an innocent, but profound, observation.  "Wow, Colt's going to be really mad at me if I ever l lose this phone because all his baby pictures are in it."  Think about that.  What if all I had to use for comparing Colt and his dad was a roll of film or some negatives?  What image will Colt have when he's a new dad to see if HE looks like HIS son?  Will a cellphone camera roll survive 30 years of upgrades, transfers, and new technology?  Do you have printed pictures of yourself as a child?  Probably.  Does your child?

I made small photo albums for all 6 of my kids.  I'm no supermom but I thought this was an important endeavor.  All my kids were adopted at a young age and luckily each one came with a few photos of themselves as infants and even as newborns.  Some of those were poor quality Polaroids, but still the images were real.  For some reason I thought that the adoption situation made the albums even more critical for their history.  But now decades later, I passionately believe that printed, tangible images are important for everyone.  They're proof of life and childhood, validation of our memories.  Print a few of your favorite images and stick them in a little photo album.  I promise it will be one of your child's most cherished gifts.  

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay photo album printed pictures Fri, 26 May 2017 01:15:00 GMT
Hire A Professional I'm sitting in the Salt Lake Airport headed home from 5 days in Wyoming and my oldest daughter's wedding.  She planned a fairly small, simple, country-chic themed event and it was beautiful.  Best of all, we love her new husband and truly believe they will be kind and respectful and bring out the best in each other.  

Tom was enlisted to photograph and DJ the wedding.  That required some creative pre-trip packing and he had to be somewhat selective of the sound and camera gear he chose to fly with.  When we arrived in Wyoming I started in with my usual wedding photo checklist and instructions:  make sure you get the flowers and cake and rings and gorgeous fingernails as well as all the cousins, parents, siblings, grandma, etc., etc.  "I only brought ONE lens!" was Tom's response. WHAT?!  I had an instant flash of him at other weddings with 2 cameras strapped to his hips, me with a 3rd, all equipped with different lenses.  There's the wide angle, the telephoto, the macro, and who knows what else.  I threw up my hands and with a laugh, told my daughter "yup, that's why you hire a professional!"

Well, never fear, the wedding images came out super.  But we did have to compromise.  Tom would have much rather had the usual multiple lenses and lights. The music was great, too, but just a small mixer plugged into the church's mediocre sound system.  His experience, skill, and professional equipment has grown greatly over the years.  I had been taking all that for granted until we had to make do with less.  I'm happy with the results and appreciate state of the art equipment we have to insure that every event with Studio Jay is a success. 

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay professional photographer wedding DJ wedding photographer Fri, 12 May 2017 01:45:00 GMT
No Politics Or Prejudices At My Wedding! As you peruse your guest list, is there a name that jumps out to you spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E?  Sometimes who to invite to a wedding, and who not to invite, can be a real stressor for brides and grooms.  We all want our wedding and reception to be beautiful, fun, happy, and memorable - in a good way.  I recently read an article in which a bride-to-be was anxious about a very out-spoken uncle who she was afraid may not be able to keep his political opinions and prejudices to himself in her diverse group of wedding guests.  Should uncle be un-invited?

I think we can all agree that our world is a politically charged environment these days.  And, let's agree that we also live in a world less traditional  than ever before.  That is, your group of family and friends may very well include conservative Republicans, liberal Democrats, same-sex couples, multiple ethnic groups, and diverse family members that may include ex-laws.  I'm OK with that and you're OK with that.  Is Uncle I-Use-To-Be-Married-To-Her OK with that?  Especially after he's had a few drinks?  

I'm not trying to invent another reason to stress a bride and groom. I'm here to say that all will be well!  I know from experience that at happy family events, even Uncle Off-Color-Joke gets caught up in all the awesomeness and behaves like a prince.  First, and most importantly, when worrying about the chemistry of your guest list, DON'T!  Honestly, these things work themselves out. 

If I haven't successfully calmed your fears, here are a few things to consider:

~Liquor loosens lips.  And inhibitions.  A proven fact!  Think about a few local craft beers and wines vs. an unlimited open bar.  

~The later, the longer, the looser.  Most outdoor receptions and many venues have a curfew.  A party that goes into the wee hours of the night offers more opportunity for politics and prejudices.

~Pass the worry onto someone else.  Alert your wedding planner or day-of go-to person.  Arm them with names and concerns and let them keep their eyes and ears open.  If something's brewing they can nip it in the bud while you dine and dance the night away.

~Alert your wedding vendors, especially your photographer and DJ about your guest concerns.  Studio Jay always wants to know who the microphone is off limits to and family groups who want to be photographed together and which ones don't want to be in the same frame.

~I don't recommend a pre-wedding conversation with Uncle My-Way-Or-The-Highway.  But that may be just the thing in your situation.  Any dialogue should be positive and kind:  "I love you and want you to be at my wedding but don't want to put you in an uncomfortable situation."  "FYI, Uncle No-Ones-Lifestyle-Is-Right-Except-Mine, my maid of honor will bring her wife to the wedding.  It that's too difficult for you, I'll understand if you choose to stay home or leave immediately after the ceremony." Give Uncle Archie Bunker a heads up and a way out.

We have our own diverse family of in-laws, ex-laws, and adopted-laws.  There have been legitimate concerns pre-wedding several times.  And, no imagined disaster or near disaster ever materialized.  Please, invite people to you're wedding who are important to you and don't waste any energy wondering if they will get along.  They will.  Because they love you.  

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay diverse wedding guests prejudiced guests wedding DJ wedding photographer Sun, 09 Apr 2017 00:15:00 GMT
Children at the Wedding Jacklene.Lucas-537Jacklene.Lucas-537 Jacklene.Lucas-720Jacklene.Lucas-720 Will children be in your wedding party or guests at your special event?  I love kids and have a passel of my own.  And I have a big bunch of PERFECT grandkids, too.  But even though they are smart, cute, talented, etc., etc., they don't always act perfect!  You coach, teach, explain, bribe before you sit down at your favorite restaurant and - well, you know the rest of the story.  Most times they are well behaved rock stars.  But sometimes they're tired or bored or the moon and stars align and they are, simply put, naughty.  Yes, even my perfect grandkids.

I just read a wedding-related article suggesting that children should be excluded from weddings.  Hmmmm.  Studio Jay has been involved in a lot of weddings and I have never been to one where there were zero children.  I can actually imagine an event where children would not be welcome, though.  Perhaps your wedding is being hosted at an extremely formal restaurant or venue, or the vision you have for your wedding is late night, black-tie, dancing, and fine wine.  Then I can understand you wanting to have your friends leave their kiddos at home.  

Generally, central Oregon weddings are less formal and venues are kid friendly.  That said, it's important to be pro-active and prepare for the youngsters that will be attending. Reception time is great for visiting adults who haven't seen each other for years, but that activity doesn't keep a child entertained.  One smart bride set up a children's table near the back of the reception venue with small toys, crayons, coloring books, and games.  She topped that with hiring a teen to help engage the kids and encourage them to participate at the game table.  Photo booths are great fun at weddings and I recommend having kid friendly props that they can try out.  Bubbles will keep children having fun sans adults for long periods of time also. When Studio Jay is photographing a wedding, we always get details about kids in the wedding party as well as kids who might be attending.  We aim to shoot images of the children in wedding parties early, while they're still fresh and excited.  We recommend, then, that someone is assigned to shuttle the kids from the wedding party to another area or activity while more pictures are taken of the adults.  After the ceremony and pictures are taken, think about allowing the kids to change into more comfortable clothes that won't be ruined when they sit on the ground, play on the lawn, or eat chocolate cupcakes.  If we are DJ-ing an event, we also want to know about kids who will be there.  And we ask if the bride and groom would like any music played specifically for the children.  Surely you've noticed that kids love to dance and they aren't shy about getting out on the dance floor.  They will often drag adults with them and that just encourages more fun.  

Children might be problematic during the wedding ceremony.  We all picture our children sitting quietly or our baby sleeping during a 'sermon', but they don't always have that same vision.  One wise wedding planner anticipated said dilemma and was cautioned that mom of toddler would be reluctant to take her child out from the ceremony.  As soon as the child began to speak in non-whispers and fidget, the wedding planner quietly and pleasantly pulled the child off to that pre-arranged game area.  All was well and the wedding video didn't include a crying child.  I have also witnessed a young child bolt and run to his or her mom or dad who is in the wedding party.  That's pretty cute - but only for a few seconds.  Then someone (pre-arranged) needs to rescue the child and the wedding.  

With preplanning, weddings and children can be a successful blend with happy memories for all.  

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay central Oregon wedding children at weddings wedding DJ wedding photographer Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:00:00 GMT
Are You In The Picture? I'm a picture person.  For decades I have captured all the events of my kids and scenery from day trips or exotic getaways, first film then digital images.  But always the end product was the good old fashioned print stuck into photo albums to share with family and friends.

My mom also took many a picture, too, though not as prolifically as I.  She never graduated from film but always had prints made (except for that box of pesky slides).  And mom's photos never made it to an album.  They reside in cardboard boxes with manilla envelopes serving as dividers announcing the years 1950, 1951, 1952, . . . Though not particularly numerous or artistic, the pictures are fabulous.

Recently I have taken on the project of getting mom's pictures into albums, discarding the duds and duplicates.  At 91 mom's eyesight is declining but luckily she wrote on the backs of her pictures so we know who, what, when, and where.  What fun it's been pouring through these old images reliving nearly-forgotten events and remembering loved ones.

An age old dilemma becomes evident as we sort photos - mom was always behind the camera and very rarely appears in the images.  Mom, were you there?  Of course she was, but it would sure be nice to have more shots of her.  Yeah, the same problem existed through the decades of my own family picture taking.  You have to flip through a lot of pages to find an image of ME.

The world of family photography has changed dramatically.  It's an age of phone cameras, selfies, and (who would've imaged) selfie sticks.  I'm not a selfie fan or taker, bur kudos to all you moms who are actually in the images with your family, proving you were present at all those events!

I'm trying to make two important points. FIrst, get in the picture.  Don't be left out, even if you think you're having a bad hair day.  You'll regret that later, years from now when your grown kids are looking at pictures and trying to remember if mom was with them on that hiking trip to Stein's Pillar.  Second, print the images!  Sure, you can share them now with the world via social media.  But images stuck on a cloud or iPhone or hard drive won't be something to hold and hand down and elicit memories 50 years from now.  There's just no substitute for holding something precious in your hand and sharing with your mom.

(Studio Jay) Selfies Studio Jay bad hair day family photography printed images Wed, 15 Mar 2017 01:45:00 GMT
Mini Session Mom Tom and I of Studio Jay recently attended a Legends in Photography workshop.  Sandy Puc' and our central Oregon's own Kevin Kubota were our Legend presenters.  So inspiring to hear and learn from the best!  In a marketing segment, we discussed the mini-session-mom.  You know, the mom (usually) who wants a photo shoot and the digital files.  Nothing else.  What a tragedy.  Not because we're missing out on print/canvas/album sales, but because she's going to miss out forever.

A mom who isn't busy is unheard of, a contradiction of terms.  Yes, we're all planning to print those images, send grandma pictures for Mother's Day, and jump on Shutterfly to make a cute album.  We also know the road to H, E, double hockey sticks is paved with good intentions.  

At our Legends seminar we talked about how quickly technology becomes obsolete.  Remember the floppy disc? VHS? Cassettes?  The point is, the mom who 'owns' her images on a CD or jump drive will one day find herself unable to load those in her new device.  A thumb drive is simply not an heirloom to pass down to the next generation. What will you have to display at your 50th wedding anniversary?  Classic prints and an album or a pretty box with a thumb drive?  

Tom and I also have been frustrated knowing the well-intentioned client will go home with nothing more than digital files.  While that may have been golden a few years ago, we now view it as a real loss.  We've bumped into too many clients who smile and answer "I've been going to do that" when asked if they ever printed some of their images, even years after their photo session.  Having them on your Facebook page or phone doesn't count.

To make us feel better and better serve our clients, we now include something printed with every package we offer.  Even the mini session of "shoot and just the digital files" now includes an 11 x 14 thinwrap from the client's favorite image.  We insist.  And we'll all be much happier in years to come!

(Studio Jay) Digital Files Legends in Photography Mini Session Mini Session Mom Shutterfly Album Studio Jay Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:00:00 GMT
What Comes After "She Said Yes"? It's Valentine's day/month/season, one of the top three dates couples become engaged.  Congratulations!

It's a quick jump from "I'm engaged!" to "Yikes, what do I do now?".

Start with a heart-to-heart (yes, Valentine's pun intended) discussion with your significant other.  You want a small intimate affair in your grandparent's backyard and he wants 250 of his best friends to party after a 5-course plated dinner at the nicest golf club in town.  Or maybe he's thinking cowboy boots and hat and you picture a totally formal event.  Well, you need NOT hash out specific details right off the bat, but at least agree on a general vision for your wedding, remembering that you are equals and both opinions are valued.  

Set a date!  And at first that may mean just narrowing down a season and year with flexibility based on family schedules and venue availability.  When Tom and I got married 10 years ago we decided on a small family wedding.  The date didn't matter as much to us as did the guests.  So we had our immediate family pencil out a calendar that covered a 6 month window and block out any time they absolutely wouldn't be able to attend a central Oregon wedding.  Some spent winters in Arizona, some always did weeks in Mexico, etc.  When we overlaid everyone's calendars, surprisingly we ended up with only about 3 weekends to choose from.  It was a simple but perfect method for us to come up with a wedding date.  While you can choose a general season or month, it will be necessary to decide on a date or a couple of possible dates in order to book a venue and vendors.  

After WHEN comes WHERE.  This is important!  Venues in central Oregon book up quickly, especially for summer weddings.  (Keep in mind off-season dates are almost always easier to secure and generally cost less).  Even if you've decided on grandma's backyard, as much prior notice as possible is a must.  Family will want to plant, prune, and paint.  

Wedding date.  Check.  Wedding venue.  Check.  Whew!  Congratulations again.  You just cleared two major wedding planning hurdles.  Now take a few weeks off to breathe and enjoy each other, talking about anything except weddings:)  Vow to love the process together!  And Happy Valentine's.  

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay Valentine's engagement after the engagement central Oregon wedding wedding planning what to do first in wedding planning Tue, 14 Feb 2017 05:07:56 GMT
Winter Wedding Please Ahhh, another snow day!  The winter wonderland in central Oregon is breathtaking.  The kids are excited to have school closed mid-week and I'm excited to be "stuck" at home catching up in my office.  If only, I'm dreaming, we had a wedding this weekend.  Well, OK, I have to admit it's a little frigid (10 degrees) to be shooting a bride and groom outside.  But it's suppose to be 30-40 this weekend and that would be perfect.  

At a wedding pros meeting about a month ago I had a conversation with another photographer on this very subject.  When I expressed that I sure wish we had some winter snow weddings lined up, said photographer shuddered and responded that she HATED winter and if anyone called her to photograph a winter wedding she'd refer them to us.  Wow, yes, please.  I love winter and snow covered trees and snow on the mountains and a crackling fire.  

The possibilities are endless.  If you don't believe it, do a google search and marvel at all that pops up.  In central Oregon winter backdrops and venues are stunning and numerous.  There are mountains, rivers, forests, caves, rock formations, and  waterfalls.  A wedding couple could have their celebration in a rustic but enchanting barn or majestic lodge.  Just step out the door for those snow-globe photos.  I picture FUR (or faux) with that elegant wedding dress; snow white, brown, or deep red.  What playful images of the bride and groom on snowshoes or cross country skis with their heavy boots and festive wool socks.  Oh, and the two of them wrapped in a colorful Pendleton wool blanket and warming their hands by a fire in the snow.  

Need another reason to think winter wedding?  You're likely to find noticeably reduced off-season rates for that gorgeous dream venue and other wedding vendors.  A friend is headed off to a wedding at central Oregon's Elk Lake this week, to be  accessed exclusively by Snowcat!  The bride and groom and family will spend several days in the cabins at the lake and snowmobile.  I'm jealous! I blogged this same subject two years ago and obviously still feel the same.  WInter weddings are beautiful!  Bring 'em on.

(Studio Jay) Elk Lake wedding Studio Jay central Oregon wedding outdoor wedding wedding winter Tue, 17 Jan 2017 04:30:00 GMT
What If It Rains? or Wedding Plan B It's raining.  Actually, it's pouring.  When I woke up this morning and heard the rain on the roof, I breathed a sigh of relief that Studio Jay was not doing a wedding today.  But, alas, there must be many a wedding taking place on this drizzly day.  Decades ago the tradition was to conduct the wedding ceremony and  the reception in a church building.  Though many couples still choose to marry in their church, the trend these days is for ceremonies and/or receptions to be held outdoors.  At least that's true in sunny central Oregon where it NEVER rains.  Well, except for today.  And yesterday.   

When planning an outdoor wedding, plan B is a must.  Most likely you won't have to engage Plan B, but at least the back-up will offer some peace of mind.  Studio Jay provided the DJ and sound for a wedding last weekend that was held in the groom's aunt's backyard.  It was a beautiful landscaped oasis surrounded by the natural juniper and sagebrush of central Oregon.  While the couple had no indoor alternative, they did put a large wedding tent on reserve in case of inclement weather.  The tent was canceled with the sunny forecast, but having that plan B was smart.  

Only one wedding comes to mind that Studio Jay was a part of when the weather took a turn for the worse.  The beautiful ceremony went without a hitch in an outdoor park.  But during post-ceremony wedding photographs, the wind picked up and a storm blew in almost faster than we could get the gear and the bride out of the weather.  I actually thought it was making for some amazing dramatic images, but the bridal party thought otherwise.  Fortunately, the reception had been set up in a barn on the property and we all enjoyed the party sans rain and wind.  

Planning an outdoor wedding?  Here are Studio Jay suggestions:

1. Have an easy to execute Plan B.  A tent, a barn, a shelter, a church basement.  Then you won't be scrambling at the last minute if mother nature has a mood swing.  Say the word, and have your wedding planner or wedding day coordinator make the switch.  

2. Don't get stressed or upset if it becomes necessary to execute Plan B.  You are entitled to feel upset, but then take a deep breath and try to move on.  Remember  that you have no control over the weather and your attitude will set the mood for the rest of the day.  An 'adventure' may make your event even more memorable.  

3.  Embrace whatever happens.  A perfect wedding does not necessarily mean perfect weather.  Always, always, always love the day!

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay central Oregon wedding outdoor wedding rain on wedding day wedding DJ wedding photographer Fri, 24 Jun 2016 23:00:00 GMT
Wedding Vendor Attire A concerned bride wrote to a Dear Abby wedding columnist to inquire how best she could ask her wedding vendors to dress appropriately for her big day.  What?!?  Any professional DJ, photographer, officiant, entertainer, or server should KNOW how to dress for the occasion.  The associate delivering the cake or flowers or dance floor certainly could arrive in jeans or shorts but would be gone well before guests arrive.  Those who will be present during the ceremony and/or reception will dress to blend in.  I've never had a bride or groom ask how we will dress for their wedding.  As experienced professionals, with Studio Jay, knowing how is a given.  In our pre-event consultation we specifically ask about wedding colors, style, and attire.  Will the groom be wearing a tux or suit and tie?  Perhaps, as is quite popular in our part of the country, new western jeans with a collared shirt and vest.  Tom and I dress accordingly in style and color.  

Yes, we're in an era of casual dress and anything goes attitude.  But if you hire a professional, you shouldn't have to explain appropriate attire.  Expect professionalism!

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay professional photographer wedding DJ wedding attire wedding photographer Sat, 18 Jun 2016 03:15:00 GMT
It Takes A Village As I sit stage left at dress rehearsal for High Desert Dance Art's annual spring recital, I marvel at how many adults are engaged for this event.  It truly does take a village to pull off a production.  Studio Jay is here taking photos of each dance group, involving dozens of performers, costumes, hairdos, and props.

It's June and besides dance recitals, we are happily up to our eyeballs in weddings.  Whatever event Studio Jay has been hired to be a part of, a group effort makes for a more successful and beautiful wedding or recital.  We all work together, help each other and offer support and encouragement. We maintain appropriate contact with our clients and with their other vendors prior to the event.  

Tom and I pride ourselves on being organized.  What's that got to do with anything?  Everything!  We are going home today and will process photo orders for 49 dances and dozens of dancers.  In preparation for a wedding we meet with, talk to, email brides and grooms.  We keep detailed notes of music requests, picture poses, number of groomsmen and bridesmaids, who's going to toast and when, wedding family relationships, and on and on.  A professional photographer or DJ will be experienced in their knowledge and assessment of what's needed at your event, and keep the details straight.  Though we may be at the forefront of your special day, we work to appear as though we are seamlessly, quietly in the background.  We want YOU to be the star!

(Studio Jay) DJ Studio Jay professional photographer wedding wedding photographer Thu, 09 Jun 2016 03:42:18 GMT
It's Not About The Pixels Anymore My 84 year old mother-in-law just upgraded her phone to the new iPhone 6s.  Not only can these new smartphones practically sing and dance, their cameras have12 megapixels and photoshop features!  Heck, it was only 15 years or so ago that the professional photographer, transitioning from film to digital images, would brag about his or her stand alone digital camera with 8 megapixels.  As Tom and I recently discussed his mom's new phone and it's camera's capabilities, we lamented that obviously, in professional photography, it's not about the pixels anymore.

A pixel is the smallest single component of a digital image.  A dot.  The more pixels used to represent an image, the closer the result can resemble the original.  So the higher the megapixels, the higher the quality of the photographic image.  More pixels (actually measured in megapixels) allows users to print their pictures at larger sizes without a reduction in image quality.

So we're back to the age-old question:  why hire a professional photographer instead of Uncle Joe with his iPhone 6s?  Leaving the wedding or baby portrait photography to a non-pro is a recipe for disaster, no matter how many megapixels Aunt Alice's device delivers.  In this day and age, Studio Jay must provide a superior experience for the client.  And we must have better lighting, posing ideas, composition and expression.  We must also have the capacity to make our images stand out with professional post processing and finishing.  Brides today want it all - the classic family photos, a lot of fun informal photos, and something artistic for their wall.  The experienced professional can give this to them, while the college roommate without training cannot.  And, sigh, it still is a little bit about the megapixels.  Tom's high-end Canon, with 24 megapixels, provides those life-like thirty inch by forty inch wall hangings clients want of their wedding day or precious newborn or sweet family.  

Pixels + posing + processing = professional photographer.  We're proud members of Professional Photographers of America.  Check out their cool link:   "".



(Studio Jay) Studio Jay megapixels professional photographer Tue, 12 Apr 2016 03:44:20 GMT
To 'First Look' or Not To 'First Look' What will go into making you such a beautiful bride? The perfect fit of the perfect dress, the perfect shoes, the jewelry, the mani and pedi, the hair, the make-up.  All the details come together to create the most beautiful you.  You will be gorgeous inside and out.  You will glow!

That romantic, sweet moment of anticipation when the love of your life sees you for the first time is what has been termed "the first look".  When and where will that first look occur?  A private moment in a private place, just the two of you sharing a special moment.  Or, as you come into view of each other when you walk down the aisle, a special gaze shared with your loved ones, family, and friends.  

There's a bit of an argument whether that first look should be private or shared by all. A recent article in the Huffington Post suggested that the "private" first look is stupid, noting that the private moment isn't private at all.  It's manipulated and posed by the photographer and the author protests that the wedding is more than about YOU, the bride, and the first look is an expression everyone is entitled to see.  

Tom and I at Studio Jay disagree with that huffy Huffington article and generally encourage brides and grooms to enjoy that first look well before the wedding ceremony.  As a wedding photographer, it's a bit scary to know you are pressured to capture the first look images as the bride comes into view of the groom and guests.  Is she looking at the groom when he catches the first glimpse of her?  Or is she listening to a few tender words her dad is sharing or seeing grandma for the first time in years or wondering to herself if her veil is just right or, or any number of things that might be crossing her mind as she walks down the aisle.  Is the groom studying and appreciating his beautiful bride or is he nervous, hoping he won't drop the ring, or practicing in his head the words he has prepared for her? Friends and family will stand as the bride enters, but, yikes, will they block the photographer from capturing the bride and groom in the same frame?

What if that first look is set up beforehand and staged by the bride and groom and wedding photographer?  A pretty and quiet site is selected where the bride can walk towards the groom and have him turn to see his beautiful bride for the first time, allowing the camera to capture some of those special images.  This is away from family and friends and allows the couple privacy to spend some time alone together to hug and kiss and share a smile and laugh, perhaps a tear of love and joy.  Even though the photographer is present, this may be the only time all day that the bride and groom have a few moments to themselves.  With the first look before the wedding ceremony, that also means the wedding couple can pose for their formal and fun images with their wedding party and family prior to the ceremony.  That may add hours to your pre-wedding day, but translates into hours you gain later, available to enjoy the cocktail hour, visit with guests, and dance the night away without having to be pulled off for formal portraits while friends party without the guests of honor.  

A  goal for Studio Jay as a professional wedding photography service, is to do everything in our power to alleviate stress on wedding day and allow the bride and groom to experience their dream.  The first look alone and unhurried helps to make that possible.



(Studio Jay) Studio Jay first look professional photographer wedding photographer Sun, 20 Mar 2016 18:17:03 GMT
Wedding Venue on a Budget? Every bride should have their dream wedding, whatever that dream may be.  And, while I sincerely believe a professional photographer and DJ is a must at a wedding, the responsible me encourages brides and grooms to stay within a budget that is reasonable for them and not go into debt for their wedding.

Impossible, you say?  I've had many conversations lately with brides regarding wedding venues.  Over the years of being in the wedding business in central Oregon, I have enjoyed seeing the beautiful wedding settings this area has to offer.  I have also been a bit surprised by the fees that some venues garner.  Not that those fees are overpriced or out of line, but rather that couples are able and willing to spend thousands of dollars for that dream venue.  

I've learned some great things from savvy brides, though, that i'd like to pass along.  FIrst, don't give up on your dream and don't settle for a venue that doesn't feel right for your wedding.  If your favorite venue isn't in your budget, think outside the box and ask the venue coordinator what might bring the fees down. Day of the week, time of day, and number of guests often play a part in the fees charged by an event venue.

For example, Studio Jay will be DJ-ing a wedding in July on a Sunday evening. This is the first time we've done a Sunday wedding so I was curious why that particular day was chosen.  As it turns out, the bride discovered that the Sunday fee was about half the Friday-Saturday fee!  Also, the beautiful resort did not require her to book a block of cabins, as is their package requirement with a Friday or Saturday event.  This was the stunning lodge she wanted as the backdrop for her wedding and was willing to compromise somewhat to make that a reality.  

Studio Jay photographed a small wedding last November at a magnificent golf resort.  The wedding was on a Thursday!  The several dozen guests had agreed this weekday would work just fine for them and the off-season, off-weekend reduced the venue fee considerably.  The couple still had their dream wedding and the images at that (high end) resort were gorgeous.

We are scheduled to photograph a wedding in June at another superior central Oregon golf resort.  The wedding couple explained to us that they found the venue fee would be reduced if they had 50 or fewer guests, an offer they will take advantage of.  

And certainly don't rule out the dozens of central Oregon parks that offer beautiful settings for your party.  They can be reserved and fees range from a nominal $25 to a very affordable $500 to include an outdoor setting, perhaps an historic barn, classic hall, or famous rock formation backdrop.  Think outside the box, ask questions, and live your wedding dream! 


(Studio Jay) Studio Jay central Oregon wedding wedding budget wedding photographer wedding venue Thu, 25 Feb 2016 03:28:12 GMT
The 'Do Not Play' List Studio Jay offers professional wedding photography and a wedding DJ service.  A recent article in the Bend (Oregon) Bulletin's Book of Love caught my attention and I felt a need to blog about an important topic for bridal couples, the 'Do Not Play' list.  Whether DJ-ing or photographing a wedding, we personally meet and visit with every couple prior to wedding day.  Obviously, a DJ will want to know what song choices you've made for the bride's processional, couple's recessional, first dance, daddy-daughter dance, etc.  And of course we discuss the genre of music you like and gather a play list of your favorite songs.  But - oops - I have to admit that I have seldom come away from those meetings with a Do Not Play list.  Maybe a particular song is associated with a negative or sad memory.  What if the DJ starts to spin a tune that was a favorite of your ex?  Ugh!  At every wedding we've DJ-ed the past few years we've played the YMCA at some point in the evening.  Doesn't everybody like to get out on the dance floor and move to YMCA?  Yeah, I thought so. Until we did a wedding last summer where the bride and groom simultaneously sent us a thumbs down as soon as they heard the first measure of YMCA.  Who knew?

A 'Do Not Play' list is just as important for a wedding photographer.  It may be termed a 'Do Not Shoot' list, but a must just the same.  We sincerely strive to get to know a bride and groom and get a 'feel' for their personalities.  But sometimes I'm surprised by the shy bride who wants an image of the wedding party jumping in the air. We shot a wedding several years ago in which the bride and groom simply did not want any traditional romantic poses.  Again,                 who knew?  

For a bride and groom, usually their wedding is their first.  Tom and I at Studio Jay have many a wedding under our belts.  Experience has taught us that we are not mind readers and a 'Do Not Play/Do Not Shoot' list is a requirement.  Attention brides! Add to the dozens of items on your To Do list, the Do Nots!

(Studio Jay) Do Not Play List Do Not Shoot List Studio Jay wedding DJ wedding photographer Mon, 08 Feb 2016 04:44:40 GMT
Networking I enjoyed last evening's seminar for members of Central Oregon Wedding Pros.  The subject matter was interesting but for me the most important take-away topic was Networking.  Working cooperatively with other wedding professionals before, during, and after a beautiful wedding day elevates the quality of service from Studio Jay and all others involved.  Vendors working together make for a smoother, less stressful wedding day.

When a bride and groom become engaged, they immediately start planning for their special day.  When should we get married, where will the wedding be, who will we invite, what food do we want served, what will our colors be, etc., etc.  The couple decides on a date and a venue, reserving a site that fits their needs and personalities.  A wedding photographer is hired, a DJ, perhaps a caterer, an officiant, a videographer, florist.  The bride purchases a dress, the groom a tux.  All these things are painstakingly found and hired or purchased one item or one professional at a time; all scheduled to show up at the same place at the same time to pull off a couple's once in a lifetime event.  

That's how Studio Jay participated in weddings many years ago.  But now more experienced, we see ourselves as part of a cooperative team coming together competently and effortlessly to create the most memorable day possible.  It's so much more fun to be at events now where we know other vendors.  And it's especially rewarding to be able to recommend vendors who you know personally and personally know the quality of their products.  I like feeling helpful to a couple who is still searching for flowers or a cake or videographer for their wedding and can make educated suggestions for them.  The other night Tom and I were meeting with a wedding couple as they were hiring us to DJ their wedding.  In conversation the bride mentioned that she did not yet have a dress but had an appointment at The Bridal Suite and Special Occasion in Bend.  With confidence, I was able to tell her that The Bridal Suite has fabulous dresses and Paige and Brittany are easy to work with, that I was sure she would have a great experience shopping for a wedding gown there.  Need a videographer?  Call Stephanie at Ace of Hearts Videography.  Looking for  . . . ?

My advice to wedding professionals?  Make an effort to meet everyone involved in a wedding, meet others at networking events, exchange business cards and get to know vendors in your area and their products.  And my advice to brides and grooms?  When you've made a decision to hire a wedding professional, ask who they've worked with and where they've worked in the past and if they have recommendations.  Certainly all of us want to be successful in what we do by making your day even better than you imagined!  


(Studio Jay) Central Oregon Wedding Pros Studio Jay networking wedding photographer Sat, 30 Jan 2016 22:59:22 GMT
November Wedding in Central Oregon It was a Thursday afternoon in November.  A somewhat unusual selection for a wedding but a WOW event!  Studio Jay was privileged to be photographing a small wedding at Pronghorn Resort in Bend, Oregon on this 'winter' weekday.  We weren't worried about the weather.  Anyone who has lived in Central Oregon awhile knows this country boasts 350 days of sunshine a year, and we weren't disappointed.  November, but the greens are still green, the sky still blue, birch and aspen trees and burning bushes adorned with orange and yellow and bright red leaves, the pines and junipers always unchanged, and fresh white snow on the mountains.  The bride and groom wanted outdoor pre-wedding photos and what amazing photo ops Pronghorn offered.  There was the castle-like architecture of the clubhouse, the balconies, stairs, and hallways.  Perfectly designed landscaping, water features, ponds, bare ghost trees, and rocks were choice backgrounds.  Unique to this country, lava tubes and caves were discovered at Pronghorn's construction and strategically incorporated into the golf course, to the delight of golfers and wedding photographers alike.  

As the sun began to descend, the air took on a fall chill.  The couple had wisely chosen to have their wedding ceremony indoors.  They missed out on the island designed for just such a purpose, but instead recited their vows in front of the warm glow of flames in a floor-to-ceiling rock fireplace.  Intimate and stunning.

It was a gorgeous November wedding.  There really is no inferior season to be married in Central Oregon. For future brides and grooms lucky enough to live in this part of the country, you are certain to enjoy an amazing wedding any time of year.  For those who live elsewhere, we invite you to consider a destination wedding in sunny Central Oregon.  We are home to a number of incredible wedding venues and are truly blessed to be surrounded by endless natural beauty  and great weather year 'round.  



(Studio Jay) Central Oregon wedding Pronghorn Resort Studio Jay destination wedding Sun, 15 Nov 2015 05:51:48 GMT
Halloween It's Halloween. Fall in beautiful still-sunny Central Oregon.  As a youngster in this part of the world trick-or-treating was always a delight, where weather was never an issue to be reckoned with.  I don't remember having to run through neighborhoods in the rain.  There were cold nights of course, but nothing that couldn't be overcome with warm long johns under my witch's skirt.

The past few weeks I've been keeping a keen eye on the weather forecast.  I won't be out in the elements on Halloween, but my thoughts are on an outdoor wedding Studio Jay will be photographing the first week of November.  Rarely will we encounter rain, but I'm concerned with the comfort of the bride as we spend an hour or two outside with the pre-wedding shoot.  The wedding couple have their hearts set on images on the golf course, in the aspen trees, and in the pines.  The bride's wedding dress is elegant but gauzy and sleeveless.  What a challenge it is to produce beautiful images of a bride who's shivering with chattering teeth and goose bumps.  A miserable bride on an otherwise amazingly wonderful, memorable day.

I recently clicked on an internet post of "modest wedding dresses" with images of classy beautiful gowns with sleeves and higher necklines.  As I viewed the modest wedding dress slideshow, my thoughts drifted to "warm bride on a chilly day".  Some of these modest dresses make much more sense for the bride who's planning a fall, winter, early spring or cool summer evening wedding.  

Irregardless of weather conditions, from a photographer's point of view modest wedding dresses are a welcome site.  The majority of wedding dresses are sleeveless.  Unfortunately bare arms often appear heavier in photos than they really are and can be a challenge for the professional photographer whose personal goal is to make every bride look stunning.  Even short or cap sleeves make a huge difference in images.  Wedding gowns that are both sleeveless and strapless are generally quite snug and consequently will often create skin rolls at the back and underarms that are not attractive and must also be dealt with at editing time.   

Shopping for a wedding dress?  Sincerely consider a classic, vintage look.  Think beauty, think comfort.  Select a gown that you will feel elegant in outdoors, indoors, and dancing the night away.  


Marlise Jay

Studio Jay Photography

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay modest wedding dress wedding photographer Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:11:15 GMT
"I Just Want a Few Pictures of the Family" After watching a slideshow of their wedding day, Tom handed over the thumb drive of wedding images to an overjoyed bride and groom. 

When Nancy called Studio Jay several months ago looking for a wedding photographer, she was quick to let me know exactly why she only needed a photographer for a few hours of the wedding day.  Older, second marriage for her and the groom, grown children and grandchildren, no wedding party, small wedding, no dancing, no getting ready photos please.  "I'm just looking for someone to take professional pictures of our family and a few of the wedding and you were recommended to me."

Nancy and I discussed more at length what images she was wanting, my suggestions and what we would like to provide for her.  A plan was created we were both pleased with and Studio Jay became her wedding day photographer.

As soon as we arrived at the wedding venue on the big day, I was excited about Nancy's decision to hire a professional photographer to capture the images we felt would be valuable to the couple in years to come.  No, we weren't going to take pictures of the bride and groom getting ready.  But here were the good friends huddled in the kitchen preparing food.  Click.  There was the groom's son in his pre-wedding grubbies with the barbecue beef.  Click.  There was the ring bearer's dad helping the youngster into his suit.  Click.  Ahhh - there were the rings on their satin pillow throne.  Click.  There was the granddaughter playing her violin prelude music.  Click.  And there was the beautiful yard, empty chairs awaiting guests, archway, mountain backdrop and blue skies.  Click. So many scenes play out while the bride and groom are busy getting ready and hiding out. 

When all was said and done, over 500 "clicks" edited into 265 priceless, precious images of an enchanting day.

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay hire a professional photographer wedding photographer Tue, 08 Sep 2015 05:59:37 GMT
Summer! It's officially summer and the fun begins!  Studio Jay makes it's home in a small Central Oregon town and there's no lack of things to do.  We just finished photographs and sound/announcing spring dance recitals with Prineville's High Desert Dance Arts, Dance Arts Unlimited of Madras, and Mrs. Marcelle's Dance with the Athletic Club of Bend.

School's out and now the kids and grandkids begin arriving for various lengths of stay. Crook County Parks and Rec offers a full array of summer possibilities.  We've chosen swimming lessons (3 different levels); big fish-little fish (grandma swims with the 2 year old); tennis for a 6 year old; and jazz/hip-hop dance for our preteen granddaughter.  We may also register for the day trip rafting on the McKenzie River and the Crook County Library checks out a free pass to the High Desert Museum.  

So much to do, so little time!

We've also got to find time to bake and sew and play at the lake.  Two Washington-based granddaughters will be here for 2 weeks and I'm going to have them photograph and journal their stay.  They can send a self-produced photo album to their dad who's working in North Dakota.

Wherever you live, whatever your circumstances, there's a plethora of things to do to entertain you and your family this summer.  Support your community by participating in local activities and events.  Don't forget to record your summer; not just with selfies, but with printed photos the grandkids can carry home to help preserve those great summer memories you've created.

(Studio Jay) Crook County Library Crook County Parks and Rec Studio Jay summer activities Tue, 23 Jun 2015 05:16:10 GMT
Ahhh, Mother's Day Welcome to Mother's Day weekend.  For some this may be bittersweet or even elicit sad or unhappy memories.  But for most, Mother's Day is reason to celebrate  our selfless moms or the joy our own children bring to our lives.  It's a day to thank all those women who helped nurture and guide us - grandmas, moms, aunts, special teachers or friends.

As part of Studio Jay, Mother's Day is a bit about the images, the precious pictures of our grandmas, moms, and babies.  The world is full of snapshots and selfies capturing our many moods.  But there are occasions when a professional photograph is a must; one of those the event of being a new mom.  This beautiful image of mom and baby has always been one of my favorites by Studio Jay.  This is an example of a classic and timeless photograph and the sweet baby is now seven years old!  This picture of him and his mom will never grow old.  

Perhaps a perfect Mother's Day gift would be a session for mom and family with a professional photographer.  Happy Mother's Day to you and all the special ladies in your life!

(Studio Jay) Mother's Day Selfie Studio Jay professional photographer Fri, 08 May 2015 13:36:11 GMT
Something Old, Something New Studio Jay was honored to provide the music and DJ for a wedding yesterday in Central Oregon.  It was a full but fun day as we shared the festivities with the young couple and their families.  The wedding and reception took place at the log structure of the American Legion Hall in LaPine, Oregon, a venue we had never before seen.  As I entered the building I was struck by the look of the room itself, the wedding colors, table arrangement, wedding couple pictures, and the details of the decor and obvious effort that had gone into transforming the log structure into a beautiful space for a special event.  I have to admit that I feel this way every time we are a part of a wedding.  As many weddings as we have been involved with, every couple manages to make their "place" unique and amazing.  Even if it's a venue I have seen numerous times, it will look completely different than what I've seen before.  I enjoy seeing new decorating ideas, new color schemes, new room arrangements and I learn something new or gain new creative ideas each and every time.  

I encourage brides-to-be to enjoy the wedding decorating process.  With sites like Etsy, Pinterest and dozens more, there is no end to fresh fun ideas for wedding decor.  When I ask a bride how she came up with some great new thing, she most often replies that she saw it on Pinterest.  Yesterday I was in the  midst of a new old venue and beautifully creative wedding decorations.  As the event wore on, though, I had the thought that aged experience Studio Jay offered was of great value.  It was important to the success of the wedding that Tom knew how things should flow, how to maintain calm and cheer when things got behind schedule, how to move things along smoothly, who should do what and when.  I have experience dissipating stress, stepping in to help where needed, even running to the kitchen to find a "stand-in" cake cutting knife that will look good in photographs. When interviewing photographers and DJs for your upcoming wedding, remember to give credit to experience.  Experienced people (Something Old) behind the scenes will add to the quality and success of your (Something New) fabulous wedding day.

(Studio Jay) LaPine Oregon American Legion Studio Jay wedding wedding Dj wedding decorations wedding experience wedding photographer Mon, 13 Apr 2015 00:28:54 GMT
Wedding Day Emotions & Beautiful Images Spring has sprung and weddings are on our minds!  It is important that Tom and I at Studio Jay meet with the bride and groom several times prior to their wedding day to cover the usual details - the scheduled events of the day and the images they would like us to capture of family, friends, and the bridal party.  But always the conversation turns to the expected mood of the day.  We offer a pep talk to the bride and groom about relaxing and enjoying themselves.  That idea seems rather obvious, but is not naturally the way things go on a busy, potentially stressful day.  Couples have generally devoted much energy (and money!) over a period of many months to work out each detail of their wedding.  So when that day finally arrives and they want it to be PERFECT, it's hard to let the control pass to someone else and simply enjoy each moment of the day. 

Also, most people aren't comfortable posing in front of a camera, especially when they are nervous about looking perfect - hair, gown, make-up, nails, jewelry, etc. and perhaps worrying about the arrival of the flowers and cake and if Auntie Ann is going to get along with Cousin Kate.  A wonderful article appeared in Brides magazine entitled "Wedding Photographers Share 7 Secrets for Looking Better in Photos". The number one idea was Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, in other words, just let it go.  The article notes that far superior photos will be possible of someone relaxed and enjoying the day versus someone who is nervous, self-conscious, or stressed.  "Live it, be in the moment and stop worrying.  The camera will pick up that happiness, the genuine smile, the emotions."  On your wedding day commit to feeling the love you share, sharing the love you feel, and loving the day!

(Studio Jay) Jay Studio photographers wedding weddings Thu, 19 Mar 2015 04:09:34 GMT
Photography and the Educated Consumer The business of professional photography is a tough one.  Everyone's phone has a better camera than many photographers owned not so many years ago.  So, the average Joe and cousin Suzie believe they are photographers and do, at times, capture some great images.  The "real" professional photographer has had to separate himself from the amateurs by becoming even better!  Studio Jay must produce unique images that the consumer can't replicate without appropriate lighting, props, backgrounds, and training, which we strive to do with every photo session.  

That said, I would like to invite all amateur photographers to educate themselves in the field of photography. Today's mail brought me the just-published Community Learning schedule of classes from Central Oregon Community College.  Not only will you find classes on photography and photoshop, COCC spring term offers iPhone Photography Basics and a new class on organizing and securing your digital photos.  See all the possibilities at  

There are several reasons why I welcome and encourage educated consumers. Someone who dabbles in photography will quickly come to know and appreciate how hard so many images are to capture - the newborn sleeping in a perfect pose, the toddler with a genuine sweet smile, the high school senior who miraculously looks like a model, the bride and groom relaxed and romantic, and the large family looking every bit like it was easy & fun to all get together in front of the camera.  Posing is tricky, lighting is tricky, camera settings can be tricky.  Often it's the amateur photographer who is more willing to hire a professional because he/she knows uncle Joe isn't going to be able to produce the images they want at their important event.  And it's fun to shoot a session with someone who knows something about photography and knows what they want, an idea of how to stand, and will take direction for the most flattering pose.   Educate yourself and you'll love what we do even more!

(Studio Jay) Central Oregon Community College Studio Jay amateur photographer community learning Wed, 04 Mar 2015 06:57:38 GMT
Valentine's Day I'm a bit old fashioned and last week I snail-mailed all 16 grandchildren a Valentine card.  In this high-tech world I know it's till fun to get something in the mail.  My childhood scrapbooks are filled with cards and letters from my own grandma, with messages in her own (cursive!) writing, which I still enjoy looking at and will always cherish.  

In a recent conversation with my youngest daughter, she mentioned to me that she had over 800 pictures in her phone of her two young children.  While she was quite pleased about this, I was horrified!  What if the phone was lost or stolen?  None of those 800 pictures have been printed so no tangible, hard copy exists.  My middle daughter has her hundreds of images in her computer, none of which have been printed either.   

When my kids come home for a visit they love to look through the photo albums and reminisce about their childhood, family vacations, pets, places we've lived, even their own weddings and families.  We've attended a few celebrations of life recently and enjoyed looking through the dozens of pictures that are displayed to honor a life well lived.  Just like I value my grandma's cards and her handwriting, I find great value in the printed picture and am constantly advocating for people to print images they have stored in their devices.  Do something really special this weekend for your Valentines and print some images of them they can hold in their hands, look at often, and even have for future generations.  

(Studio Jay) Valentines album images photo print Sun, 15 Feb 2015 00:23:42 GMT
Say Cheese! I work a few days a week as a dental hygienist and often parents (moms especially) will whip out their phones to photograph their cute child in the dental chair.  That happened last week and I was stuck by the fact that, even in the dental office, the mom said "say cheese" and the 3 year old immediately donned the big, fake, cheesy smile!  As a photographer I couldn't help but think that another child's smile had been ruined by a well-intentioned parent with a camera.  And of course the mom doesn't like the fake cheesy grin either and doesn't realize she is contributing to it.  

If only - From the first day we start photographing our newborn angel we would never say "smile!, say cheese, that's your fake smile, smile or you're in big trouble", or any combination thereof.  The fake thing seems to be a big problem with children from approximately age 2 to age 10.  When families come for a photo session we instruct the parents NOT to instruct the kids!  The best way to capture a genuinely happy face is to simply engage a person in conversation.  Many words we form bring our mouths into a smile shape and we generally will look pleasant when we're talking with someone.  For children, it's important to just let them be themselves or ask them to tell you about their favorite thing to eat or their favorite animal.  Yes, sometimes we do have to revert to me standing on my head or tickling Tom, but 9 times out of 10 we are able to find that beautiful, REAL smile!

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay family photographs smile Wed, 04 Feb 2015 17:43:42 GMT
Incredible Events A big thank you to Incredible Events for producing last Saturday's Central Oregon Wedding & Event Show at the Bend Riverhouse.  It was the first time Studio Jay participated with a vendor booth there and we had a wonderful time.  We were perfectly situated next to gorgeous gowns from The Dress and the folks from Anthony's Restaurant, across from Addy Mac's homemade ice-cream (yum), and close enough to Curby Que Catering to sample their delicious pulled-pork sliders.  Well, it wasn't all about food, but that was a nice perk!  We met great people who were also representing their businesses as well as many happy brides-to-be and their families. It seemed that everyone was having loads of fun.

I personally very much enjoy being part of wedding and event shows.  I love talking with people and of course I hope they will see what Studio Jay has to offer and want to hire us to DJ or photograph their wedding.  In addition, I gain valuable information about weddings and events in general that I can pass onto my clients.  I like that I have met Sanda of Bowtie Catering, for example, and can recommend her, or know that I can rent a beautiful vintage couch from Kim at Peanut's Gallery for a photo shoot.  I now have much more information to share with others and have seen new, creative ideas I'm anxious to put into action.



(Studio Jay) Central Oregon Wedding Event Studio Jay Fri, 16 Jan 2015 05:07:42 GMT
Wedding Shows Tom and I enjoyed last Sunday's wedding event in Redmond sponsored by Comfort Suites and In The Garden Floral.  Thank you to all who attended and stopped by our booth to check out Studio Jay.  It was great meeting other vendors and lots of brides-to-be and their families.  As part of our booth, Tom set up a background and lights and took photos of many of the wedding show guests, and they will be receiving their beautiful images via e-mail in the next few days.  

Now on to the next show!  Incredible Events and the Bend Riverhouse are hosting the Central Oregon Wedding Event & Show this Saturday, January 10, from 10:00 - 4:00 at the Riverhouse.  This will be a grand event with over 60 vendors participating, fashion shows scheduled at 11 and 2, a grooms' lounge (dialed into football games!), and a drawing for a $5,000 dream wedding package.  Yes, Studio Jay will be there so look for us at booth #50.  This promises to be a fun day!  

(Studio Jay) Central Oregon Wedding Event Studio Jay wedding show Wed, 07 Jan 2015 04:56:24 GMT
Happy New Year Welcome 2015!  After relaxing today watching the Rose Bowl (go Oregon), Studio Jay will be on the move.  We'll be kicking off the new year with a wedding show in Redmond on Sunday, January 4th.  This is the Inspiration Wedding & Event Showcase hosted by In The Garden Floral and Redmond Comfort Suites.  If a wedding will be the big event of your new year; or if you're looking for a DJ, photographer, cake, or venue for a special occasion, you'll want to stop by and visit with the vendors at Inspiration Wedding.  Among others, Studio Jay will be joined by our friends at Juniper Golf, Kelly's Cakes, Illuminate Your Night, and Faith, Hope, and Charity Vineyards.  It will be a fun afternoon and we invite you to join us on Sunday between 12 and 6 at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Redmond.  See you there!

(Studio Jay) Inspiration Wedding Studio Jay wedding show Fri, 02 Jan 2015 02:05:50 GMT
Merry Christmas Merry Christmas from Studio Jay!  We hope you've enjoyed this wonderful season and were able to spend time with family and friends.  And, of course, we hope you thought to take lots of pictures to help remember these days for years to come.  Thank you all for your business and support in 2014.  We are looking forward to a great new year!

P.S.  Guess what a professional photographer and DJ gets (himself!) for Christmas?  This year it was a new state-of-the-art lapel microphone.  Tom can stand outside and talk to me through the Bose speakers in the living room!  Now he can't wait to mic the officiant at our next wedding gig.  

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay wedding officiant Fri, 26 Dec 2014 03:49:59 GMT
Hospice Last Saturday evening was the 23rd annual Hospice Christmas tree auction in Prineville, Oregon.  What an honor and pleasure it was for Studio Jay to provide the sound for the event for the second year.  For the auction of 2013, the event moved to the indoor arena at the Crook County Fairgrounds and it was decided that professional sound would be a must for the MC, the auctioneers, the bidders, and guests.  Studio Jay helped make that auction a success and was invited back this year.  It goes without saying that Hospice is a wonderful organization.  Its staff and volunteers offer compassion and support to patients whose earthly lives are nearing the end, and for their loved ones.  Funds from our yearly Hospice auction are used to help those in need who may not have insurance or the financial means necessary for end-of-life care.  I'm proud to report that the 2014 Hospice Christmas tree auction was the most successful ever.  Our small but generous community raised over $100,000 in one evening!    It was an enjoyable and humbling experience for Tom and I to be a part of this event and look forward to being there in 2015.  

(Studio Jay) Crook County Fairgrounds Hospice Prineville, OR Studio Jay Thu, 11 Dec 2014 05:08:58 GMT
Winter Wedding It was near 70 degrees just two weeks ago and now we're buried in a foot and a half of snow with frigid temperatures!  This white stuff is beautiful, though, and I kinda hate for it to melt away, as is predicted to occur in the next few days.  I've been thinking about brides who might be getting married this time of year and the fabulous images a photographer could capture OUTSIDE in this winter wonderland.  Yes, with some creative planning, outdoor wedding pictures would be beautiful.  First, of course, dress for the occasion because freezing isn't fun!  Wear under armour, long-johns, or sweats under your wedding dress or tux.  Wool socks and snow boots will be hidden under a wedding dress, or choose some stylish boots that you can show off.  How cool would it look for the bride and groom to be photographed on snowshoes!  I can just imagine the bride wearing a vintage fur or faux-fur coat or cape, perhaps a colorful wrap, shawl, or bolero.  How about fur mittens?  Remember that real flowers won't like the cold but a bright silk arrangement would be beautiful.  Mother nature provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor winter weddings.  While evergreen trees are the obvious choice, bare branches offer a dramatic look.  Winter days are short and maybe a small fire on the snow would be in order as the sun goes down.  What beautiful images of the bride and groom warming themselves by firelight.   

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay winter wedding winter wedding tips Thu, 20 Nov 2014 05:24:05 GMT
Photo Christmas Cards This evening I'm working on my mother's picture Christmas card design with her recent Hawaiian vacation as the subject of the 2 images she has chosen to send to her many friends.  My mom is almost 89 years old and sent our family's first annual picture Christmas card in 1955!  Yup, that's 59 consecutive years of snapshots of our family.  I have my collection of those cards in an album and what a wonderful history of our family it has become.  Many big events have been depicted in those images -our pets, a first day of school, move to a new house, high school graduations, marriages, my parent's 50th wedding anniversary.  My big sister's favorite of course is me in the 6th grade with blue bat-wing glasses.  Certainly those were in vogue!  No one in our family was much of a photographer and we all remember quite well how difficult it was some years to actually get a family snapshot.  My brother and sister and I would fight and poke at each other and whine about what we were suppose to wear for the occasion or how we were suppose to pose.  Sound familiar to anyone?

I followed in my mother's footsteps and began my own Christmas tradition 26 years ago of sending picture greeting cards for the holidays. Yup, there's the pets, the new house, graduations, and weddings; and some years it was December and we were still scrambling to get everyone together to get a Christmas picture.  And, yes, my kids sometimes fought and poked and whined.  But most importantly, those Christmas cards represent the love of family and memories of years gone by.  

It's not too late to produce your own picture Christmas card this year and get that tradition going in your own family.  Engage a professional photographer to capture an image of your whole family or snap some of your own shots.  Think about wearing vibrant colors or coordinating hues. Look for backgrounds indoor or outdoor that would add texture and personality.  Decorate early and then pose the family peaking out from behind the Christmas tree.  An annual family portrait may be the best Christmas present you give yourself!  Merry Christmas from Studio Jay

(Studio Jay) Studio Jay picture Christmas card tips Thu, 13 Nov 2014 05:42:48 GMT
Fall Happy November from Studio Jay. It's a beautiful fall day in sunny central Oregon!  Sixty-six degrees, sunshine, red and yellow leaves falling; a perfect backdrop for senior & family images, perfect weather for an outdoor wedding.  This was the background for a recent wedding at Juniper Golf in Redmond - a wedding photographer's dream location! Fixott.Misc-276.jpgFixott.Misc-276.jpgJuniper Golf in Redmond was the venue of a wedding photographed recently by Studio Jay. Beautiful!

(Studio Jay) Juniper Golf Studio Jay wedding photographer Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:00:53 GMT
Just getting started Hello everyone!

Please bear with me as I get this site going.  

I hope to keep my followers informed of my activities from time to time on this forum.

Please feel free to comment as you see fit, I look forward to reading your comments.

Tom Jay

(Studio Jay) Fri, 15 Mar 2013 05:17:02 GMT