Studio Jay: Blog en-us (C) Studio Jay (Studio Jay) Sun, 22 Apr 2018 22:49:00 GMT Sun, 22 Apr 2018 22:49:00 GMT Studio Jay: Blog 120 80 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 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 set 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