Tom and Marlise Jay, from Studio Jay, took some time out from their busy schedule to talk with us a bit about their DJ and Photography business. As our only member to do both photography and DJing, we really wanted to know more about them and whether or not they do both at the same time.
How did you get started doing photography and DJing for weddings?
When Tom and I got married 9 years ago I married into the wedding photography and DJ business. For Tom, on the other hand, it has been a process over several decades. He is a natural-born musician with an ear for perfect pitch and tone. He has played and sung in a number of bands over the years covering a wide variety of genres; jazz, dixieland, country, cowboy, and classic rock. With his musical involvement he started acquiring sound equipment and began mixing sound for his own groups as well as for others. Tom is very particular so he purchased only the best and was a popular sound tech because he had an ear for what sounded great to audiences and musicians alike. On a smaller level, he was asked to help with the music at his daughter’s dance recitals, a job which lasted over 20 years. As chance would have it, a photographer was needed at one of those recitals and Tom volunteered. He’s artistic and began dabbling in photography and purchasing photography equipment, continuing with dance photography and for family and friends. Because he wanted to learn more and become a better photographer, he worked through the New York Institute of Photography courses, and began hiring out as a professional photographer. With sound and with photography, the more he did, the better he got and the more he enjoyed it. Tom photographed his first wedding about 10 years ago, DJing parties and weddings nearly as long.
Are you able to do both on the same day, or do you have to choose one or the other?
I would have to answer that questions with a laugh and say “it depends on which one of us you ask.” The answer is generally that we have to choose to do photography or DJ for a wedding, and not do both for one event. It’s important to be able to focus (no pun intended) on either the music or photography at a wedding and not compromise either. Occasionally at a small wedding, small venue, we have done both successfully for a bride and groom.
What’s it like to work together as a couple?
We are happy being together so that makes working together easier. We have found over the years that we make a great team, especially at weddings. We feel that a wedding requires two people, whether we are photographing or DJing. If DJing, Tom can be running the sound equipment while I am cueing him from signals from the wedding coordinator, watching for the arrival of the bridal couple, identifying who will be toasting, etc. We’ve even communicated with walkie-talkies at a wedding where the processional was not in view of the DJ. When photographing a wedding, I have become the second shooter. It’s so important to have a second camera with an opposite point of view at a wedding to capture all the important images. And while Tom is more technical and intense, watching the lighting and background; I am more the people person, calming the bride, posing the dress, rounding up the groomsmen, etc.
Who is your ideal client?
Clients are unique and we enjoy them all. We like a mature couple who know what they want, a happy couple, in love, and happy to smile. I know that sounds like a given, but some brides and grooms feel stressed on their wedding day and some people don’t smile readily or like to be in front of the camera. Tom and I do everything in our power to help a wedding move smoothly and not add stress to the day. A wedding without stress makes for a calmer, happier, smiling couple.
What photography tool could you not live without?
I asked Tom and he immediately responded with “my camera!” When pressured to come up with another tool he chose “lighting”.
What’s your favorite part about working in the wedding industry?
What an amazing treat to be part of someone’s most important day of their life! We have loved meeting and working with brides and grooms and their wonderful families. And we truly enjoy working with other wedding vendors who are also striving to help a couple have the most memorable day ever. Oh – and then there’s the joy of sharing those beautiful images with the bride and groom after the wedding.
What else should we know about you?
If you take a look at our website (studio-jay.net), you’ll see great diversity. Not only does Tom DJ, do event sound, and photograph weddings; he also captures sweet images of newborns, families, seniors, and dancers. About 4 years ago we did some new branding and decided to ‘grow’ the business. I encouraged Tom to choose his favorite thing to do and we would direct our energy toward that market. But he couldn’t choose. He says he loves it all and doesn’t want to give up any of it. So Studio Jay continues to be sound and DJing, babies and brides. And we really do enjoy it all!
So now we know a bit more about Tom and Marlise from Studio Jay. If you liked learning more about them, make sure you check out more Member Spotlights to find out more about some of the great members we have in the Wedding Professionals Association of Central Oregon.