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PhotoTips for your big day

Your wedding day is approaching. And that means that pretty soon someone is going to be snapping a boatload of pictures of you and your beloved. Are you prepared?

Having a camera aimed in your direction for hours on end isn’t something you’re used to – unless of course you’re a hotshot celebrity. Do you know how to look your best for the camera? Advice from photographers around the country.

Just Be You

1. Be Yourself. Don’t try to look or be anything other than yourself. If you are self-conscious about a certain thing and it manifests itself physically, it will ultimately come through in the photography.... Be your best self and you can ensure that the photos will indeed portray you as your best self.

2. Relax. We’re often our worst critics when it comes to pictures. Remember that you want to be seen the way others see you too. While you want flattering photos, you want to make sure that it still looks like you in the pictures.

3. Laugh! It’s flattering on everyone.

4. Think about the moment. Capturing the romance of the day, the emotion, excitement & intimacy is what it’s all about. Don’t look at your photographer, look at your new spouse and savor it all. Your photographs will be amazing & true.

5. Forget the camera is there and try your best to be playful and warm.

6. Have an engagement session. This is so valuable for client and photographer. The clients have an opportunity to relax and be in front of the camera and the photographer can get to know his or her clients. By the time I am at the wedding we are friends and this makes everyone more relaxed!

Dorothy McCuskey 901.359.8575

What Do Wedding Photographers Cost so much

For an eight hour wedding:

- We won’t bore you with the details, but an eight hour wedding typically amounts to at least one full 40 hour work weeks worth of time. Again, if they are charging you $4,000 for an eight hour wedding, you are not paying them $500 / hour. In addition, all of the little “things” you want in the package, the album, the proofing, the prints, the parent albums, are not only expensive for the photographer to buy, but also require a lot of time by the studio to handle and produce.

Now for the expertise.

Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though our camera’s average $4,000-$5,000 for just the body, and most of our lens are in the $2,000 category, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.

Most Professional Photographers take years to go from buying their first decent camera to making money with their photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc.

And let’s not forget that you actually have to have people skills, be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera – and posing people to make them look their best in a photograph is a skill all by itself.

Think of it this way – the next time you pay $100 to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional to actually do the job.

What about the cheap studios at the mall?

Please don’t compare us to the chain store studios. But if you must, consider all of the time and work that we put into our photographs, compared to what they do. Good luck getting a two hour photo shoot at a chain store. Not to mention they won’t come to the beach! And of course, look at our work compared to theirs. You get what you pay for.

The truth is, most of the mall and chain store studios lose money. In fact, in 2007 Wal-Mart closed 500 of their portrait studios because of the financial drain they were putting on the company. What the chain stores bet on is that you’ll come in for some quick and cheap photos, and while you’re there, you’ll also spend $200 on other things. They don’t have to make money, they are just there to get you in the door.


We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs cost so much more than the ones that you get from your local drug store.


-Good information from Debra Weisheit 07/09/12

Dorothy McCuskey 901.359.8575

Things to consider when hiring a DJ for your wedding/reception

What you should consider before hiring your DJ


I recently did a web search just to see what was present in the business of Mobile DJs. To my surprise, I found over 80 local DJs just in the Memphis area and most of them have appeared over the last 4 or 5 years. I did however notice that the top 5 or 6 disc jockeys that started in Memphis, including myself over 20 years ago, are still going strong. Peace of mind is what you want, not horror stories after the fact. By then it is too late. Price alone is not enough to obtain that peace of mind that you want on your special day. The professionals at Memphis DJs understand all aspects of the wedding industry. That’s why I say it is imperative to meet, in a comfortable setting, with your prospective DJ before you make any financial decisions. After all, it would be nice to know that you actually like the personality you are hiring. It is important for you to know just how essential the entertainment is for your event. The mobile DJ plays many important roles in your wedding, as well as the reception. Some questions you should be prepared to go over when meeting are: Will your DJ perform the ceremony music at no additional charge, especially if the ceremony is is the same area as the reception? Can they perform the ceremony with additional equipment if the ceremony is in another area away from the reception? Will your DJ have additional equipment on-hand in the event of a malfunction? Will your DJ act as an MC and make all important announcements throughout the event? Are lights included with their set-up? Some services will charge you additionally for this. When you leave at the end of the night, it is important that you know you’ve made the best investment in entertainment that you possibly could have made. Make sure your DJ is open to your likes and needs. The last thing you want is an over the top professional telling you how to run your event. A DJ is there to give you options and suggestions. It is of the utmost importance that you hire the best that Memphis has to offer. Memphis DJs networks with some of the finest experts in the wedding industry.

” After meeting with you to discuss our plans and what you had to offer, we discovered that you had covered things we had not considered. Since my daughter and I had considered to go at this alone without the assistance of a planner, your continued help throughout the rehearsal, the wedding and the reception was God sent! You are very good at what you do and we want you to know how very much we appreciate your assistance. The music selections you made filled the dance floor considering we thought that there were not going to be many dancers, we were wrong…..”

Many, Many thanks, Linda Rath along with Tom Rath, and Jessica & Cesar Del Bianco (Oct. 14th at the Peabody Hotel)

Anyone can press play, you need more than that. One of the things that your guests will most often remember about your event is how much fun they had. That brings us to the music selection. Your guest list will likely include several generations of your family. Make sure your DJ carries all categories of music from all decades and make sure that you receive a copy of the catalogue so you may choose the type of music that  you, your family, friends and loved ones want to hear. The blend of music that is delivered makes the difference between a full dance floor and guests sitting at their tables all night long.  Beware, some DJ’s are not familiar with music beyond the 1990′s.

“You were the dj at the wedding reception of some friends of ours Chase and Anna Marie Peeler (June 2010 I think). They definitely recommended you, and I remember having a blast at their reception so that speaks for itself. I am looking forward to reviewing the package you are sending in the mail.” Thanks for your time,
Wesley McCarver

“You were able to adapt to curve balls thrown at us by other vendors at our event. Thank you for being so flexible and making everything flow so smoothly throughout the evening. We were impressed by your professionalism as well. We believe that having you as our DJ made our wedding better than we could have ever planned or imagined. Your method of  transitioning from one genre of music to another worked very, very well. Again thank you for being flexible in your arrangement of the music and in the rearrangement of  the evening’s scheduled events. “(first dance, cake cutting, etc.)”

Chris and Amanda Wilson, June 8th

Planning is every bit as important for your entertainment as it is for your event. Make sure that your DJ is going to sit down with you at least two weeks before the big day to go over all of the final details from start to finish (cake cutting, toast, first dance, garter/bouquet, and the exit, just to name a few).  Your ceremony should be as traditional or non-traditional as you want it to be so make sure that your entertainer is open to all types of requests.  Flexibility is a must. Everything from payment options, attire and last minute changes will separate the professionals from the rookies. You should always consider value.  You absolutely get what you pay for.  If the price seems to good to be true, it almost always is just that.  Make sure that you choose a professional who will provide you with what you deserve on one of the single most important occasions of your life. How much are your life long memories worth to you?

There is undoubtedly much, much more information to cover before your wonderful day,  so give us a call or send us your information. We are listed on this web site as a proud member.

Sincerely and congratulations,

Kerry Rogers              Visit me on Facebook -



Picking your Photographer

With recent horror story’s of failed wedding photography and bad services in the media it has never been more important to do your research when booking a wedding photographer. The problem is photography is simply so accessible for everyone these days, you buy yourself a fancy looking SLR, you set up a website and there you have it your now a professional photographer. I am however afraid to say that getting professional results is much more difficult than that and by the time many couples find this out its just to late for them. I have even seen evidence of photography websites stealing other photographer’s work and passing it off as their own in order to book unsuspecting wedding clients. So just how do you spot the good from the bad?

While we all love a bargain some things are simply to good to be true. There is a wide range of prices and packages available on the market so finding value is possible but if the price is significantly cheaper than the local market/competitors then they must be cutting costs somewhere down the line. This is often simply due to the lack of skill from the photographer and that they just wouldn’t get any bookings if they charged the same as there professional competition. So when thinking of wedding photography you have to remember that it is an investment. When the dress has been worn, the food has been eaten the one thing that remains for years to come is the wedding photography. Don’t think cheap, think value.
Ask Questions.
One of the first things you should do when you think you have found a photographer is to ask to meet them in person. This will be your chance to quiz the photographer. A professional photographer will be very much used to any questions you have for them and happy to answer any concerns so don’t be afraid to ask anything.
Questions to ask at this meeting are.

How many weddings has the photographer shot?
What equipment the photographer use? (This may mean nothing to you but take note of how confident the photographer is in their answer. Does it appear they know their gear inside and out?).
Does the photographer have backup if a camera or other piece of equipment was to break?
Does the photographer carry business insurance? (Many venues will not allow a photographer to work in their venue if they do not).
Is the person you are meeting actually your photographer on the day?
Is the work you are seeing their own?
See a whole wedding… or 2.
Seeing a few nice shots from varies weddings is fine but anyone can get lucky and if they shoot 2000 photos and only get 1 nice shot that’s pretty worthless for your wedding day. Ask to see some album examples showing a whole wedding from start to finish. This will also give you a chance to ask some more questions on how they work to see if there style suits you and to make sure the work you see is there own. Look for a consistent standard of work no matter what the situation. You want your photographer to be able to produce a high standard of image in all lighting conditions and under any pressures.
Use Internet reviews
The great thing about the Internet is that the word can be spread very quickly if there is rouge out there. Search not only for the company name but also the name of the photographer, as it is very possible they may have built a bad reputation under a previous name. Finding one bad review may not mean they are all bad but if it’s an on-going pattern then beware.


Recommendations and referrals are the professions best friend. Any company worth considering will aim to always please and asking friends who are already married can give you that piece of mind.

Ok so this  may sound a little doom and gloom. Wedding photography is not all bad and most of the photographers you will find and meet will be honest businesses with a passion for photography and a pride in their work. However there are rouges out there and taking simple steps and doing lots of research will help you spot them fast and not become a victim of there low standards and terrible service.


-Dorothy  McCuskey 901.359.8575

How much are Invitations?

Wedding invitations can be a large expense or can be affordable, depending on your creativity and budget. Wedding invitation can range from $1.50 each to $25.00 or more each. It all depends on the type of paper, if you’re getting high-end printing (such as engraving or letterpress), tri-folds and bi-folds, pocket style invitations, and embellishments. The extras, such as bows and extra layers of paper can really add up. If you want to save money on your invites, it’s best to keep it simple. Another way you can save is to have guests RSVP to a website, an email address or phone number rather than sending a reply card back. This saves on the cost of the actual invitation as well as on the postage.


"Like" Dixon Prints on Facebook - - Invitations as low as $1.75 each (pictured below)

A Venue to definitly be looked at!

The Belle was built by Schlitz, the original owners, in 1972.  It was renamed the Stroh Belle in 1982 with Stroh's purchase of Schlitz.  In 1990, it became the Coors Belle. In 2006 it became”The Belle”.  The simple name is design to maintain the true essence of the name as well as the name that Memphians recognize and have come to love. Russell Zimmerman designed the Belle and collected the memorabilia. Duncan Allenson Spencer of MGM Studios hand-painted the mural (200' X 15').


This unique venue is a recreation of a Mississippi Sternwheeler of over a century ago. This hospitality center with its majestic riverboat theme has a historic yet elegant flair. The Belle is the ideal location to entertain and host your special occasion.


Our facility has two separate event spaces The Belle Ballroom accommodates up to 250 Guest. The Ball room can be used for a variety of different functions whether it a wedding, receptions, parties, reunions, or anniversary. This ballroom can provide you with the atmosphere catered to your specific taste. The Texas Deck accommodates up 75 guests. The ideal room for business meeting, showers, trailing classes, or gathering you might have holiday parties accommodating up to 75 guests.

The Belle is located at: 5241 East Raines Rd., Memphis, TN


Getting Rid of Wedding Stress

Stress is natural, it happens. But when you have that support system to be there as a buffer it makes life so much easier for both the bride and the groom.

So, what causes blushing brides to become bridezillas? The pressure can build and really get to people. Those who get easily stressed out may not be able to cope with it well and it comes out in yelling, getting upset.

How to avoid wedding stress?  Experts say:

1. Stay healthy, don't let your diet or exercise routine suffer.
2. Learn how to delegate, ask people to help.
3. Break things down to manageable tasks and focus only on those tasks one at a time.
4. Make a timetable
5. Utilize technology by posting a website.

Technology will help you eliminate a lot of the anxiety and stress and make it so much easier to communicate with everybody and have everything organized. And most important: keep to a budget so things don't get out of hand.

Photo by Dorothy McCuskey 901.359.8575


Wedding Accessories: Must I Wear a Wedding Veil?

What's the story with wedding veils? Do I have to wear a wedding veil, and if so, for how long?

Besides being a bridal icon -- and coquettishly sexy to boot -- the wedding veil has many symbolic interpretations and uses around the world and in different religions. For example, wedding veils were once donned as protection from evil spirits or used to prevent the bride and groom from seeing each other until the deal was sealed in an arranged marriage. Times have changed, but the wedding veil remains a popular part of the bridal ensemble. That said, you do not have to wear a veil on your wedding day, just as you do not have to toss your bouquet, wear a garter, or smear cake on each other's faces. If you do choose to wear a wedding veil, it is traditional to wear a blusher-style veil down the aisle, which is then lifted by either your father (before he leaves your side), maid-of-honor (before the final vows), or groom (after the final vows). If you don't like the idea of wearing a blusher, you can certainly walk down the aisle with your wedding veil worn back and away from your face. How long you wear your veil is up to you. Some brides find them somewhat unruly -- especially if you're getting married at the beach or other windy locale -- and can't wait to take them off after pictures or before they hit the dance floor. Luckily, many wedding veils are now detachable, which means they simply Velcro to your headpiece and can be easily removed without ruining your hairstyle. Keep your options open: Try out a variety of veils when you go gown shopping to make your final decision. And if you decide you don't care for them, simply go veil-less and don't wear one at all!

As a photographer I do love the detachable veils they are very fun to photograph! :-)  -Dorothy McCuskey 901.359.8575

photo by PBD Studios -Dorothy

Weam Team Wedding

Congratulations to Ashley and Joshua big wedding day March 25th  2012! This was nearly a WEAMTEAM wedding we met them last year March 2010 at a Weddings and Events Seminar at Le Pavillon. They booked everyone we had there based off availabilty. This was a fun fun wedding. The Venue was Carahills II in Gallaway TN, They booked there honeymoon to Jamica with Travel Leaders the Collierville office 901-853-6200 and they enjoyed it so much they HAVE already booked another trip through them back to Jamica! wahoooo.  The flours were done by Paula Payton -Paytons Perfect Designs absolutely STUNNING! Drapers did the catering and the cake ALL VERY YUMMY! PBD Studios Dorothy McCuskey and Elizabeth Schaulk did the photography I think we did a pretty good job (wink) and Don Lawler with Story Tellers did the video. Andria Lewis was the Event Planner doing a amazing job keeping this in order. <BR>

Absolutely Stunning couple!

-Dorothy McCuskey PBD studios 901.359.8575





Roses are Red and I Love You!

Is rose red your favorite color? Are roses your favorite flower? Incorporate them into your wedding invitation. A rose is a romantic idea to use as a theme for your wedding. No other flower has proven to be the flower of love like the rose. The rose is the symbol to describe love and affection. Wedding invitations with roses are extremely popular with romantic, traditional or contemporary brides.
A simple wedding invitation, with a romantic rose has the effect to add a touch of elegance to your wedding.