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It’s all about the details for married Naples photographers

September 23, 2018

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — A diamond ring catches the light.

A bouquet of purple flowers stands out over a stark white dress.

A groom smiles big when he sees his bride for the first time.

It’s all about the details for Matt and Melissa “Meli” Neubek, a married couple who live in Golden Gate Estates and started Neubek Photographers to zero in and capture happy moments — weddings and all.

The creative duo tagged team as photographers for their first wedding in 2015 and knew they had something special together, both drawn to the little details that make every wedding unique — capturing everything from the raw emotions of the bride and groom to the smallest but two most important items at a wedding, the rings.

“That’s when I knew for sure this is what we were supposed to do,” said Meli Neubek, 30.

To understand the attention-to-detail approach the Neubeks take with their photography is to know the couple behind the lens.

Meli Neubek was born and raised in Boston by a Venezuelan family. Growing up, photography was always a passion of hers.

While she loves taking photos of food and nature, her favorite subject is people. In 2011, she earned a degree in digital photography at a school in Boston. “I just love talking to people, making them laugh and making them feel comfortable,” Meli Neubek said.

She moved to Southwest Florida in 2014 and pursued another passion — writing — and started taking classes at Florida Gulf Coast University in hopes of earning a journalism degree. One of her prerequisites was a math class taught by instructor Matt Neubek.

The connection was instant.

“We waited until the end of the semester to get involved and married a year later in Boston,” Meli Neubek said.

Unlike his wife, Matt Neubek, 39 didn’t study photography in school. The Chicago born, Naples raised mathematics instructor earned his bachelor’s in philosophy and master’s degree in applied mathematics.

He’s a self-taught photographer. “I learned pretty much everything I know simply from reading the manual, which came with my camera and also trying all the settings and buttons and taking a bunch of pictures,” said Matt Neubek, 39. He received his first DSLR camera as a gift from his dad.

After getting hitched in 2015, they started their business a year later.

And while they know how to make a shot look great, Meli Neubek said their goal is to make their subjects feel comfortable and be themselves.

“I’m a storyteller before a photographer,” she said. That goes with anything they shoot; weddings, engagements, holiday cards, family portraits, and business branding.

Meli Neubek put school on a temporarily hold to focus all her energy on the business while her husband continues teaching at FGCU. He still tag teams with his wife on most photo shoots, no matter how big or small.

“While it may seem like overkill for a family of four to have both of us as photographers, (Matt) hanging out with the dad and getting him to relax while I’m taking pictures of his kids’ works,” she said.

As the years have gone by and the business, has grown the Neubeks said they’ve had somewhere between 150 to 200 clients. In March, they opened a gallery and office in Naples.

The nicely-sized space at an office building near Pine Ridge and Goodlette-Frank roads is mainly used for client consultations. And it’s also a chance for the Neubeks to show off what they can do with a camera with dozens of their past works displayed on the neutral walls.

The gallery also has a play area for kids when families stop by for consultations and a craft space, where the Neubeks package finished custom-made wedding albums.

The pair offers a selection of several wedding photo collections, starting at $3,600. Prices vary depending on time and selected photo options; digital and print photos, wall art, etc. They hope to add a studio space to do photo shoots in the near future.

As first-time business owners, it hasn’t always been easy.

Meli Neubek compares it to building a plane as she’s flying it.

“And I’m trying to hold the pieces of the plane together while she’s building and flying, redirecting and navigating and piloting,” her husband said.

With every shoot, the Neubeks learn even more about photography and running a business.

“When we’re at a shoot or wedding, we’re there, we’re working, we’re crafting and creating and have our eyes on everything,” Matt Neubek said. “For as much fun as we have with what we do we take it very seriously.”

And there is no limit to what lengths Meli Neubek said she’ll go for the best shot.

“Even if that means rolling around in the grass or climbing a tree,” she said.

Her husband is a certified drone pilot, and has captured aerial shots of couples and their nuptials.

With wedding season starting here around September, the duo’s calendar is packed for the rest of the year. While they shoot mostly local weddings, they also travel to other states and have shot a wedding at Cancun, Mexico.

The Neubeks travel to Boston, Meli’s hometown, occasionally to shoot weddings. The pair hopes to do more of those trips and alternate between Naples and Boston depending on wedding season, which typically starts up north around April, ending in October.

But Naples is home base.

The Neubeks said they’ve found their place in the local small business community.

They are friends with and support fellow business owners from Naples’ Kunjani Craft Coffee & Gallery to Sugarshack, a multimedia production company based in Bonita Springs. They’ve also partnered with local nonprofits, donating a small percentage of every purchase to a cause.

“When we opened our gallery I looked around the room at one point...And I remember thinking how many movers and shakers there were in the room, either they own their own business or are striving to do it,” said Meli Neubek.

“If we keep these people in our circle, we’re going to help continue building this community down here in Naples.”

And the Neubeks said they plan to do that as storytellers.

A mission statement of sorts is pasted on one of the gallery’s walls:

The thing is...cliche or not, life is short.

Moments quickly become memories.

Our job is to watch the moments that tell the story. Your story.

Your job is to simply be yourself...

___

Information from: Naples (Fla.) Daily News, http://www.naplesnews.com

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