Kip and Kate get married in New York!

Kip and Kate came over from Wales with a few close friends and family, and had the most remarkable mid-January Central Park wedding.

When Kip first contacted us last October about their wedding plans, as you can imagine, as long-time New-Yorkers Brenda and I were terrified about what weather they might find when they arrived here in the middle of January.

We shouldn’t have worried. Along with their friends and family, they brought enough warmth to fill the entire city, and they had an absolutely perfect wedding at the pool of Bethesda in Central Park. I’m sure they’ll never forget their January wedding in New York City — and the truth is, neither will we. Want to see more of Kip and Kate’s wedding? Click here.

We love your style, Kip and Kate. Here’s wishing you years and years of joy and happiness!

Actor’s headshot Q and A

Should I get B&W or color Headshots?

This goes in cycles. Years ago, after color prints became widely available, the theory was that black and white was timeless, and gave you legitimacy. Then color took over. A couple years ago, a few agents and managers started favoring B&W again, because it makes your headshot stand out from the rest. But that was yesterday. Today, virtually everyone recommends color only. And generally speaking, you should go with natural color. Avoid heavily tinted, manipulated or filtered color – most often, it just ends up making your headshot quickly look passé or dated. Very rarely, a specific look WILL look great when the color is treated, but most often, it suggests that the photographer is just trying to show off their skills,and now the headshot is more about them than you and that’s never good!

Should I get a commercial or theatrical headshot done?

You should get both, and any competent headshot photographer can give you both from a single photo session. A commercial headshot is what you use when going for a print job or some other activity where you will be repping a brand or selling a product or service. Most often, a commercial headshot will show you smiling, preferably showing your teeth. A theatrical headshot is used for casting for motion picture, TV, or the theatre, and is more about you as a character. It may be dramatic, comic, or neutral, with a smile or without, depending on who you are and the type of roles you are seeking.

Horizontal or vertical?

Headshots are traditionally vertical. A few photographers favor horizontal images, arguing that they are more interesting visually, and will make your headshot stand out from all the vertical ones. But be careful! When placed in a set of thumbnails such as on a casting site, that horizontal image may end up not showing your face. So we still recommend vertical for theatrical headshots, with a little more leeway for commercial.

All the advice online says a good headshot should cost $300 to $500. If you guys are so good, why do you charge so much less?

Because most good headshot photographers are located in big cities like NYC and LA. Almost everything in those cities, from studio space to transportation costs four times what it does here in the Capital Region. We have a nice 2000 square foot studio loft with both natural window light and studio flash, just like the best Manhattan headshot studios – but we don’t pay ridiculous Manhattan rents, so we pass the savings along to you. Honestly, anything else would just be greedy.

Which is better, natural or studio light?

There’s no easy answer to this one. It depends on a huge list of variables, including your skin tone, features, hair type, the photographer’s skill (or lack thereof!). . .you name it. So we almost always shoot in both types of light, and you can decide later which works best for you. If weather permits, we also shoot a look or two outdoors.

I’m a guy — do I need to have makeup done for my actor’s headshot?

If you routinely wear makeup, or if your roles or activities in front of the camera require you to wear makeup (on-camera news staff, for example) than yes, you should have makeup done for your headshot session. For the rest of you, we say no.

Case study: Headshots for OrthoNY merger and new website

In the fall of 2012, Brenda and I were approached by a brand management firm with an interesting project: two major Capital Region Orthopedic Surgery firms were in the process of merging. Northeast Orthopedics and Orthopaedic Associates of Saratoga were to become OrthoNY, and part of the project was a new website with new images of some 50 doctors, physician assistants, nurse practicioners, and management team members.

The requirements were a little daunting — because the merger was still unannounced and in the process of negotiations at the time, absolute secrecy and confidentiality was required. We knew from previous experience that doctors’ busy schedules and heavy workload would make them intolerant of anything other than a fast, professional session that took them away from their duties for the minimal time possible. In addition, the visual requirements were highly specific: The client wanted the photos to have a high degree of uniformity in terms of lighting, cropping, pose, and expression, and yet they wanted each person’s individual personality communicated in an approachable and attractive manner.

We quickly discovered that the biggest challenge was scheduling: just getting everyone in front of the camera in time for the target web site launch date in early January was an aggressive plan. And then, achieving the visual goals added another layer of stress.

Ultimately, we ended up completing the headshots in four separate on-site photo sessions. We essentially brought Upstate Photographers to one of their office locations, and set up a makeshift studio in some unused office space. We used four studio strobes and a 9-foot white seamless background, with all distances, heights and equiment settings carefully recorded in Brenda’s notebook to allow exact repeatability on subsequent sessions.

We selected the full-frame Nikon D700 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom for the camera. Two radio-triggered Elinchrom BX500ri studio strobes with large Elinchrom softboxes served as the main and fill lights, while Alien Bees AB-800’s lit the background through a pair of Creative Light stripboxes. We shot tethered to a 27″ iMac, allowing the client to see the results in real time, and facilitating the minute adjustments necessary to achieve the strict level of uniformity required in the final result.

To keep up with the sometimes unpredictable flow of subjects for our camera, on the second day we decided to add an additional makeup artist — professional makeup artist Barbara Whitchurch was joined by the unflappable Erin Marzilli, and we were able to move the physicians and staffers through the entire process of makeup, wardrobe selection, photography, and image selection rapidly, so they could return to their duties as soon as possible. Because the doctors sometimes arrived in groups of five or six, we set up an ad hoc waiting room with borrowed chairs and dunkin’ donuts coffee. We couldn’t help smiling at the reversed roles — now WE had the “chairs area” and the doctors were waiting there for US! Funny stuff. . .

The project was a great experience, and we learned more about the ins and outs of lab-coat steaming, tie selection and adjustment of neckties, and expression management than we ever thought possible! Here’s a screenshot of the new OrthoNY website, “Our team” page that features our headshots:

OrthoNY "Our Team" page featuring Upstate Photographers headshots

If your small business, corporation or practice is contemplating an image makeover of small or large scale, please consider retaining us for your photography needs. We have the experience, resources, and scale to get it done on budget, on time, in a smooth and professional manner, causing as little turbulence for you and your employees as possible!

Fashion Shoot for Some Girls Boutique

Some Girls Boutique, just a couple blocks up River Street from our studio, needed some images for their online catalog. We have been finetuning our studio processes to allow lightning fast turnaround on fashion photography. What a great opportunity for us to showcase our fashion photography chops, and for Some Girls to get the pictures they need! Now get over to the Some Girls Boutique website and buy some clothes — you know you want to! You can check out their Facebook page by clicking here.

Want to see more from this fashion shoot? Click here!

Randi and Alpha’s New Year’s Eve Wedding

We wrapped up the 2012 wedding season with an off-the-hook New Year’s Eve wedding at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, NY. Randi and Alpha have been together for 12 years and decided that a New Year’s Eve wedding was the perfect way to celebrate their decision to (finally:) tie the knot! Their family and friends couldn’t have agreed more, so they took over the hotel for the night, and had a crazy fun party which was fueled by DJ Andy Pratt and the Upstate Photographer’s Photo Station. We absolutely loved working with this couple and their family and friends who kept us smiling happily the entire night. Here’s to a New Year filled with love to Randi and Alpha–Congrats!

Vendor Roundup

Hair and Makeup: Studio 71 Salon and Spa, Glens Falls, NY

DJ: Andy Pratt

Florist: Parkside Flowers

Paper goods: Gourmet Invitations

Photographers and Photo Station: Upstate Photographers

Want to see more of Randi and Alpha’s wedding? Click here!

Alyssa and Robert’s Saratoga Springs Wedding

Alyssa and Robert planned their late November evening wedding at Longfellow’s Hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY. Alyssa’s choice of a silver bridal gown with matching silver Doc Martens was the perfect compliment to Robert in his black Doc Martens and tux. A StarWars LEGO cake topper added to the whimsy: a unique touch for a unique couple! Patrick Bergeron of Metro Music entertained with music that kept the dance floor busy all evening. We wish Alyssa and Robert all the best in their new life together!

Vendor Roundup
Venue: Longfellows Restaurant
Patrick Bergeron of Metro Music
Makeup: Lipstick N Lashes

Want to see more of Alyssa and Robert’s gorgeous wedding? Click here!

Colleen and Mike’s November Wedding!

Colleen and Mike’s wedding day was filled with joy and warmth despite the chilly November weather! After a beautiful ceremony at Colleen’s family church in Fort Ann, Colleen and Mike were driven to the reception in style in Colleen’s dad’s restored Chevy. This was our first time shooting at the amazing Jimbo’s on The Point, and it was a perfect location for the reception. The huge ballroom is decorated in warm adirondack style, and the wall of windows overlook Brant Lake and the Adirondacks. Colleen and Mike and their bridal party, being really good sports, braved the below freezing weather for a portrait session on the beach while the guest enjoyed cocktail hour by the fireplace inside. The evening ended with a bonfire on the beach; a perfect way to end this couple’s wonderful wedding day! Congratulations to Colleen and Mike!

Vendor Roundup

Venue: Jimbo’s Club on the Point
Greg Frasier
Hair and Makeup: Lipstick and Lashes
St. Ann’s Church, Fort Ann NY
Photographers: Brenda and Paul of Upstate Photographers

Want to see more of Colleen and Mike’s Wedding? Click here!

Georgie and Brian’s Saratoga Springs Wedding

Just ask Georgie and Brian and they will tell you…”All you need is love!” These Saratoga Racing aficionados chose their favorite places in Saratoga Springs to celebrate their late-October wedding day. They exchanged vows in the backyard of their new home with Saratoga Mayor Scott Johnson officiating, then took the trolley to the track for a fun photo session (with a quick stop at 9 Maple–the spot where they first met!) The National Museum of Racing was the perfect location for the reception–surrounded by all things horse racing. Table designs by Brendan Flanigan integrated the racing theme with beautiful lighted centerpieces, making the room look spectacular. Topping everything off was the great entertainment by Bluz House Rockers–they had everyone on the dance floor! It was an evening to remember for this lovely couple, and we wish them all the best!

Vendor Roundup

[box_green]Venue: National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Florist: Brendan Flaningan Design
Girls getting ready location: Gideon Putnum Hotel
Band: Bluz House Rockers
Photographers: Paul and Brenda of Upstate Photographers[/box_green]

Want to see more of Georgie and Brian’s wedding photos? Click here!


Gabrielle and Scott’s Autumn Wedding at Saratoga National

Gabrielle and Scott win the prize for the having the rainiest wedding day in Upstate Photographer’s history! But they also win the prize for the most wonderful attitude towards their a rainy day wedding! It was such a pleasure to work with this couple — they smiled all the way through the constant rearranging of locations for the first sighting, bridal party pics and family portraits caused by the weather. No doubt we will be telling their story for years to come to anxious brides worried about rain on their wedding day! Gabrielle and Scott knew that they were marrying the person they loved most — come rain or come shine. If tradition holds true, they will have a long and successful marriage. Congratulations Gabrielle and Scott!

Want to see more of Gabrielle and Scott’s wedding? Click here!

[box_green]Vendor Roundup
Venue: Saratoga National
DJ: Jeff from Piano Man DJ
Flowers: The Flower Garden
Day of Coordinator: Tracy
MUA: Andrea of Amy Elizabeth Makeup Designs
Video: Brett Wasserman
Photography: Paul Grupp and Brenda Rose for Upstate Photographers[/box_green]

Laura and Cody’s Glen Sanders Wedding


Laura and Cody exchanged vows under the gazebo at Glen Sanders Mansion overlooking the historic Mohawk River, on another fabulous autumn day (October 14, 2012) in Upstate New York! Great family and close friends helped them celebrate in the beautiful Mansion ballroom, with music provided by DJ and performer Mitch Frasier. We wish Laura and Cody all the best!

Vendor Roundup
[box_green]Venue:Glen Sanders Mansion Scotia, NY
DJ: Mitch Frasier
Flowers: Dawn Decker
Hair: family friend janine
Officient: Jim Manuel
Photographers: Paul and Brenda of Upstate Photographers

Meghan and Ryan’s October 13, 2012 wedding!

It was a brisk and beautiful mid-October day for Meghan and Ryan’s Upstate NY wedding, with both ceremony and reception held at the beautiful Hiland Park Country Club. Aubergine and green were the colors of the day, highlighted by sweet apple decorations at the place settings. It was a fun-filled reception with love to spare for the happy couple! Congratulations Meghan and Ryan!


Want to see more of Meghan and Ryan’s Wedding? Click here!

[box_green]Vendor Roundup

Venue: The Hiland Park Country Club, Queensbury NY
MUA: Jen McCarthy Norton of True Grace Makeup
DJ: Tom Silva and All Around Sound
Hair: Styles Salon Queensbury
Officient: Rev. Laura Mitchell
Photographers: Paul and Brenda of Upstate Photographers, Troy NY[/box_green]