Welcome to the wedding photography of Brenda Rose and Paul Grupp, two full-time professional photographers who have been shooting weddings for over eight years. Hopefully, the questions and answers below will help you to get to know us a little better. We’d love to be YOUR wedding photographers!
Q. Describe your photographic style.
A. We think our photographic strength lies in our ability to “get” and then tell your story in pictures in a meaningful way that combines humanity and artistry. And not just in terms of how we photograph your wedding, but in the final albums too. People often cry when they first look through one of our albums. We’re not surprised — a wedding is an emotional event, and we work hard to capture and portray that deep emotion. In the end, what we think sets us apart is our skill and deep experience in all three areas of wedding photography — photojournalism, fashionable art photography, and portraiture. Another important difference between us and other photographers is that we keep it real. We want to capture the fun and beauty of what ACTUALLY happened at your wedding — not fill up the day with staged events. So whether your wedding is light-hearted and fun, or elegant and refined, you’ll never see images of dinosaurs or the Walking Dead chasing the terrified wedding party in our photo sets — unless that really happened at your wedding!
Q. Do you consider yourselves to be mostly photojournalistic, or mostly artistic in style?
A. Well, probably everybody would say the same thing, but the truth is, we’re BOTH! Seriously, we have thousands of hours of experience shooting news and events, and we have also shot thousands of portraits and groups and hundreds of weddings. This deep experience gives us the ability to tell your wedding story in a very photojournalistic way, while at the same time, producing beautiful artistic images of you, your party, and your guests. We think one of our strongest assets is our equal comfort and ability with both photojournalistic and artistic styles of photography. One very important difference between us and some other photographers: we see our “mission” as to capture the joy, emotion, and events of your day. While we love nothing more than to give you suggestions during the planning stage on how to have the best possible wedding, we aren’t “fakers.” We don’t like to manufacture pretend situations and setups just to make pretty pictures. We work best with couples who actually plan and enjoy a real experience on their wedding day, and who don’t see it as putting on a show where everyone is acting various parts, and little if anything is real. We want you to have meaningful experiences and enjoy your wedding day and party — and we’ll capture and magnify those experiences photographically.
Q. Do you use assistants?
A. Rarely. We only bring an assistant if there is an unusual need for additional lighting, or an elaborate setup such as remote control cameras or a Photo Station at the reception. Instead of assistants, we bring a second photographer. Twice the eyes, twice the brains, twice the cameras to capture the greatest moments of your days. It’s a good thing.
Q. How many pictures do you take, and how many do we get?
A. The exact number of pictures we take depends on what happens at the wedding. An elaborate wedding with lots of photo opportunities will cause us to take more pictures — a very simple wedding without much going on will cause us to take less. We don’t sell our photography by the pound — we take however many images are needed to tell the story of your day perfectly. The truth is if anything, we tend to over-shoot, and over-deliver — nobody has ever suggested that we deliver too few images!
That being said, some of the variables that affect the number of pictures we deliver at any given wedding are — are you interested in a lot of romantic photography of just the two of you, or are you shy and just let us take a few formal posed pictures? How much time have you allocated to spend on formal photography? If there’s a long receiving line after the ceremony, and then a rush so you can attend the cocktail hour, we may not be able to take as many pictures as we would if there was a relaxed hour built into your schedule for photography. Is the ceremony a simple five-minute event at the reception venue, or an elaborate one-hour Mass in a church? Are there a lot of special dances, speeches, and other events at the reception, or is your wedding all about the food and most guests never leave their tables? Are the venues photogenic with lots of great places to take pictures, or is it difficult to find good places to take pictures? Are the bride and groom both comfortable being photographed, or are one or both of you camera-shy? Do the bride and groom spend lots of time together, dancing and having fun, or do you each go your separate ways with your own friends and just sit at a table all night? Is your wedding in the summer or winter — will it be light outside so we can take you out for extra photos or is it pitch dark outside? (we can’t take many pictures outside in the dark!). Is the weather outside fine, or is it raining or snowing? If it’s raining or snowing, are you game to go out and shoot photos anyway, or are we forced to stay inside shooting in a golf-course ballroom?
As you can see — there are a lot of possible variables – most of which aren’t under the photographers control — so how many pictures we take, well, it depends mostly on you! The most images we have ever delivered for an eight-hour wedding is around 1400; the fewest 500. For the typical wedding, after we sort through all the images, there are anywhere from 500-800 which are good enough to deliver — but we hesitate to promise an exact number, because there are just so many variables. But rest assured — our years of experience with wedding photography means we will capture all the best moments of your day!
The engagement photo session is very much the same thing — some couples have us shoot them in several different locations, and this produces a large number of pictures. Others are just looking for one nice image to give to their newspaper, and so we take just a few in the studio.
Q. Why can’t I get ALL of the pictures you take?
A. Like the vast majority of professional wedding photographers, we take a lot of “extra” pictures in an attempt to make absolutely sure we can deliver the best pictures possible. For example, when shooting a large group, we may take 5 or more exposures, knowing that we’ll be discarding the ones with people looking away from the camera, closing their eyes, or talking to a neighbor. We carefully sort through the images, and discard the ones which are duplicates. This process typically results in a final number of images delivered that is between 500 and 800. We NEVER deliver “everything we take,” because it would cost too much to process all those redundant images. It’s a bit like buying a record album, or a movie — you never expect to hear ALL the takes from the recording studio, or see ALL the footage shot when making the movie. Please be assured that we process our images VERY carefully, and always deliver all images that are worth looking at.
Q. Do you carry backup equipment?
A. Brenda and Paul each carry two Nikon professional digital camera bodies and two flashes. The 36MP full-frame Nikon D800 is one of our favorites (it’s currently the highest resolution DSLR available), and we also use the full-frame D700 extensively. In addition to these, we bring at least one complete extra set of equipment (camera, lenses, flash, cards, batteries, cables, etc.) with us to every wedding. We carry over 180GB of memory cards, so no matter how interesting or complex your wedding is, we won’t run out of “film.” Finally, when we get back to the studio after your wedding, we immediately transfer your images to two separate hard disk drives, and burn a copy onto a third hard drive which is stored offsite. A set of the final images is stored on servers in with data centers in several other states. So the chances of having an equipment malfunction or loss that impacts your wedding pictures is extremely low.
Q. What if you get sick or something — can you guarantee to have replacement photographers at our wedding?
A. Think for a minute about what a photographer — any photographer — would have to do to be able to guarantee to have a replacement photographer available for every wedding they book. For every wedding, they would have to pay a competent, skilled wedding photographer to not book any weddings and to be available with their bags packed every weekend just in case something happens. This would essentially double the cost of your photography! There is simply no other way to back up this kind of guarantee. So the truth is that no photographer, no matter what they say, can guarantee that they will be able to provide a replacement if something happens to them on or just before your date. To promise that they can, without actually booking and paying a professional backup photographer for every wedding they shoot is well, irresponsible. So, what we promise is to make our very best efforts to find a replacement if a catastrophe ever happens. We have lots of wedding photographer friends in the Albany, Saratoga Springs, and Capital Region area, and we’re members of the Professional Photographers of America, so chances are very good we could quickly find a competent replacement. But in all the years we have spent shooting weddings, we have never even been late, much less missed a wedding!
Q. Some wedding photographers are very bossy and pushy. Is that you too?
A. Ouch! Not even a little. We try hard to be everywhere at once, and yet never be overpowering. It’s your day, not ours, and we promise to never forget that. And we think that wedding planning is not the same as photography, so we’ll leave the bossing around to you and your planner. That being said, there is one time during your day where we will be a little bossy — during the half hour or less we spend on the formal group images. During that brief time, we ask for everyone’s undivided attention. We work fast and keep it really fun, and as soon as that part is over, we go back to our usual style of being unobtrusive, and you can go back to your party!
Q. Do you shoot in digital or film?
A. We choose digital for 99.99% of our work, for what we think are some pretty good reasons. Without going into a lot of technical detail, we feel digital lets us take better pictures in low light situations, in circumstances that would not be produce good results with film. We like digital’s ability to shoot every frame in color, and then decide afterwards whether to process as color, or black and white. And the reduced expense of not having to pay for film and processing allows us to spend more time putting together your albums. However, if you have a special love for the look of film, we can shoot all or part of your wedding in 35mm or 6×7 medium format film (significant additional charges apply).
Q. What is your approach to lighting?
A. We prefer to use natural lighting whenever possible. We think it yields the most natural and artistic view of your wedding. Of course, when necessary, we use on-camera and studio flash to supplement or replace the natural lighting. We are experienced photojournalists AND studio photographers, and we are comfortable working with any type of lighting, from nothing but candle-light, to a complex studio lighting set up. Typically, winter weddings which are indoors and mostly at night require the most use of flash — summer weddings tend to use more natural light. It all depends on variables like time of day, season, and the lighting in the venue.
Q. I don’t understand your pricing — you guys are more expensive than a lot of photographers, but half the price of others. Why?
A. Well, we honestly think you get what you pay for. Many of the low-end photographers haven’t been in business very long, and in their lack of experience, they may have neglected to factor in the true costs of post-production and photo archiving, transportation, liability insurance (required by more and more venues), sales and other taxes, equipment depreciation, and a variety of other business expenses. That’s why you see a lot of low-end photographers come on strong, and then suddenly exit the business a year or so later. On the other end of the spectrum, some of our competitors who we respect a great deal charge much more than we do because they have been in the business for 15 years or more, have a long-established reputation, and can charge more because of it. We have been doing wedding photography together for about 7 years, so we currently charge less than the best-known photographers in the Capital Region. At the same time, we are very careful about limiting the money we spend on advertising and marketing, and the savings this achieves are passed along directly to our clients. We are in this for the long run — our goal is to be the hardest-working, smartest-working photographers in the Capital Region of Upstate NY, and it’s our mission to offer better service and deliver better images every wedding!
Availability and pricing on all items and services are subject to change without notice or obligation.