Rochester Wedding Photographer
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An award-winning NY destination wedding photographer

With studio locations in both Rochester NY and Buffalo NY, wedding photographer Paul D. Van Hoy II has an immediate coverage area ranging from New York City to Montreal, including Finger Lakes and Syracuse.

For those outside the country, Fotoimpressions maintains a current passport. Van Hoy can therefore operate as a NY destination wedding photographer with a worldwide service area, including Cuba.

Photography Services

  • Architectural

  • Commercial

  • Editorial Portraiture

  • Headshots

  • Senior Portrait Photography

  • Stock

  • Advertising

  • Food

  • Travel

Van Hoy is one of the most sought-after wedding photographers in Rochester NY - and the United States. His outstanding portfolio has earned him commissions from San Antonio, Texas, to Montreal, and as far as South America and Sicily.

He has also achieved worldwide acclaim, receiving distinction in 2007 as Microsoft's "Photographer of the Year".

An alumnus of the Rochester Institute of Technology's prestigious Master of Fine Arts program, Van Hoy's award-winning work has been featured in some of the most popular wedding magazines - including Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle Wedding, Brides, and Bridal Magazine.

His Fine Art and Editorial work has been showcased in PDN, Digital Photo Pro, Camera Arts, and Rangefinder Magazine.

As well as offering wedding photography in Syracuse and surrounding areas, Van Hoy is also a published author with a newly released title: Wedding Photojournalism | The Business of Aesthetics. This was published in May of 2011 by Amherst Media, and is available through all major booksellers.

Below, Paul answers some frequently asked questions based on his years of experience.

What are the advantages of hiring a professional to photograph your wedding?

Wedding Photography is an art form and a highly specialized trade unto itself. It requires a repertoire of talent and expertise ranging from technical acumen and acuity to a finely honed artistic ability. And of course, it requires professional poise, i.e. the ability to deliver under immense pressure and amid extremely challenging and high-stress situations while maintaining composure and a professional demeanor.

A veteran wedding photographer's greatest advantage is experience - both in the form of formal training as well as industrial experience. He or she will possess a level of training and proficiency that far exceeds and outshines that of any friend or family member, no matter how hardcore a hobbyist he or she might be.

A professional wedding photographer will not only have many weddings under their belt, but they will also be properly outfitted with high-grade "professional" gear, which enables them to capture images in situations where amateur-level cameras simply cannot perform.

Professionals have assistants and carry back-up gear. They also maintain professional liability insurance and work under contractual agreement/s guaranteeing that the client's interests, expectations of service and products will be met as per the client's request/s by a governing deadline.

As a professional - and a leader for Rochester NY wedding photography - I offer an exemplary and unparalleled service to my clientele. But beyond their investment in the tangibles, I offer them peace of mind - which you really can't put a price tag on. They know that they can rely on me based on my reputation and many years of experience, and that their most prized and precious moments will forever be immortalized in a way that someone with less experience, skill, and artistic ability could not deliver.

The adage that, "you get what you pay for" could not be more fitting than in the field of professional wedding photography in Rochester NY. It's rather simple really; you probably wouldn't entrust a friend or family member to cut/style your hair or do your make-up, so why would you entrust them with the responsibility of photographing one of your life's your most special and defining days?

Why do professional photographers copyright the pictures they take at weddings? Is this common?

It is typical practice for a professional wedding photographer to keep and maintain copyright over the wedding images they produce for their clients. Copyright is often kept in the possession of the photographer so that he or she can sell additional prints and albums in the months and years following the event. If photographers surrendered their legal copyright, there would be no legal consequence to deter the unlawful reproduction of their work. A large portion of their income is dependent upon print and album sales, which necessitates their ownership of copyright. Copyright is also important to photographers wishing to promote, advertise, publish or compete with their images.

Is it better to book a wedding photographer who uses film or digital equipment?

Film is at present an antiquated and archaic photographic medium. Not only is film and film-processing technology/equipment now hard to locate, it requires expensive and laborious processes that are vastly unreliable compared to digital technology. In my personal and professional opinion, film no longer holds anything over digital technology aside from ascribed sentimentality and a "dated" aesthetic quality that (if one wished to achieve) could easily be rendered and reproduced digitally. There are absolutely no incentives or advantages to capturing with film versus digital.

What is a proof and what are the advantages of the different types of proofing?

A proof can be in either digital format or a traditional physical photographic print. It is simply the final rendering of a photograph presented to the client for his or her approval when selecting enlargements or albums. Digital proofs can be disseminated more quickly among friends and family members, however physical prints often provide a more accurate representation of what an actual print or album image may look like.

What are the pros and cons of hiring two or more photographers to take pictures at a wedding?

The pros of having two or more shooters to document your wedding begin with coverage, i.e. two sets of eyes are always better than one. Inarguably there will be more photos made throughout the course of your wedding day, so coverage will be more comprehensive. And if you want equal coverage of both the bride and bridesmaids as well as the groom and groomsmen, having two shooters is a must!

The cons can involve the 'chaos' or 'paparazzi' factor. There's a certain degree of awkwardness in having anyone photograph your every move - but when you put two ambitious photographers in the same room, the photography can tend to become the main event. This can be intimidating and off-putting to those being photographed, and can certainly spoil touching moments that may otherwise naturally occur.

Obviously, cost goes up when you hire more photographers - so expense may also be a con if you have a limited budget.

If you're considering having a second shooter for your wedding, make sure to inquire about their credentials, work experience and portfolio samples. Often, second shooters are a way for photographers to "pad out" and incentivize their packages, and brides will often book with a wedding photographer who includes a second shooter over one who does not. But bear in mind that most second shooters are greatly lacking in their technical abilities and overall work experience. In reality, they only contribute 2-3% of the final net return, but most brides are willing to pay $500-$1,000 more for the peace of mind that a second shooter's presence brings.

Personally, I'd rather just have one veteran shooter alone versus one mediocre principal photographer backed by a mildly competent fledgling second shooter.

What types of wedding packages do photographers typically offer?

My studio typically offers three tiers of packages, as do most other destination wedding photographers in Finger Lakes, Syracuse and other New York cities. Usually there is a:

  • Basic package, which includes a primary photographer and an allotment of time (typically 4-6 hours);
  • Mid-range package, which usually includes a primary photographer for an allotment of time (typically 8 hours) along with a print package and/or album or album credit; and,
  • Premium package, which often includes a primary and secondary shooter and a time allotment of 8-10 hours, a custom-designed album, print package, redeemable print/album credits for a la carte items and upgrades, and maybe a small canvas print to sweeten the deal.

What is the customary deposit to put down when reserving a photographer for a date? When is the balance typically due?

Typically a deposit equal to a third of the chosen package is required at the contract signing, with the remaining two thirds to be paid on the day of the wedding event. Many of my clients will actually pay their full balance a few months prior to the event.

Why is there such a varying price range among different photographers?

From Cuba to Buffalo, NY, - wedding photography studios will offer a hugely diverse array of prices, and it can be difficult to determine the tangible difference between services. So I'll use myself as an example in an attempt to bring clarity to this question.

Before I even begin discussing the costs integral to running one's own business, i.e. overhead, I'll start by discussing the value of experience and expertise. In 2007 I earned a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. That same year I won first place in Microsoft's Professional of the Year Contest and was also recipient of "Photographer of the Year" by Creative Quarterly magazine.

My client list includes, Fossil, Jones New York, DKNY, Barilla, Adidas, Exxon, Goodyear, and Kraft Foods. To this day I have photographed over 700 weddings during my 15-year career as a wedding photographer.

In the wedding photography industry you have distinguished veterans; that is, those who have earned the highest degree of scholarship, acclaim for their accomplishments and contributions to photography, and who have dedicated themselves tirelessly to the pursuit of excellence in their craft. Then you have those who operate home-based weekend businesses with no formal, technical training or education, no real industrial experience, and no real claim to being a professional aside from buying a professional camera, printing off business cards from their home computer - and calling themselves a "professional".

Whether your wedding is taking place in Buffalo or Finger Lakes - wedding photography "professionals" will abound. Unfortunately, for many brides and grooms who aren't well-informed about the world of professional photography, i.e. the distinctions, accreditation, accolades and affiliations that distinguish and delineate seasoned pros from the amateur ranks - it becomes difficult to tell one photographer apart from another, and another...

In many cases, brides and grooms rely solely upon what they see - i.e. the packaging, advertising, and portfolios - but portfolios and advertising alone can be extremely deceptive. This is why it's so important to really research prospective photographers with a fine-toothed comb; including their educational background, work experience, client lists, awards, accolades and publications in which their work has been showcased. Find out if they belong to any major professional photography communities such as the PPA or WPPI or the WPJA. Google their name and do your homework, because unfortunately in this profession, anyone with a camera and a blog can herald themselves a professional photographer.

In the end, price boils down to the caliber of photographer and the subsequent quality of wedding photography you desire. Joe Smith who has no formal training and works out of his mother's basement, who spends under $1k a year on advertising, doesn't have liability insurance or belong to any professional affiliations is going to cost significantly less than a pro who attended a top technical institute, who leases a studio space, advertises using a multi-tier state-wide campaign, and has significantly more overheads.

At what point in the wedding planning process should a couple book a photographer?

The wedding photographer should be at the very top of the list when it comes to planning and booking vendors for your wedding. In fact, I think booking a photographer should rank before booking a ceremony and reception venue. I say this because, if the photography is important to you, you should get the best - and getting the best requires quick action. The best destination wedding photographers usually book out 1-2 years in advance.

The added benefit of booking your wedding photographer first is that they can help inform your venue decisions, since most veterans know from experience the most photogenic venues.

What should a couple look for in a photographer?

First and foremost, clients should only meet with photographers whose work they connect with on an emotional level. Obviously you only want photographers that fall within your budget - but maybe most importantly, clients should look for a photographer they feel comfortable with. It's imperative to choose one that not only you and your fiance mesh well with, but someone you can see getting along well with your wedding party, family, and guests. After all, the last thing you want is to hire a photographer that makes you feel awkward or irritates you on your wedding day.

What should a couple beware of with certain wedding photographers in Syracuse and beyond?

Make sure the person you meet with is the one who will be photographing your wedding. Make sure they have back-up gear as well as back-up staff in the event of their sickness, injury, or death. Make sure that the photographer has references and a strong searchable online presence and work history record. Watch out for any high-pressure, pushy photographers - if you're gut says "no", listen to it!

How should a couple determine their wedding photography budget?

I think this is a really subjective question, but I would say that a couple should be willing to spend just as much, if not more, on their photographer as they do on their cake, flowers, and or alcohol.

What equipment should a wedding photographer have?

They should have:

  • At least two professional DSLR camera bodies
  • A collection of lenses ranging in focal length from 20-200mm, flashes, tripod, etc. This should include a few f/1.4 and f/2.8 lenses, essential for capturing images in low-light situations.
  • Enough memory (at least 100GB) to capture the entire wedding day in RAW format.

Do prices typically vary for off-season or weekday weddings?

Every photographer has their own views about price reductions, but I'm certainly willing to be flexible in my pricing for weekday weddings.

Is it possible to get black and white photographs as well as color photographs, or do couples typically have to decide between one or the other?

Absolutely; I capture every image is full RGB color, which gives me the freedom and flexibility to render images any way I see fit when it comes to the editing/post-processing phase. I use artistic license to decide which images should have color enhancements, i.e. cross processing, vintage toning, split-toning, black and white, sepia, selective color - the list goes on and on. The sky is the limit and all options are available.

To hire me as your destination wedding photographer in Finger Lakes, Syracuse, Buffalo - or elsewhere in NY, the USA or overseas - please contact me on 585-469.9558 today.