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  • Greater Rochester Professional Photographers

    Welcome to the Greater Rochester Professional Photographers official website! We are an organization of like minded professionals dedicated to the advancement of the photographic arts in Upstate New York. We are one of eleven sections of Professional Photographers Society of New York State and we are an affiliate of Professional Photographers of America.

    On this website you will find articles and links designed to help you find professional photographers for all your photographic needs. Whether you are getting married, looking for portrait work or just looking for some great pieces of visual artwork, you will find it here.

    If you are a professional photographer who is interested in networking with other professionals, please join us every 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Flower City Arts Center, 713 Monroe Ave, Rochester, NY 14607. Be sure to visit our Facebook Page for more information about our monthly meetings.

    Our meetings begin with a social hour from 6 - 7 pm followed by the main program from 7 - 9 pm. Your first meeting is complimentary - so come check us out!

Why GRPP and Conventions are Important

So a few weeks ago, the state chapter (PPSNYS) of PPA threw a 3 day “party” called Focus NY. This convention happens every year, and is unique because it came with tons of learning opportunities for photographers across New York State who are members of their local and state chapter of PPA.

Each and every person who attended had the chance to meet and learn from other photographers – some nationally known, some who might be in their neighborhood. What’s great is, everyone has a story to share, and something to teach. Whether you’re a new, part-time, full-time or veteran photographer there’s something to learn from being with a great group of like minded individuals for a few days straight.

Ok, so I hear what you might be saying – “But I can learn everything I need to know about photography from the internet. I don’t need this organization.”

Yes, you can learn a lot from Facebook groups or webinars. But let’s face it, photographers can spend a lot of time alone in front of the computer, with no one to talk to all day except the dog. And Fido can’t give advice.

Online, you don’t get one on one time with nationally acclaimed photographers and speakers. You don’t get to sit down with people you might admire, face to face and ask them important questions.

And you definitely don’t get lasting friendships from the internet. You don’t get a network of professionals, who would have your back if (God forbid) you break your leg the day before a big wedding. You don’t build partnerships and relationships that 20 years from now, are still going strong.

You get that from conventions like Focus NY, and from groups like ours, like GRPP.

I repeat, you don’t get that online.

Written by Erin of Lori & Erin Photography | Photo by Will Cadena Imagery


Roberto Valenzuela leads a class on posing | Photo by Will Cadena Imagery

April Meeting: Sports Photography with Steve Chesler

Please join us for our April meeting, Wed. the 13th, at 100 College Ave.  Our featured speaker is Canandaigua photographer Steve Chesler.

Learn how to get the most out of your action photography with Sigma Pro Team Sports Photographer Steve Chesler. In this class you’ll learn how to set your camera, what lens to use and how to prepare mentally to get great action shots. We’ll cover scenarios for different sports both indoors and out. Bring your camera, lenses and a notebook.

Whether you’re a professional looking to improve your sports shooting skills, or a parent hoping to get better images of your children on the sports field, you won’t want to miss this event!

Social time will be at the Gate House Grille at Village Gate from 6-6:45.  We’ll then head over to our meeting location for our 7-9pm meeting.

Steve Chesler

March Meeting Wrap-Up

Our March meeting found us at the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education. After the meeting portion, Kate Lovering, Photography Programs Manager, gave us a tour and allowed us the use of the studio facility and lighting gear to experiment.  Not only did we use the studio and traditional studio lighting, but we also set up in an area with beautiful brick walls and utilized speedlights with modifiers. Two models were on hand and we had a great time shooting, assisting, offering advice, talking gear and other business stuff!  A big thank you to Kate and to our models, Cory and Linda!!

Linda Dow Hayes– GRPP Vice President 2015-206



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Interview with incoming PPSNYS President, Pat Luke

If you have been to a GRPP meeting at any point in the last 20 years, you have probably met Pat Luke. He is the guy with the warm, genuine smile, always looking for ways to help others. He is a past president of GRPP (2012-2013), and next month moves up to an even larger role, President of our state organization, PPSNYS (Professional Photographers Society of New York State).

I asked Pat a few questions about this new position, and I think members and non-members alike can learn a little something from his answers. I especially liked his response for why its important to belong to these organizations.

Lori Coleman, GRPP President 2015-2016


LC: How long have you been part of GRPP and in what capacities?

PL: I have been a PPSNYS/GRPP member for 19 years.  I joined way back in 1997, and joined the GRPP Board as Treasurer in 2004.

I was the Treasurer for 7 years, the VP (Program Chair) for 1 year, the President for 2 years, and currently the Treasurer for the last 3 years.

LC: How long have you been involved with PPSNYS and in what capacities?

PL: I was asked by the PPSNYS Board of Governors (which consists of all the past PPSNYS Presidents) to join the Executive Board as the Secretary in 2012.

I moved up to Treasurer in 2013, 2nd VP in 2014, 1st VP in 2015, and I’ll be installed as the 104th President at the Focus NY Convention in April 2-4, 2016.

I officially take over the presidency on May 1, 2016.

LC: Can you explain the relationship between GRPP and PPSNYS?

PL: The Professional Photographers Society of NY State (PPSNYS)  is a 111-year old organization that has ten local chapters across the state, one of which is GRPP.  GRPP doesn’t exist without PPSNYS.  When you join PPSNYS, you become a member of the chapter that is closest to where you live, to make is easy for you to attend meetings.  However, as a PPSNYS member, you can attend any meeting at any chapter across the state for free.  As a speaker, I have made presentations to every chapter in the state, but I have also driven on a weeknight to attend to attend monthly meetings at the Buffalo, Finger Lakes, and Central NY (Syracuse) chapters when their speaker interests me.

PPSNYS also offers free seminars occasionally around the state that any member can take advantage of.  PPSNYS also runs the week-long Summer Workshop at Hobart College each year.  If you are a PPSNYS member you get discounted tuition to the workshop, but anyone can take advantage of the free program held on the Sundayevening of workshop week.  As a PPSNYS member you also get discounts to the annual convention.  Because we are an educational organization, PPSNYS also provides money for each of the local chapters to offset some of the expenses when we hold all–day seminars.

PPSNYS is an affiliate of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). GRPP is also a PPA Affiliate, and because we have so many PPA members, we can provide speaking merits to our speakers that are PPA members.  However, for the local chapters that do not have a certain percentage of members that are PPA members, PPSNYS can give PPA merits to the local chapters to help entice PPA speakers to speak there.

LC: Why is it important to you to be a part of these organizations?

PL: I photographed weddings for the first 20 years of my career.  I worked for myself and by myself.  When a prospective bride asked me “what happens if you break your leg and can’t photograph my wedding”, I was able to tell her that I was a member of PPSNYS, and I had made so many contacts from Buffalo to Syracuse that I could have a replacement within hours, if needed.  If you choose to live your professional life through on-line forums, you are not able to build a rapport and trust with anyone that will allow you to pass along something as important as a wedding if you truly don’t know that person.

The knowledge that has been passed along to me from being at conventions, workshops, and seminars has been invaluable. And I don’t mean sitting in a class and taking notes.  I’m referring to actually talking face-to-face with notable photographers from across the country.  If you sit down and buy your photographic idols a beer, you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually connect with them and that value goes way beyond the price of a beer.  The information you get from a forum post doesn’t even come close to that.

I didn’t start seeing a lot of benefits from the organization until I started taking part.  I’ve been going to the PPSNYS Workshop for 11 years, and the quality of my work sky rocketed after I started going.  When I was a part-time photographer and also worked a full-time job, I’d take a week’s vacation to go to workshop…it became that important.  And I continue to go, even though it occurs during the peak of my senior portrait season.

If you join a gym, then sit on the couch for 6 months and gain weight, can you legitimately say “what did that gym membership do for me?”  Photographers that ask “what has PPSNYS/GRPP done for me” will get little benefit out of it until they get off the couch and get involved.  As a result of my involvement the last 12 or 13 years, my knowledge of the photography industry has grown immensely, and when I travel across the state, I have a couch to sleep on wherever I go.  My good friends actually let me sleep in a bed, which is even better.  You are not going to get that from on-line forums.

LC: What are your goals as President of PPSNYS?

PL: I have had several people seek me out the last couple of months and they’ve made requests about what they’d like to see different.  I’ve asked them what is important to them, and how we can make the organization more vibrant and worthwhile.  As I said, this is an educational organization, so we are always trying to push educational benefits to our members.  But there are other benefits that might be worthwhile, and I and the officers on the Executive Board will try to do what we can to see them come to fruition.  But please don’t sit on couch and ask what we are doing for you.  It certainly does take a village….and those villagers that get involved get more benefits of anyone.

Here is the PPSNYS Executive Board for the upcoming year:

Patrick Luke – President (GRPP chapter)

Alan Vollweiller – 1st Vice President (Westchester chapter)

Monroe Payne – 2nd Vice President (Finger Lakes chapter)

Stephanie Cunningham – Treasurer (Southwest NY chapter)

Ellen Dunbar – Secretary (Central NY chapter)

LC: Thank you for your time Pat. Looking forward to seeing where you take these great organizations!

If you have any further questions, you can reach Pat at (585) 943-5814, and on the web at

Focus NY Convention

It’s almost time! Have you signed up to attend the PPSNYS Convention in Callicoon, New York yet? It’s NEXT week!!!

No? Well, you should. There are so many learning and networking opportunities to be had. Great speakers, including the inspiring Roberto Valenzuela, Kelly Schulze and many others.

Plus, added bonus, our very own Pat Luke is being inducted as the PPSNYS President for 2016. We can’t wait to be there to support him and celebrate together.

It’s so worth every penny! Check out the details on PPSNYS’s website!

Two of our speakers, Kelly Schulze and Roberto Valenzuela.

Two of our speakers, Kelly Schulze and Roberto Valenzuela.

Some of our finest GRPP members having way too much fun!

Some of our finest GRPP members having way too much fun!


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