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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!

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!


Rochester Wedding Photography Seminar – Lighting on the Run

Are you ready to set you wedding photographs apart from your competition?
Want to learn easy lighting techniques that you can easily do on a wedding day that will WOW your clients?
Want to learn how from one of New York City’s brightest emerging wedding photographers?


The Greater Rochester Professional Photographers (GRPP) is hosting a wedding photography seminar on April 24, 2016 with Will Cadena (Will Cadena Imagery), where he will show you just how he achieves amazing photographs…in the camera… that you can do at each and every wedding that you shoot.  This is not a sit-on-your-butt-and-watch-a-lecture-all-day seminar.  We will be watching Will pose and work along side him with live models to learn these techniques.

For more information and to register, go to

Your clients will thank you!

Nancy ZumpanoApril 14, 2016 - 5:17 AM

Excited about this! Please keep me posted!

Erin PerrottaApril 19, 2016 - 1:57 PM

Hi Nancy – did you sign up yet? We’d love to meet you there!

Get to know Lori Coleman, GRPP President 2015-2016

Hello! Lori here.

We are now getting into my second term as President of this wonderful organization, and as I just started to introduce you to our members, someone pointed out that I have not introduced myself! So I thought I’d take this blog post to share a little about my story and how I got here. Enjoy!


How long have you been involved with GRPP? I came across GRPP while searching for my wedding photographer in 2009. I was very new at the time, and was hoping to network with other local professionals. I joined shortly after that meeting, and the following year was asked to join the board.  I served as treasurer for 3 years, then moved to Programs and finally to President.

How did you get into photography? My parents started a Video Production company when I was in grade school. I was tech savvy before it was cool to be tech savvy in middle school. I enjoyed working with them on video and design projects, but decided to pursue still photography. My high school didn’t offer photography classes, so I took a summer course at FLCC before selecting it as my major.

Do you have any formal education? Yes, I attended RIT and received my BFA in Photographic Illustration. I also earned a Management Certificate and minor in Print Media. I also continue to learn by attending conferences and seminars every year.

What is the best piece of gear in your camera bag? I love all of my gear, but the Canon 600 flashes have been a game changer. They give me the ability to work with light in any situation and control it all remotely. On camera, off camera, or both at the same time. This means I can set up lights in various parts of the room, and only use the one(s) I need.

Best piece of software? Adobe Lightroom for sure. I can do 90% of my work in this one program. Organizing, editing, & exporting for various uses… its a time saver.

How do you stay fresh and creative? Traveling! New places, people, sights and smells; I always come home invigorated with new ideas and things to try.

What has been your greatest achievement?  I am quite proud of the fact that I am self-employed, doing what I love, and never took out a single business loan to get here.

Worst day on the job and what you learned? I try not to dwell on the bad days. There will always be things that go wrong, but worrying and regret are not going to change anything. So I focus on the things that I can change.

Best day on the job and what you learned? Any time I get a thank you note… its that little reminder that my images make a difference to people. It keeps me going!

What do you wish you knew when you began? Don’t compare yourself to others, just aim to be better than you were yesterday.

3 favorite non-photography hobbies? Yoga to keep me sane, hiking with my husband and dogs somewhere pretty, and traveling. I love exploring new places!

What’s the best business tip you’ve been given? Never forget why you are doing this. I believe in photographs that help us celebrate relationships with the people we love most. This keeps me focused when shooting and helps us attract clients with similar values.

Have another question? You can reach me: lori [at]

Instagram: @lorianderin


March Combined Meeting: Seeing the Light

PPSCNY, GRPP and Fingerlakes sections will meet together to host PPSNYS President, Paul Bernstein, M. Photog., Cr. Photog., CPP.

The meeting will be held on March 16th at:
Abigails Restaurant – (Click for map)
1978 Route 5 & 20
Waterloo, NY 13165

Social hour begins at 4:30 pm, Dinner at 5:00 and the Program at 7:00. 


Seeing the Light
By Paul Bernstein
M. Photog., Cr., CPP

Every artist works in a preferred medium. As photographers, our medium is light. For us, the use of light and shadow creates the illusion of depth in two dimensional images. Light has several variables that we also must take into consideration and control when making images: direction, intensity, color temperature and quality. What defines a true professional is the ability to see the light, determine if it is perfect for the task at hand and then have the capability to modify or substitute the source if it is not.
My program is designed to raise your ability to see the light, select the correct photographic tools, plus utilize the proper lighting techniques in order to create three dimensional portraits and candids every time you hit the shutter. It’s all about being able to consistently control your illumination to suit every situation and subject.


About Paul Bernstein:

Paul Bernstein, M. Photog., Cr., CPP

Paul has been a professional photographer for over 38 years, during which time he has photographed 2500 social events and countless portrait sessions. He is a master of lighting and posing, as well as candid photography. He is certified by the Professional Photographers of America and holds both Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from PPA. He is the president of the Professional Photographers Society of New York State, former president of the Professional Photographers of Greater New York, a council member of the Professional Photographers of America, as well as a member of both the American Society of Photographers and Wedding and Portrait Professionals International.
Paul and his wife Caryn Benjamin have lectured and presented their innovative ideas to groups of professional photographers around the country. In 20o4, 2008 and 2010 they were honored by Professional Photographers of America among the “Photographers of the Year”.

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