State College  Wedding Photographers Best Photographer 2017- State College

b x d

Professional, experienced wedding photography for State College, Central Pennsylvania and beyond.

Overnight travel and destination weddings welcome, photojournalism a specialty.

You always own the rights to your photos and receive all of the full digital files at no extra charge, inlcuding raw files. You can print or share your photos with no restrictions and no watermarks. We can meet in my downtown studio, by phone or email, but serious inquiries only, please.

My most recent work can always be found on my Facebook Page.


About me

Professional Photographers of America

I am a working professional. I am member of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), I maintain a downtown studio, and I'm a Platinum Member of Canon Professional Services. I've worked in a wide variety of genres over the last twenty years, with ten years of wedding experience. Wedding photography combines a lot of different genres, from landscape and architecture to portraits and photojournalism. I've worked as a photojournalist, and my portfolio contains a number of landscapes, commercial sessions, architecture, product photography…you name it. I've sold thousands of fine art prints. I can work in rain or snow, bad lighting or even when equipment fails. This is not a hobby to me, it's my profession. I come to your wedding prepared for anything. I even bring spare shoes. In brief, I take my craft very seriously.

It has been said that I'm the hardest working photographer in the area, and while I can't speak to that myself, I can tell you that I will do my absolute best on your wedding day, and I have the drive, equipment and knowledge to make it happen. I have state of the art equipment that is maintained to the highest standards, and I have more than two million photos in my portfolio. My work has been featured in books, television, magazines, album liner notes, billboards, newsprint and more. My fine art prints adorn the walls of hundreds of homes and offices. I've sold thousands of fine art prints. This year, I was honored with the Silver award in State College Magazine's "Best Local Photographer" category...and I've photographed more than a hundred weddings :-)

Nittany Lion Inn - State College wedding photography

About Style

Philosophically, I believe that the emotional content of a photograph is directly related to how real it is. That is, I think it's best when you are reminded of the moment, not the process, or worse, ME. That's photojournalism. The emotion in your photos is genuine, not staged. In my opinion, photojournalism mixed with traditional portraiture is the best method to capture your wedding, because it allows you to enjoy your day while capturing lots of amazing photos that take you back to the day.

My photos come from you, and you can see this in my portfolio. Look at my photos and compare them to other photographers' work. Really compare them. Look at an entire wedding, not just a few shots. Look at different weddings. Do they all look the same, or are they all different? Look at the reception, getting ready shots and portraits. Do the smiles look genuine? Can you see people's faces? Does the skin look natural? Are the shots so "clever" that they look fake?

A bride once asked me, "Do you take fun photos?" I replied, "Are you fun?" That sums it up. Look through my portfolio, and you'll see diferent styles for dfferent weddings. That's because I photograph your wedding, not some idea I had in my mind.

Yes, we'll have plenty of posed portraits as you can see below, and we'll have fun during the portrait sessions, but the most dynamic and memorable photographs are the ones I take in the moment, and I'm very good at that! I will do my best to get the best possible photos of your wedding. I'll be honest here, the portrait session is hard work, all around, so I won't waste your time. I'm fast, and I'll make the most out of the time we have for portraits.

A picture is worth a thousand words! At the bottom of this page are a few samples from my portfolio, and you can always find my latest work on my Facebook page. If you need to see more, I have a really huge gallery online from a few dozen weddings here.

What's it like to work with me?

I'm a craftsman, and I take pride in my work, but different moments call for different techniques. In general, I'm high-energy for weddings. I move around a lot. I don't putz around. I run. I have a sense of humor, but I'm working hard for you. That's the creative side. On the technical side, I want to get the best shot, and I'm very competitive. There's never enough time, especially during the portrait session. I won't agonize over compositions, preferring to work as a true photojournalist. If something isn't working, I won't force it. We'll move on. You'll get a wide variety of images. There will be times when I'm your wedding sherpa, pinning boutenirs onto the groom or leading you away from an awkward situation. In brief, I will do my level best to get the most amazing photos of your wedding. I won't gush over details, and I might be a bit direct during the portrait session. If you're looking for a new BFF, I may not be your best choice, because we don't have time for sugar-coating, but you're going to love the photos and you'll love your wedding day.

“WOW Bill is a wicked cool dude! Such a awesome person and very professional.
Bill is the person who will make you laugh and send you positive vibes.
He was our photographer for our wedding in July 2017 and the pictures came out AMAZING!”
—Jasmine

During the ceremony, I am discrete. I will not intrude on intimate moments unless you specifically ask me to. I'll work hard not to miss anything, using two to three cameras at a time. If one fails, I'll use the backup that's already around my neck. I'll use telephotos to get close-ups from a good distance. You may not even notice that I'm there during the ceremony but I'll get all the shots.

Unlike the rest of the day, the portrait session is where I need to be in charge.It's tough. Tempers flare, it's hot, it's cold, you're hungry. We have about 30 minutes to take six hours worth of photos, so I won't waste your time, and we'll move quickly. I'll tell jokes, bark like a dog...whatever it takes to get you to forget that there's a camera there. On the creative side, I'll suggest settings, backdrops and poses, taking cues from your style and personality. If you have ideas, we'll integrate those, too. This is where we have fun and make great photos.

Did I mention that I work fast? I do. You are not a model and I am not a fashion photographer. Let's get the portraits done as quickly as we can so you can get back to your wedding. I'm experienced enough that I know how to get the best photos in the shortest amount of time. My portfolio demonstrates this. It also means that you'll get more photos than you will with other photographers. Instead of two or three poses, we'll have fifteen. Instead of one great shot, you'll have 20. Experience matters.

During the reception, I bring my own lights, so you'll get great photos of the dance party and events. I'll also stay long after other photogrpahers would have left. I don't stop working until there's nothing more I can accomplish. Sometimes that means staying until the very end, sometimes that means an hour or two after you cut the cake. I don't just take photos of your first dance and then bolt. If I feel that I can get good shots, I'm there until the end. I am often the first to show, last to go.

State College Wedding Photo

What is photojournalism?

Photojournalism is the art of telling stories through photos. A photojournalist documents the day and brings you back to it. The photos have genuine emotional content, because they aren't staged or fake. My photos are designed to trigger memories. That's what I do. Your photos will be authentic. This is not to say they are no creative. Again, my portfolio demonstrates this, so you don't need to take my word for it.

So what does photojournalism look like? Here's a gallery from an actual wedding at the Nittany Lion Inn as an example.

What kinds of photos will I get?

Lots and lots of different photos! Literally, thousands of photos of all sorts. Close-ups, wide angles, fun, serious, architecture, landscape, details…you name it. I will focus on people as well as the entire scene. I'll capture everything I can. I also take requests.

Something I do a bit differently than most photographers is that I will give you every photo, in RAW format, with no restrictions. You own the copyright. You can even DIY the processing if you like. You don't just get a DVD or a thumb drive with just my personal favorites…you get an actual hard drive with about 200-300GB of data, usually 3000-6000 images, and that's a lot. If you need help whittling that down, I can certainly do that, but I consider the digital negatives to be your property. I also have a healthy ego, and I trust that you can tell the difference between the "keepers" and the rest of the images. Let's be honest, with that many photos, there are going to be some duds, but I don't always know which ones are important to you and which are not, so I give them all.

Toftrees wedding

I have literally taken millions of photos in dozens of different styles. I tend to like warm, saturated colors, but I'm perfectly comfortable with the faded "no yellow in this world" look which is popular right now. I can work in black and white, high-key, low-contrast or muted tones. It's up to you, and if you prefer a particular style, we can make those adjustments in the post-process. You're free to come by my studio and see different options, too. Rest assured, your photos will be consistent with my body of work as displayed in my portfolio.

For purposes of comparison, I shoot a mix of photojournalism and contemporary portraiture. Check my Facebook page for my most recent weddings and other activities, and here is a really big gallery of wedding photos from the past few years, broken down by categories. It's one thing to show you my "greatest hits" albums, but it's another to see what a whole day looks like, so here are samples from a Nittany Lion Inn wedding and a wedding on the family farm. If you want to see what an ENTIRE wedding looks like, I'm happy to show that to you when we meet. It's just too big to really display online, since there are thousands of photos. I have no problem showing you what 4000 images from a while day looks like, rain, snow, sun, whatever.

A word about "second shooters". There's a myth out there that you absolultely must have two photographers. I disagree. If you do want two photographers, we can certainly do that, but in my opinion, my body of work is a testament that it is unecessary. I will show you all 5000 images from a wedding if you'd like assuarances that I didn't miss anything. I will put my work up against any two photographers in Central Pennsylvania. It's simply not worth the extra money, if you ask me. If money is no object, sure, I'll team up with a second photographer and we'll go to town.

After the Wedding - Post-Processing

So far I've talked a lot about being "real" and photojournalism, but that doesn't mean there isn't processing. Far from it! Cameras do lie, no matter what you've heard. The first thing I do is try to make the photos match my memory of the day. After that, I realize that enlarged portraits need retouching. It's not that the camera isn't accurate, it's that a brain processes images differently than a camera does. The perception of a face is something scientists continue to study, and why a portrait isn't just a moment captured. It's more than that, and that's where retouching and processing come into play. Your photos will look like you, but like you and your family sees you, not how a camera sees you.

With that in mind, I always shoot using "RAW" format, which allows a wider latitude in post-processing. It gives freedom for different styles, black and white, etc., but more important, it helps to "rescue" images where the exposure might be off. I will adjust the photos you select for proper exposure, contrast and color, and I process all of the photos you select from the proofs, personally. I don't outsource that. For more information about how I process your photos, follow this link.

Rates

The typical rate for a complete wedding is between $1800 and $2850, depending on your needs. Rates are negotiable for off-season and other special circumstances, within reason. If you have a budget in mind, we can work from that for a rate that works for both of us.

All of the images and digital negatives are yours to keep—you own the copyright. There are no hidden fees, no printing fees, no up-charge for prints, no taking the copyright hostage for ransom.

You can print your photos yourself, or you can work with one of my partners for museum-quality mounting, matting and framing. You own the copyright, so it's your choice. If you do purchase prints from one of my partners, it's at my own wholesale cost, for example, an 8x10 is about $2.50.

A typical day will include photos of preparations, details, the ceremony, a formal portrait session and candid photography at your reception. Your requests are also important to me, so I try to accomodate any reasonable request. Please don't abuse the privilege, but don't be afraid to ask!

Suggested Packages

Below are some packages for comparison, but no two weddings are alike, so you are always free to customize my services to your needs. I will note that the rate is not based upon the number of hours, since I can only photograph one wedding per day. Pricing is not intuitive, so please let's talk about the rate if you have concerns.

Please note: I always give you every picture I take. I will sort out truly unsuitable images, such as those that fired by accident, but I will give you all of the photos in RAW format as well as JPEG.

My work isn't over when the reception ends, and what separates some of the packages below is the number of fully retouched photos and processed photos. For the difference between the two, check this page.

Need help with timelines, locations or anything else? I'm happy to share my experience and help you plan.

Serious inquiries only, please. I know The Knot tells you to pester four or five photographers, then drop the others like a bad date, but I'm really not interested in that. If you don't love the photos from my portfolio, then we probably don't need to talk. If you're comparing me to somebody else, please tell me that, and we can have an honest discussion about our differences. There's no benefit in working with a client who doesn't match my offerings, and I'll be perfectly frank about that. I'll even go so far as to recommend another photographer if I think they're a better fit for you. It does neither of us any good if we're on different pages.

And now without further ado…

$1800 - The Basics

  • a good choice for "single venue" weddings, when the ceremony and reception are at the same location
  • coverage of your ceremony and reception, starting with "the dress", but not including hair and makeup
  • formal portraits at a location of your choice
  • all digital files on a portable hard disk in RAW format, usually several thousand
  • no watermarks!
  • up to 100 photos processed for color, contrast and exposure. I will select these for you, but if you have a wish list, I'll take that into consideration.
  • you own the copyright

$2250 - Standard

  • up to 10 hours coverage
  • bridal party photos at one or two locations, for example, a church and a park for portraits
  • all digital files on a portable hard disk in RAW format, usually four-six thousand
  • no watermarks - print anywhere you like!
  • you choose up to 200 photos to process for color, contrast and exposure
  • up to 12 fully retouched photos, suitable for enlargement
  • you own the copyright

$2450 - Campus Tour

  • best choice for Penn State themes
  • up to 10 hours of coverage
  • bridal party photos at the Lion Shrine, Old Main, Alumni Gardens, Landmark Sign (Beaver Stadium) or your choice as time permits. For Arboretum photos, contact me.
  • all digital files on a portable hard disk - everything I shoot, usually more than 4000 in RAW format
  • you choose up to 200 photos to process for color, contrast
  • up to 24 fully retouched photos, suitable for enlargement
  • you own the copyright

$2850 - Standard Plus

  • no time limits
  • engagement session included
  • coverage of rehearsal, getting ready, ceremony and reception
  • no limit on portrait locations, time permitting
  • all digital files on a portable hard disk - that's everything I shoot, usually more than 5000 in RAW format
  • time lapse video of select areas, when possible
  • no watermarks - print anywhere you like!
  • you choose up to 400 photos to process for color, contrast and exposure, or I will select my favorites for you
  • up to 36 fully-retouched photos, suitable for enlargement
  • you own the copyright

Name your own price - starting at $1000

  • Off-season or last minute? feel free to negotiate
  • Limited coverage or a whole day, it's up to you
  • All digital files on a portable hard disk
  • No watermarks - print anywhere you like!
  • Custom processing or DIY
  • Custom craft a package based on your budget

Add-ons

  • Full-Service Photo Booth - photo booth, props, a knowledgable assistant and full processing, about $800-$1000
  • Budget booth - Advice on creating your own DIY photo booth, with photo equipment available
  • Second professional photographer—Rates vary, typically about $500-$1000.
  • Time-lapse video
  • Aerial photography or video with quadcopter (rates and availability vary)
  • Video slideshows, albums, prints and more…don't see it? Just ask!
  • albums, prints, whatever you need
  • Referrals for videographers<, pending availability/li>


Other services

Do you have old family photos that you'd like to restore and display? Photo restoration will make those old photos look like new! Likewise, if you have cell phone pictures or other "less than perfect" shots that you would like to optimize, I can make sure they look their best.

Do you need guidance in making photo displays for "save the datea" cards, engagement sessions, slideshows or centerpieces? I can help. If you need printing of any kind, I can help you with wholesale pricing on posters, cards, table tents and other media.

Samples

Below are just a few samples from my portfolio. Don't see what you're looking for? Just ask! I have thousands more, including some additional links at the bottom of the page.

What can you realistically expect over the whole wedding? Here's a bunch from a typical Penn State wedding.

Portfolio Galleries

Broken down by category

Getting Ready

Ceremonies

Details

Candids

Portraits

Vignettes

Rings

Bouquets and Flowers

The Dress

Just for Fun

The Reception

Architecture and Venues

Looking for photos from a particular venue?

Beaver Stadium wedding photos

Brookemere Winery wedding photos

Toftrees wedding photos

General Potter Farm wedding photos

C. Barton McCann wedding photos

The Barn at Madison wedding photos

Penn State wedding photos

Nittany Lion Inn wedding photos

Days Inn Penn State wedding photos

Centre Hills Country Club wedding photos

Atherton Hotel wedding photos

Carnegie Inn and Spa wedding photos

Penn State wedding photo
Classic pose at the Nittany Lion

Toftrees wedding photo
My Hero Zero, Toftrees Ballroom - "Call Me Baby"

State College Bride
State College Bride, with bouquet at Toftrees

Days Inn Penn State wedding reception
Wedding Reception at Days Inn, Penn State

Sunset wedding photo - State College, PA
Sunset Wedding Portrait

General Potter Farm wedding
Wedding at General Potter's Farm

General Potter Farm wedding reception
Wedding Reception at General Potter's Farm

Wedding at C. Barton McCann Shool of Art
Wedding at C. Barton McCann Shool of Art

Nittany Lion wedding photo
Nittany Lion Wedding Photo

Click the photo above for more samples from this wedding

Nittany Lion Inn wedding
Nittany Lion Inn

lacing wedding dress

Lily Manor wedding photo
Lily Manor


"The Barn", Greensburg, PA

Bridesmaids Candid - State College, PA
Bridesmaids at "The Barn", Greensburg, PA

Groom Candid at
Groom Candid at "The Barn", Greensburg, PA

Wedding dress hanging in window
Brookmere Winery

Nittany Lion Wedding portrait
Nittany Lion Shrine, Penn State

Wedding Reception at The Penn Stater
The Penn Stater

Wedding Reception at The Nittany Lion Inn

Lily Manor wedding photos
Lily Manor

State College Days Inn Wedding reception
Days Inn, Penn State

Toftrees wedding photo State College
Toftrees Hotel and Resort

Penn State wedding portrait
Penn State, Eisenhower Chapel

Altoona Wedding reception photo
Bavarian Aid Society, Altoona

Beaver Stadium wedding photos
Beaver Stadium, Penn State

C Barton McCann School of Art wedding photo
C. Barton McCann School of Art

State College bridal portrait Penn State wedding photo
Bridal portrait on staircase State College Presbyterian Church wedding with bubbles
Farm bride Penn State elms wedding photo
Penn State Wedding photo at Old Main Columns
Penn State Arboretum Bridal Portrait
Winter Wedding Portrait in Snow
General Potter farm wedding photos Penn State Eisenhower Chapel wedding photo
Penn State Alumni Garden wedding photo
portraits
wedding portrait, State College Penn State campus wedding
general potter farm wedding reception photo
Penn State candid wedding photo
Bridesmaids jumping in air
Wedding candid - ring closeup
Toftrees Wedding photoWedding Portrait at Toftrees


For more photos, check out my check my Facebook page, Wedding Gallery, full of samples from dozens of weddings.

If you're planning a Penn State wedding, here are some samples from some Penn State wedding portrait sessions, a few Penn State arboretum weddings, and a Nittany Lion Inn wedding ...and if you're a really big Penn State fan? Here is a gallery of Beaver Stadium wedding photos.




Equipment

I use state of the art digital cameras with some of the best lenses money can buy. Click here for details on my equipment.

Contact me

William Ames
PO Box 845
State College, PA 16804
info@amesphotos.com

Please note

Prices and availability subject to change. Standard contract required.

Looking for the stripe out poster? It's here!