Professional, experienced wedding photography for State College, Central Pennsylvania and beyond.
Voted "Best Local Photographer" in State College Magazine's 2018 survey!
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.
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. This is important, because wedding photography combines a lot of different things, and it requires a lot of experience, because we don't get second chances. From landscape and architecture to portraits and photojournalism, I have the experience to get the shots. I can work in rain or snow, bad lighting or even when equipment fails. I come to your wedding prepared for anything, and I take my craft very seriously. My body of work reflects this, as you can see from the samples below. My current activities are posted to my Facebook Page.
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 was voted "Best Local Photographer" in State College Magazine's 2018. 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. I have photographed more than a hundred weddings. 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.
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. That's photojournalism. The emotion in your photos is genuine, not staged. In my opinion, photojournalism mixed with modern and 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 it. Yes, I'll pose you, but it's natural and comfortable, not awkward or staged.
My photos come from you, and you can see this in my portfolio. Look at my photos and compare them to other photographers' work. You are the judge! A bride once asked me, "Do you take fun photos?" I replied, "Are you fun?" That sums it up. You'll see that I work in diferent styles for dfferent weddings. That's because I photograph your wedding, not some idea I had in my mind. Take a look at my various weddings—they don't all look the same. That's not true of most photographers, who are set in a particular style.
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.
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 run. I don't take breaks. 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. I won't agonize over compositions, wasting time, 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 lighting sparklers. In brief, I will do my level best to get the most amazing photos of your wedding. I won't gush over things, sorry, 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!”
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.
“Bill was the perfect choice for a photographer for our wedding—
kind, professional, and dedicated. He puts his clients first.
He was a perfect guide for our "Big Day".
I couldn't imagine shooting with any other Centre County photographer.”
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.
“If there was a way to give more than five stars, I would. Bill was amazing and easy to work with, and the resulting photos are fantastic. He put us at our ease throughout all the posed photography, and his work reflects back all the joy and fun of the day!”
— Whitney 2018
During the reception, I bring my own lights, so you'll get great photos of the dance party and events. This is one of my strengths. Compare my reception photos to other photographers and see for yourself. I also stay long after other photogrpahers would have left. I don't stop working until there's nothing more I can accomplish. This usually means staying until the very end. 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 everybody leaves. I am often the first to show, last to go.
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.
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.
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. If that's what you want, though, I'm happy to accomodate your request. If money is no object, I'll team up with a second photographer. Your choice!
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, enlarged portraits benefit from 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 that's 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 I see 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 unless you're in a real hurry, in which case, I'll send them out for processing at my expense. For more information about how I process your photos, follow this link.
The typical rate for a complete wedding starts at $1900, 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 or albums.
Regarding prints, you can buy them from me, or you can print your photos yourself, or you can work with one of my partners for museum-quality mounting, matting and framing. It's your choice how and where you get your prints, if any. If you do purchase prints from one of my partners, it's at my own wholesale cost--no markup--for example, an 8x10 is less than $3.00. I'm a photographer, not a print-maker.
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. If those requests are in conflict, I will follow the bride's instructions unless we agree to something else in writing.
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. There are ways to economize and there are ways to go all out. I can help you decide which method fits your needs and budget best.
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.
And now without further ado…
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 date" 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.
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.
Broken down by category
Nittany Lion Shrine wedding portrait
Penn State Alumni Garden bridal portrait
Classic pose at the Nittany Lion
General Potter Farm wedding portrait
My Hero Zero, Toftrees Ballroom - "Call Me Baby"
State College Bride, with bouquet at Toftrees
Wedding Reception at Days Inn, Penn State
Sunset Wedding Portrait
Wedding at General Potter's Farm
Wedding Reception at General Potter's Farm
Wedding at C. Barton McCann Shool of Art
Nittany Lion Inn
Nittany Lion Shrine, Penn State
The Penn Stater
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.
I use state of the art digital cameras with some of the best lenses money can buy. Click here for details on my equipment.
PO Box 845
State College, PA 16804
Prices and availability subject to change. Standard contract required.
Images are the property of William Ames ©1986–2018
Redistribution, copying or other unauthorized use is prohibited