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Vancity Vendor –
Union Photographers

August 5th, 2011 by Jeannine

Union Photographers

See this fun-loving couple frolicking on the beach? That’s Roger Mahler and Holly Truchan, partners in life, love, and photography. Roger was a photo school grad turned commercial photographer, while Holly only discovered her love for the lens thru travelling. They found a common passion in weddings and after a little encouragement from each other, they decided to ”unionize.”

Union Photographers was formed 7 years ago and is still going strong. They are photographers with two distinct styles: Roger is the portrait pro and Holly is a photojournalist and specializes in capturing emotions. (For the record, Roger also likes the photojournalism style, not just portraits :P ) They take pride in giving their “union members” great customer service in addition to getting ”the best of both worlds” out of their photography. Roger and Holly are always willing to help by giving wedding planning advice, vendor recommendations and even helpful photo session tips.

Their most affordable package is $3,000, in which you get Roger and Holly for 7 hours, a dvd with digital negatives, $150 album credit, a slideshow, and an online proof and ordering gallery.

All album credits are good for a year because they want couples to be able to take their time, rather than rush all the decisions before the wedding day. They have many to choose from, like magazine style albums or hardcover coffee table books. Their albums are archive quality and they even design the layouts in a timeless and clean manner so they won’t look outdated. They also offer other products like a photobooth, thank you cards, and eventually they will be able to do large format 4×5 film photos at your event. Check out their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter to see what Roger and Holly are up to. They love to keep their readers up to date by posting teasers of the various events they cover.

Roger and Holly also own The Labour Union – a maternity, baby, and family portrait studio.
I got a chance to visit their studio, here’s a peek!

A Few Words With Roger & Holly…

Since you’re married, how does it feel working with each other?
Holly: ”We work really well together, I don’t think we would be doing this if we didn’t work well together (laughs) I don’t think our marriage would last. We really enjoy it and we actually end up fueling each other and bouncing ideas off each other.”
Roger: ”It’s a competition, you can say it.” (laughs)
H: ”It helps to spur each other on I think, a lot of the times.”

What do you offer to brides with lower budgets?
R: ”Usually it’s a coverage only package, it gets them some nice photos and we usually offer the same pricing for albums for a year so if they do want to save money and buy the album later, a year after their wedding day.”
H: ”Yeah, we guarantee the prices for a year after their wedding and we have different lines of albums so there’s some that are more economical. Another thing that we really offer couples is our expertise… there are some things you can do with timing, and that kind of thing that can help if you can’t afford 10 hours of coverage, a lot of the times you can get it done in 8.”

How would you describe your photo editing style?
H: ”It’s more of a vintage style that we do to our photos, but also saying that, we ask the clients. Some people like more black and white, some want more vibrant colours and some people like our de-saturated 70’s look so we always ask in advance what they would like to have.”
R: ”For us it doesn’t matter how we do it, if they want poppy colours or a standard vintage look to it, it doesn’t matter.”

What is the most creative shot you’ve taken?
R: ”We each try to do one per wedding. (Do you have a favourite?) Probably the one I did last weekend. The tides were low, and there were these beams in the water.”
H: ”It was an old dock so they still had the beams on the ground and they were covered in mollusks.”
R: ”We had the couple quite far back and you see the bottom of the seawall, the trees and these big poles on the foreground, it looked really neat.”

Which part of the wedding is your favourite to shoot?
R: ”I like getting ready and the portrait session. With the getting ready, I like all the excitement, I like doing a lot of detail shots of the shoes, flowers, and jewelry and stuff like that. And the portrait session, I like shooting portraits of people and there’s some direction so I like that part of it. I kinda direct a little bit, come up with certain scenarios, find new locations. It can be a challenge.”
H: “I like doing the getting ready as well. I love the anticipation and there’s a lot of really great candids and moments that are happening. I also love doing the speeches. It has a lot of really great emotion and some really nice moments.”

Which part of the city is your favourite to shoot?
R: ”Always something new, always trying to find something different.”
H: ”There’s always great spots and new spots in Gastown.”
R: ”I like downtown in general, the light is nicer, there’s a lot more shadows compared to something that’s more open. We don’t really have a favourite spot, even if we do have one, I wouldn’t want to go back to it. Just finding something new constantly is the key, which is hard in Vancouver, it’s starting to get smaller and smaller.”

How many hours do you recommend couples to allot for a shoot?
R: ”Without family photos, just the bridal party, there’s probably an hour… 45 minutes on the really short side, and about an hour and a half for the more comfortable way, plus driving so if you have three locations you have to add the driving time. We work fairly fast, and the wedding is not necessarily about having 20 million different portraits, there’s much more to it. The clients we do attract, yeah portraits are important but they’re not looking for 8 different group shots, photos at the beach, photos downtown, Gastown and some grass, and some trees… most of them are just little on the lesser side of portraits.”
H: ”We usually try to get the bridal party photos done first, so then we can have the bride and groom alone. And if we’re able to, we give them a little bit of time alone.”

Do you draw inspiration from other photographers?
H: ”I don’t really look at other wedding photographers, I find that it gets in my head and starts to confuse me (laughs) I start to doubt what I’m doing, but I really like looking at other photographers, I like James Nachtwey, he’s an amazing photojournalist. He’s a war photographer but he’s just amazing at capturing these moments and framing them so beautifully, it’s incredible. I also like Robert Doisneau, he really captures some beautiful moments.”
R: ”I like Anne Leibovitz. I just like the lighting, the styling, how it’s so elaborate and over the top.”
(Do you try to incorporate some of their styles into your work?)
R: ”I had somebody that wanted photos with a background included that’s outside. So we had it so you actually see the lighting grip that’s holding up the background in the family photos and bridal party photos so that’s something I picked up that Anne Leibovitz is known for.”

If you had one piece of advice for the bride and groom, what would it be?
H: “The most important is just to relax and have fun and enjoy your wedding day.”
R: ”And make it yours. Don’t go by what your friends say, what your mom wants. That’s the biggest one I think, be yourself, make it yours.”

To contact Roger and Holly, visit their website.
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  • August 5th, 2011 at 4:58 pm
    Holly says:

    Jeannine, thank you so much for such a great article. We really enjoyed meeting you and love how you managed to capture us so well in your interview. Thank you thank you!


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