Q&A With Andy Marcus
When you shoot the highest-profile weddings in New York City and the world, you better know how to place your subjects in the best light possible. Andy Marcus has been in the business of photographing weddings for over 40 years. He has steadily built up his reputation as the photographer to use in the New York area.
As the president of Fred Marcus Studio, Andy has established a clientele comprised of the most prominent families and business leaders in the country. Marcus has photographed the weddings of Eddie Murphy, Donald Trump, Mary Tyler Moore, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Billy Baldwin and Chynna Phillips. Andy combines the best of great posed photography and very exciting photojournalism. Andy, his son Brian, and his associate photographers photograph between 400 and 500 weddings a year. They have traveled to Switzerland, Mexico, France, Italy and England, as well as most of the Caribbean, to photograph parties. Andy is the recent winner of the Leica Camera Holiday Card Photo Contest, where he won a D-LUX 5.
After his visit to the B&H Event space, we had the opportunity to have a short Q&A session with Andy about his business, his career and his photography.
Chris: What tips would you give to a photography student just starting out?
Andy: For people starting out, I think that the best advice would be to work for a photographer you admire, as an assistant, and absorb as much as possible. That is how I learned from my Dad. I listened and absorbed.
Chris: What was the first shot you got that really wowed you?
Andy: I have several favorite photographs but one that still "wows" me is one that I call Last Dance. It was shot in France early one morning, and when I saw the moment I knew this would be a special photograph.
Chris: How did you start out learning about light?
Andy: I learned how to light from my father, who was an amazing portrait photographer, as well as a great wedding photographer. He really knew how to make light work, and to mold a persons face.
Chris: Who were your early influences?
Andy: My dad, of course, was my first influence, but then just looking at images in books, magazines, and museums influenced me a lot. When I first started working at our studio in the early '70's, my father had me do the photographic equivalent of mailroom work, and that was the sorting and numbering of proofs. What I did not realize was that this was his way of looking at the work of all the photographers that worked here, seeing what was good, and what could be better. I think I really learned from that experience.
Chris: What was it like shooting Donald Trump’s wedding?
Andy: He's great. He is the man, and he is exactly the same on TV and off. I like that. Ivanka is as sweet as she is beautiful. Loved working with the whole family.
Chris: Which changes, do you feel, have been the biggest in the photo industry?
Andy: Obviously, the complete conversion from film to digital was dramatic. I think that now cameras are able to deliver greater quality as opposed to what most photographers in my area of expertise had been delivering to their clients. Also, the ability to shoot at higher ISOs is enabling photographers to shoot without flash. This opens a whole new area of creativity for people.
Chris: Throughout your career, did you ever feel like there was a big challenge that you couldn’t handle? If so, what was it?
Andy: I love challenges, that is what keeps me loving what I do. Challenges keep you fresh and thinking.
Chris: What’s next for you?
Andy: Next, well after winning the recent Leica photo contest, what else is there to achieve? I’m kidding—it was such a surprise and honor.
We are working on a new project/business that I will announce soon. I would like to speak more on photography, and try to bring the level of wedding photography up a notch—a big notch.