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{low down, throw down} with the Gaupers!

Once upon a time, in my early flickr days, I stumbled upon the work of Ryan Gauper and was just blown away! Over the years, I've gotten to know Ryan and his wife Holly and watch them grow as an amazingly talented team. Their photography is just like them...young, fresh, artistic, fun, humble and over the top at the same time.
Meet the Gaupers...

Name: Ryan & Holly Gauper
Business name: GAUPERphoto
Location: Kalamazoo Michigan

Tell us one sentence to describe your photography:
Holly: Our work is fun, colorful and full of variety and creativity.
Ryan: We try and have a lot of fun while showing as much personality and creativity as possible

What's one thing that everyone should know about you?
Holly: I am ridiculously passionate about what I do in life. I absolutely love to learn and cannot help by give my best effort towards anything I do. And yes, that does tend to translate as “perfectionist” to many people but I like to call it always having a vision. :)
Ryan: I found out for myself that God was real. For realz.

How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?
Holly: We’ve been doing this full time for 3 years. I met Ryan in 2007 when I was about to graduate college with my degree in Graphic Design when I realized I didn’t want to be a full time designer. I was interested in photography but didn’t really know how to get started and after 5 years of college, I had enough of that. So he pretty much taught me everything. We started doing weddings together the week after our honeymoon and have been going pretty much non stop since.
Ryan: I honestly didn't even have a point N shoot until I went to Hawaii/Cambodia in 2006 and it wasn't long till I shot my first wedding May of 2007.

If they made a movie about your life, what would it be titled and who would play you?
Holly: Hmm I guess it might be called “the long way home”, that sounds movie-ish. I tend to always take the long way or the most difficult or challenging route possible. I don’t do it on purpose but have just accepted that I tend to get a lot of character building experiences from that. Gosh, who would play me, probably one of the Olsen twins since people always yack about how I look like them. I don’t really see it especially now that they are like 90 pounds with long hippie hair. haha
Ryan: “Things I wish would happen” I would have to get the Brad to play me of course.

What is the best part about working with your spouse?
Holly: That I can’t be fired. haha
Ryan: She does all the work!

What change are you looking most forward to this year...both professionally and personally?
Holly: Professionally, I’m on a magical journey of learning the fundamentals of business and marketing. I’m 110% artist at heart so those things don’t come so easily to me. I love what I do and love this business as though it was my child and I know it can’t survive without a strong business and marketing foundation. So I’m very excited to take the next step in that area.

Personally, I’m excited to learn how to slow down and balance life. Remember how I’m overly passionate? Yeah, that passion drives me and motivates me a crazy amount. So I’m learning to harness it and I’m very excited to experience what a balanced life is like. I’m also committed to eating healthy this year. Lower stress, balance and eating healthy food are the most exciting things in the world to me right now. Gosh that makes me sound like a grown up. :)
Ryan: Continuing to try and separate the two and maybe having a life while we are at it.

When you take pictures just for you, what are they of?
Holly: They are of Duma. She is our 7 month old Bengal Kitten. Most of them are taken on our iPhones. I have a goal to start a self portrait project this year though.
Ryan: Mostly my kitty Duma... I can't help myself.

If you were given $500 today, what would be the first thing you would do?
Holly: Well I guess there are two answers. The responsible decision and the fun decision. Responsible, I’d put it in savings. Fun, I would go out shopping and buy some new dresses to wear at weddings this year....or I would get a new comfy chair for my office. It would depend on the current stock of dresses around. :)
Ryan: Probably buy Duma a friend. Or buy my wife some diamonds... She loves those things.

Where do you go to find inspiration?
Holly: I LOVE pinterest. It’s currently invite only so you have to have someone invite you in but it’s a fun little thing to visually enjoy. I am currently inspired the most by the things I cannot physically see. It’s easy to replicate things you see whether you want to or not and I don’t want to be hindered by that any longer. I’m inspired by ideas, by words, by things that evoke emotion. That's something I want to replicate because it’s unique to each person who experiences it.
Ryan: I enjoy watching well shot movies with great lighting and thinking about what would have needed to be done to get the shot and think about cool ways to implement 'em.

Other than getting it right in camera, what is your best editing trick?
Holly: Warmth. It sounds lame, doesn’t it? I’m fairly known for my editing so that is quite a simple answer from me but when it comes down to it, getting a photo to be perfectly warm without being orange or all the other ugly tones than can creep in is quite a challenge. Warm photos are happy photos in my opinion.
Ryan: Holly is the expert but I like use the localized brush to make images as clean as possible.

What would you tell someone who is just starting up a photography business?
Holly: Decide on if you want to be a legitimate business or not. That way you can manage your expectations more appropriately. If you decide that yes, you want to be legit, be prepared for how tough the business can be. If you decide not to be and just do it on the side for fun, respect those who have made the sacrifices to be legit. Don’t cut down professionals or try to undercut their work and understand that what they do is very different from what you do.

So I guess just set your expectations correctly in the beginning would be my advice.
Ryan: It's all about balance... In every possible aspect of using your time and money.

What color paint is your bedroom? Why? What about your bathroom?
Holly: My bedroom is gray. My bathroom is gray. As much as I love color, this may surprise you. :) Let’s just say I love to accent.
Ryan: Because holly insisted it is grey and grey... I like it but I hate painting.

What equipment do you use and if you had only one lens to use...what would it be?
Holly: Gosh I love my 100mm. I feel like I could do a whole session with that bad boy.
Ryan: I would use a Canon 14-300mm f/1.0L III. I would have one now but they cost elevendy billion doll hairs. Or maybe a 35L.

What session idea are you dying to do, but just don't know how to pull it off?
Holly: I would like to create all of wonderland and photograph a wedding there. Anyone want to help me with this? :)
Ryan: I really want to do a big name band shoot but not sure how to land the job.

Do you have a hidden talent? Or a stupid human trick?
Holly: No. :( Does that mean I’m not cool?
Ryan: I can make my ears squeak with my palm.

What was your first paid session like? Were you nervous? Did it turn out how you wanted?
Holly: I think it was a wedding and I was a little nervous when Ryan dropped me off at the brides house where the girls were getting ready. I’m not awesome at fitting in or first impressions so I wasn’t totally sure what to do. They were all super nice though so I felt pretty confident the rest of the day.
Ryan: Holly and my first wedding together ($600) 5 hours away free travel... It was in a very average church and it was tough especially the bride and groom sessions since it was all decorated for Christmas And being in Jan it was pitch black.... I was really struggling for good ideas. I guess it turned out ok, but we have come a LONG way that's for sure.

What music do you love? Do you have a favorite song of all time?
Holly: I love music that makes me rethink my perspective on things and music that just makes me feel good. Matthew West and NeedtoBreathe top my favorites list. I could literally play them over and over for all of time and I don’t get sick of their music. Favorite Song? Well, “Strong Enough” by Matthew West is #1 in my top 25 most played in iTunes. It’s a super inspiring song about how we don’t have strong enough to handle this life and what comes our way on our own. It was inspired by a letter he got from a girl who got it a really bad car accident when she was like 18 and has had to go through a ton of surgeries and may still not ever walk and just about her journey through that situation.
Ryan: I love indie and experimental rock with all different kinds of sounds and instruments. I don't know if I have a favorite song but I have listened to Dredg's "el cielo" literally at least 500 times all the way through and I still love it today.

What is at the top of your wish list right now?
Holly: a 24 inch apple display. Since they stopped making them I can’t find one anywhere and I’m just dying for a second monitor to match. Oh, thats what I should do with the $500 you just gave up earlier! haha
Ryan: Our own house!
Holly: Oh thats a much better answer Ryan. Yes I want to own our own house more than anything.

Tell us the best advice that you have ever received (photography related or life in general):
Holly: It really isn’t one specific piece of advice but rather something instilled in me throughout my life. My dad always encouraged me to take on challenges and never give up. He always said they were character building experiences and that's always stuck with me and helped me through a lot. Now that I’m older, I’ve developed that idea into a “work until it works” theory about life and never giving up.
Ryan: Shutter speed does not effect flash output.

If you had an entire Saturday to do whatever you wanted...what would you do?
Holly: This is going to sound so bad. haha I’d love to just stay in bed watching a whole series of a tv show and eat cake and ice cream all day.
Ryan: Well it depends on if I had unlimited funds for some reason? :) If so I would say fly around an F22 fighter jet and shoot down drone fighters. Top gun style.

When you look back at your life, what are you most proud of?
Holly: Always doing my best and never giving up even when things felt impossibly difficult. Whether or not I know how to do something, I’ll always figure it out one way or another. It’s hard at the time, but being able to look back and feel that sense of pride is always worth it. To be specific, graduating from Cedarville was a pretty huge thing for me.
Ryan: getting out of debt.

How do you get a connection between you and your client?
Holly: I use humor a lot.
Ryan: I think just genuinely caring and finding a way to incorporate their personality into our style shows them we have good motives and I think that breeds trust.

If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would you pick and why?
Holly: This sounds super lame after Ryan pulls out Jesus but I’d love to meet Jerry Ghionis. I’ve watched him speak a lot online and that man is just a genius.
Ryan: I would have loved to see Jesus in heyday ... That would be crazy.

And lastly.....when we started the maternal lens, all of us filled out this questionnaire and shared our answers....now it's your turn :)

What is your favorite word?
Holly: I have lots. I overuse my favorite words a lot and wear them out quick. I call everyone a sucker lately. haha
Ryan: bageeganshlogin. Gauper original.

What is your least favorite word?
Holly: Hmm not sure. I hate anything that's whispered.
Ryan: anytime people take the Lords name in vein it makes me cringe... I know it's not one word but I hope you can let it slide? ;)

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Holly: Great people doing great things.
Ryan: A really great movie.

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Holly: Disrespect
Ryan: People who mistreat and pre-judge.

What sound or noise do you love?
Holly: Laughter
Ryan: Duma's little meow when she wakes up.

What sound or noise do you hate?
Holly: Pretty much anything scratching against anything...and whispers.
Ryan: Smoke detectors when they beep every two minutes and you can figure out where they are.

What is your favorite thing to say when you get mad?
Holly: I’m very talkative so I don’t know that I have a favorite thing, but I just say a lot of things. I like to talk stuff out and then not be mad anymore. :)
Ryan: dangiiiiiit "napoleon dynamite style"

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Holly: Gosh, it’s hard to say. Photography is just a part of me now. Before photography I was considering becoming a makeup artist. It’s hard for me to imagine not doing something creative or with color. I bet I would make an awesome personal assistant though.
Ryan: I have always been curious what it would be like to be a director of photography in big budget films.

What profession would you not like to do?
Holly: ANY of the things that guy does on Dirty Jobs on TLC.
Ryan: be a telemarketer.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Holly: That He is proud of me because I always did my best.
Ryan: I’d like to be surprised.

Thanks Gaupers! xoxo


  1. Have loved the Gaupers since I started in the business in 2009 :) Thank you for interviewing them... they are AWESOME!!!

  2. so great to have you on TML - thanks for the inspiration!!

  3. HOLLY! That is my exact dream too! To create WONDERLAND and shoot a wedding there! Actually, I'd really like to live in it! Hence the name of my personal blog. (...wait, which blog am I logged into right now? lol)

    Someday I will have my REAL Wonderland, but right now I just live in my dream one!


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