Steve and Patti Sundermann, owners of Sundermann Photographic Studio and Custom Frame, located at 526 N. Adams St. in Carroll.
Steve and Patti Sundermann, owners of Sundermann Photographic Studio and Custom Frame, located at 526 N. Adams St. in Carroll.
January 31, 2012

Steve Sundermann says he can thank his big brother, Ron Sundermann, of Cedar Rapids, for piquing his interest in cameras and photography.

When Steve was in sixth grade, his brother came home for a visit and showed Steve his Canon camera. Ron showed Steve all the features on his camera and the ins and outs of the dark room. Soon Steve was hooked and he wanted his own camera. Ron gave Steve one of his old cameras and Steve began experimenting with it. He began turning dials and it all made sense to him.

Sundermann Photographic Studio and Custom Frame Gallery in Carroll has been open since 1979 beginning with their in-home studio. The studio moved downtown in 1993 and has been in the current location, 526 N. Adams St., since 1997.

The studio employees consist of Steve and his wife, Patti, and a few part-time employees. Patti is the office manager and bookkeeper and she deals with client services. She also assists Steve at every wedding.

Steve thinks of his role as photographer as documenting life for people. He likens it to being their historian and engagement and wedding photos are an integral part of a of a couple’s life.

Steve suggests wedding photography be booked 18 months in advance. Engagement pictures can be taken right away or a few months before the wedding in order to have time to submit a engagement photo for the newspaper.

Many brides and grooms have enjoyed having photos taken at The Carroll Depot downtown. The garden and architecture at the old train depot provide a beautiful setting for engagement and wedding photos.

Sundermann Photographic Studio can customize a wedding package to a couple’s liking to suit their needs and wants. Some may prefer to only have photos taken at the ceremony and cake cutting, while others have said they want the whole day documented from beginning to end.

Before the wedding, Steve and Patti sit down with the bride and groom to make a list of pictures they call “the gotta haves.” Steve and Patti work hard to get all of the requested shots and they won’t leave until every photo on the list is crossed off.

On the wedding day, Steve prefers to document the day as it unfolds. Wedding portraits used to be very formal and staged. These days there is less and in some images, very minimal posing. Steve refers to it as a “hands off approach.” Often times, brides and grooms want to have let loose which includes action shots of the wedding party having fun.

As the photographer Steve deals with the technical aspect so clients can relax and show their true character on their most special day. He seeks to connect with the bride and groom to capture their roller coaster of emotions.

Sundermann enjoys the ease of using digital photography. For instance, he can easily create a non-standard size of wall portrait such as a 10 by 22 inch or whatever size is requested by the couple. More and more wall portraits are being requested by newlyweds.

A custom framing shop on site also comes in very handy when selecting a wall portrait. Steve says their framing shop can do just about anything. He and Patti can find frames and matting to match any style or home décor.

Sundermann Photographic Studio contains a very unique and dramatic feature — a theatre room that digitally projects the images onto a 40 by 60 inch screen. The theatre room allows them to present the images much larger than proof size. Family and friends are invited to the proof showing. The theatre room is a cozy space with chairs and a large bean bag. Everyone can gather to view the proofs together. The special presentation is shown in a slide show format and set to music. Once the bride and groom have selected their favorites, the images can be projected onto the screen to the desired size of the wall portrait, and shown alongside various frame options.

Steve and Patti love to hear feedback from their clients. Some are so thankful a  family portrait is being taken because it has been several years since one has been taken. Others have shared they will cherish this photo as a loved one is ill and this will be their last picture together.

Steve couldn’t be happier at the end of a wedding when the bride says “thank you” and gives him a little hug with tears in her eyes. It’s a big reward to him. This type of gratitude gives Steve personal satisfaction. Steve stresses that this is not just his job, it’s his career. His goal is to produce images his clients deserve.