The state of Photography – and why we do what we do.

Face it, we all see more images all day long (on this thing called the internet) and take more pictures than ever before.  The cameras keep getting better and better at every level.  Our smartphone cameras are largely replacing the point and shoot cameras as our every day cameras.

The rapid advancement in camera quality is changing our industry faster than presidential candidates enter and drop out of the race these days.  On one hand, it’s great to see the increased interest in photography, but, in reality, it’s an increased level in picture taking.

From the magazine “The Camera”:

“If we would have a camera tell the truth about people it portrays we have one simply got to master one elementary fact–one ungetoverable difference between the human eye (the photographer) and the glass of the instrument (the camera). One has imagination, and the other hasn’t”.

Oh by the way, this was from the May 1920 edition.  Wow, nothing has really changed.  A camera no more makes someone a photographer than a skillsaw and a hammer make me a carpenter. I was chatting with a good friend this morning (who happens to be a carpenter-call me if you need his number) who shared this pithy gem from an instructor:

“There are things you know, things you don’t know and things you don’t know you don’t know. The last one is what gets homeowners (insert amateur photographers) in trouble. They need to be smart enough to know when to call people who know what they are doing.”

We love photography!  There is so much more to it than just getting a picture to “turn out”. Yes, today’s camera and wiz bang technology sure seems to make it easy, but that assures nothing. Our business ranges from highly creative striking portraits, to coordination/logistic challenging fast paced shooting (school dances, dance schools, sports associations) to complex location and wedding shoots, and now we are offering camera classes.

I often hear the question “Your pictures are beautiful, what kind of camera do you use?”  Well, I read a great book recently, I wonder what word processor the writer used…

The art of photography is just that, art.  Life inspires art, art can and does inspire life.  Our cameras are simply the tools we use to capture life’s Milestones and Memories, it’s what we do. – 651-426-0232


Back to School – time for pictures.

Summer isn’t over, at least not quite yet.  If your Senior Portrait plans haven’t been made yet, now is the perfect time to call us at 651-426-0232 to setup an appointment.  Fall is a great time for Senior Portraits, families, kids, engagement portraits and more.


This is also a great time to start planning for your spring graduation open house!  We can pre-design your party invitation/announcement so you have one less thing to do in the spring. Most families complete this process mid-winter/early spring.  We suggest getting a head start on it now.  We can fill in the party details (date, time…) later.  So find those defining snapshots you have of the “growing years”, and call us to setup an appointment to get your design started.  We also offer design work for seniors photographed elsewhere.


For those of you that have had summer senior portraits already taken, consider this your friendly reminder to setup a viewing/ordering appointment.  Portraits make great Christmas gifts, so get your Christmas shopping done early!  Seniors love sharing wallet prints as soon as school starts, yet another great reason to get in and order soon.



What happened to summer? Am I too late for Senior Portraits?

Hard to believe the state fair has started, and the countdown to another school year is counting down fast.  It’s been quite a summer and a great one (if you like rain every third day or so).  We’ve had a blast this summer shooting seniors and of course weddings.  There is still plenty of time to do Senior Portraits!  More seniors than ever seem to be choosing to do just a nice portrait for the yearbook now (leading up the rapidly approaching deadlines), and are scheduling their “real” senior portraits in the fall, and some even into winter.

“I think I might just have my aunt take my senior pix”

Well, just today I visited with a senior that spent an entire day with her aunt doing (trying) her senior pictures.  She told me it was torture, totally awkward as she didn’t really know posing, and the “natural” lighting didn’t work with lots of shadows, and harsh lighting.  This story seems to be repeating itself every week as we keep hearing from rather embarrassed folks who are very grateful that we can fit them in to get the job done right!  Remember, it’s the work our in-house artists do AFTER the session with our exclusive new VELVET TOUCH retouching. The finished results are stunning.  Sorry Aunt Betty, you just can’t compete with us on this point.

“Do winter portraits work?”

YES!  We love winter, and there’s not a better way to shout MINNESOTA to your relatives than getting portraits taken in the snow, on a frozen lake, with your snowboard, snowmobile, ice house… Let us know what ideas you have and we’ll plan an awesome outdoor winter session for you!  651-426-0232


Outdoor portraits and fall color!

Outdoor portraits in the fall can be simply spectacular.  It’s looking like mid-September to mid-October will be the prime weeks this fall based on all the rainfall.  Session times fill up fast so call Picture Place at 651-426-0232 to reserve a spot now before it’s too late.

There are several locations that work, and we’re happy to discuss the different location options with you.  We suggest a fairly simple color scheme in your clothing.  Blue Jeans and t-shirts, sweaters, coordinating solid color shirts all can work.

If planning a family session, be sure to plan on doing several combinations in addition to the large family group.

You pick a date, and we’ll do our best to help choose a location that fits your needs. We’ll be taking late afternoon, evening appointments as well as Saturday’s by appointment.

Consider having us do a grouping suitable for a striking wall portrait.  There is no better way to set off your family room then with a large canvas wall portrait of your family. You will never regret the decision to capture the moment, and you and your family will cherish it for years to come.

Outdoor lighting, especially in the fall can be tricky, so don’t rely on an amateur, your family (or senior) deserves to get it done right!

How to tell a real professional photographer, from well, a fake.

I spend time regularly on the internet looking for new ideas, reading about new techniques and staying current on industry news.  I ran across a website that compiles the worst of what the amateur photographers (pretending to be pros) actually are posting on their websites, blogs…  These are just too good not to share.

So if you want some cheap laughs, check out

If you want to see what a real professional photographer offers, check out    Enjoy!  If you happen to run across something someone else posts that might be worthy, email the link to me at


Will my portraits come with logos or a signature on them?

No.   Unlike the “signature” photographers who seem to charge more, the larger the signature… Picture Place will never clutter your portraits with our logo or any marketing for our studio.

We value our customers and look forward to building a long relationship for years to come with our clients.  Some portrait “artists” will try and tell you that their signature adds value to your portraits.  All it adds is more of your money being deposited into their bank account.

Times are tough for everyone, but the milestones and memories of the life of your family are still deserving of great portraits.  Picture Place offers the combination of quality, experience, value and the promise of delivering a finished portraits that you will love, at a price you’ll love.

Visit our website at for examples of our work, and for more information.  We have convenient links to our facebook page, and our YouTube and vimeo channels as well.

Why does a portrait studio have a YouTube channel?

Portrait photography is changing faster than a largemouth bass makes a frog disappear from a lily pad.   Picture Place has entered into the world of fusion video, and full scale video productions to expand our capabilities for our customers.  Our most popular video (with over 2,800 views) was a short clip where I captured the big winning goal that White Bear scored over Hill Murray to advance to the Boys State Hockey Tournament last winter.

If you haven’t visited out  youtube channel, poke around and see for yourself how effective this medium is to present and promote what we can do for our wedding and senior portrait clients.













The short senior videos are a hit at grad parties, and make for a great “electronic” keepsake for seniors to share with their friends and families for years to come.

As a photographer, adding the video medium really stretches the creative nature of our work.  I love watching movies, and find myself looking for interesting video sweeps and angles that are useful in our session planning and shooting both with video and stills.

Picture Place Productions is also developing training, and corporate video promotions as an exciting new category.

Call us at 651-426-0232 if you have any video needs or events in your future.

What props are the best for my senior portraits?

This one is easy. All of them.  It is really fun to incorporate possessions, hobbies and activities into your senior portrait session.  Sports equipment (including jerseys and accessories) are awesome.  If you play an instrument, bring it.  Whether it’s one of aforementioned items, or a fishing rod, hunting equipment, books, game controllers, sheet music, grandpa’s cool retro hat…you get the idea.

This is YOUR senior portrait experience and a few things that represent your interests are the perfect way to show yourself off!

Call Picture Place to reserve your time and discuss your options.  651-426-0232

Visit our website for more ideas.


How soon do I need to schedule my session with Picture Place?

There was a day when clients planned their sessions weeks, if not months in advance.  We encourage our clients to reserve a time that works for them as soon as possible.  It’s much better to reserve your time, and if necessary, change it, than to call too late when nothing is available.

We are rapidly approaching the prime weeks for outdoor fall portraits.  Call Picture Place now at 651-426-0232 to reserve your family, senior or engagement portraits to ensure your spot.

Most weddings are now booking 12-16 months out.  We all benefit from several services that no longer require much advance notice (oil changes and haircuts are prime examples).  Don’t put us in that category and plan out your session properly.

The more time you have to plan for your upcoming session the better.  Sessions scheduled far enough in advance allow you to make sure you have the right clothing, the perfect amount of time after a fresh haircut and gives us time to help you plan your session experience with Picture Place.

Check around our website at for examples and ideas.  Not sure what location you want?  Talk to us, we’ll help find the perfect spot for your portraits!

Do I want a sunny or a cloudy day for my outdoor pictures?

This is a very common question.  The answer is “it depends”.  Sunny days deliver wonderful blue skies, and can be used to backlight your portraits in a really dramatic way.  When shooting on a sunny day, I look for backgrounds that benefit from the sun, and use a variety of light modifiers (reflectors, flashes…) to create a natural look.  Sun however can blow out some backgrounds (where the background is so much brighter than the subject).

Cloudy days are good for other reasons.  I bright, overcast day allows me to pick exactly what background I want in each series.  I have to work a little harder to create the sparkle and snap of sunny days, but it’s very workable.

This is the single most difficult technical challenge that the amateurs face.  I pride myself in knowing that I can create great images, in every lighting situation I face.  Benefitting from years of experience, I use the best tools, or combination of tools to get the job done for each and every client.

Give me a call, I’d love to chat about your plans for an outdoor senior, family or wedding shoot!

Visit our website at for plenty of samples and additional information.