Do I want to go on location for my portraits?

Shooting portraits in our studio is one of the most satisfying services we offer our clients.  We are facing a massive number of “location photographers” who have no choice but to shoot on location, as they have no studio.   Add to that the fact that most of these photographers simply don’t have the working knowledge and skill set required to properly pose and light studio portraits.  Our exclusive Velvet Touch retouching makes the studio portraits just striking.

Approximately 75% of our seniors for this year have chosen to do at least some outdoor/location photography as part of their senior experience at Picture Place.

These images were from this past Saturday, where for the second Saturday in a row I found myself facing a high noon, cloudless day.   I was contacted recently by a young photographer who asked how I light outdoor portraits.  She was stunned when I listed about 5 variations of flash, flashes, reflectors… she was hoping there was just a magical setting to make them just turn out.

I welcome the challenge and love matching the environments we choose, to compliment exactly the look and feel each client desires.   Natural light is amazing, but sometimes, it just needs a little help.

Call Picture Place at 651-426-0232 to schedule your Senior Portrait Experience in the studio, and on location!


Is technology replacing photographers?

Well I certainly hope not!  I get asked this question frequently.  My typical answer is: “Do YOU think I’m being replaced with technology?”  The responses are fascinating.  Friends ask from a base of empathy while customers ask almost panicked that “photographers” are being eliminated.

Photography has been evolving for over 150 years.  The introduction of the Kodak Brownie camera surely marked the end of professional photography, or the introduction of the Single Lens Reflex cameras, or the autofocus point and shoot compact cameras, or the introduction of digital SLR cameras, or digital compact point and shoot cameras, or the introduction of camera phones, and now the new iphone 4s (with a truly amazing camera)…

More people than ever are taking pictures.  That’s great.  As technology improves, and cameras get better and better, it only stands to reason that everyone’s pictures will be better than ever which spells trouble for working professional photographers.

BUT, that is where true professionals will continue to innovate and deliver photography that is truly different.

Photography has no rules, but photographers that fail to gain any base knowledge fool themselves, and their clients sadly with sub-par photography, that they pass off as “awesomeness”, and gladly collect undeserved fees for the amateur work performed.  If poor images weren’t bad enough, many of today’s aspiring photographers spend their time in post-production changing, warping and destroying images, rather than spending the time to learn how to shoot it right, or shoot it better in the first place.  Just because cameras are easy to use, does not excuse a new photographer from having to learn a few things. If someone gives you all the answers to the test, you might get an A, but if you never attended one class, you’ll have learned nothing.  Welcome to the jungle of professional photography today.

“Nature is constantly producing picture after picture upon principles of the most exquisite beauty, but nature is not lawless, but makes pictures in obedience to the aesthetic rule of unity in variety, the subordination of the many to one. Nature  observes laws, why not the photographer?”    – The Photographer, May 1920!

So here we are 91 years after this article was written, still dealing with the same issue.  It is our job, no our calling as professional photographers to truly be artists, not just picture takers for our clients. Just as nature observes laws of beauty, we have what technology will never offer, an artistic eye. Our developed skill set affords us total command over our ability to shape and control certain elements (light, form and function) to create timeless images for our clients, and it is our way of making a dent in the universe.

Call Picture Place at 651-426-0232 to schedule a photography experience with a photographer that “gets it”.

So Barry, do you ever shoot pictures just for fun?

Not as much as I should!  “Working” photographers often get caught up in spending so many hours behind the camera shooting client work and events, that taking time to just photograph because you can is difficult.

I purchased a high end compact Nikon Camera (P7000) a year ago with the thought being that I would try and “always” have a camera with me.  I am pleased to report that it has worked!  I find myself looking for beautiful scenes and moments and capturing them along the way far more than I used to do.

Photographers can’t just “snap pictures”.  Our DNA requires that we think our way through the images we capture. I was very jealous a few weekends ago of 2 of my photographer pals that were able to take trips to the North Shore to capture some wonderful Minnesota fall moments (while I shot a full weekend of sessions).

Yesterday morning just after sunrise, while walking our new dog near our home, I was presented quite a fall show of scenes and colors.  Here are a few images of my walk that hopefully will inspire you as much as they did me!  I’m also including a shot of Maggie, a Llewellin Setter that has just joined the family.

Call Picture Place at 651-426-0232 when you need a professional photographer for life’s Milestones and Memories.  Enjoy these images and take time to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation that surrounds us daily.

Making it work-the mark of a pro

I enjoyed a fantastic location session last Saturday with an awesome Senior, a classic red convertible, and a run down barn.  Sounds great right?  Well it was, but it was also scheduled at high noon, on a beautiful sunny Saturday.  Great weather for a visit to the Apple Orchard, but boy does it present a challenge to photograph.

Photographers love early morning light, late afternoon and evening light, and even an overcast day can be great.  But, full noon sun requires a skill set that few photographers have these days.   I love the challenge that each portrait session I photograph presents.  We did an in-studio session that morning for this client.  As great as these barn shots are, I am thrilled that we remain committed to the importance and precision of studio shooting.

Our exclusive Velvet Touch retouching provides the perfect finishing touch for your portraits.  Don’t settle for some nice pictures, when you can just call Picture Place at 651-426-0232.

People often ask me if it ever gets boring photographing so many sessions.  The answer lies within one of my favorite quotes from the great Steve Jobs:

“And the only way to do great work is to love what you do…. Don’t settle”.

Will you marry me?

Engagement sessions have come a long way from the day of a couple just getting all dressed up for one formal head and shoulder portrait for the newspaper!

Call Picture Place at 651-426-0232 to schedule your outdoor engagement session.  We can always do studio portraits in place of, or in addition to a location session.

Our standard engagement session is $250 and includes images on a CD.  If you choose Picture Place to photograph your wedding, there is no charge for your engagement portraits!

Get your pending marriage started off the right way, with some awesome engagement portraits by Picture Place!

Year round Senior Portrait fun.

Senior Portraits have become a year round business.  Yearbook deadlines are the only part of the process that are time sensitive.  There is still time for most schools to sneak in for a headshot for the yearbook, call us at 651-426-0232 to find out based on your school’s deadline.

In the last two days, I have completed part 2 of a session for two different seniors.  Unlike many photographers, we cheerfully allow seniors to split up sessions if so desired.  There are many reasons to consider a split session.  Some girls want a different hair style, color… but the seasons alone can be a great reason to split up your session.

Our seasons offer us a wide range of options.  The fall colors haven’t been spectacular, but the continued nice weather allows us to find alternate locations that don’t rely on foliage and color.

Don’t dismay if you haven’t scheduled anything yet.  There are several weeks of great shooting before the flaky white stuff arrives.  Winter portraits are awesome!  The natural bounce nature of the lighting, combined with the crisp clean look of winter can yield fantastic results.  Our exclusive new Velvet Touch retouching is turning out to be a game changer!  The customer feedback has been great, visit for more information.

“Go where you want, get what you want”, only from Picture Place!

Homecoming Fun!

Anyone who knows me knows I invest a great deal of time performing a wide range of services for my area high schools.  Homecoming week at our schools is always very exciting.

This collage was a fun “labor of love” project that is proudly on display at White Bear Lake South Campus.

The game was one of the most exciting high school football games I have ever witnessed.  The last 3 minutes of the game had both teams running back a kickoff for a touchdown (back to back no less).  Each team turned the ball over, and finally White Bear held on for an amazing win in front of a very excited, and very orange massive crowd.

Go Bears!  Thanks for allowing Picture Place to be part of the fun!


Thinking Different, Shooting Different

People often ask me if being a photographer ever gets boring.  The answer is, no.

Every subject offers a new challenge.  A great portrait usually results from executing the perfect frame that captures the essence of the subject.

I shoot a high number of senior portraits.  That really presents a challenge to find new and exciting ways to pose, light and create stunning images to thrill my customers.  It would be easy as could be if I only shot a session every few weeks.  I enjoy the challenge and have a personal goal to create one “wow” image from EVERY session I shoot.

It is troublesome how many “photographers” run around shooting aimlessly, or at the very least, with no plan whatsoever.

Visualizing the perfect shot as been around as long as photographers have handled cameras.   Visualizing a dramatic landscape, or stunning sunrise over Lake Superior is very different than visualizing a studio portrait.  The only rule I follow is that in portraits photography, most rules are yesterday’s news.

I choose one of generally 5-6 lenses for each subject.  Proper use of focal length, aperture to control depth of field, and rock solid exposure and camera steadiness are all critical components to capturing a “wow” image.  Add our exclusive “Velvet Touch” retouching and the finished product is breathtaking.

This image is a perfect example.  This hat was an after thought, a “I brought this along in case you wanted to use it” prop.  Yes, the hat made this portrait.

Call me at 651-426-0232 to schedule your “wow” session.

Thanks for reading,


Thank you Mr. Jobs

Pictures are our life.  I can’t imagine doing what we do and handling thousands of images without our trusted Macs.

We have proudly used Apple products going all the way back to my first Macintosh SE with a massive 20 meg hard drive!

Beyond the functionality and reliability of the Apple products we use daily, we want to thank Steve Jobs for producing great tools for us and for inspiring us to be the best we can be in life and in business.

Apple has revolutionized most every cool gadget we all use.  As we move on, let’s never lose sight of the visionary role Apple has played in our lifetime.  Steve’s journey on earth has ended, we will continue to try and create a user experience that reflects the kind of simplicity and elegance that has been Apple for these many years.

Thank you Steve, and the entire Apple team for encouraging us all to be great.

You will be missed.