Photography costs too much

Or does it?  In 30 years of business, if there’s one constant, it’s that most photographers know what they are worth, and charge accordingly.  A recent conversation led me to write this post.  While on a commercial shoot this past week, I visited with a bride who saved $1000 by hiring a Facebook friend who is a photographer, instead of hiring me.

We had a great conversation, and oh how she wishes she would have spent the extra money.  As the planning was unfolding, the groom, and her mother were convinced most photographers just charged too much. As a result, she has pictures that she just doesn’t love, and that makes her sad. As it turns out, her photographer had only done a few weddings, and was not able to handle the timing, lighting and logistics of the day.

I won’t dwell on the value that experience, training, skills, awards and professionalism add to a fantastic wedding photography experience.  I know what that is worth.

Cheap just isn’t always the best decision.  Sure, I’ll fill up my tank at whichever station posts the lowest price, but we’ve all gone the cheap route on something only to regret the decision at some point. A friend recently bought a knock off, lame excuse for an mp3 player for his daughter, instead of the iPod she was hoping for.  He saved $50, and felt horrible when he saw the look on her face when she unwrapped the gift.  He made her keep it, but after 3 months, you guessed it, they were off to the Apple store to buy the real deal.

He got a do-over, not all photography is so easy to replace.  Buyer beware is the one thing commonly overlooked today when choosing photographers.  Everyone seems nice, everyone’s pictures look amazing.  You owe it to yourself to make certain you are hiring the right photographer, it’s just that simple.

I have the opportunity to mentor several photographers who are working hard on figuring it out, and that’s great.  It’s the growing number of photographers, that “don’t know, that they don’t really know” what they are doing that is troubling.

Call me anytime to discuss,  Barry, 651-426-0232



So a photographer, a blogger and a priest walk into a bar…

So the real question is, who should you really listen to these days?  Photography transcends  many facets of life.  We all take pictures to capture and preserve memories of our lives, activities, families…  Opinions are offered daily in emails, on Facebook and clergy tell us every weekend what’s on their mind.

The information age however has blurred many lines.  It’s easier than ever to present information that seems factual, but as a reader/listener it’s ultimately up to you to discern what is credible and what is not.

Photography seems to give license too often these days to individuals who blog on and on about how awesome and amazing their work is, and how passionate they are about photography.  I received a comment a while ago from a reader who put it very well:

 “if you spend more time blogging and tweeting about portrait photography and all your fabulous work, rather than actually creating portraits, you’ve already answered the question.”

It’s a free country, but it’s not that hard to find really credible information about photography both professionally, and for fun.  I’d be happy to answer your questions as an extension of how we roll at Picture Place.  My email is

Picture Place Photography celebrated 30 years in business in 2011.  We have photographed thousands of people in a wide variety of events, and look forward to every time the phone rings to see what our next client is seeking.

Business on any given day is exciting, hard, frustrating, rewarding, but in the end, it’s all about relationships.  I would love to work with you on any event, life Milestone or family Memory.  Need help with a camera question?  Skip the bloggers, priests and bar tenders and drop me a line, I’m here to help.

Barry – Picture Place Photography – Vadnais Heights, MN 651-426-0232



Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Hopefully today finds many of you off of work, enjoying a Monday in January.  We had a busy weekend shooting youth hockey teams Saturday and Sunday at an outdoor rink in Minnesota so we’re busy sorting and prepping files for printing.

It amazes me how much buzz there is about photography in general.  I had several parents this weekend ask me “what’s the best camera to buy?”.   As a professional photographer, that is a question that is being asked of us with increasing frequency.  The camera(s) I choose for professional applications is different than what consumers are typically looking for in a new camera.

There is some exciting advancement happening in the new mirror less cameras that are starting to hit the market.  Traditional DSLR cameras are likely to be the last cameras made that have mechanical components (mirror, shutter, aperture linkage…).

What I can tell you is that professionals will continue to use whatever tool makes the most sense.  Many photographers continue to prefer film (remember what that was?), and find that medium and large format cameras still have a place among professionals.

I have fallen in love with the camera in my new iPhone 4s.  That’s right, a camera phone!  I have a few camera apps that expand the creative control, and the best part is, I ALWAYS have it with me!


This image is captured from my favorite app (6×6) that helps me stay connected with my love of square format photography from all the years I used Hasselblad Medium Format cameras. 

So as a consumer, have a great time playing with your camera phones, and all the $500 and less point and shoot cameras that are readily available.  As professionals, we’ll continue to stay aware of all the new technology, and use the tools that allow us to capture the look and feel we seek in creating your next portrait.  

No matter how much the tools change, count on Picture Place Photography to provide the portraits, candids or group shots of your next event.

Don’t worry, as much as I love my iPhone, I’ll still bring my full bag of cameras, lenses and strobes to your wedding!  Give me a call anytime and I’ll tell you what’s in my bag!  

Barry – 651-426-0232

Photoshop is a tool, not the answer.

There is a growing notion among consumers, and to a degree photographers, that anything can be done in photoshop.  As time and technology advance, the tools at the avail of professional photographers is both exciting, and at times numbing.

Picture Place Photography has developed a significant market shooting, designing and selling Panoramic Sports Posters.  Clearly, Photoshop is the tool of choice to stitch multiple clumps of athletes into a grouping that appears normal when viewed.  If you’re interested in more technical info, or if your group or organization needs a quote, give me a call.

There is a common misconception however that with Photoshop, any picture can be made to look good.  If only it was that simple, and many inexperienced photographers quickly learn that Photoshop is a lot harder to use, and the results, far more challenging to achieve.

Photoshop is a great piece of software, and I use it daily.  The challenge lies in knowing when to use the capabilities of such software to enhance an image, as opposed to fix it.

The debate will rage forever over what is, or isn’t appropriate to manipulate in a photograph. Photographic evidence (once one of the most reliable forms of evidence) is non-existent today.

We use Photoshop to enhance, retouch, crop and finesse every image we sell.  Everything from correcting acne in a high school senior portrait, to softening wrinkles and age lines on adult clients allow us to create stunning final prints for our clients.  Our exclusive Velvet Touch enhancing uses additional tools that allow us to take retouching to a whole new level.

Rather than looking for someone who is good in Photoshop with a camera, give Picture Place a call at 651-426-0232 to experience the difference.  We just happen to be great photographers, that are also highly skilled in Photoshop–and that sets us apart from many.