Precision Shooting…by Picture Place

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As a professional photographer, I pride myself on making every shot count.  I recently was commissioned to do a photoshoot for a local Air Rifle Shooting supply company ( with Olympic Rifle Shooter Amanda Furrer.  She won a Bronze medal at the 2007 Pan America Games, and placed 15th in the 50m three positions event in the 2012 Summer Olympics. 

In a sport that demands precision and perfection at every turn, it was a pleasure to work on this project. It was a challenge to work together on poses and setups that made the subject look good and effectively communicate the products, apparel and accessories for the vendor.

I was up for the challenge, and benefited from many years of incorporating props, sports gear and musical instruments with high school senior portraits.

It was really fun getting to know Amanda, and I have great admiration for the discipline and training required for world class athletes like Amanda.

It was fun to work with someone who lives in a world surrounded by like minded, highly motivated, insanely talented athletes, where there is no room for pretenders. Join me in following and supporting Amanda in her journey to Brazil to compete in the 2016 summer games.  For more information, or to follow her on Facebook or Twitter,

If you’d like to donate to Amanda’s training, please make checks payable to Amanda Furrer , but addressed on the envelope to:
AF, c/o 10.9 LLC
13055 Riverdale Drive
Suite 500, Box 257
Mpls. MN  55448

The next time you’re ready to hire a professional photographer, trust whatever it is to a pro that does this for a living. I have over 30 years of experience behind the camera, and the results and satisfied customers speak for themselves.

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So whether you’re training for the next Olympics, or experiencing any one of life’s Milestones and Memories, entrust Picture Place to capture images that never miss the mark.

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For more information, or to schedule a session or consultation, please call 651-426-0232D75_1404 copy

Barry Howell
Picture Place Photography


A blog post with no photos

Well this is a first.  This topic has landed squarely in my lap in recent months so I will address it, but as you’ll learn, I really can’t post any images for the article.

It is no surprise that the business of professional photography is changing so fast, that those of us in the pool now live a life with constant waves in our faces.  There are some really juicy new camera technologies coming soon that will bring a tsunami of change to an already changed industry.  Amidst the changes, I now find myself “fixing other photographers work”.

Prior to this year (the class of 2014 seniors), I had a rare and occasional request to critique another photographers work, and in some cases, I was asked to make prints for a customer who owned the images and a legal copyright release.

Then along came the class of 2014.  I have had a steady stream of clients bringing me images from other photographers, usually needing help to fix the images, more than they needed prints. I designed several Graduation Open House Announcements this year using someone else’s work, which was kind of strange, but I’ll take it.

It is both professionally satisfying in one regard that these clients seek us out (or come back having dealt with Picture Place with previous seniors) and incredibly frustrating to see first hand so much sub-par senior portrait work.

Everyone of these clients paid these photographers to create these images in this new “shoot and burn” era of photography.

I am not waving a flag of superiority, rather passing on a disturbing trend that is detrimentally affecting the profession.  How, do you ask? Well as more and more clients hire photographers who deliver average at best results, and charge handsomely to do so, it only stands to reason that the perception of “quality” delivered by professional photographers is hurt to some degree.

I’m talking about basic stuff.  Underexposed, overexposed, blown highlights, lack of workable depth of field, no light in the eyes, horrible shadows, awkward poses, body positions, no fill flash, too much fill flash, files shot as compressed jpgs and so on and so on.  I have worked very hard over the years to constantly update my skills, my style and my approach to photography.  Senior portraits are an exciting challenge to take on each year as each class seems to desire a slightly different look and feel.  It would be pretty boring to always shoot every senior the same way.  No thank you. 

I tend to take the in-studio portraits I shoot for granted.  Not one of these “let me fix your pictures” projects had ANY in-studio type portrait work.   Having spent a few decades getting it right in the camera (because with film you simply had to), I strive to shoot with virtually no editing required, as it should be in my opinion.

It is sad that Picture Place is enjoying a growth category at the expense of an ever growing field of competitors.  I know there are plenty of relatively new photographers producing great work, so don’t for a second paint me as a crabby established studio crying about the good old days and hating on all the new photographers trying to make it.  There is a smaller and smaller percentage of full-time photographers, and it appears the shelf life is pretty short on how long a lot of photographers hang in there trying to make it.

I so wish I could post before and after examples of these projects.  While I could (as everyone of these customers produced a copyright release), I will refrain from the public embarrassment that might get back to some of these shooters.  I cannot understand the logic of photographers not participating in the entire process to ensure the best possible results.  Our “velvet touch” retouching truly transforms some images from a nice shot to a stunning portrait.

My appeal is twofold.  First, to any and all photographers out doing client work, keep it up, keep working at your craft and don’t ever think you have it all figured out.  Secondly, to any and all clients considering the hire of any photographer (myself included), vet who you hire carefully.  Technology has made it “easy” to “take a good picture”.  That same technology has created an ever growing number of folks hanging the virtual shingle proudly calling themselves a “professional photographer”.  Just because a photographer posts a few nice looking shots, you might just want to look a little deeper into their qualifications, experience, testimonials and achievements.

Maybe I should run out and buy a bunch of new pots and pans, then I could call myself a gourmet chef.  I’ve got a good hammer, let me build you a house… it really seems silly to think so many approach the business of photography in the same manner.

We had an insanely busy spring (that’s a good thing) so I’ve given some of my competitors a little head start on the class of 2015.  I’m working on some incredible offerings that are sure to fill my calendar.  Give us a call 651-426-0232 if you want to get a jump on the rest of the class and book those ideal days and times now!

Off to check and clean all the gear for tomorrow’s wedding, like a good professional does before a wedding…


I’ve been “Discovered”…

I was contacted a few months ago by the Discovery Channel to see if I would be willing to work with them on an upcoming segment on the fascinating life of Hannah Kristzeck’s, specifically her Senior Portraits, and prom.  That was the easiest yes I ever had to muster!  Hannah is a senior at White Bear High School (which is one of my contract schools) and dances at 4th Street Dance Center (which I also photograph).

Hannah is a primordial dwarf which is a very rare kind of dwarfism.  She is only 30″ tall, but trust me, she has a big personality and was really fun to joke around with (standard fare for me when shooting seniors).

After several planning phone calls, the week arrived.  Our lousy weather threw a major curve at us as the original plan was to photograph the session along the St. Croix River in Stillwater.  I was able to get permission to do the shoot at North Oaks Country Club, and my crew of myself, Angela and Michael arrived on scene to setup for what proved to be a really fun afternoon!  Angela did a fantastic job working with Hannah to make it comfortable for her, and I kept Michael busy as a grip moving lights and gear all around the room.  We accomplished all this in an incredibly short amount of time.  Anyone who has worked with me knows how fanatical I am at getting it right in the camera.  I am not a fan of endless post production which is in my view a waste of time and unnecessary if you get it right the first time.  I shoot all manual, all the time.  Technical proficiency pays big dividends when you are under the gun of time pressure.


After getting mic’d up (note to anyone ever being mic’d, don’t wear a windbreaker that makes noises…) Hannah came out wearing her prom dress and it was time to make some magic.  It was very interesting having the Discovery Channel crew (Victor & Sophia) from England capturing video and sound of the whole session for use in a program that will air sometime later this spring.

Victor was thrilled to see my constant light setup which allowed him to shoot using only the light I was using.  We had to work quickly to get a nice variety of images from the 4 outfits Hannah brought with her for the session.  Hannah’s size didn’t drastically change my shooting approach, but I was extremely careful how I managed the height of the camera, and angle of the light.  I switched frequently between a 50mm prime, 85 mm prime, a 24-70 and my awesome 70-200VR lens throughout the session using my Nikon D700.  Photographing on location is always interesting and a challenge to pick backgrounds (and foregrounds in many cases) to create a magical look, no matter where you are working.


We even ventured outdoors for one quick image in the rain/sleet/snow, 38 degrees, windy… wow she was a trooper to indulge my request.  This image nailed it!  This was shot with my 24-70, one flash on camera with a Gary Fong diffuser at 1/8th power manual. Camera (D600) was set at ISO 400, 1/80th at f 6.3.  I had Michael holding a second flash with a Rogue Bender modifier also at just over 1/8th power to both backlight the umbrella, and add a little rim light to the subject.



The last segment that we featured was back inside with a series of ring light portraits.  The ring light provided eye candy for Victor who shot from several very interesting angles while I did my thing with Hannah.   I probably should have been nervous considering how many people will watch this show when it airs, but honestly, it was fantastic in every way, and I didn’t experience one ounce of panic.  We had a great time, and I’m sure Hannah and her mom Jackie will love the images.  I’ll be seeing my Discovery Channel friends again Saturday at the White Bear Prom, and will be supplying a few shots from Hannah’s dance school pictures next week.  I can’t wait to see how this is edited and all comes together.

Hannah is an impressive young lady and I am honored to have been chosen for this challenging, but fun time.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the session.  Call me to schedule your amazing Senior Portrait Experience!  I can’t promise a television crew will show up, but I’ll make you look like a celebrity with or without them!


Barry Howell – Picture Place Photography  651-426-0232


The unspoken pressure of being a professional photographer

I have been behind a camera professionally since the start of my wedding photography career while still in college in the early 80’s.  One thing that hasn’t changed, is the expectations placed upon me at most every major event that happens outside my professional track.

Before the internet came along, whether I had a camera along or not was not a big deal.  Sure, I’d show up to the 4th of July picnic and some well meaning Aunt or Uncle would ask if I brought my camera along to record the day.  Ok, I usually did, but the pressure wasn’t unmanageable.  Fast forward to this instant shoot, post, share, tweet, blog generation.

April 15th this year featured a rare lunar eclipse, commonly referred to as a “blood moon”.  I chatted with several photographer friends and we all agreed, we SHOULD get up in the middle of the night and SHOOT it!  Why?  Because we love photography and have a passion that overtakes our every thought?  Maybe we’re just astronomy nuts that just can’t miss it, or, or, or maybe we’ll feel guilty if we don’t!  I have one (smart) photographer friend that got up, went outside to see it, and went back to bed.  No camera, no pressure.

Yes, I left home at 1:30am on a star filled, windy, very cold night to setup all alone in a field, fighting the elements, trying to figure out the technical requirements to be ready to capture the moment.  Here are a couple of my favorites from the effort.


Like most of my other camera pals, I of course came back home and cooked up an image or two so I could be one of the first to post.

It was fun to field a long list of nice comments, and hopefully it in some ways helps me with increased bookings in the future.  I truly do enjoy photography and am happy to share my “snapshots” of how I see the world.  On behalf of all my professional photography friends and colleagues, I beg you to support them professionally whenever you get the chance to do so.  We all sincerely hope you enjoy our photography from the many slices of the lives we lead, but all need to increase our client and revenue base doing what we do best!

If you like the work you see posted from a photographer you know, go crazy and contact them and inquire about purchasing a print of the shot you triple liked, shared and told your friends all about.  The best post I read during this lunar show was posted by my son:

“Best I could pull off on my iPhone, but still super awesome to see in person! For photographs where the moon is actually red and clearly in the sky check out what my old man and his space boy sidekick have to offer. They’re the real deal when it comes to this photography deal! — with Dennis Zerwas Jr and Barry Howell.”

In closing, if you have an incredible life event in your future, consider hiring that photographer who you otherwise might just hope “brings his or her camera”.   We may not even accept the pay, but it sure would be nice to be asked once in a while.

I take tens of thousands of images a year professionally.  I work hard at trying to get out to photograph things just for me (and the rest of the world if I choose to post them :).   

Find me at   Call me anytime to discuss your next photo shoot!  651-426-0232

Until next time,


Barry Howell-Picture Place Photography-Minnesota, USA

Cameras don’t shoot pictures, photographers do.

Happy New Year!  I start each new year studying everything from fashion trends, hot colors for the year, consumer research and more in the development of  my marketing plans and strategies for the year. I also spend time looking at the “competition” which is always interesting.

As I look at countless competitors websites and Facebook pages, it is apparent that there is a wide range of styles, and an even wider range of quality.  The ease of use of modern DSLR cameras falsely empowers far too many “professional” photographers, and much of the work they display reflects a common lack of technical and artistic training.  You don’t have to look far to find a passionate, young photographer blogging away about their super duper new camera they just bought.  I love new cameras, but for me, they produce images, not magic.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a camera geek since high school, shot pictures for the yearbook (funny I still do) and worked in a camera store (Brown Photo) for many years selling cameras.  I enjoy an annual weekend photography excursion to the spectacular north shore of Lake Superior each fall with a cabin full of photographers for the annual lighting of Split Rock Lighthouse on the anniversary of the infamous sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  We each bring more cameras than we can use, bags full of lenses and we just geek out with photography all weekend.  The greatest part of the experience is to be surrounded by like minded, well trained and experienced photographers.  No pretenders, just decades upon decades of experience and knowledge.  I am amazed each year on how much we learn from each other.  


After posting a few images each year from the trip, I can count on several inquiries from friends, associates and podcast followers asking me what camera I used to create the posted images.  Here’s the deal, it doesn’t matter.  We created images using Nikon, Canon, Sony, Leica, Hasselblad, iPhones and more underscoring the fact that the camera is just a tool, when used in the right hands, can create stunning images.

You can own the best pots and pans in the world, but that doesn’t make you a five star chef.  You can play the same clubs that Tiger Woods uses, but we won’t be watching you in his group at the Masters.

When I look at much of the portrait/wedding work being presented by photographers all over the country, it is apparent the rules have all changed (not entirely bad).  Years ago, a portrait heavily implied an in-studio, beautifully lighted, well posed, retouched image.  So here we are, in 2014 all trying to determine what our clients really want.  I encourage you to really vet any photographer you are considering for any family portraits, senior portraits, business portraits, special events, a wedding, etc.

Here’s the good news, there are still great photographers ready willing and able to serve your needs!  I love watching seasoned pros at work with their cameras!  When the 9000 hours of Olympic coverage starts, I’m more likely to try and see what the photographers are doing, than what medals are being won.  For my own daughter’s wedding this past June, I hired a good friend and fantastic wedding photographer Dennis Zerwas ( and I served as the best dressed second shooter he’s ever had!  Here are a couple of my favorite images from the wedding.  I love shooting square (from all those years shooting Hasselblad cameras) and I love the pure joy I capture of the couple looking at an incredible sunset image Dennis created.


If you want to be sure the job gets done right, hire well.  I can’t imagine shooting portraits without the years of training I had where I developed a rich understanding of posing properly (a great pose looks anything but posed), technical strategies for a wide variety of potential lighting conditions and so on.  Pinterest is loaded with great images, and horrible images.  As far as that goes, the internet is loaded with great images, and horrible images so therein lies the problem.  There are more photographers than ever to choose from. 

It’s ultimately up to you, the consumer to choose well.  

And it’s up to you, the hired photographer, to deliver the professionalism and quality images your clients are paying for.

Please contact me anytime to discuss your needs.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

I also offer one on one photographer mentoring/training for photographers that want to step up their game.

Barry Howell


Twitter  fstop95



The barn is probably too messy…

I love arriving at a location shoot to explore the options I’ll have to create a portrait series.  The early fall day was spectacular, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the location was filled with options.  The client thought I’d probably want to use mostly the trees in the yard, the tire swing and a rock.  I obliged and indeed used all three areas briefly, but the barn, and dilapidated sheds and the shiny new tractor gave me some incredible options!  My time was limited so I wasted no time getting started.


As we worked around the area, I couldn’t wait to get inside the barn (certainly too messy to use for pictures…).  These are my favorite two images from the session.  The first was a combination of daylight thru the window with a small amount of fill.  The mom was kind enough to risk life and limb holding an off camera flash (on 1/16th power) with a rogue bender diffuser curled and pointed at the flag on the wall.  Without that kicker flash, the flag would have been pitch black.  The doorway image was natural light, exposed precisely for the highlights created by the directional daylight.  I shot far enough back, with a long enough lens to pull the wheel of the tractor into the scene to create some foreground and depth.



When hiring a professional photographer, it is important to hire well.  The ability to visualize the shot allows me to execute the technical stuff, every time.  I see light.  I understand the direction of the light, the quality of the light, and have a few tricks up my sleeve to add (or block) light to get the right image.

I am so often asked what kind of camera I use.  It amazes me how many times someone sees an image, and blurts out “wow you must have a good camera”.  The last time I heard that I asked what they meant by that?  The client responded “my pictures don’t look like that!”.  I smiled and said thank you.  After a 5 second awkward silence, she got it.  That client has now referred 2 other families my direction for senior portraits.  All 3 have been total location sessions with no in-studio whatsoever.

I have had many photographers contact me asking how to shoot in the sun.  It’s tricky, but I usually try and use the sun as a giant backlight.  Beware, you need significant flash power to fill the shadow side, but the results can be amazing.


I do what I love, and I love what I do.  I encourage future clients every week to consider what areas, locations or elements could be considered to make their portrait experience truly one of a kind.  It fascinates me that clients so often comment on the amount of gear I carry on most shoots.  I had a mom recently say “wow you must really like camera equipment”. I just smiled and told her I just carried an empty bag on my shoulder so she’d think I was a professional.  “Really?” she replied.  That led into a fun conversation about cameras as we walked with her son to the site.  Her friend at work is a professional photographer (don’t get me started) who told her he bought one lens, because if it’s a good zoom, that’s all you need.

I respectfully disagree.  For this location session, I used the following lenses (for you camera junkies):

10.5MM fisheye, 24-70, 85mm prime, 70-200.  I used 2 off camera flashes, a reflector all using a full frame Nikon D600.

Don’t worry, no cameras were harmed in creating these images.

I love creating portraits on location!  Call me at Picture Place 651-426-0232 to discuss your location portrait experience.

You don’t even have to clean up the barn before I come!

Barry Howell – Picture Place Photography



Shoot and Share. The next revolution, or revolutionary war?

The business of professional photography is under siege like never before.  The tools at our disposal are incredible and just keep getting better.  We are finding ways to photograph and light our subjects in ways that allow us to create stunning images. It is creating an adrenaline rush that has many of us more excited than ever about being professional photographers.

Sounds good, right?  Photographers are facing a major dilemma, and where we all go from here is critical.

Clients are wanting digital images, because frankly, it’s just how many of us now connect with friends and family.  Many high school seniors no longer “share” wallet prints, but you know they are “sharing” them together in social media.  Great for them, not so great for the photographers who have to generate some kind of income from senior portraits.

WB Senior Day

I am a regular panel member on with Gavin Seim.  He wrote a great article recently about being inspired to sell portraits, as “furniture for your walls”.   He had just attended the annual Wall Portrait Conference with Ken Whitmire and it makes plenty of sense.  Why shouldn’t every family hire a professional photographer who can plan, arrange and produce a true family heirloom?  There is nothing like large framed portraits of family to treasure for a lifetime.  Now, finding families willing to spend what it takes for that kind of quality is a topic for another day.

People love photographs, and that’s great.  As a studio based professional, I work tirelessly on finding the balance to avoid the Shoot and Share reality from destroying my business.  If photographers cannot provide the quality and the value our clients demand, this will become a revolutionary war that will take the industry down, and if that happens, the craft will be on life support.

“Oh Barry, you’re being too dramatic”.   Am I?   I don’t think so.  I am blessed to spend countless hours of my life working with clients of all ages, and in particular, I spend several hours a week in and around area high school students and their parents.  I am always trying to balance what people want, and what they are willing to pay for. I am working a some exciting options for the class of 2014 to address this fork in the road so I can stay viable.  It is fascinating that the very business that evolved around image (equally balancing the image of the photographer and the client) has eroded into a world where everyone is a photographer.  Just a few weeks ago, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer stated:

“There’s no such thing as Flickr pro because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there’s no such thing, really, as professional photographers.

Wow, so there you have it in a nutshell.  Well, I personally don’t go down without a fight.  I am very proud of the work I do and have committed too much of my personal and professional life to develop the technical and artistic skills I have acquired and provide my clients.  I would love to hear some reaction to all of this both from fellow photographers, and from blog followers.  It will always be the job of the professional photographer to capture life’s moments, we just have to be able to survive it financially.

As George Bush put it, “you’re either with us, or against us…”

My advice to fellow photographers is, stay strong, don’t cave in, and keep pounding away and demonstrate your quality and professionalism.  But listen carefully to what your clients are asking for, before it’s too late.

To my past, current and future Picture Place clients, I want to personally thank you for your business and encouragement.  If there is something you’d like me to offer, or a new product or service you’d like to see, give me a call anytime at 651-426-0232.  If it’s time for Senior Portraits, weddings or you want to create some wall furniture, give me a call.

Thanks for listening,
Barry –   email:   twitter:  fstop995

Passionate doesn’t equal Professional

Google “Passionate about Photography” and see over 21 million results.

I do not discount that many photographers are indeed sincerely passionate about photography, but it is hardly the only attribute one needs to be a successful photographer.  The competitive space is being overcrowded, and everyone is passionate and creative so in my view, it’s all starting to look the same to the consumer.

Everyone takes pictures, but not everyone should instantly brand themselves as professional after 10 minutes with their new camera (even with a zoom lens…).

The art and craft of photography is one of the most interesting historical journeys over the last 100 years in America.  My good friend Gavin Seim is preparing for another road trip with his family themed “A Journey of Technique & History”.  You can read about his project at and find me as a regular roundtable member of where we discuss an ever changing industry.

It is great to see a photographer like Gavin, come full circle from starting out in the “digital age” only to discover film, other formats and now he is on a journey of learning and discovery  of how photography evolved.  For a guy that still loves film cameras, I think that’s pretty cool.

My “passion” for photography really began on a family summer trip to Europe after my Sophomore year of high school.  Within days, I had become the official family photographer and gladly slugged the camera bag with a Konica Autoreflex T, 3 lenses and a Honeywell Strobonar Flash, yeah, I was that cool.  I experimented with many long exposure night shots and constantly looked for unique scenes, and natural lighting.  It was torture having to wait 2 months to finish the summer travels, return home, and send the slide film off for processing.

The day the slides arrived, I spent hours at the dining room table with a small viewer inspecting my work.  Most of what I tried worked, and the pictures were fantastic. At that moment, I wanted to learn everything there was to know about photography, and so it all began for me.

To achieve “Professional” status, you had to conquer technical skills, and over time, develop your own style and determine what type of photography suited you best.  Young/inexperienced photographers had great respect for established pros in all genres of photography.  It was not uncommon for a photographer to shadow/apprentice for example with wedding photography, for a year or more with an established wedding photographer.  Only then, would you consider taking on the weight and responsibility of photographing a once in a lifetime event like a wedding.

Technology has changed everything.  Not all for the bad, but with cameras that do pretty much everything for you (if you choose to give up control), the case could be made that too many shooters are fast forwarding to a perceived level of expertise that just doesn’t exist.

There are 507,000 Wedding Photographer listings, just in Minneapolis, MN.  Impressive considering the overall population of the Twin Cities is just over 3 million people.  Is it any surprise that very few photographers are thriving, let alone surviving with such statistics?

The quality of photography (especially for weddings) is both better and worse than ever before.  The creativity, and fresh looks continue to add a very photojournalistic feel to wedding photography.  I contend that far too often however, the “passionate” photographer shortchanges their clients as a result of the lack of technical skills and experience.  This was brought to light (pun intended) with a conversation this weekend while photographing over 50 youth hockey teams, at an outdoor rink (see my blustery self portrait).


I visited with a gentleman whose wedding I photographed in 1990. He shared with me the fact that when his daughter got engaged, they suggested talking to me (I have done a few second generation weddings already!), she already had a friend from college who was “awesome, amazing, passionate and cheap” in mind to shoot the wedding.  Well, it didn’t end well.  The young photographer arrived with one camera, one lens and a flash.  The flash pictures inside the very large, dark church were either super dark, or blasted light. The photographer tried to tell the family that there’s nothing that she could have done differently, the camera is totally automatic (which in my book doesn’t mean automatically right).  The outside pictures were fine and they got some fun shots.  There were no pictures taken with the parents or grandparents.  When requested, the mother of the bride was told by the photographer that “no one wants those images anymore.   As it turns out, this “passionate photographer” charged almost the same I would have charged.

It saddens me every time I hear a story like this (and there is no shortage of them coming my way).  I cannot save the profession, nor is that my goal.  All I can continue to do is provide Professional Photography that inspires, amazes, and probably generates a tear or two for my clients.  I have talked about experience many times.  Recently I began using the slogan “1000 brides can’t be wrong” as I have indeed photographed well over 1000 weddings. I still love what I do, and do what I love.  My professional life spans a wide range of photographic events.  Figuring out how to make the gear work perfectly, in everything I shoot is a challenge. Yesterday started at zero degrees, and I am glad to report all the gear worked perfectly, and never failed.  Here’s a link to a fun time-lapse that one of my photographers created just for fun of our outdoor hockey shoot.

My next blog will focus on what I am doing to re-brand and re-launch my wedding photography.  Email me anything you want to know about planning a wedding, or if you’d like the pdf sent to you of my soon to be released wedding magazine.

Thanks to all who continue to support true professional photographers around the world. Just because cameras have made it easy for anyone to be a photographer, true professionals still exist, you just have to work harder to find them.

Thanks for listening, the journey continues.


Picture Place Photography •  651-426-0232 •


Start your own Family Portrait Tradition

I have had the honor of photographing the Oanes family for the last 15 years before Christmas.  Each year, they get in front of my camera and we capture a simple, vertically cropped family portrait.  Creating a vertical grouping has gotten increasingly challenging as spouses and grandchildren have entered the picture (pun intended).

The family has been telling me for years how the pictures line the walls of the staircase, and now wrap around the hallway between the doors.  I had to see it for myself so I personally delivered this year’s order.

It was very fun for me to walk down memory lane and recall each session (seeing what background, grouping, lighting I used).   Having gotten to know the family, it was cool to see the kids grow up (while the parents of course never changed).  The two things I can always count on seeing is dogs, and some Harley-Davidson gear.

Start the new year with your own resolution to start such a tradition.  It’s not too late to get the family gathered for your first, in a series of annual family portraits.

Give us a call at 651-426-0232 and clear some wall space, this will be epic.

Picture Place –



1000 Brides can’t be wrong

It dawned on me recently that I personally surpassed 1000 weddings a while back, and that seems like quite a milestone!  So it’s safe to assume I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of a million exposures at weddings alone.  It’s fun to think back to how I got started.  A college roommate, and high school buddy got hired by a local wedding studio and bought a Hasselblad 500CM.  I was a year younger, so it only made sense that I jump into the game the next year.  I may or may not have had the experience the studio thought I had when I interviewed, but I was hired anyway.I shot my first wedding within months after I shadowed the studio owner on a few weddings.  I was paid $75 plus an extra $25 to cover the reception (hey that was good money at the time!).  My wedding career had begun.  Within a few months, I was the first photographer booked after the owner and the studio manager! I was working at a local camera store so I used my employee discount to purchase my first Hasselblad, for $1200 (camera, lens and film back).  I sold the camera several years later for $1800 and continued to build my medium format system.  I still have one Hasselblad 500 ELX motorized camera with an 80mm Zeiss lens that I still use on occasion, and it is always a thrill to burn a 12 exposure roll through that camera!  I have a special mount that allows me to use that lens on my Nikon D700 which is totally cool.

Weddings came naturally to me, and I was determined to keep getting better at everything I did at a wedding.  Back in the prehistoric days before the internet, it was quite a challenge to find examples of quality work.  I attended every seminar and workshop I could find.  My breakthrough was having the opportunity to spend a week studying with the legendary Monte Zucker (google that name, he’s not hard to learn about).  Monte ushered in an era of elegant, high end wedding day portraits that few had ever thought of at the time.  To this day, I use many of the posing foundations, and lighting patterns I learned using both natural light, and studio lighting that I always have at the ready.  Just a few years later I was honored to win the top wedding album in the Minnesota Professional Photographers Association being awarded the Haga Top Wedding Album!

Today, the wedding photography world is filled with approximately 4.2 billion shooters (ok, I made that up but you get the point) that just put their cameras on program and fire away. I am one of the lucky ones that can hang right with them on all the photojournalism fun and creative shots, but am glad I have so much more to offer my wedding clients.

Experience at weddings shows more and more that the ability to quickly scout settings and locations, and immediately know how to execute a great series of images produces pure gold, everytime.  I can work with soft natural light, full sun, morning, dusk, dark, inside, tungsten, reception halls…  I tend to shoot my cameras on full manual settings most of the time, including all the off camera flash I use so that I can be in total control of every element in the scene.

There is a growing trend among today’s brides to bring some elegance back to the party. The time tested classic portrait series I so often use creates images that truly stand out.  “What’s old, is new again” comes to mind as couples react to seeing my Monte inspired portrait work at weddings.

I’ll soon be releasing my own wedding magazine style publication that I am developing as a more complete guide for couples to use as they plan their wedding day.  It’s about time I start passing on my many years of wedding day insight and tips (even some that have nothing to do with photography).  The more weddings I photograph, the more excited I get for the next one.  It must be all the dinners that are so appreciated after long busy days (the food always tastes amazing when you’ve been working that hard) that keeps me going.

Plenty of things have changed with weddings, but the one thing that will never change is the thrill of creating images that people look at and just say “wow”.



For more information, or to check availability call me at 651-426-0232


Picture Place Photography