Meet the Team // Tom : Second Shooter!

I'm currently at Engage11, which is absolutely amazing and I'll be blogging all about that in the days to come; however, one constant trend that has hit super close to home at this conference is the value of your team. Whether that is simply your significant other, your family or an actual staff, the people that surround you and represent your business MUST be the best of the best! With that said, not only should they work hard and be the best they can be for you, but as leaders, we need to rock it out and give that quality of leadership to all of our 'people'! Last week, we kicked off the "Meet the Team" series with our studio manager, Liz, and this week we are featuring one of our amazing second shooters, Tom!Tom has been with our crew for a couple of seasons now and we are so fortunate to have him! When I first met Tom, he was like a loose cannon in a reception venue - he. was. everywhere!!! He is a photographer who is refining his shooting process, but what I love about him is his extreme passion. If he has an idea, he will go for it, no matter what (unless I say we have to move on), but it is that kind of passion that keeps the energy up when we are shooting for 13 hours - and it is that kind of passion that can really create some amazing images! Tom will go to any lengths to connect with a couple, which is absolutely amazing as well. He's also a sensitive dude that, you know, can relate to dudes on a dude level when emotions get high on their wedding day! We need someone exactly like that on our team! Tom is one. cool. dude.


Q. How long have you worked for Photogen Inc?

I started working for Photogen in August of 2009. I had recently discovered my passion for wedding photography and I was constantly searching for photographers whose style I loved. That's when I found Photogen and I sent an e-mail asking to be a fly on the wall. Little did I know they would love my style and brought me a to be a second photographer! What is your favorite part about being a part of this crew? I love how passionate everyone is about creating the most beautiful images they can. It's our passion, I know that I am always inspired by everyone's drive and creativity. It pushes me to come up with new ways to show the love and celebration present in each client's marriage and wedding day.

Q.What do you bring to the team?

As a perennial rookie/underdog I like to think that I bring a constant excitement to learn and try new things. I'm always trying to think outside of the box with ways to move Photogen forward. Whether this comes through experimental photographs or other crazy ideas. I try to keep everyone's creative juices flowing. Oh yeah, and I'm really hilarious.

Q.How has working for Photogen Inc. shaped you as a photographer?

Um, Photogen Inc. has been my proverbial mother. I've learned so much, it's shaped me more than I can realize. Eliesa is constantly pushing boundaries, coming up with new ideas, so in that way I really take after her. I am grateful for the time I've spent working for this company. I have learned how to always be ready, and anticipate what will happen next. It has also taught me that I love to scout for photographs and develop the concepts for portraits beforehand.

Q. What is your favorite part about shooting a wedding?

I know this might be an oddball thing to say to most photographers, but I'm going to go with the ceremony. I believe that the marriage of two people is the clearest picture we have of God's love this side of heaven. Ceremonies are deeply moving and beautiful to me, every opportunity I have to capture that is a huge blessing.

Q. What else do you love in life, besides photography?

First and foremost is my love and gratitude for God's mercy and redemption. I don't know where I would be without that. A close second is my wonderful girlfriend Valerie, my family, awesome music, and coffee. If you ever want to get to know me, take me to a world-class coffee shop, like Dogwood Coffee at Calhoun Square. I will drop everything to get a cup of coffee and some great conversation with someone. It's my love language, seriously.

Q. What are you most excited about for the 2011 season?

I'm most excited to be a part of couples wedding days. I am so blessed to witness the love of our clients every weekend. I'm excited to make new friends. I'm excited to grow as a photographer, and friend with the rest of this crew. I love this job.

Emily and Matt: Engaged!!

Emily and I go way back...back to our hometown, back to the days of being on the swim team together, but we were really never close friends until after we grew up! I think it's always fun to see where people you knew 'way back when' end up, what they decide to do with their lives, but most importantly, who they become. My friend Emily is a whirlwind of a girl. She has a personality unlike any other and I never knew what kind of guy she would end up with. Enter Matt. Matt is the perfect and I mean perfect match for this girl. He gets down with her crazy self and they are total opposites that balance each other out perfectly. Matt is also one hell of a genuine guy who will give you the shirt off his back (or kill spiders in your living room...yes, this happened). He's a helper, a giver and most importantly, he is in love with my friend Emily. There is no doubt in my mind that these two are going to have a lifetime of adventure in front of them - cheers to that!
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Congratulations to Emily and Matt on their's official now guys!


Mr. and Mrs. Ward!

Alex and Nick are so much fun. All of their friends are so much fun. And their families - they're a hoot. I remember a few months ago, Nick made the comment, "When all is said and done, I just want to be married and have a big party!"- and that is exactly what happened!We've had quite the weather here in Minnesota the past couple of weeks and the day started off dark, gloomy and pouring rain; however, as soon as we were all traveling to the church for the big event, the sunshine came out and it ended up being an absolutely perfect day for photos! The couple chose the oh-so-gorgeous chapel at the Lakewood Cemeteryto have their ceremony and the day was even complete with a custom theater sign in Uptown - who doesn't love a little shout out to the city on their wedding day?!?!
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Congratulations to Alex and Nick! We had a blast!


Meet the Team // Liz: Studio Manager

For the next month or so, I am going to be doing a little blog post on each member of our Photogen Inc. Crew! I have THE most amazing people on my team and I want you all to get a chance to know them more! The thing about running a business is that you can only handle everything yourself for so long, before you need to bring on help. I am a HUGE believer in surrounding myself with the best of the best and creating amazing work for our clients!! My team is absolutely everything to me and they work SO hard and making this dream come true!First up is Liz! As many of you know, Liz is my studio manager...aka...the other side of my brain and my right hand woman! She is also a major force in the company and does SO much behind-the-scenes work to keep this business running! She is also an incredible photographer, make sure to check out her work!
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Q. How did you begin working for Photogen Inc.?

I began working for Photogen Inc through my friend. I met Eliesa very randomly - at an installation at the Soap Factory with Brandon. It's like a weird love story, she must have liked my personality for some reason (Brandon and I inspected most of the photographers there from inches away, like we were taught.) We laughed and chatted - and I blurted out, asking if she needed an intern. That day, my future job was born. I interned for 3 months, did a test edit, and got hired on a few months after my internship was up.

Q. What does it mean to be a Studio Manager?

At Photogen Inc, a studio manager is many, many things. A studio manager not only 'manages' the studio, but also is a personal assistant (ie: doing makeup and hair for Eliesa), a connoisseur of running errands, has the ability to read minds and be 10 steps ahead at all times, edits every wedding, portrait, engagement, and boudoir session - as well as performing magic on commercial work. I am a studio manager extraordinaire.

Q. How has your job changed/help you grow as a photographer?

My job has given me a lot of opportunity as a photographer. Eliesa knows every single person that you really need to know in this industry, which has helped me get my personal photography out there and get amazing feedback from other amazing photographers.

Q. Has your view of the photography industry changed after working for Photogen Inc vs being a student?

I knew this industry was a hard one to survive in - Photogen Inc has shown me the ups and downs that a business goes though. As a student, I of course had zero experience in the photo world. I can't say that now I'm a seasoned veteran, but working for Photogen Inc for the past few years has taught me to be ready for anything and everything.

Q. What is it like being editing and setting up work for both weddings and the commercial world?

It gets stressful. In my position, I get to be editor, assistant, digital tech, and mind reader. Weddings are easiest for me. The commercial world gets a lot more complicated.

Q. What do you love most about working for Photogen Inc?

I love the flexibility and being in a creative environment.

Q. What do you hope to do for the company and our clients in the future?

I hope to keep things organized and flowing smoothly, like I do now. I hope to make the clients happy, even though they probably will never meet me.

We've Moved! Sneak Peek of the New Studio!

WOO HOOOO!!!!!!I know I've talked a lot about this, and I am SO excited to finally be in our new studio! I am absolutely IN LOVE with our new space! It feels so much more open with all the light, fresh air and giant windows - it's an awesome change to work in!! And did I mention we are right above Diamond's Coffee Shoppe, which is one of my favorite places in the city?!? BONUS!!! We are still in the process of getting everything unpacked, but little by little, it is taking shape! More importantly, our fridge is stocked and we LOVE visitors, so if you are ever in the neighborhood, please swing on by to say hello!



Ashley and Justin: Engaged!

Ashley and Justin are one of those couples who are meant to be together, but the part about their love story that I love the most is that the universe, literally, brought them together. They are one of those couples who have a million mutual connections, and their paths could have crossed several times before they actually met. However, timing is everything and three years ago, Justin and Ashley ended up at the same hockey game, a couple of hours away from home...and they've been together ever since!These two are SO full of life and absolutely love to enjoy it together. They love to do everything from travel to ride motorcycles...and lets not forget their oh-so-cute-pugs Bella and Bentley! [blogshow id=4dd4309155e15 player=0 autoplay=0 toolbar=0]

Congratulations to Ashley and Justin on their engagement - I can't wait for your wedding this summer!


Mr. and Mrs. Klaas

Back when the bride's parent's got married, Kelsey's mother had a true DIY (do-it-yourself) wedding, right down to making her own wedding dress. Fast forward to 2011 and Kelsey would have it no other way. There are DIY weddings...and then there are DIY weddings! For Kelsey and James's big day, family and friends came together months ago to begin making all of the details. The mother-of-the-bride made each bridesmaid their own custom dress, the girls came together to make their super-fun-hair-pieces and the bride even made all of her attendants custom jewelry! Beyond all of this, they also made all of their own flower arrangements, bouquets and boutonnieres - that turned out gorgeous!! One of the coolest details of the day was a handkerchief from the women on the groom's side. This particular handkerchief has been carried by every woman being married in the family since the 1800's - and every bride signs and dates the envelope after the big event. There's something so cool about a tradition like this - and being able to feel like you are taking part in this very special experience that so many other generations have done!

The festivities took place with the ceremony at the Lake of the Isles Chapel and continued onto the Nicollet Island Pavilion and even though it was rainy - it was a very happy day!

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Congratulations to Kelsey and James!! You two are a couple who is absolutely perfect for each other and it is so clear that you are going to have a long and happy life together!


Mr. and Mrs. Asztalo // An Arizona Wedding!

This past weekend officially kicked off the 2011 wedding season for the Photogen Inc. Crew and we were SUPER pumped to start things off in Arizona with Lori and David! You might remember these two from last summer when they were announced as the winners of our 2011 Wedding Giveaway! The purpose of the giveaway each year is to give back to one super-deserving couple and David and Lori are genuinely the real deal - they are also a couple who is completely meant to be together.

Lori and David have known each other since they were little kids, yet they only met two years ago. Both of these two are from Romania and their families immigrated to the United States when they were very young. They use to play together as little children, but were separated when their churches split. Both Lori and David went on with their lives and as chance would have it, they both decided to go to the University of Arizona for college. Lori's friends would always talk about a Romanian boy they were friends with, but they never had a chance to meet. Lori eventually went off to Chicago for work, but came back to Arizona for medical school. Two years ago, while filling the role as a bridesmaid in her friend's wedding, Lori walk magically paired up to walk down the isle with David! This mysterious Romanian boy she has been wondering all of her life was right there by her side and that is where he has been ever since! These two truly feel that the powers-that-be have brought them together and they have each found their soul mate!

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Congratulations to Lori and David on your marriage! We had SUCH an amazing day with you and were happy we could be a part of your big day!


New LOVEe Consults Website!

Launching an actual website for LOVEe Consults has been on my to-do-list for a while now! I wanted there to be a place for photographers to gather a little more information and inspiration about what we do during these one-on-one mentor sessions! The new site offers a breakdown of the topics we cover, along with some testimonials of past LOVEe Consult clients!
I feel SO incredibly fortunate to be able to give back to my industry and to be perfectly honest, I truly enjoy taking the time to spend one-on-one with photographers more than anything! Every single person who signs up, teaches me just as much as I give to them and it has just been one of the most rewarding experiences, so thank you for allowing me to do this!

If you are a photographer who has been thinking about signing up for a consult, there is really no better time than right before our busy season! If you would like to get a session on the calendar, or are simply just interested in more information, check out the new site!

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What We've Been Up To!

Hey everyone! I know, I've been a little M.I.A. on the blog lately - we have so many exciting things coming up and changes happening, before our 2011 wedding season begins in just a few short weeks! We are getting ready to move into a new studio (can you believe it's been 3 years that we have been in our current studio?!?!) and we have also been doing some AMAZINGLY cool things on the commercial/editorial side of things!

I absolutely LOVE the balance between weddings and commercial work - it is absolutely perfect for me! This winter has been all about inventing - and re-inventing new work for my book and I couldn't be more thrilled with how everything is shaping up! Make sure to stop by the ELIESA blog to see all of the cool-new-things we have been creating!

ELIESA website



Our calendar is filled with some amazing engagements and weddings coming up this spring, so make sure to stay tuned for some stellar photos soon!

Hope you are all enjoying the warm(er) weather!


Rivets and Roses - Introducing Louisa!

There have been SO many cool changes around here at the Photogen Inc. Studios - and all amazing ones at that! We are getting ready to move into a new studio space in the next couple of months - and our crew is getting better by the minute! As many of you know, I own another wedding photography company, called Rivets and Roses. This is a growth company for photographers to begin their journey as wedding photographer, while being able to foster their talent and clientele base by being a part of our studio! My right-hand-man-and-partner-in-crime-for-5 years, Mr. Brandon Werth is making the big, exciting move of going off on his own this year! He will still be with us the first part of the 2011 season, to wrap up his bookings, but we are SO excited and proud of him for branching off into his future endeavors! With that, I am beyond thrilled to announce that the wonderful and lovely Louisa Podlich is our new lead photographer for Rivets and Roses! Louisa is an amazing artist - and one of the coolest people to work with that I know! This girl has her shit together and has one of the best outlooks on life, work, and art! She also has a super cool personal project called .onethirtyfive. You will see that we've updated the R&R website and blog - check out the fresh new work!


A special THANK YOU to my amazing team! Liz, Tom, Jonny, Jacob, Jessica, Ryan, Louisa and Judd - I couldn't do this without you!


Paper Antler: The Fifty Nifty Project!

Attention Photographers // This post is for YOU! I absolutely LOVE making new friends in the photography industry and, more importantly, coming across new work that is AWESOME! My new friends, Michelle and Jonny are the incredible artists behind Paper Antler! They are currently based here in Minneapolis, but have a super cool project in the works!

Michelle and Jonny are all about giving back! They have a philosophy that no matter how much or little you make, you are still able to donate and give back to others! They support an organization called She Dances, which is a non-profit that focuses on finding help for victims of human trafficking. The organization just built a safe-house for women in Honduras and Paper Antler is trying to raise $50,000 to help sustain the safe-home!

Here's the scoop:

For the 2012 season, Michelle and Jonny will be going on a giant road trip! Their goal is to photograph 50 weddings in 50 states over the year, $1000 from each wedding being donated towards their cause.

How can you help? As photographers, we all know that there are many dates that we get multiple inquiries for!  If you are already booked for a date, and think Paper Antler might be a good fit, feel free to send along your inquiries to them to help them reach their goal! Simple as that!


Personally, I think this is a super cool call-to-action that Michelle and Jonny are doing and we have an amazingly supportive industry! How cool would it be to see them accomplish this?!?! The best part about what we do is the fact that we get to inspire the world on a daily basis with our images. This project is super inspiring to me, so I thought I would share! SPREAD THE WORD!!!


Collin & Dee : NYC

My big new thing when stepping behind the camera is to create images that are honest for my clients. I feel like there has been a lot of props and stylized moments (which aren't necessarily bad, but it's just a bit over done now) in the photography industry and I really want to get back to the roots of what it means to create a timeless image. I got the perfect opportunity to practice this little creative-shift-of-mine a couple of weeks ago on my dear friends Collin and Dee. These two met me in NYC and it was an absolutely perfect location to follow them around with my camera - and simple, document them as a couple, during this time of their lives and in this moment of their relationship! I adore these two so, so, so much!


To Collin and Dee, you two mean more to me than you know, thank you for your friendship!


On Vacation!

Dear Friends, Clients and Blog Readers :0) I just wanted to let you know that I am off on vacation! This is my first true, non-work-related-vacation in years and I'm thrilled to be venturing off on a little adventure for some much needed fun and relaxation! I will most definitely be blogging all about it when I get home, but in the mean time, I will be out of the studio from Saturday, March 19th - Monday March 28th!

I won't have my phone I won't have the internet I won't be checking my e-mail

I will be sitting with a cocktail, sailing around the British Virgin Islands

Bon Voyage!



Yomi & Anna: Engaged

Yomi and Anna are one of  the most genuine couples I have ever met! They are truly a couple who have all of the respect in the world for each other as individuals and when they come together, they are an amazing team! Anna & Yomi live in Brooklyn, New York, which is where we photographed their engagement session. They are a cool, calm and collected couple that really likes to slow down the pace of the NYC grind when they spend time together. This couple also has a solid sense of commitment, that I absolutely adore. After our session, we had a little dinner and our conversation lead to the topic of timing in a relationship. In many ways, timing is everything - and when it's on, everything is perfect! Anna & Yomi - this is most definitely your time!


Congratulations to this lovely couple on their engagement! I can't WAIT for their wedding!


Cadence Cornelius // Portraits

Many of you might recognize the subject of my blog post today! It's the one-and-only Cadence of Cadence and Eli, who is a former member of our Photogen Inc crew! She is a fabulous photographer who has gone off on her own to pursue her dreams and I couldn't be more proud! It is SO rewarding for me to see our assistants grow and come into their own as artists and photographers! I was thrilled when Cadence asked me to take these photos for her website - so much fun! Now, not that this job was particularly hard at all - CC is a genuine beauty who's also a knockout on the camera!static_uri=%2Fdarkroom%2Fmt%2Fmt%2Dstatic%2F&data=%2Fdarkroom%2Fblog%2Fblogshow%2F4d78f8091a2cb%2Fimage%2Etable%2Edat&slideshow=0&ssr=1&autofit=0&show_width=976&show_height=651

Congratulations to Cadence! We are so proud of you!


Published: Munaluchi Bride

I am SUPER pumped about our latest real-wedding magazine feature in Munaluchi Bridal Magazine! Munaluchi is a fairly new - and super hot - bridal magazine, focusing on culture and style! Susan and Mark's wedding received a STELLAR 8 page spread and it looks FABULOUS in print! (These are simple scans below, so make sure to check out the full issue to view it in the beautiful glossy pages!) Munaluchi is published on a national level, so you can find it on virtually every news stand around!



Location MINNeSHOP // Recap!

This past week, I had the pleasure of hosting another MINNeSHOP! The topic was all about shooting on location and teaching the students some tips and tricks on how to keep their work fresh while shooting in a new space - or an old one! I have to say, this was one AMAZING group of attendees! I enjoyed each and every one of them SO much and they really put themselves out there, during the shooting portion of the day to push their own comfort zones and creative limits! We started the day with a throwback lesson on the fundamentals of art. Simple principals like line, form, composition, symmetry and color were all things we talked about - and ultimately, how these basic ideas really make our images go from mediocre to greatness!

The MINNeSHOP took place at one of my favorite venues in the city, the Calhoun Beach Club. We had a stellar crew of models and some absolutely stunning floral arrangements, which were put together by the one-and-only Skinner Jones! Thank you to all of our models for taking the time to be a part of this, you were fabulous!


Here are some blogs from the student's work from the day!

Emily Steffen Shelley Anderson Wing Ta Nichole Lee Robin Hohenstern Rachel Nadeau

Vegas 2011!!

WHEW!!! Every year we travel to Las Vegas for WPPI, which is one of the biggest conventions for wedding photographers around. Every year, our time spent here goes by SO fast and it just seems like a giant whirlwind, and even though we tried to simplify things this year, it was still pretty darn crazy!

This year was truly all about seeing our friends! We didn't schedule any shoots, or talks, workshops or anything educational, for that matter. Our focus was to really see the people we love so much who live all around the country!! We did give some love to our friends at Red Cart, who are one of our all-time-favorite vendors around! Some highlights for me were to see my ladies, have some awesome conversations with Daniel Chin and Bryan Johnson, dance with the Solar's, and tear it UP with our one and only Photogen Inc. Crew!

I took along my Yashica T4 Camera - and here are the incriminating and very hilarious photos of some of my lovely lovely friends!


I think the ultimate highlight of my Vegas experience this year was attending an outdoor concert, at SUNRISE...after a big night of dancing, it was brutal to get up and going again (after an hour of sleep...that was stupid), but it was SO FREAKING WORTH IT!!! The concert was put on by a company called With Etiquette, who are working to legit-ly license music by some AMAZING musicians for us all to use on our websites, videos, etc. This particular event featured music from Jesh DeRox, Kelli Schaefer, and The Ravishers. The uber-cool-kids over at Still Motion put together this amazing video! It was such a cool experience to be out in the middle of nowhere, at sunrise, for no particular reason than to breathe in the fresh air and listen to some amazing music!

we bring the sun // WE from stillmotion on Vimeo.

Cheers to another fabulous year in Sin City!