Practice those video calls so you look professional!

Do you have time for a Zoom call?

I have been doing a lot of video calls and meetings over the last 3 weeks and I hadn’t done many before. If you are also new to this  way of connecting via video I encourage you to make sure you are looking your best, especially when it is business related! You wouldn’t walk into a business networking event half ready, late, and without your business cards right? So just take a few easy steps to look great for your next video meeting or call. You will want to make sure the location, device, lighting, and you, are all ready to go!

 Set up test calls with people you trust so you can practice.

You don’t need to be looking for the mute button when it matters! Being comfortable with all the settings of the platform you are using including logging in so you are on time to your call, and testing video and audio on a new device, will ensure you don’t look unprofessional. Yes, everyone is learning but carve out some time to learn it and be ready. Ask a friend to do a video call with you and set up the meeting just like it was the real deal. You may need to set up an account on line or find a computer or device that you can use. There are a few other things you want to consider so you can look your best!

1) Look for good lighting.

Lighting doesn’t need to be perfect or movie quality, but just a few adjustments will make sure you don’t look like a dark silhouette or your head is exploding with light. While doing a test zoom call move around a little while looking at your image and find a spot where the light is good and not distracting. If you are on a desktop near a window you may be able to slightly turn the camera, shift the desk angle, or move something that makes the video look better. Try not to have actual sunlight on yourself because it will be too bright. Try closing and opening shades and then see how it looks! If darkness is your issue bring a lamp into the room or even two and even pull off the lamp shades so you can get more light on your face. Overhead light can be unflattering and you may want to turn it off. Just give it a test and see what looks the best!

2) Sit like you would if you were with someone.

Position should be straight on like you are sitting and talking with someone in person. If you aren’t sure where the camera is on your computer or device it is essential to do a test session so you can know and be ready to connect with your audience or client. The camera and screen you are using should be near each other so it is like talking face to face and you feel like you are connecting. Make sure you fill the screen like a head shot photo and there isn’t more of the room showing than you, but also make sure it’s not too close up and just your face! When using a cell phone it’s easy to get too comfortable and go sit in a cozy chair with your phone in your lap but sitting at a table or desk with your phone on a stand or propped will keep things looking more solid. Sit up straight with good posture and even lean in a little like you would when listening to someone!

3) Be aware of your surroundings in your home.

Make sure there isn’t anything unpleasant or inappropriate in the background where you are. A basket of dirty clothes, something personal written on a card, or anything that you wouldn’t want others to see should be moved or put away. You really need to test it to see what is actually showing at the angle you will be at. If you can carve out a little spot of your own that is ready in a minute for a video call and you won’t be interrupted that is ideal. You can even personalize it for you or your business.

4) Be Present.

Give the dog a treat, tell your spouse and kids how long you won’t be available, and make sure you have everything you need for the call or meeting. If you can get through a 60 minute meeting at the office without getting up then do what you need to give someone your undivided attention on your video call. Have a thermos with some hot coffee and use the bathroom ahead of time. This is your time to show how well you can stay polished during a challenging situation. Don’t text or check your emails if you wouldn’t do that in a person to person meeting. Have documents or notes pulled up and ready so there isn’t awkward moments of waiting for you to speak. You got this!

5) Don’t be that person!

Lastly, we have all seen the video clip on social media where the person accidentally goes to use the bathroom in front of everyone on her video business call. So embarrassing! When using a cell phone you may not see yourself on your screen but unless you have the video off they can see you. The way to make sure that doesn’t happen to you is to know your settings on your device, be present when it’s time, and practice! Keep connecting friends!

Networking to build real relationships

The trend in 2020 for business is real connection.

More people than ever are connecting in real ways through social events and volunteering, creating meaningful and genuine relationships. The same is true for businesses and entrepreneurs. Networking events are growing in popularity as people seek out ways to make genuine connections and build relationships with others in business.

I attend many events each month through local Chambers, BNI, AGC, and other business groups, and these real connections are the foundation for my B2B business. I see the same people at various group events and get to build on those connections every time I see them. I meet new people that I can help or refer to others in business that will be a good connection for them. The more I get to know these business people the more I can serve them or help their business. I even create business events so I can help bring people together.

I know a guy!

We feel more comfortable using a business when we know the people working there. You are more likely to call someone for a service that you have worked with at a fundraiser or served with on a board and you know them and their values. You are probably more likely refer someone’s business that you see often because that trust is solid. Real connections create business!

If you are not part of a local Chamber of Commerce, A BNI group, or you aren’t a member of AGC or another networking group give it a try. Most of the time you can visit a group or event once or twice before you decide if the group is a good fit! Organizations like Rotary, Lions, and other service groups are another great way to build relationships with other like minded business people in your area. It is recommended you are a part of an industry group where you can learn and grow with others in your industry. If you are a photographer go connect with other photographers at a PPA group. Need some ideas for groups in your area? Go to and put in there area you want to find groups in. Check my events page on facebook I usually have a fun Lunch and Learn on the calendar!


What is your style?

What is your style?

There are several different styles of head shots that you see on LinkedIn and on other social media platforms and on websites. The first is Classic which is typically a studio portrait on a gray or neural backdrop and it feels straight forward and conservative. The pose is slightly angled and face towards the camera with a smile or even a neutral expression.

The second is contemporary which is still usually a studio portrait but with a more current and trending feel and the subject feels a little more connected. The pose is possibly more intentional with a lean towards the camera and the expression can be more expressive.

Environmental is where the subject in their environment or in an environment that suits them professionally. A physician with the exam room as a backdrop. An attorney at his desk in the office or even outside a courthouse. A writer in a coffee shop with a notepad or laptop. A real estate agent outside an amazing home or in the entry way of a house. These images create more of a story of what this person does. The pose can vary and expression suits the persons job.

The 4th style of head shot is branding and these images should really tell the story of what a business person does and who they are. You should feel the connection and the passion for their trade. They may be anywhere that tells the story or shows their style. A insurance agent in front of a lot full of cars, a life coach in a peaceful setting like nature, or even a speaker at a podium speaking to a group. What style business portrait is right for you?

5 tips for a successful summer photo session

Finally! You can feel summer is actually coming! If you were thinking of scheduling a summer family session or you need photos of your graduating high school senior here are some guidelines for a successful photo session. Remember you don’t have to have it all figured out. A great photographer will be able to guide you through the entire process.

1) Check everyone’s schedule! Work hours can change in the summer and there are activities, camps, and family vacations to consider. Have all that info before calling to set up a session.

2) What look are you trying to achieve? Summer clothes and a session by the lake? Tall grass and golden light in late summer? Fall color and leaves? After 20 years of photographing families I can help you schedule a session for the look you want.

3) Be careful of the sun! Sunburns, too much tan, and faded hair color can all happen so keep that in mind! A session the day after a weekend at the cabin may not be a good plan.

4) Clothing choices. Not sure what to wear? You may have everything you need right in your closet. Feel free to bring additional clothing choices to your session to get the photographers opinion. Coordinating not matching clothes look best. Solid colors photograph better than busy patterns. Everyone should be in the same season and sleeve length.

5) Relax and be yourselves, let the kids be kids, show connection instead of worrying about posing. Outdoor sessions are beautiful but if the weather doesn’t cooperate you may have to reschedule. Bugs and pests can be a problem so bring bug spray or better yet schedule your session in June when the temps are cooler and bugs are at a minimum.

Lastly please don’t ask your kids to say cheese. I have my own ways of bringing out great expressions and genuine smiles. Let me do the work! Scheduling a senior session? Don’t forget to find out when the yearbook photo is due. Some parents feel overwhelmed about senior photos and what to do. I have graduated three kids of my own and I work with all the schools in the area, let me help! Do you have more questions about scheduling a photo session? Call to set up a complimentary consultation. 952-210-2688 or email me at

What does your photo say about your business?

Take a look at your own website. Hopefully there is a photo of you on it whether you are the owner, sales person, or any one who is a part of the business. Examine the photo and ask yourself if the photo is a good representation of your business or service. Is it old and outdated or is it current? Is is dark, blurry, or hard to see or is it clear and visible? Is it friendly and professional or is it candid and maybe even unprofessional? If your business is trending and successful shouldn’t the photos look that way? If your service is caring and compassionate shouldn’t your head shot look the same? If you have the latest updated and sought after products shouldn’t your photo look new and your style current?
Don’t let a photo affect your ability to turn a website visit into a customer. Be sure that when someone is visiting your site they are looking at who they are going to be doing business with. Do you need your photo updated so it matches the vibe of your awesome business? If your photo is more than 5 years old it can make people feel thrown off when they meet you. That isn’t the first impression you want to make! Is it outdated with a 90s studio back drop or your hair isn’t even what is in style? Did someone snap a photo of you with a cell phone that isn’t a profession photo? Are you standing against a wall like a mug shot? What more do I need to say? Set up a complimentary business head shot consultation at your location or the studio. I can help you navigate where to begin and help create an easy session so you can create the image that increases your positive impression on all social media platforms and your website. This can help you successfully increase your business and revenue! Not sure about all of this? Ask a trusted friend, client, or network member to check your image and give you honest feedback about your photo. I can be contacted at

Are you losing business because of one simple thing?

What is the value of your business portrait image?

Have you ever searched for a website to consider doing business with a company only to move on to the next website because of a business portrait that you didn’t like? Maybe it just didn’t feel professional enough or maybe it was a photo that looked a little shady? You thought to yourself “no, not this one.” Or “I am not using this guy”. Sound familiar? So how does your head shot look? Does it show who you are? Does it represent your passion and expertise? If not you could be losing business from this one simple thing. A poor business photo.

Maybe you even know of a great business that you use all the time. The owner is fantastic and the service outstanding. You recommend them and feel confident that it is a good referral. But their on line presence doesn’t show them the way you know them. You can help them by recommending they get a professional business portrait. It’s 2019 and on line presence matters. A new business head shot can increase your business and sales!

Does getting a new business photo feel overwhelming?

No worries! I offer a complimentary consultation at your location or at the studio and we can discuss how to easily get it done. I can help you figure out the easiest way to get an updates look to show off your business or make you look great. You have a great business and you put your heart and soul into it. Let’s show that off! Don’t let your old business head shot make you lose business! Need more information? email me at Or check out some of my photography I have done for other awesome businesses!

Tempted to use stock photography? Creating authentic marketing images is your best decision.

If you are an entrepreneur, own a small business, or work in marketing with any company, you know that today’s advertising and marketing contain images and photos.

Now more than ever great photographs are used to create immediate interest and make your unique brand stand out against all the others. Images are used to show who and what, or where and why. With so many decisions made on mobile devices about where to go out for dinner, buying homes, purchasing products and so much more, the photos used in marketing are critical.  Some businesses opt to use stock photos that can be purchased on-line on websites that sell images individually or at a monthly fee.

Stock photography may be tempting but often you can’t find exactly the image you need that gives the message you are trying to convey.

Images may have been used in other places and that may give a feeling of being unauthentic. At the very least a stock photo isn’t truly showing your unique business, service, or product. It doesn’t show your people doing what makes your business special. The cost of stock images can also add up quickly to become very costly. Hiring a professional photographer to photograph your business, service, employees, or product ensures you can properly represent what you are marketing. Whether it is printed pieces, social media images, or website photos, you will speak your message more clearly with original unique images captured for you and your business.

A professional photographer with the highest quality equipment and experience will creatively show your business and give you the authentic feeling your marketing needs in today’s market.

A pro has the expertise to choose the angles and lighting, and to process images to the specs and file sizes needed. Do you want to dramatically improve your on-line presence in 2019? Call my studio today for a complimentary business consultation that will help you assess your business needs and create a plan for creating a photo session for dynamic images that show off your business!


Senior session tips for the class of 2018! What do I bring to my senior photo session

Summer is here! It’s time for senior photos and that means making a few decisions about having senior photos taken.

One of the things that can be confusing and I get a lot of questions about this is “what do I wear for my photos?” “What do I bring to my senior photo session?”

So my first tip is a big one….. Try it on before you bring it to your photo session.

It only takes a few minutes but try it all on before you come to photos, especially if it is new but even if you have had it for years. Maybe you loved it last time you wore it but please try it on before you come. Maybe there is a stain you never noticed. Maybe you will try it on and realize it won’t be good for photos. It might need a button sewn on or needs to be ironed. I do recommend you bring things you already love and have in your closet, but quick try them on to be sure they are ready for photos. Clothing you have to fuss with a lot, that is uncomfortable, that needs a lot of adjusting, are not good choices for a photo session. Also clothing that is low cut, revealing, or really short can make posing for photos a challenge.

Have one item that is long sleeved.

I know it’s hot and summer weather, but what if you bring four short sleeve tops and then realize you don’t like your arms or you want something more conservative later, that can be disappointing. Photographers know that arms can be unflattering on even the thinnest person because of angle and posing. I always recommend one long sleeve for variety alone, if anything else! To add to that, pants are easier to pose in, and overall look better on boys and girls, than shorts. Senior poses may involve sitting and situations that aren’t great for shorts. But ultimately it’s up to you to choose the clothing you love!

Solids photograph best.

It might be hard to find but solid colors look better in photos. Prints, stripes, and busy patterns, can be distracting in your photos. Bring at least one item that is solid in color. The color black photographs great and is slimming, and white can look too bright and look unflattering. Most people have some idea what colors look best on them but if you need help choosing colors your photographer can always help you decide.

Wrinkles and dog hair might show! I know it’s easy to just throw something on that’s a little wrinkled to go out but it might show in your photos and you might not like that. Take a few minutes to make sure your clothes are clean, wrinkle free, and on hangers and ready for your session, the day before. If you need help, a parent or grown up would be glad to help you make sure your clothes are looking great!

Bring what goes with your clothes.

You may need a belt for those jeans you love or a special undergarment for that backless dress. Be sure to bring everything that goes with wearing that outfit including your coordinating shoes and jewelry. It’s okay to bring more than you need and is much better than forgetting something you really needed.

Have your hair and make up complete when you arrive but do bring your make up, hair straighteners, and hair products, just in case you need to touch up! You may need to powder for shine or reapply lip gloss, so be sure to bring all your personal stuff with you.

Always bring at least one extra outfit. A back up. When in doubt you should be able to call, text, or email the photographer with any questions you have so you feel ready for photo day.

Top five backdrops for senior photos in the twin cities.

It’s almost time for the class of 2018 to get their senior photos taken.

These aren’t your mom and dads senior portraits! Let’s get serious about taking senior photos that are unique to you! Here are some ideas for backdrops for great senior photos.

So where should you go for your senior portraits?

One) Your hometown or your favorite location! Every town has a style all it’s own, If you love your area, let’s use it as a backdrop? Maybe you don’t think there are any “good spots” in your city or town, but a professional photographer can create really great images anywhere! It’s my job to see the great spots and use them right.
Two) The Arboretum! The University of MN has the Landscape Arboretum just west of Minneapolis in Chaska. The Arboretum has so much to offer it’s amazing! Woods and prairies, flowers and gardens, buildings and bridges, and so much more, it is a great place to do a session and walk around in a truly beautiful setting. I have been photographing sessions there for so many years that I know almost every inch of it and can create a session that you will love! Professional photographers must have a yearly pass to use the grounds and it gets clients in for free! I have one and I am ready for senior sessions there! Visit my website gallery page to see samples of these sessions.


Three) Downtown MPLS! Colorful buildings and alley grunge, bridges and river front, even nature and flowers, the St Anthony Main area of Minneapolis has many looks in a 6 block area! It is a destination senior session that doesn’t disappoint. Trust a professional to set up your session time during the best time of day for the look you want. These sessions are best during the work week to avoid the weekend bike/walking traffic on the Stone Arch Bridge and other popular spots. Call me for pricing on this fun session!
Four) The Chaska area has nature everywhere! I can get a nature look of almost any kind just minutes from my studio in Chaska. This historic city is nestled right on a river with several small lakes with docks nearby that have a nice outdoor feel. There are woods and prairie grass fields close by for that natural relaxed session you want. Let me know what look you are going for and I will find the perfect spot. I have the experience to do all the work for you!

Five) Chaska! Old buildings and the small town feel! Downtown Chaska is the perfect spot for a senior session. It has almost everything someone could want for a session that is creative and beautiful. Besides the obvious historic Chaska brick around every corner there are fun spots that have so much character and unique style that make for a great senior portrait. You will be amazed at how much it has to offer.

Remember to dress appropriately for the outdoor location you choose.

What you’re wearing and where you’re posing will make a great image if it is all connected. If you want to take your photos in front of graffiti in downtown, wear a trendy dress, jean jacket, or a modern-looking outfit. If you’d rather take photos in a clearing of trees, consider an outfit like skinny jeans and a long flowing top or for guys jeans and a jacket. If you are planning on a session with water, wear a sundress or shorts and consider going barefoot! No matter what, pick a location where you can feel comfortable and you can be yourself. If you need help with what to wear that is something I can help you with!
If there is a specific style of images you love definitely create a Pinterest page to show me or gather a few screen shots to send or bring to your session, It will give me a really good idea of the feel you are hoping for. I love your ideas and creating a session that shows who you are! Communication is the key to the perfect senior photos that you will love!