Updates on What's Up in The Imagery World

I try to spend some time once a month to write down some tips, some stories, some lessons learned... as well as advice on when best to utilize us for specials and upcoming events.  We now have a complete book that can be ordered on Amazon called, "Prepare for your Perfect Portrait", and pieces of that will be posted on a weekly basis.  You can order your own full copy on Amazon, eBook or paperback.  Enjoy! -Stephanie Oman, Co-Owner, The Imagery.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018
By The Imagery

These will be in person at The Imagery on March 13 for a few days only, by appointment.  

See what's new for spring, and be inspired by these business casual looks.  

You can order now from the Carlisle Collection website, or send me your measurements, size, photo, and any special occasion you are shopping for, and I can recommend certain looks just for you!  Contact me, Stephanie Oman, directly at The Imagery studio, 952-890-7640, email: theimagerymn@aol.com.  I look forward to helping you!


Tuesday, February 06, 2018
By The Imagery

I recently ran across an article on how to cut corners, and where to cut corners on costs for your wedding. I was happy to see that they mentioned here, not to waste money on sub-par photographers or videographers.  For the entire article see urbo.com and R.J. Wilson's list.

#4 is repeated here:

"4. Sub-Par Photographers and Videographers

These days, everyone with an iPhone will volunteer to do your wedding photos. Then there are the "fauxtographers," who think they're professionals just because they own a DSLR (that they operate on auto mode). While smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras have come a long way, you shouldn't let a non-professional handle this critical task.

Photos are how you are going to remember the day for the rest of your life.

If you spend money on one thing for your wedding day, let it be the photographer.

Wedding photographers may look expensive at first glance, but it's important to pay enough to guarantee quality results. Too many married couples have tried to cut corners on photography, only to end up with wedding pictures they hate. Plus, if your mother or co-worker takes the job and you end up with a disappointing wedding album, you can't exactly ask for a re-do."

Lesson: Don't waste your money on fauxtographers for your wedding, learn how to hire a professional photographer.

Here is another list that I found on mnbudgetbride.com with suggestions of what to ask your photographer when hiring them. I've filled out the answers for you if you were to ask The Imagery:


--Are they the actual photographer that you will see on your wedding day?  Yes, and if your package includes a 2nd photographer, it will always be someone hand-picked as equally qualified. Rod Oman is the lead photographer and only photographer.

How many weddings have they photographed?  Not sure, over 100+

How long have they been a wedding photographer? Since 1990.

Can they provide you with a contract? Yes. However, we work with a lot of repeat clients, and I often just outline what we'll do in an email for them because they've worked with us for so many years. We are also fully insured. (but never had to use it) Also, because we have been in the community for so long and are involved in many professional organizations, it is easy for us to find a very (and I emphasize VERY) qualified replacement for us, if and when that should ever need to be the case in an emergency.

Can they give you a firm timeline for when your images will be delivered to you? Within 2 months of approval of your wedding design. Wedding designs take 1 month after you have selected your images for the album.  Some brides take a year to decide on their images, so there is a $100 discount on upgrades to albums if images are selected within a month of the wedding.

Do they shoot, and include any editing services?  Is there any extra charge for editing?  We color correct the digital files so they are all a beautiful, even exposure and true consistent color that you and us will be proud to show off. If you order printing through us, we fully retouch, and in some cases, you may want us to digitally enhance the images as well, to turn them into works of art for your walls.  If albums are ordered, all the images selected for the album are fully retouched. Beware of photographers that display a high number of black and whites, which may truly be a case of “they had bad color and exposure from the camera.”

Can they provide you with digital images (and how will they be delivered)? All our packages include a drop box of digital files, some of the higher end packages have the digital files put to a customized USB and photo box

Do you have to order prints directly through the photographer?  We recommend that you order through us for the quality, but it is not required for our weddings.

Do they charge extra for a print release? No.

Are they insured? Yes.

Are they registered with the State of Minnesota, and an actual business? Yes.

Do they charge a deposit?  Is it reasonable? We charge ⅓ of your collection price as a deposit to reserve the date.  Collections range from $2200 to $6500.

When is final payment due? Within 2 weeks of your wedding.



Tuesday, January 23, 2018
By The Imagery

There are many reasons why consumers are thinking they can get away with doing their own HS Senior photography. Why not? It's fun, and cameras are less expensive and better and better, and heck, you can even take great pictures on your phone nowadays.  Just set your phone to "portrait" mode and have at it, right?

Here's why we think you might be missing the boat if you try to do it on your own.

#1.  A professional knows how to light, away from the camera, and a camera only knows how to do what it's told.  In the professional world we refer to it as OCF, or "Off Camera Flash", but really "off camera" light source can be a flash, constant light, or the sun, depending on where you are.  If you don't understand how to manipulate light to properly shape the face, and light up the eyes, then you are likely to end up with flattened or extorted features, no matter what type of camera you use.

#2.  A professional knows how to pose and communicate.  One thing your camera will not do for you is tell you where to be positioned in the most flattering way, and again, working with the light.  A professional has studied how to minimize flaws and maximize strengths, and then another step further, they can communicate this with their subject.  Communication skill with the client is something that is often over-looked and a key component in a successful shoot.  If the subject isn't comfortable, or un-cooperate (working with mom or dad or uncle or friend taking the photo), and the person behind the camera really doesn't know what they should say to the subject as far as how and where to move...you won't get the same results or have the same fun experience that you would have with a pro. You could end up spending hours trying to get the right shot, instead of a minutes, seconds even, getting it right the first time.

#3.  A professional knows how to shoot with the end in mind.  Photographs aren't for sitting in your camera or phone, they are meant to be printed and shared.  The end result is that portrait that you want hanging on the wall for future generations, rather than the facebook post that will be 'shared' one day and forgotten the next. 

#4. Time is of the essence.  When doing it yourself, once the photos are taken, that's just the beginning for a professional, they continue to work with you until you have your finished prints in hand...When you are on your own, the temptation is too great to say, "oh well, I'll get around to figuring out which ones I want, and "around" to figuring out how to print those," and "around" to figuring out framing and hanging that print... "eventually".  And then the day arrives when you are panicked because you need to have it done, or, the day arrives when you end up not caring anymore... and then the day arrives when you look back, and you care again, but there is nothing to look back on...your hard-drive crashed, your cd failed, your usb is lost, etc.

I think we'll stop there because that last one is just too depressing, right?  Images lost forever.  Please hire a professional for your HS Senior photos.  It may seem "fun" to have your portraits taken with a family member, or a friend, but at the end of the day, these pictures aren't about you, they are about the generation after you, that will want to treasure those pictures forever.

To our current clients, I am preaching to the choir.  To those looking on the internet for "how tos" on "doing it yourself"... please re-consider. 



Stephanie and Rod at The Imagery





Friday, January 05, 2018
By The Imagery

Rod and I have been in the 'marketing' business, more so than the 'photography' business for 20 years now (celebrating 20 years of The Imagery this September!).  Attending a breakfast for the Dakota County Chamber this morning, it was time to hear from county commissioners and planners, and learn more about what was going on around us.  Businesses can't succeed on their own, it's only with the support of the community and the economy around us that we survive.  It was a good first 'networking' event for us to attend in the New Year.  

On the way home, we both reflected on the fact that [we think] that Rod was the only professional photographer in attendance this morning.  What are we all doing to keep ourselves out there and top of mind? As more and more studios dwindle, retire, and close, and there are more and more part-timers out there, is the art of networking something that is also being lost on our profession? And if we are not showing up, then how is the life-blood of the community (the small business world) staying up to date on what our concerns are, what are challenges are...and do they know that we are still relevant?

My plea to you is, yes, we are relevant, and to keep us relevant...keep networking!  You have to go and get the business, it will not come to us.  For those photographers that are new and aspiring, I decided to do a quick post today on the "Top 5" things to remember when networking. And yes, you do need to get out there in person and not just on facebook. When you do get out there, remember these tips to help it not be so scary and mysterious.

#1.  People have to know and see you multiple times before they will trust you enough for you to send them any type of offer or invitation to engage.  It's a marathon not a sprint...it's a courtship not a booty call... all sorts of analogies, but what it comes down to the fact that you are going to have to show up multiple times, and that means in-person, not online. 

#2.   Don't make it about you, make it about them. Listen more than you talk. When introducing yourself, start with asking them open ended questions, and then sit back and truly study everything they are saying so you can add in. In order to make it about them, you've got to get to know who you are talking to first.  Do they have family? Are they in charge of their entire business, or an employee? Do they have a business cycle that includes a need for updated headshots right now, or do they even care about image branding?

#3.  Follow-up immediately.  This is my weak point and something that I have vowed to be better at in 2018.  If I don't follow this rule, I inevitably completely forget who I've met, I accumulate a stack of business cards, and a year later I still haven't added them to my database. I now always add on an hour of office time on to any networking event, with no appointments, so I can take my notes or business card stack and request to connect with them on LinkedIn.  I also will add to my database with the marker "networking" so they can be called up in a group later on.  Immediate follow-up doesn't have to mean a phone call.  Of course, call right away if there is a possibility for strategic partnership and you want to chat further over coffee. (And no, Facebook isn't the best place to begin relationships, Facebook is social and personal, so let's wait a few times before we "friend" someone!).

#4.  Remember you are there to meet new people--not hang out with friends.  Especially when Rod and I attend events together, we make a point of sitting at separate tables.  You will eventually run into people that you see time and time again, and it's important to have quick re-connects with people you already know, but don't spend the entire event with them.  Remember if you already know them, you can connect with them one on one at another time, or send them a quick follow-up, "nice to see you again at such and such". Take this time to sit with new faces, ask new questions, and listen to new voices.  Look for the people that are hanging out on their own, and do you and them a favor by introducing yourself and starting a conversation. Everyone is there for the same thing, so everyone expects to have strangers approach them. Don't get all "Minnesota Shy" (and believe me, as an introvert, I get it).  Your business depends on you getting a little bolder.

#5.  Be prepared with business cards that are functional and are networking-friendly.  Order cards that have enough blank space on them to write on the back, so the people you meet can make a note of how they met you (and you should always carry a pen so you can make notes about them as well). Don't order 'gloss' or 'uv coated'...they are cool looking, but impossible to write on.  Also, make sure that your cards have a photo on them. You are a photographer and you are telling people to put photos on their cards, so make sure they are on yours!  We get our cards from moo.com, which allows us to basically print an entire portfolio of images, with each card being different.  I then ask the recipient to 'pick a card', and in so doing, we are showing off our portfolio and variety of work... more ice-breaking discussion points!

So get out there and network. It shouldn't be scary. Develop a system for it. Do it right.  And above all, be patient.  The biggest point is #1...KEEP SHOWING UP.




Tuesday, November 07, 2017
By The Imagery

This morning we appeared on the Mid-Morning show with Matt and Jason, Channel 4 WCCO.  We had three minutes to go over holiday photo tips, and wow, it's easy to talk for 30 minutes, it's extremely HARD to talk for only three.  So of course we forgot things, and couldn't cover all we wanted to, but the main thing is, we had a message about sharing pixels on your phone, versus hiring a professional to create artwork that will last for generations.  That's the "DIY vs. Professional" difference.

Pixels are for Sharing, Prints are for Preserving.

It was also a way to get the word out about the book, "Prepare for Your Perfect Portrait" which is available on Amazon.  

Now we have one TV interview down, and more. hopefully, to come, to emphasize the importance of preserving your memories with professionals, because professionals PRINT, they don't just "share".


WCCO Morning Show

WCCO Morning show segment on DIY versus Professional photos for the holidays. How to do better when doing your family portrait and your holiday photos. Tips on making your holiday portrait better. Tips on choosing the right photographer for you.