Green Bay Photographer Mike Roemer bio picture
  • Wisconsin Editorial and Commercial Photographer Mike Roemer’s blog.

    Hi, I'm Mike Roemer, a commercial and editorial photographer based in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

    I've lived the photography business since childhood, first tagging along during my father's long newspaper photography career before ever carrying my own camera gear. My interest grew as I watched the fascinating process of my dad making black and white images appear while shaking trays of chemicals under the red lights of a developing room.

    My professional career started with a ten-year stint as a newspaper photographer meeting tight deadlines, adapting to curve balls and making the famous and not-so-famous comfortable in front of my lens.

    I returned to Green Bay in the mid-1990s to start my own business, and now regularly travel around the U.S. and internationally for my clients. I enjoy the creative challenge of combining unusual angles, lighting and lens options to produce the perfect commercial image.

    I've won first place awards in Pictures of the Year International, National Press Photographers Best of Photojournalism and National Headliners, along with being a three-time winner in the Pro Football Hall of Fame photo contest.

    I love the variety of projects I get to work on, from healthcare organization and foundation annual reports, high-energy casino and gaming shoots, industrial projects at locations as diverse as cheese manufacturers and steel plants, to corporate culture assignments and documenting the Green Bay Packers.

    Thanks for looking!

    Mike

The Challenges Of Manufacturing Photography • Industrial Photographer• Manufacturing Photographer

For me to be happy as photographer, I need to photograph a variety of subjects in various areas of photography.  I have stretches when it seems like I do nothing but healthcare photography, and then I shift in to another area like lifestyle photography or transportation photography.  The first part of this year, I’ve done a great deal of manufacturing photography for industrial clients.  Being an industrial photographer can be tremendous challenge, but is something I greatly enjoy.  Not only do you get to learn how a lot of interesting things are made, but you’re generally working with real people in real environments.

In this stretch of being an industrial photographer, I had a variety of clients looking for a variety of end results.  I had one client that loved my highly lit and color gelled work as a casino photographer and wanted me to use those lighting skills to bring life to their manufacturing photography.  I had another client that wanted me to have a less polished and more available light look, and even one client that I had to use an intrinsically safe camera.  Prior to getting contacted for that shoot, I didn’t even know what an intrinsically safe camera was;  it’s a camera that’s safe to use in environments that are highly combustable.

Working for photography projects like this, my assistant and I try to keep the amount of gear we bring with us at a minimum so we can easily move around.  I usually stick with three zoom lenses, a 16-35, a 24-70 and 70-200.  I try to keep the lenses on the camera at all times to reduce the amount of dust and other industrial debris out of the cameras and off the sensors.  We also like to limit the amount of lights we bring with us, but that’s not always possible when dealing with dark areas with flat ugly light and high non-reflective ceilings.  With today’s digital cameras, you can shoot at a higher ISO and still have high quality photos, so many things are possible that weren’t a few years ago.  One challenge that we do run in to, but can work to our advantage, is working around welding equipment.  If you expose for the bounce of light coming off the weld you do get a nice directional light from the glow; but if you show the actual spot of the weld, it will be a blow out highlight without detail.  We general try to bring up our background (make them brighter) and add some separation from that background for our subject.  I also try to hide the brightest part of the spot of the weld to limit that bright point.  The other challenge is you can’t always look through the camera when you’re pointed at a weld, so you try to compose your shot before the welding starts and then stay steady and fire away as the welding happens to avoid looking directly at the weld point.

We also had one client that wanted us to shoot a time lapse video of the final stages of the delivery of their product.  One of the disappointing aspects of this type of photography is that I can’t always share the work due to non-disclosure agreements.  I wish I could share everything I shot, but I think the photos that I’m including in this blog post are a nice representation of the work.

Thanks for looking!

Mike

Photos From The 2014 Girls Wisconsin State Basketball Championships • Wisconsin Sports Photographer

I don’t photograph a lot of high school basketball anymore, but when I do, I like to overdose on it.  This weekend I photographed 15 games in three days at the 2014 Wisconsin Girls State Basketball Championships at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  This is the second year the tournament has been in Green Bay after previously being held in Madison.  I currently shoot mostly commercial work, but it’s always fun to cover high school sports like I did in the early days of my career when I worked for daily newspapers.  To me, documenting a tournament like this – when I’m a one man band shooting and editing – is a great way to tighten up my workflow that can also help me in my commercial work.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the tournament.

Thanks for looking!

Mike

Honored To Have The Cover Image Of The National Press Photographers Association Best Of Photojournalism 2013

As a teenager in junior high and high school, one of my favorite days of the month was when I would come home from school and find that the newest monthly edition of the National Press Photographer Association magazine had come in the mail.  I would spend the next hour or two looking through the magazine and studying all the amazing photos and read most of the articles.  One of the best days of the year was when the mailman would deliver the yearly Best of Photojournalism book with all the photos from the associations yearly contest. The book was full of amazing photography and was a great inspiration to me.  Growing up, my dad was a newspaper photographer and my love for photography grew from tagging along with him to assignments and seeing the magic performed in the darkroom, but NPPA’s publications also inspired me.

Starting out in my career as a photographer, I came up through the newspaper ranks and I was contest driven.  I entered the state, regional and national competitions and did okay, but not great.  I got a photo or two in the regional publications with photos that won some awards, but never in the national publications.  In the mid 90s, I decided to take my photography career in a different direction from just photojournalism.  I quite my job at the paper and moved back to my hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin and started out my freelance career doing mostly photojournalism work for wire services, national publications and larger state papers, but the push was to build a midwest commercial photography client base.  As the years went on, my career moved towards healthcare photography, industrial photography and even hospitality photography.  I still got my fix for the adrenal rush of photojournalism by shooting sports and some news for the Associated Press, but that wasn’t my focus.  Spending game days at Lambeau Field shooting Packers games was a way for me to keep that skill set sharp and to have that camaraderie with my newspaper and wire services friends.

In October of 2012, I took a photograph of Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver doing a Lambeau Leap after scoring a touchdown.  The photo took on a life of its own in a way.  The photo first was recognized by a number of news organization as one of the top sports photos of the year; then it started winning first place awards in international and national photojournalism competitions.  That was very cool and exciting and a nice honor, as I continued to work on my commercial photography business.  Even as I worked with a consultant to rebrand my business, we talked about not including my sports work.  I needed to have potential clients not just think of me as just a sports photographer.  In the end, I kept a sports area on my website, but cut back on the photos.  The Donald Driver Lambeau Leap shot still found a prominent spot – how couldn’t it after it was so good to me.

About a week ago, I went to my PO box to pick up my business mail.  In it was the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism issue, the issue that I looked so forward to as a teenager.  And what was on the cover?  That shot!  There was Driver flashing those big eyes and that smile.  It took me back to those days looking through those magazines and it made me smile as much as Driver in that picture.  So what do you think the next thing I did was?  If you guessed that I looked through the magazine, you’re wrong.  I went straight back to my office,  shot the photo of the cover for this blog, put the magazine in an envelope addressed to my dad, and  rushed back to the post office to get it out in that day’s express mail.  I knew my dad would get a kick out of it and it would make his day.  He has been very proud of me through out my career even as it turned away from photojournalism, but this shot was one he truly enjoyed.  My mom told me he was so proud of me winning these awards that he just had to share the news down in Florida – even if it was with the bag boy at the grocery store that he didn’t even know.

A number of friends have congratulated me on getting the cover and a few have even offered to send me their copy.  Those should be in my PO box when I get back next week from a week long healthcare photography shoot in Missouri.   I’m sure I will sit down and look at every picture and read most of the articles just like I did at the beginning of my career.

Thanks for looking!

Mike

 

Mark Hertzberg - You need to ask the NPPA office for a couple of extra copies, which they will gladly send you. Then ask Driver to autograph one that you can sign and frame on your office wal (and you sign one for him).

Darren Gibbins - After about a seven-year vacation. I am attempting to get back into the world of photojournalism back at The Forum of Fargo. Your work has been a HUGE inspiration to me, back in the days of working at the Fond du Lac Reporter when I was stuck photographing grip and grins, I remained sane by waiting to see what you had been up to. Congrats on the cover. Vernon would be proud knowing you have helped take over where he left off. God’s best to you Mike.

Darren Gibbins
Fargo

Kristin Bouchard - Your work IS truly amazing…congratulations, my friend!

Kathleen Rowland - Very cool, MIke!

Jean - Congratulations, Mike. Well deserved.

Green Bay Wisconsin Commercial, Advertising and Editorial Photographer Mike Roemer • Best of 2013 • Photos That Are Important To Me.

It’s that time of the year again, time for me to post my best of year end blog.  2013 was a year I won’t soon forget with the international and national recognition that I received for a photo I took in 2012.  The photo of Donald Driver doing a Lambeau Leap at a Packers game won a first place award in the Pictures Of The Year International contest and the National Press Photographers Best of Photojournalism.  It also won a third place for feature photos in the Pro Football Hall of Fame photo contest.  I don’t have a photo that ‘leaps” out like that in 2012, but I do have number I’m proud of.

As I look through the photos I have a number I’m proud of and happy to post of my commercial photography, but what jumps out to me is the emotion I was able to capture in the sports photography.  A majority of those photos are from Green Bay Packers games, but also from covering running races, state basketball championship or even the Indianhead Mountain Slush Cup.

I traveled to Europe with Judy to visit family last year and while there I worked on a manufacturing photography project for one of my clients, but while in Europe I shot some of my favorite travel photography.  To prove you don’t have to travel far, I even shot one of my favorite photos from the comfort of my office chair as an owl perched on a tree and kept an eye on me.

In 2013, I also said good by to my first intern. Prabhakar “Bobby” Jayavarapu, a student at a local tehnical college, was along side me for a number of these photos.  Bobby spent a year here as a foreign exchange student from Hyderbad, Indian.  He was with me for the first shoot of the year when we braved chilly winter temps along the shores of Lake Michigan for a polar bear plunge, but that wasn’t the last of his exposure to the cold.  He bundled up in the back seat of a Cessna as we shot some winter aerial photography with the window open and he watched the sunrise over Lake Michigan with me as we did a little winter landscape photography.  Bobby is back in India starting his own photography career, but we do keep in touch.

So, here are my some favorite photos of 2013 – photos that are important to me.

Thanks for looking!

Mike

 

 

John Roemer - Great year end photos. The one with the dock and lake with fog was it taken here or in europe?

admin - That photo was taken in the Black Forest on Lake Mummelsee from the balcony of our hotel room.

Jean Tyrell - Great body of work. Each piece could stand individually, but together it’s a Wow package. Nice.

Photos From The Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers NFL Football Playoff Game • January 5, 2014

As I prepared my Smartwool, Gortex, Thinsulate, Polar Tech, wind stopper, fleece and my foot warmers, hand warmers and body warmers for Sunday’s Green Bay Packers NFL playoff game at Lambeau Field against the San Francisco 49ers, I couldn’t help but think about the stories my dad has told me about photographing the famous Ice Bowl between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys in 1967.  The temp that day was −15 °F and has bragging rights as the coldest NFL game ever.  If Sunday’s game had happened 24 hours later it would have taken over as the coldest game ever, but sadly the temps rose to the middle single digits for game time.  The wind that I had feared never really happened.  After shooting parking lot features, player warmups and the actual game, I was outside for close to five hours and came through the event unscathed.  I only had to swap out one of my camera batteries and with today’s digital cameras, I didn’t have to worry about film breaking from the cold like they did at the Ice Bowl or the static electricity throwing sparks on the film as it transported through the cameras.  My dad along with John Biever had one of the only shots of Bart Starr going over the goal line to win the Ice Bowl with a quarterback sneak.  He had tucked away a small Leica under his coat and kept it warm for the end of the game.   With today’s advances in  camera and clothing technology, Sunday was a cake walk as far as cold weather photography goes.

The Packers got knocked out of the playoffs when they lost the game 23-20 in the final seconds after the 49ers kicked a 33 yard field goal.  Even though the Packers made the playoff for the fifth year in a row, the 2013 season was a tough season for the team with the number of key players that were either knocked out for the season or sat out multiple games with injuries.  Here’s hoping we can keep our key players on the field in 2014 and make a deeper run into the playoffs.

Thanks for looking!

Mike Roemer

A Packers fan keeps tab on the temp as the game starts.

Packers fan Sandy Kahlow waits for the game to start.

Green Bay Packers nose tackle Ryan Pickett and inside linebacker A.J. Hawk try to take downSan Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree fumbles the ball, but the Packers defense can’t control it before it rolls out of bounds.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams intercept a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.

Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn tries to get in to the stands for Lambeau Leap after scoring a touchdown.

San Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid intercepts a Aaron Rodgers pass.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Micah Hyde tries to take down San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams breaks up a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree gets tripped up by Green Bay Packers cornerback Micah Hyde.

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari tries to keep San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith off Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree tries to pull in a pass in the end zone as Green Bay Packers cornerback Davon House defends.

Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Daniels pulls down San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Green Bay Packers inside linebacker A.J. Hawk tackles San Francisco 49ers tight end Garrett Celek.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers scrambles out of the pocket.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Micah Hyde tries to intercept a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

San Francisco 49ers kicker Phil Dawson kicks a 33 yard field goal in the final second of the game to win it for the San Francisco 49ers.

San Francisco 49ers kicker Phil Dawson celebrates his game winning field goal with his teammates.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick talk after the game.

 

 

 

JTyrell - Like AJ Hawk’s expression during tackle. Great job keeping warm too!