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 Other Side Of The Desk • Hiring For An Environmental Portrait Photography Project

About a year ago I was approached by one of my Green Bay commercial photography clients to help them facilitate a nationwide photography project.  The client, a nationwide trucking company, wanted to start profiling their drivers.  With thousands of drivers spread out across the United States, I knew this would be an interesting and fun project to work on.  The goal of the project was to shoot a comfortable and happy portrait of the driver with their truck behind them.  If my schedule allowed, I would take care of the photo shoots near Green Bay and find a photographer near the driver if it was further away.  

Being the art buyer is something I have done before, but never to this scale.  Having to be the person to assign work like this has been a great learning experience for me on how to better talk with my clients and understand their needs, as well as how to negotiate a fee and usage.

Photographing truck drivers in front of their trucks can be tricky.  Not only can their schedules change quickly, but as best you can, you need to deal with the weather that gets handed to you on the day of the shoot.  Of the four photos of mine posted below, only one was shot on a nice day.  One was shot in monsoon rains and other two were shot on days when I glanced over my shoulder to see if a twister was coming.  Luckily on those high wind days, the truck driver looked good wearing a baseball cap.

Thanks for looking!

Mike

 

 

Moments and Mortars of St Norbert College Graduation • Higher Education Photographer

This past weekend I had the opportunity to photograph the commencement ceremonies for St Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.  I’ve photographed the graduation ceremonies many times since moving back to the area and each ceremony has it’s own personality.  I’ve shot the event in high winds with students just trying to hang on to their hats as they made their way across campus and I’ve photographed it on cold and rainy days when no one wanted to celebrate outside.  This past Sunday was perfect weather for a graduation and  it allowed graduates, families and friends to just hang out and enjoy the day.  I think I was able to grab some nice candid moments of the day and also capture some nicely decorated mortar boards.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day.

Thanks for looking!

Mike

 

Chris O’Brien - Great shots!! I especially love the shot of my sister and I taking photos of our graduate!!! Thanks!!

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.