Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Martha Stewart Knows Her Stuff

Why would a man, especially one who looks like I do in my profile photo, write about Martha Stewart? Why would I read a book entitled "The Martha Rules"?!

Why indeed? The number one reason is the sub-title:

It drew me in. As a photographer, I am both an artist and a business owner. Anyone who runs a business MUST constantly be improving, and building on their knowledge base.

I make it a habit to read, research and study. I strive to hone, both my photography skills and my understanding of business and what it takes to be the best. Success demands that we never rest on our past accomplishments.

Martha is an authority on being the best... her book convinced me! she really understands not only home- making, but the entrepreneurial spirit and offering above-average service.

This book is what I am about as a wedding photographer. It is about quality, passion, big ideas, taking risks; not chances and... "Make it Beautiful".

That's what it is all about, especially in the art of the wedding photography business. We make it beautiful. We take an already lovely bride, and through composition, lighting, unique angles, correct focus, capturing just the right mood & emotion - we make her even more Beautiful!

In all that I do as a Wedding Photographer - my goal is Beauty. Make it beautiful and offer quality finished products that are not available to the average person

I have read this book and was so inspired by it, that I'll definitely read it through a few times in this New Year!

Monday, January 28, 2008

What to look for in a Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photography - it's about the passion, it's about the emotion, it's about that special look, it's the way you touch, the way you laugh together,it's about you and only you.

No two couples have the exact same relationship - there are unique and intimate qualities that no one else will ever posess.

A good wedding photographer is able to capture some posed moments that record what you look like - but not who you really are. A truly GREAT wedding photographer is able to see beyond the surface - to transcend the standard trite poses and capture your relationship as it is.

It's about you - a newly formed couple - what makes you unique - what makes you smile, laugh, dance, sing and play? This is what a GREAT wedding photographer is able to intuitively discover and record for you - your families - your friends - your bridal party - your children.

The real, intimate, passionate, love- filled you.
Don't settle for good: expect GREAT!
Your wedding - it's your story - be very particular about who's telling it!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chicago Fun

This past week was one filled with, both fun and intense STRESS!

Our family traveled to Chicago for a little business and a lot of FUN!

The drive there was probably the absolute worst driving experience of my adult life. We left Wednesday morning, at about 8:00. Our goal had been to leave at 6:30. But winter often determines departure times for those of us in northern climates. The van was covered with solid ICE, as were all the roads and our driveway. It took about 40 minutes of the defrost set to full blast to melt the windshield enough to start our trip.

Because we travel in a 15 passenger rear-wheel-drive van, icy roads are not a nice experience.

The first 2 1/2 hours of our trip was very slippery... leading of course to very sore arms and a stiff neck, sore back, and achy legs for me: the official driver.

We made it most of the way into Wisconsin, when it started snowing very heavily. It was dark and windy. So, we stopped and got a room at a resort with a modest indoor water park. The kids loved that! As did Kristi & I. It felt good to be out of the van and playing with the kids in a big pool, eating pizza and watching Animal Planet.

The next morning after swimming 'til 10:00, we loaded up the van, checked out, and made our way east. It had snowed all night and the roads were treacherous! What should have been a 3.5 hour trip was closer to 6.5.

Never have I seen as many wrecked cars, pick-ups, SUVs, and semi's. There were rescue vehicles of every shape, size and description every few miles! WOW! It was like being in a war zone, destruction was everywhere. Stress was high. Thank God that we had 3 DVD players for the kids to stay occupied. Arriving in St. Charles, Illinois was a real relief and felt so-o-o very good.
While in the Chicago area we decided to give the kids a little tourist action. My brother-in-law Rob & I drove down to Chicago with 8 kids and spent the day at the Field Museum. What a place!

My two youngest girls that were with us were not very thrilled by all the "dead people" (mummy's) on display. In fact, they were in a hurry to just get through the Ancient Egypt display. The older kids loved it.

The little girls were fascinated by the dead animals. There were fish bigger than both of them put together.

I was amazed at the sheer size of most of the animals that I had only seen on TV or at the ZOO. They're much larger up close.

We saw SUE!

We were all exhausted by the end of the day and ready for the long drive through Chicago's heavy traffic in our 15 passenger van!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

music CD gig

Joy Israelson is a very fun and lively individual. She is a strong Christian, a natural vocalist who loves to sing, perform & minister. I was honored to photograph her for this CD. I admire
people who don't hide their gifts away in a dusty drawer; but who are also humble about their talent.

We had a blast - rolling in the grass, climbling on fences, trying different outfits and getting chiggers - very itchy. Joy is able to evoke tears at will - which worked amazingly well for a shot that never made it in to the final cover. Check out her music here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Two More Book Covers

I have had the privilege of photographing a few different book covers. The Slow Way Home - published by Harper Collins which was well received by the public. I used my son, Kristopher as the model. He was exactly what the designer was looking for. It was the easiest $50 he ever made.
I was very excited and honored to be asked to create a photograph for TV Legend Andy Griffith.
My family & I own quite a few of the "Andy Griffith show" DVDs. We've spent many a night laughing at the antics of Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith) & his side-kick Deputy Barney Phife (Don Knotts).
Although I only photographed the center Christmas scene, I was thrilled to have my name associated with the book.
The Christmas Guest was published
by J. Countryman. They forgot to give me a photo credit, but hey... it's Andy Griffith.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

How the Heck do you pronounce Gjerme?!

What a question....and very understandable for an English speaker. The name is Norwegian.
It is our old country sir name. The closest you can come to it in American English is to say Yarma - but kind of roll your tongue while saying the R - at the same time gargle a bit. OR, you could call me Paul.

Abide With Me - Book Cover Photo

Yeah, I know! I'm a wedding photographer, so what am I doing shooting book covers?

Well, fortunately God has given me a gift, and I'll use it in various ways as opportunities arise.

This particular shoot came about through my good friend, and graphics guru: Peter Gloege of

He is one of the finest book designers in the world, and I knew him when...

The book is about 3 women friends; who are very close and meet frequently at a classic NYC diner. I'll put other book covers on as I am able. Keep checking back!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Define Yourself - Fear Not!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

Wedding Photographers Dream 2

Looking very good!

Wedding Photographers Dream

EVERY Bride is Beautiful - and EVERY Groom has "Stud in the Blood"!

However, every once in a while there comes along the amazingly beautiful. Dan & Rachel are one such couple... you see the images and you yell, "Ya baby"!
Not only are they gorgeous - but they could really work for the perfect shot. She's a professional model and he keeps getting asked to become one.
Grace, very fun & elegant - what else can I say. I'll add more later.
Thanks for the Day!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Snow & Scooters

Today was a balmy Sunday afternoon. The temperature hit 40 degrees! How could we stay inside with such tropical-like conditions?
After about 40 minutes of getting bundled up for our adventure, we were off! We gathered our sheepskin- lined-wagon, a couple of scooters, and Nigel (our Beagle/Lhasa Apso).
I usually don't associate snow with scooters but, it worked. We had a blast! Snow ball fights, foot races, jumping off stone walls with Nigel and riding scooters.
I almost wiped out while riding a scooter on the ice! Everyone had fun, got cold, and enjoyed a warm fire when we returned home to mommy & baby Leif.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Couplehood - Engagement Photo Shoot

Every couple is totally unique! It's that simple. I've yet to meet a couple that is exactly like any other. That's what makes wedding photography so-o-o fun. You're never doing the same thing twice.

I really like to have the chance to do an engagement photo shoot, or a "couplehood" session as I like to call them. It is a way for me to build a relationship with the couple prior to their wedding date.
No two shoots are exactly alike; each brings in elements of the happy couples' personality.
On some occasions the couplehood session happens the day after the wedding: if it is a destination wedding. These are fun professional shoots just documenting the couple being who they are.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Details make the Wedding Day Photo Shoot

Details are so important in telling your wedding story properly. A wedding book comes to life with those seemingly mundane elements being captured in just the right way. An artistic eye will notice what others will pass by, and will be able to capture it in such a way that those who were so busy "Getting Married" will be able to almost smell and taste their special day!
These details are important to help keep those intense feelings alive and easily retrievable in years to come. They can keep the passion burning!

Unique Wedding Photo Angles

You know what I love about this particular image?

It is unexpected, unusual, and is taken from a very unique angle.

I was actually shooting this image along side another individual with a camera (which I have no problem with, as long as they remember who is getting paid to be there). We both saw the image completely differently. He shot for the bride and grooms posed smile. I was interested in the foot-wear.... the DETAILS baby!

The brides shoes were so cool! I just had to record them. While I was composing this shot I noticed the bestman watching as the couple sat astride of his motor bike.
I love the juxtaposition of the casual relaxed Bride & Groom to the awkward stance of the onlooker. I'm sure he's thinking "glad your getting married just please don't dump my new bike".

That extra detail takes this image from an average shot of foot wear to one that has interest on many levels.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bridal Party Beauty

She is a true beauty!
One of the pleasures of photographing very fine weddings is that everyone looks so gorgeous! Hey they wanna be there!

Rarely do shoot a wedding that is not full of beautiful people who are just happy to be there. Brides maids in custom tailored gowns; groomsmen in tuxes or stylish suits.

The bride, the groom, their siblings, parents and grandparents; their uncles and aunts, cousins and friends, all gather from various parts of the globe. All for one reason: to celebrate the love of two individuals, in love, about to make a public commitment to join together as one... for life.

You gotta love it! I sure do.

Winter on My Street

Although winter can be so painfully cold and uncomfortable, it often has a breath-taking beauty.
As you can see from this image taken just out side our front door. I love this picture it seems like a pencil sketch.

Some very good friends from France visited us during the winter season and were thrilled to see it in all of its glory! They described it as exotic... the eye of the beholder.

We've had some intensely cold days, keeping us hunkered down - not wanting to risk any long trips.

There is a break coming - we're supposed to be slightly above freezing for a few days!!!!!!! All I can say is yes, yes, yes. If the kids are feeling better, we'll be able to go sledding and finish the front yard snow fort (or make some progress at least). Maybe I'll actually get to wash the car!

Baby Leif

I was changing Leif's diaper when I noticed that he has grown & grown - it's just amazing! He's 4 months old and wearing 12 month clothing. We make fat, healthy babies - that's the way we love 'em.

So I noticed all his rolls and his blubbery belly and thought that since I had him naked on our king-size bed that I should take his picture. Got lots of good ones! Then, when I was all done and beginning to get him all wrapped up I noticed that he had peed all over my side of the bed. Sounds like a rookie mistake - but with 7 kids you'd think I'd have known better.

About Me

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St. Cloud, Mid West, United States