184: Commercial and Editorial Photography with Mike Roemer

Today we chat with commercial and editorial photographer Mike Roemer.

Mike’s 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.

Photo copyright Matt Ludtke

Here’s a bit about Mike in his own words:

“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 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.”

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Mike’s Interview Notes (be sure to listen to the full audio interview as well!)


What did you struggle with (and learn!) as you got your business up and running?

“When I left the newspaper world I thought I would be able to make it as an freelance editorial photographer.  In the mid 90s you could do okay with that, but that market keep on shrinking.  I started pursuing more comical clients and luckily I was able to make some great connects that brought in some awesome clients that I’ve had since, but you need to always be looking for new clients.  Clients come and go and staff at agencies and companies move around which could cause you to loose a client, but may also open up a new door for you if that contact can help you get your foot in the door in their new position.”


What have you found to be the most effective techniques to use it in order to get new clients and assignments?  

“Having great SEO.  The majority of my new clients find me.  I do a lot of B to B work and they are finding me.”


How can photographers stand out amongst the sea of other photographers these days?

“It really is tough to stand out.  There are so many great photographer out there today.  I like to think I can make the every day person comfortable in front of the camera which hopefully shows in my images.”


How has PhotoShelter helped you with your business?

“It helps keep my images organized.  I deliver all of my work through PhotoShelter. Clients love having that link they can download from.  I love being able to access my archive from anywhere I can get an internet connection.  No more clients loosing disks or needing another copy.  Clients love it when they e-mail you and wonder if you still have a shot you did for then 5-6-7-8 years ago and within minutes you’ve sent them a link with those images.”


Is there a particular photography resource, tool, online-course, book, or even software that you would recommend to listeners? 

“I’ve gone to a couple of great multi day seminars that ASMP has put on the last few years in Chicago.  They will have an A lister like Sandro or Paul Elledge put on a seminar for a handful of photographers.  It’s great to learn from them not just how they shoot, but also how they market and how they interact with clients.  I also pick up little things from checking out sites like PetaPixel or FStoppers, just interesting to see how people are doing things and what inspires them.  I also learn from following other photographers on social media. Ive also learned a ton from my assistants.  My main assistant is maybe a tad of a tech and software geek so he brings a lot to the table.”


Tell us where we can find you (your website URL, other products, etc).

“I’ve been trying to spend as much time as I can these last few months at a couple different famers that I’ve connected with.  I love agriculture photography and will be trying to push more in that area for commissioned work.  I just love how real the people are and how real the situations are. You can find me at RoemerPhoto.com and RoemerPhotoBlog.com and I try to post to Instagram and half dozen or so times a week at RoemerPhoto.  I’m already looking for other famers I can hang out with.  I’m looking for a ginseng farmer since Wisconsin is one of the leading producer of ginseng in the world, I have lead on a “legal” marijuana farmer, but if anyone has any interesting ag stories they would like to toss at me please reach out.”

Mike Can Be Found At:

» https://www.roemerphoto.com/

» http://www.roemerphotoblog.com/

» https://www.instagram.com/RoemerPhoto/

Photo Credit: Photo copyright Matt Ludtke