Studio 3, Inc.

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A Focus On Food: Our Tricks And Tips Behind Food + Beverage Photography

Posted on November 19, 2018

Most people don’t think about the way food is photographed – they think about how it will taste! But ask any professional photographer that has worked with food or beverages, and they’ll tell you that there’s a litany of tricks and tips to making food look delicious and distinctive. From Hollywood trickery to spatial geometry – we’ve put together a list of our own to help you capture your next meal with expert-level elegance.

  1. Choosing the right background for the food at hand

Not all surfaces and backgrounds are photogenic. And while others might be beautiful on their own, they still may not necessarily complement the food/beverage at hand. So, what are some factors to consider when selecting a background? Color is a big one. Ideally, you want to avoid overly-bright colors or busy patterns that will distract from your subject. A shiny surface probably wouldn’t be a good choice either. Using neutral or pastel color palettes can go a long way in making your food/beverage ‘pop’- in a similar way that a certain color might bring out a person’s eyes. For instance, if most food contains warm color tones, it might be a good idea to shoot against cool-toned surfaces to create a pleasing contrast. If you want to learn more about how to create ‘color harmony,’ check out this helpful article on the subject, which also includes some useful guides.

You can also use the background to express character, suggest a mood, or establish a sense of place. Here’s a photo taken by Studio 3’s very own David Bell, which showcases a delicious chocolate cake placed in a rustic environment. The flooring suggests farm-style, naturalism, organic ingredients etc., while the rich brown tones in the wood compliment the chocolate perfectly.     

9866 Judy Woods Flavor Right  — Studio 3, Inc.

  1. Knolling style – to use or not to use?

You may not be familiar with the term, but you’re definitely familiar with the style. ‘Knolling’ refers to this style of photography:

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Bright + even lighting, Birds-Eye point-of-view, and a meticulous arrangement of items. First popularized in 1987 by a janitor who would fastidiously arrange the various construction tools he found around the warehouse, ‘Knolling’ photography has recently taken over Instagram as one of the most prolific trends in recent years – and has also found a strong niche in food/beverage photography. It’s easy to see why: if executed correctly, Knolling photography has a unique way of making any subject look bold and dazzling – even if it’s just some popcorn. Right angles, clusters of color, and clean/crisp lines are the name of the game. An appreciation of image composition, as well as the spatial relationships between objects will help your Knolling photography soar.

  1. Using mist, glycerine, and other fakery

Want that ultra-fresh, dripping condensation look? Simply hit your glass with some mist! Or even better yet, many professionals will use Glycerin to the same effect. It gives your food/drinks a cold, fresh look, which in turn makes them appear more delectable. This is especially true of foods like fruits and veggies. If you see food in photographs looking wet or frosty, then you can bet your top dollar that glycerin was used! Think of your classic vending machine: can you picture those big water droplets rolling off a cold can of Coke on the front image? Yup, that’s either mist or Glycerin.

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If your image requires ice, we highly suggest the use of fake ice cubes. Obviously, real ice melts, thus requiring frequent re-sets, which can take time and money away from your project (and also make a mess!). If you happen to be using glass, real ice will also cause significant fogging, obscuring your subject even more. These are just a few of the reasons professional photographers have embraced the use of fake ice and other perishable food prop replacements.   

  1. Styling: Paint, pins, and putty

Screen Shot 2018 11 07 at 1.00.32 PM  — Studio 3, Inc.It takes a fine touch. There are countless cosmetic steps food stylists can take to improve the overall quality and composition of your food/beverage photography. Remember, we’re not actually serving the food, so no need to shy away from using un-edible items to get the necessary shot. Metal pins, for instance, can be used to hold food in place if you want to display the perfect balance of ingredients without them falling over. Photographer and food stylists will also use non-stick putty to the same effect, like so:

Screen Shot 2018 11 07 at 1.01.08 PM  — Studio 3, Inc.

Ultimately, it’s about arranging and styling your subject to maximize it’s photogenic potential. Is your food stackable, or should it be fanned out, serving style? Does your subject have green stems? Should a side dish be included? What about some unique serving flatware? You can even utilize acrylic paint to boost colors, cover up blemishes, and even create patterns if desired. Get creative here! Like any good dish, there is a lot more to the finished product than merely the sum of the individual parts. It’s about how they all interact!

Here at Studio 3 Inc., we not only specialize in food and beverage photography, but also portraiture, lifestyle, sports, and product photography. Since 1974, we’ve been making your photography dreams come to life! Partner with us for your next creative endeavor, and see just how we stay inspired.

 

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The Right Tool In The Wrong Hands: How Specialization and Expertise Make All The Difference

Posted on October 22, 2018

adult business care 305565  — Studio 3, Inc.Shot on an iPhone. Some Assembly Required. Do-It-Yourself

Being independent is good! Nimble businesses thrive on independence, and also talented individuals who can wear multiple hats. That being said, media and marketing is all too often a department where corners are cut, and projects which would otherwise be performed by professionals are either outsourced to ‘one-size-fits-all’ services like Fiverr.com – or handed off to someone conveniently in the office, who may only have a vague understanding of Photoshop. Here’s an example:        

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The first image is passable. But the other has that ‘Wow!’ factor, which is so essential to standing out amongst the overload of images we’re exposed to online on a daily basis. And that’s just one of the many reasons why investing in original, quality content always pays off in the end. Working with professional studios/photographers has countless other benefits: They use higher quality equipment, have more experience, work with insurance policies, can work with deadlines – the list just goes on and on!

So why do so many companies still choose to skimp out on their product/brand photography?

For some, it’s a quantity-over-quality decision. Like, more = better. After all, in today’s climate of fast-paced Social Media trends and the 24/hr news-cycle, there seems to be an ever-increasing demand for immediate, topical content. For example, it only took a few days for marketers to seize upon the latest Banksy demonstration, creating content like this:

Screen Shot 2018 10 17 at 9.59.01 AM  — Studio 3, Inc.It’s so easy to get caught up in this social media zeitgeist, and feel compelled to post away, every single day – regardless of the quality of the content. But there’s a difference between producing a consistent stream of quality, brand-elevating content – and simply overcrowding your feed with memes and amateur images in a bid to stay top-of-mind. This difference is borne-out in the return-on-investment our clients see when they partner with us time and time again. Here’s a Social Media-minded ad we put together for Leatherman Multi-Tools which did extremely well.

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Producing content like this is where Studio 3 comes in! With professional photography, videography, and digital GFX services available throughout the Pacific Northwest, we specialize in helping brands promote and display their products in the most outstanding way possible. We believe in quality – and doing what is necessary to achieve the highest caliber of style / design for our clients. Whether you need product, food, beverage, or lifestyle photography – when you team up with Studio 3, you’ll have your expectations blown out of the water!

Fabric Swatches, Conceptual images  — Studio 3, Inc.

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Our Process: From Start To Finish With Studio 3

Posted on October 1, 2018

 

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When Studio 3 begins a photography or branding project, our first step is to sit down with the client and dream up ideas. Collaborating on a concept might involve a handful of approaches, depending on the project at hand – anything from examining examples of similar work, creative brainstorming with our in-house team, and establishing a shared visual language using Style Guides, Mood Boards, or Pinterest. Below you can see an example of what a typical brainstorming session looks like at Studio 3.

IMG 5522  — Studio 3, Inc.Once an idea is hatched, our Producer-Extraordinaire Eva Goldfarb kicks it into high-gear – scheduling stylists, organizing set builds, balancing budgets, and handling any propping/costuming as needed. This work frees up our clients and photographers to stay in a creative mindset, and not get caught up in the operational details of the project.
15611T Tea Test  — Studio 3, Inc.Onto the shoot! Photographer Craig Wagner is among the best photographers in the Northwest – and has been with the studio since the early days. Forever perfecting his craft, Craig does what it takes to get the perfect shot – even if it means inventing a new piece of equipment specifically for the shoot at hand.   

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We have a good time on set

 DSC0489  — Studio 3, Inc.Lastly, our Digital Team steps in and works their magic.  The processes of Color Grading and Digital Retouching are extremely intricate – just ask Sean Yates, one of our in-house Graphic Artists:

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“Color and clarity are of central importance when retouching images. …We always strive for and deliver accurate color.”

In reality, the Digital Team does a lot more than just retouching:

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Finished product:

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And that’s not the end! Studio 3 partners with the same clients year after year because they love the end result, and appreciate the creative relationships formed. We take the utmost pride in these collaborations and are always striving to bring something new and exciting to the table for the next shoot. Give us a call today, and find out how Studio 3 can help elevate your brand with the coolest+catchiest photography in the Pacific Northwest.

 

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4 Unique Ways Video Can Stop The Scroll

Posted on September 5, 2018

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As marketing trends continue to evolve, it’s clear that video is still far-and-away one of the most effective tools in a marketer’s toolbox. In fact, it’s said that more than 500 million hours of videos are watched every single day on Youtube alone! Here at Studio 3, we’re committed to unravelling the mechanics of how exactly to best take advantage of video’s effectiveness. Afterall, between Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter – the potential audience-reach is staggering. At Studio 3, we’re obsessed with answering the question: what makes people watch or walk? Because let’s face it, most people will scroll right past your content, or briefly hover over it. So we’ve put together a list of 4 unique ways that you can utilize video to stop the scroll, pique interest, and generate organic engagement online. Many of these principles extend beyond merely Social Media Marketing, but can also be applied to sales, SEO, and Lead Generation. These are the same techniques we use here at Studio 3, and when you partner with us, you can rest assured that we always employ the latest and greatest social media trends.

 

  1. HOOK THE AUDIENCE

Let’s be honest: attention spans are short. It’s crucial to stop people in their tracks; whether through quick editing, bold colors, or an outrageous premise. You want to be eye-catching and unique from everything else people see in their feed. Adopting a  ‘think-outside-the-box’ mentality will increase your odds of pulling a scroller into your world. Cute animals dressed as people never fails. In a sense, we’ve become the speed daters of storytelling. (shout-out to the amazing folks at the The Pixie Project!)

#ALT — Studio 3, Inc.

  1. INCLUDE CAPTIONS

Did you know that 85% of videos on Facebook and Instagram are watched on mute? This creates a unique challenge for marketers and videographers, demanding a more visual storytelling style be used. So whatever dialogue IS included, it is absolutely essential to use captions in order to get your message across. Neglecting this step will cause an enormous number of potential viewers to scroll right past your video, simply because they are unable or unwilling to un-mute their sound. That’s why Studio 3 always recommends including captioning. It’s an important step not to be neglected!

 

  1. USE PEOPLE, TELL A STORY

People are interested in people! Including a person (or groups of people) in the first few seconds of your video will double the audience retention rate. It also presents an opportunity to tell a story, or set up an obstacle for your character to overcome. Storytelling is another useful tactic that holds people’s’ attention, as long as the sequence of events is easy to follow.

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  1. FLASH YOUR LOGO AND USE BOLD GRAPHICS

Often a few choice words in bold graphics are all it takes to stop a scroller. If they have an idea of what they are getting into – and your logo or choice of colors intrigues them – then they are more likely to give your video their precious time. Animation, slideshows, and gifs are great options!  — Studio 3, Inc.These 4 techniques are just the tip of the video-marketing iceberg. And due to the ever-changing nature of social media, keeping on top of these fluctuating trends and marketing-methods is a full-time job all it’s own. That’s why so many companies and brands choose to partner with Studio 3! Not only do we have an entire department dedicated to social media marketing here in the studio, we’ve also got you covered on everything from creative production meetings, to music selection. At Studio 3, YOU are the creative agent, and WE are here to be your partner – developing your concepts and making your video+photography ideas come to life.

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HOW DO YOU HUE?
Three Ways Studio 3 Makes It Pop

Posted on July 30, 2018

When is the last time you were blown away by an image? Why was that? Perhaps you noticed a vivid background, strategically hued font, or impressively monochromatic scheme. You noticed color. Color impacts product integrity, branding, and consumer reactions.

A lot of components go into creating “the shot,” and Studio 3, Inc. handles them all from styling to post production. Our colorful team is here to make your visual dreams pop off the screen.

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1.  On-Set Color Matching

Royal blue textured paper, the precise shade of orange gel, and Craig Wagner’s masterful lighting will get you out of any pickle. Our stylists and photographers address the details on set to ensure color is spot on from project start to finish.

Leatherman Color Up   Three Hues  — Studio 3, Inc.

 

2. Add a Little Retouching Magic

In addition to phenomenal photography – we have a top-of-the-line digital team equipped with the tools to save you time and money, making your technicolor dreams come true. They are our color wizards: flawlessly color matching, and coloring up your product photography.

Colorful Instagram triptic   Three Hues  — Studio 3, Inc.

 

3. Set Your Social Scene

It is important to be visible, impactful, and purposeful with social media posts so that potential clients can easily find what they might be looking for. Let us help you content create.

We like to use Instagram as a social portfolio. Our audience can then see that beyond our stellar images, we have an eye for style, beauty, and purpose. It’s important to keep content fresh, colorful, and trendy for your followers and future followers.

Phone Photography in varying Red Hues   Monochrome  — Studio 3, Inc.

Color psychology plays an important role in your marketing goals. Research has shown that color branding influences 90% of shopping decisions. That is a number opportunity we definitely would not want to miss.

What colors are consumers loving this month? Season? Year?

What does this mean for you? How can we help?

The most exciting part of the rainbow world in which we work is getting to put our skills to good use. Our commitment to client satisfaction and beautiful photography is unmatched in our field. From styling – to shooting – to retouching – to bragging about our clients – we love keeping life colorful. DO HUE?

 

 

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Show Don’t Tell: How Commercial Photography Changes the Game

Posted on May 18, 2018

We have a mantra here at Studio 3 Inc: Beautiful Photography Sells Product.


Yes, stock photos are easy to get in today’s culture of immediacy.
Yes, it’s also easy to take your own photos due to the evolution of smartphone cameras. What’s not easy is making the decision to invest in advertising photography for your company. But let’s face it – you will absolutely use ALL those professional photos. Commercial photography – complete with a photography studio, lighting, styling, and retouching- legitimizes your business and propels your online exposure. Here’s why…

Nike Features  — Studio 3, Inc.
YOU GET AND KEEP THEIR ATTENTION: Did you know that posts with featured images are 120%-180% more visible online? That means simply having a photo available TRIPLES your clientele and sales. If you are trying to hook clients without photos, you’re doing it wrong. And if you’re trying to hook buyers with amateaur photos, again – you’re doing it wrong. You want your photos to reflect your kick-ass products, right? Well then it might be time to turn to a kick-ass studio – shameless plug.

We are all subject to the algorithm. Social media platforms measure how long visitors stay on a website, and if it’s less than a minute, your links drop to the bottom of the feed. Make sure you’re fostering customer relationships and enticing shoppers to click “add to cart.” Having stellar product photography drives sales up by 60%, and allowing shoppers to see a life sized image of the product – or at least zoomed in – again DOUBLES the purchase potential of the client. The more they know the more they buy. A great photography studio like Studio 3 can tell the story of your product from beginning to end.

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YOU’RE EDUCATIONAL: SHOW your clients, and then TELL them what they’re seeing. Process photos are all the rage. To be honest, it’s probably because reading is NOT all the rage. We don’t want to follow instructions, we want to follow a picture. We don’t want to read a menu, we want to see a picture of what could shortly be on steaming plates in front of us. Well give the people what they want! Create a video of your product in use or a photo menu for your restaurant with killer food photography. Photo stories allow people to envision themselves using your product, visiting your location, eating your food, or feeling the emotion of your models. Clients need the reassurance that you are supporting their need to understand the process. Seeing a product “in-action” solidifies client trust and increases purchase percentage. Building your customer’s confidence in their ability to utilize your product is a necessary step in brand evangelism. SHOW them it’s not too good to be true.

YOUR IMAGES ARE VARIED AND INTERESTING – YET CONSISTENT.
E-commerce and Instagram business accounts are looking more and more like twins these days. Have you noticed? Both are feeds of new products with a consistent tone, lighting, colors – Brand Identity. If a product image looks out of place in the feed, it stands out as a flaw. Clients view branding inconsistencies as a lack of quality and could lose trust in the website. ONE IN FOUR clients are lost because of brand inconsistency. Having consistent and quality branding practices make companies 20% more successful than companies who make their clients unsure or untrusting of their brand.

Danner  — Studio 3, Inc.What does this mean for you? In order to consistently provide impactful branding and quality content for your clients you must be consistent in the look of your products. Working with Studio 3 Inc means working with photographers and designers who are dedicated to your brand identity and consistency, ensuring that your products always look amazing. Because Beautiful Photography Sells Product – and Consistent Quality Builds a Brand Empire, my friends. It’s as simple as that.

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Content Eats: 5 Photography Tips to Creating Online Content in 2018

Posted on December 29, 2017

It’s Social Media’s world, we’re just living in it.

As the Social Media Manager for a Photography Studio you would think I’d be set; photos and video content for dayyyz. I wish it were that easy. The truth is everyone works hard at creating enough content to keep the social media beast happy and fed.

Here are a few tips to help you stay on top of your content game.

  1. Production Stills The Studio 3 Team lives for the details of a shoot. Our production team can often be found scouring Hollywood Vintage, in line for Sandwiches at Whole Foods or on set with our sleeves rolled up. These moments are content gold!! Going out to location scout for an upcoming shoot? You know what to do; bring that camera. There are so many moving pieces to a photo shoot, capture them.

 

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  1. Sunny Day List Much like a rainy day list… but for when you live in the PNW. Have a list of Test* ideas at the ready so that if you find an hour or two of free time, your photographers are out creating content!

 

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  1. Plan Ahead Scrambling for content is not fun. Identify your top performing platforms and plan the content for them for the next month. That may seem daunting but before you know it you may have the next 3 months planned (guilty). We use an internal calendar and Microsoft Excel, but this could easily be done with Google docs as well. This allows you to plan internal shoots for specific themes, categories, and special events.

 

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  1. Inspiration Pages Creative block prevention 101. Keep a folder of inspiration images on your desktop, or create a page on Pinterest so when your not feeling at the top of your game you can rely on past-you’s creative genius.

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  1. Company Culture Make content a part of your company culture. Outside of work, it’s hard to get through a meal without someone pulling out their phone to “get one for Instagram.” Why not utilize that in the work place? Designate a company phone as the “social media phone” so that everyone can participate in your company’s story.

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*Testing, testing, one, two, three. When we are not delivering smiles and beautiful photography to clients, we are out creating it for ourselves. You heard me right; we are constantly flexing our creativity—keeping our portfolio fresh and artist souls happy.

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Tis The Season For Client Comfort

Posted on December 18, 2017

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season; To-do lists unroll to the floor, coffee is taken through IV drips, and the studio always vaguely smells of cookies.

Tray Of Cookies  — Studio 3, Inc.

During the holiday season we understand you would rather be at home with a book and warm cup of Stash Tea, so we have done what we can to bring the cozy here.

Cue the elves (aka Studio 3, Inc.’s production team,) sit back, relax, and let us make your photographic dreams come true.

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We have decked the halls, strung the ornaments, and lit the client area with holiday cheer.

The Studio 3 Inc. creative team not only does whatever it takes to make your project a success, we do it while feeding you cookies and telling you jokes.

…We have even been known to have Fashion Santa drop by every now and then (We know him!)

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Our studio is equipped with ample snacks, coffee as strong as our wifi connection, tea, any magazine you could dream of, and a crazy amount of crayons for the kid in you.

There are multiple conference rooms available for those times when you just need to be alone. Client meeting, business call, or impromptu dance party; We’ve got you covered.

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We pride ourselves in providing a comprehensive client experience. Not only can you expect top of the line photography but also a welcoming work environment, great food, and even better company.

Drop us a line, let’s talk photography! We’re here 24 hours a day, it feels like, but let’s say 9-5. We can’t wait to work with you.

Happy Holidays!!

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Let’s Unpack This: A Look Inside Studio 3’s Location Lighting Kit

Posted on November 16, 2017

When shooting lifestyle or product photography on location in the Pacific Northwest you rarely know what you’re going to get. The rain gods in our home states of Oregon and Washington are prevalent and powerful. Deluge or mist, the Studio 3 team arrives on location prepared for anything.

How do we juggle variously lit environments, keep a tight timetable and budget, and still exceed our client expectations? Experience. We have perfected our method in the madness that is this glorious industry.  Now, thanks to the Internet and the power of social media marketing, we are able to share some of that wisdom with you.

What does the Studio 3, Inc. team need to create beautiful photography on location, you ask?

Be it a location shoot for Danner Boots, ShedRain Umbrellas, Amazon, or Kaiser Permenante our fail-safe location lighting kit includes;

  • Radio Slaves
  • 3 Lighting Stands
  • 3 ft. Soft box
  • Medium Umbrella
  • AA Batteries
  • CTB Gel
  • CTO Gel
  • Light Meter

This minimalistic kit is best used for atmospheric, lifestyle, and commercial work.

“[This lighting kit] is best used in situations where your key light is the light already available. When working on location you’re supplementing available light with the strobes you bring with you. An important part of that is to match the color temperature of that available light—we do this using gels [CTB or CTO]. This allows you to separate your subject from the background and really focus the viewer’s attention on the product. ” – Joshua Romberg, Photographer

In need new lifestyle photography for your next campaign? Give us a shout; we’ll get the gear.

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Digital Retouching, Can you Didg’ it?

Posted on October 17, 2017

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
― Mark Twain

The million dollar question: What sets us apart from all of the other photography studios in the PNW? Well, quite a few things. But it’s hard to talk about them all in 500 words, so I am going to focus on our in-house digital department.

Not only are our digital artists pixel-perfect, they have the ability to turn photos around faster than I can type this sentence. No, we’re not a marketing agency, but we love working with them. We are photography pioneers. We look past the norm and find answers to questions you have yet to ask. How? Magic. Or Intuition, as they call it nowadays.

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Our award-winning photographers work closely with clients and the digital artists who render our images flawless. Communication is our biggest secret for success.

“Without each other, the quality standards we achieve here would not be possible.” -Craig Wagner, Photographer

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“Having an in-house [digital department] allows me to have face-to-face conversation before, during, and after a shoot. Whether we’re discussing how we should approach a job, or what my intention was in how I shot it, I have the asset of having a digital team that feels like an extension of myself.”

Craig Wagner, Photographer

Our digital team not only makes photos look better in post, they help the photographers shoot more efficiently. It’s photography plus.

“I have the opportunity to talk directly with clients, nipping problems in the bud, saving everyone time and money. We remove a step for the client without compromising the photos.” –Michelle Smith, Lead Digital Artist

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Working with a vast array of clients, we have shot some behemoths over the years; trains, planes, and automobiles to name a few. That’s a lot of surface area to make drop-dead gorgeous, which is why we keep stylists on the ready to spot check, scrub out smudges, and make sure each vehicle’s best side is showing. But we don’t have favorites. Whether it be a fleet for Freightliner, or a detailed shot of a Leatherman tool, each job gets the same level of attentiveness and digital mastery.

“It all breaks down to textures and tones. Fifteen minutes of proper styling and lighting prep during a shoot can save an hour of digital retouching.” –Michelle Smith

So what’s next? We are dreaming up bigger and better ways to make you look fabulous. Stay tuned, we’re 40 years young and constantly evolving.

 — Studio 3, Inc.
 — Studio 3, Inc.

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