Foundational Values

Creativity Artistry

We’re die-hard artists that practice the art of photography.

We aim to approach all projects from a unique perspective to highlight our subjects in the best way possible.

We continue to explore the intricacies of all aspects of photography – lighting, composition, posing, prominence – and skilled in the post production techniques to bring it all together.

In our personal lives, we like to explore many related areas including the principles of non-verbal communication, symbology, design, fine art.

We learned photography backwards, starting in the principles of art and design which naturally led to photography as projects cross-pollinated.

Passion Performance

We’re always looking to challenge ourselves in every shoot.

Our process is methodical and meticulous while the client experience is fun, engaging and comfortable.

We work tirelessly to ensure the shoots are organized and productive.

We’ve invested in the equipment to expand our capabilities in many areas of photography and are not afraid to use it.

Diversity Versatility

We value creative exploration in many areas of fine art. Our multi-disciplinary experience comes through a vast history of experience in many other artistic forms of expression.

You’re not only hiring a photographer, you’re also getting a painter, graphic designer, typography/lettering artist, video producer and seasoned branding & marketing communications professional.

Our portfolio spans many areas of photography because we crave new challenges that continually push our creative capacity.

We don’t specialize in one area because it feels limiting. We always find a solution.

Authenticity Results

Perhaps our greatest ability lies in bringing it all together. Connecting the dots, so to speak.

The comprehensive orchestration of the entire photography process provides exhilaration.

We love achieving the magic of the aha moment when everything connects. When it resonates.

A thirst for authenticity drives our approach while the end goal is images that are effective in producing results for our clients.

Key Advantages

We all know that finding a photographer in this day in age is not difficult. But finding one that can deliver consistent, high quality results that are congruent with the predefined objectives are more rare.

We’re not the most inexpensive shooter in town, but we provide ourselves on the ability to provide a great value. We are driven to over deliver.

Below are a few of our most important differentiating factors:

Experience Matters.

Our clients come to us because they know they can trust the results. We work with intention, and define specific objectives while planning for each shoot. This makes us get along well with agencies, art directors and business owners who need their photos to work for their marketing objectives.

Overall, we’re consistent and agile enough to work in almost any environment.

Allen started studying photography in early 2000 and formally started ILLUMINATION in 2003. He also owns a marketing and branding firm which has provided for a lot of experience in producing photography for unique print and web needs. We’re experts on resolution, color correction and color spaces, considerations for margins and copy space, format, good practices for file handling and output, etc.

We Practice Good D.A.M. Principles.

D.A.M. – short for “Data Asset Management” – refers to the principles and practices of handing digital files.


We rely on technology and electronics and therefore, one can never make a full guarantee of no file loss. However, there are good measures you can take in all areas of file management to reduce the risk of data loss.


Over the years, we’ve worked with data management experts and photo production workflow gurus to develop a disciplined system that helps ensure your photo files make it back to you. Our key disciplines are highlighted below:


  1. Back-Up Equipment – We always bring at least one additional camera to s shoot in case the primary camera gets dropped, wet or otherwise goes bad. The same principles apply to other sensitive items such as lights and batteries.
  2. Card Handling – When we shoot a lot of photos, we can easily use many cards. We never put all photos from a shoot on one single card. We’re afraid of losing cards. so when swapping, they don’t simply get put in our pocket.
  3. Card Management – Every card goes bad after some  unknown period time. To reduce the chances of corruption, we retire our cards every two years (or less).
  4. Multiple Versions On Location – When we are finished with your photoshoot, we will have at least 2 copies of your files. We bring a laptop and external hard drives to all wedding and commercial shoots, and never leave without 3 copies. One copy always leaves with the assistant or second shooter, in case something happens to the photographer, the gear is stolen or damaged.
  5. In-Camera Settings and Good Practices – Having the right settings in your camera and knowing what not do do can go a long way to reduce the risk of corruption.
  6. Top-Grade Gear – We only buy computers and hard drives that are made by the leaders in their industries. Moreover, we take measures to ensure they are compatible to reduce the risk of corruption or loss during transfer. All of our equipment is important, so we only invest in the gear that can endure what we put it through.
  7. Proper Post Production Procedures – When culling and editing, it’s not difficult to overwrite or misplace files. We’ve adopted a disciplined process that encompasses everything from where the multiple copies are kept and how they are used and stored, to a standardized file naming system.

In summary, we’re careful on-site, our gear is reliable and we even back up our backups.

We Use Off Camera Lighting Regularly.

We’ve invested in a variety of lighting tools for just about any type of scene or location beyond the studio (and we’re not afraid to use them). As you’ll probably note form our portfolios, we take on a wide variety of photography projects. Along our journey, we’ve researched and collected many types of tools an equipment. Each of which requires more knowledge and a large amount of the little cords, specific attachments required for each unique setup. All of this equipment and know-how allows us to perform appropriately in completely unique situations.


Many consumer photographers promote their services as only “natural light.”  We’re happy to shoot that way by client request. However, most of our clients enjoy the creative lighting techniques offered by off camera lighting. The correct use of a light (or 10) can ad a lot of extra “pop” to the image, and reflect a completely different mood / feel/ look / overall outcome.


The downside to this approach is the burden of moving all the extra gear and the time to set it up. This is one of the main reasons why we have a qualified assistant with us at all shoots. Having seen most situations before, we’re relatively quick with the configuration and can deploy all the lights, stands and modifiers rapidly in just about any environment. We practice the art of efficiency because it leads to more and better photos for you.

Variety, Variety, Variety…

Most beginning photographers are willing to shoot anything in which they receive the opportunity. We were there once. We’ve since developed specialties, but in a unique array of practices.


We almost always go a little further than what is expected of us. Sometimes after we “get THE shot,” we may try something a little more creative to add for some variety. Over the years, it has taught us to think about lighting subjects and situations differently, pushed the envelope in our portfolio, and strengthened our approach. In many cases, these extra explorations become a chosen selection or favorite by our clients. We may be after a certain look, pose or other objective for your shoot, but in those cases where we’re in an interesting environment, it’s fun and rewarding to push the creativity a bit (time permitting, of course).

We’re Geared Up.

We’ve invested over $60,000 in equipment, and we’re not afraid to use it. Our lenses are fast, our cameras are powerful, our lighting equipment is top-notch and we have all the little necessities to make everything work together smoothly.


In many cases, a photographer can get by with less expensive gear. But through our experience, and because we like to push creativity a little further, we’ve decided to continually upgrade our equipment to produce better results for our clients. Our softboxes won’t blow away in the wind, and our batteries are charged with a $100 charger that fully recycles them for better performance and longevity. These “little” extra measures and investments can make the difference of getting “the shot.”

We Offer Two Studio Locations in the Twin Cities & Travel Photography Services.

We have locations in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. We have traveled on assignment to many other states, as well as Asia and Mexico. We can handle your photography needs just about anywhere in the world (as long as we have an English-speaking guide). We know how to travel with gear as well as what to rent at the location to keep baggage fees low.

Serving Clients Large & Small... Near & Far...