ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Best of ASMP 2019 First Place Winner Profile – Mike Roemer

By January 13, 2020January 17th, 2020Best of 2019, Contests

Green Bay, Wisconsin
Image © Mike Roemer

Happy Packers

First Place – Editorial

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pause as they walk off Lambeau Field after defeating the Carolina Panthers to shoot a cell phone video.

ASMP: What was your inspiration for taking this photo?

Mike Roemer: I shot this photo while on assignment covering a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field. One of my responsibilities at the end of the game was to get quarterback Aaron Rodgers shaking hands with the opposing quarterback. I got that shot, but then kept an eye on Rodgers as I looked for other shots. I saw him going over to running back Aaron Jones who seemed to be shooting a selfie. I quickly went that way, and raised my camera. Rodgers gave out a shout and a fist pump and it was over, but I got my shot.

ASMP: What type of setting do you prefer?

MR: For this type of shot, I’m just trying to keep a shutter speed high enough to stop the action, so maybe a 500th of a second and an f-stop that will give me a little depth of field. This was a night game so I was up in the 6400 iso range to get the shutter speed and f-stop I wanted.

ASMP: Is there anything unique about your style or approach?

MR: I just look for photos that tell the story of what I’m shooting, just like any good photographer does.

ASMP: What type of lighting did you use for this image?

MR: This was all available light, but Lambeau Field actually has pretty decent lighting for a sports venue. When I started shooting at Lambeau back in the 80s, it was one of the darkest stadiums in the NFL and now it’s one of the brightest.

ASMP: How long have you been shooting this type of photography?

MR: My dad was a newspaper photographer and came to my JV games to shoot a few rolls of film. I’d take those to our darkroom at home, make up some contact sheets and sell 8x10s to the guys on the team for a dollar. That started my interest in photography. I quickly realized that I’d rather be shooting football than playing it. I dropped out of football sophomore year, and I’ve been shooting ever since.

ASMP: What other photographers’ or artists’ work inspires you?

MR: There are so many great photographers out there and with today’s social media, we have access to so many great photos. Today it’s not just the professional making the great images. With platforms like Instagram, you see amazing shots from an average person who probably isn’t making a living with their camera.

ASMP: When did you join ASMP and what do you find most valuable about your membership?

MR: I joined ASMP in the mid 90s. Having an organization like ASMP for our industry is so important with the battles they fight for us and the educational opportunities they offer.

ASMP: What is the more important relationship you’ve formed through your ASMP membership?

MR: Living and working in a smaller market doesn’t allow me to make all that many close relationships with other members, but when my schedule allows and I get down to Chicago or over to Minneapolis, I always enjoy being around the other photographers. We are all out there doing the same thing every day, making our clients happy and being creative with the images we produce, and it’s great to share those experiences within this community.

ASMP: What kind of gear do you use?

MR: I use all Canon gear; my main cameras are Canon 5D Mark 4s, but my preferred rig for sports is a Canon 1DX. My longest lens is a 200-400 Canon zoom with a built-in 1.4 converter. For my day to day shooting, I’m all about the zooms, 16-35, 24-70, 70-200, but I have my primes for shallow depth of field and I have my tilt-shift lenses for architecture. Last year, I added a drone to my gear and that has really changed how I see things.

ASMP: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started your career as a photographer?

MR: I started out my career as a newspaper photographer in the mid 80s at a small newspaper in South Dakota. I think I knew how to capture an image in order to tell a story to our readers, and I was able to quickly process black and white film to make prints. I managed the deadlines to keep my editors happy, so that was mostly what I needed to know back then. Today it’s more complicated. As a freelance photographer, I need to be informed on so many things in order to be successful: how to leverage social media to my advantage; how to build relationships with potential clients; and how to keep up with the ever-evolving processing of a digital image. So many things have changed in how photographers work since I started but the one constant is capturing a photo that tells a story, whether that is one of sorrow or jubilation.

ASMP: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your work? Go ahead, surprise us with something unique and unusual.

MR: After some 35 years creating photos to make a living, I’m still learning, evolving and looking for new and creative ways to tell stories and capture images. Last year I added drone photography to my skill set and have really enjoyed that. I love the angles the drone allows me to work from.

Even after all these years, I’m still learning and trying to figure it all out. If you ask someone that has assisted me over the year, they may tell you I have different personalities on shoots. When I’m shooting sports, I really try to keep to myself and stay focused on the game to the point some other photographers may think I’m standoffish. When I’m shooting a commercial job for a casino, I’m high energy and trying to get the most out of my models. When I’m shooting industrial jobs, my mind is always thinking about how to create something interesting out of the more mundane objects or machinery and my eyes are scanning around the space looking for anything from power sources for lights, to interesting patterns, to what can I drag over here to get a different angle. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to make images that make me proud and that make my clients happy.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.