Never stop exploring... Traveling to new places, meeting new people, visiting old friends,
stopping to notice the light and capturing a moment.
I surround myself with excellent creative people, and the creative collaboration on
every project makes this a grand adventure.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Ad Agency model, sign me up....

Ive followed a blog of the much-respected photography marketing consultant, Carolyn Potts, for years. I recently read one of her posts that touches on what I have for years thought was missing in the present Ad Agency business model.

For past few years, ad agencies have been relying on Stock agencys, Flickr, and Royalty Free images for their source of images and creative conception of ads. The idea of working with a professional image creator was considered too expensive and sending a stock shot as layout or concept became the norm.

She commented on recent articles posted on both The New York Times and ADWEEK sites about a couple of ad agencies that are turning to "crowd sourcing" for campaign strategies. By adding photographers into the Crowd, along with art directors, copywriters and creative directors, she suggested this could be a business model capable of generating a creative synergy a synergy that actually that was quite common in the ad business in the 1960s and early-70s; with the right mix of creative participants, it could indeed become the next big idea in the agency world.

Ive already had a bit of experience in this realm as I've been working with MN Opera on next year's marketing material since October; I was invited in to help with creating the feel and approach to this year's work. Ive loved the process and Ill be able to show the results next month when we finish producing the campaign.

Id love to see if there are any agency guys out there that also might want add a photographer with 20-years of production experience, (and art and photography degrees), to their table during the conceptual phase of creating ads. If you want to read her blog post about this model, I'd love to know what you think. You can call/text me at 612-275-3186 or email me at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My first video...

I had tons of help with this project:
Actress: Angela Dalton
Hair/Makeup + Wardrobe: Melina Kardell
Wardrobe Assistant: Janice Whittemore
Assistant Director of Photography / Editing : Ryan Brown
Grip + Lighting: Chuck Carver
Director of Photography + Creative Director: Steve McHugh

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New image ....

This is a shoot for one of my favorite charities, Wingspan ( ). They help people who are challenged by age, ability or health to realize their own unique gifts, talents and dreams. These two wonderful gentlemen are are part of an Adult day program for individuals from the Hmong community. They both served in the Vietnam war and were decorated by the US government for their service. They both became US citizens this past 4th of July.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Behind the scenes of studio shoot

What happens before and during a shoot to make the product and the models' clothes look good..... We'd like to thank of all crew members and the folks that make a photographer look good....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Irving Penn - RIP

As a People Photographer, Irving Penn has been one of the Photographers I've always studied and loved.  His wealth of iconic imagery, from portraits of cultural leaders to simple obsessively exact still lifes.  Check out his work at:  He passed away Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, at the age of 92 in Manhattan.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Octane Fitness Photo shoot...

OK, it's always the same, it's always about the model... here we all are setting up the shot for Octane's new product shot, Ryan from Octane is taking care of Brooke's shoes, Tim Olsen is taking care of the lights, Kate Erickson is taking care of makeup and I'm trying to direct our model... 
Another great day in the studio.

New fitness shot...

New fitness model Tom Andrades from Lansing, MI is available for fitness modeling.   

Had a great time shooting a new model, Tom.  Even though this was only his second shoot, he acted like a seasoned pro and and was great to work with.  

If your a fitness company and need a great model, even if your not shooting with me, email me and I'll connect you to Tom

Hair/Makeup by:  Kate Erickson

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New shot.... white on white...

Shooting white on white is always fun and with the help of Hair/Makeup Stylist: Leilani Baker and wardrobe by  Melina Kristoffersen.  

New Quotes....

You cannot perform in a manner inconsistent with the way you see yourself.  -Zig Ziglar

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.  - Oscar Wilde

Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life.  The only completely consistent people are dead.  - Aldous Huxley

Monday, March 30, 2009

Propaganda to follow, but please read on....

I know that this is very self-serving and since I'm in Minnesota and it's not "right" to gloat or talk about yourself,but this is my blog and I have a story to go with this blatant plug....

I've been a shooter working out of Minneapolis for a long time, 28 years to tell you the truth.  But I've experienced a sudden stop to my phone ringing and emails coming in (daa, it's a recession), and my calendar have large holes in it.  I listen to the news, I know what's going on in the housing market and the banking mess, all of these have effected me on a personal level.  

Anyway, I'm an eternal optimist and I just figure we'll ride out this storm, have to make adjustments like the recessions of the past.  But seems like people are scarred, holding their breathes until September to see what's going to happen.  I've made adjustments this past year to help clients out, make budgets go farther, worked harder to make sure they get added value to ever project I do.  We have high unemployment and being self-employed I know what it's like to look for work every day of my working life.  But I feel that as a creative professional, I have to do more, help my clients come out of these times and be the leaders of their industry segments, we have to work smarter, but not stop working and wait to see.... there's still 9 out of 10 people working, maybe not making as much as they used to, but they are still working.  My home is worth less and somehow my taxes have gone up, but it's still my home.  

Being from Minnesota, you figure that if a client comes back, that you've done a good job, you don't expect to receive "Thanks" for doing the job you've been paid for, getting paid is enough. So I was feeling a little down and decided to expand my networking (some feel this internet networking beats out the system of talking face-to-face) but I decided to contact some of my clients on this website and get some feed back on how I've been doing, I have to share what they have said here and you can review all them at my linkedin site.

"Steve is an extremely talented and hard working photographer.  I have worked with him for over 15 years on dozens of projects with multiple clients.  He is a master with lighting techniques whether it is lighting something as big as a semi-truck or as small as a cornflake.  As an Art Director, I always know my project is in good hands with McHugh."  Steve Siewert - Art Director

"Beyond the obvious ability to be able to create with the camera, added to the ability to manage a large national campaign is Steve's ability to solve creative problems and to extract the most out of any situation.  The results are way beyond stunning... they are magic.  Sensing how to sell a product, Steve is a Creative Director's eyes, ears nose and throat.  I have shot with Steve on location and in the studio.  Both experiences have contributed to my "fame & fortune" in many ways.  I love to work with Steve on location because he has the ability to think on his feet, be flexible and above all listen while looking for the next shot.  This is not something you learn.  You either have it or you don't.  Steve's creative approach is a part of his inner being.  He has it.  On top of all of this (and I could go on and on and on) Steve is really FUN to work with.  What more could you ask for.  I personally recommend Steve for your next photography project.  Take a "Steve Pill" and call him in the morning..... it will relieve your stress instantly!!!"  Charlie Brown - Art Director, Creative Director

"I have worked with Steve for close to 15 years on many projects and he has always exceeded expectations.  He is the consummate professional who listens to the needs of his clients (even when they aren't sure what they want) and works it out until you get a phenomenal product.  He has always been a fantastic person to work with, always driving toward what the client wants but no afraid to make a professional recommendation when he believes it is warranted.  Steve has a wonderful ability to quickly grasp what you want a shot to convey and an uncanny talent to deliver it.  I would unconditionally recommend working with Steve and McHugh, Ltd."
Pete Borchert - Client at corporation

So I guess what I'm saying here is that we don't always know how our clients feel about us as Creatives, that our clients are working as hard as we freelancers are to find that next project and business and keeping their clients happy.  If the phone doesn't ring, you just have to get out there and talk with the people you've worked with in the past to get perspective.  I thank all my clients that responded and I don't think you know how much you all mean to this photographer.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Copyright Registry Press Release

Please read and contact your reps in government...
Photographer, Illustrators are being asked to register all images with outside company "to protect your copyright, " but there's far more questions to it and please copy this address below and read all about what this means....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Amy and Kate's directions...

Amy Schweitzer and Kate Erickson giving direction for the portfolio shoot below....

Portfolio shoot Gap like ....

If you have a day free as a photographer, you've got to shoot... It's what we do, whenever and where ever you are, you've got to shoot... It's like eating or breathing, you have
to create....
I had a chance to shoot with two great pros, Amy Schweitzer (former AD at Target and acted as AD and wardrobe stylist) and Kate Erickson (wonderful hair/makeup stylist).  Surrounding yourself with great talent is the only way to be about to focus on what a photographer has to do, and these two are just a joy to work with.

MN Opera Shoot Jan09

I was selected again this year to create the images for the MN Opera's brochures and posters.  It's just fun to go around the Twin Cities and see huge posters of your work on bus stops and on buildings.  As an artist, it's just grand....

This image was shot for the opera Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers,"  full of daytime TV drama, three people in love and one must die....

Hair/Makeup:  Leilani Baker, Coordinator:  Melina Kristoffersen

Brenda Harris is the Star in Donizetti's "Roberto Devereux" and our model for this image.  She was a joy to work with and her sense of humor keep us all laughing (checkout the out-takes below).  She's playing the part of Queen Elizabeth 1st and the tragic love affair with Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. Again,  a tragic ending to the Earl's life by a woman's scorn.

Hair/Makeup:  Andrea Moriarity Dahlberg, Coordinator:  Melina Kristoffersen

Strauss's "Salome" (lots of s's there) is the scandalously erotic Biblical story of obsession and vengeance, and a guy losses his head.

Hair/Makeup:  Leilani Baker, Coordinator: Melina Kristoffersen

Out takes: Yes it was a long day and photo shoots aren't always exciting, life must go on...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Steve McHugh saves LifeFitness $12,000 on shoot...

LifeFitness is as concerned as everyone is today with costs and expenses.   During the pre-production meetings the models ages and demographics were discussed and I suggested that we do "street casting" of the models.  LF normally hires elite models and athletes for their shoots, but the models for this product line were to be "real people".  We negotiated with the models and by not paying Modeling Agencies fees and the added usage LifeFitness saved over $12,000 from what they normally pay for models.  


My photo
Shooting is my passion. The collective creative process is what gets me jazzed, starting out the day with nothing but a concept, a rough drawing and the process of surrounding yourself with gifted designers and art directors, stylists, models, and assistants makes the process a team event, with a series of stunning images at the end of the day.