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Greg's father Don, started his second career back in 1967 becoming a self taught commercial photographer.  Don's first career was working for his father in financial management after coming back from WWII.  During the twenty years with his father, Don realized that unless you're doing something you truly enjoy, it doesn't matter about the money.

Don's hobby of being an amateur film maker doing 16mm films since the 50's gave him some great insight on composition, lighting and color, let alone details and small budgets.  While in the process of establishing a family of three daughters and a son, and realizing that big budgets were only reachable in Hollywood, he made the decision to make the move to still photography.  Don discovered it would provide enough income and unbelievable happiness to make life worth living.  This venture became known as Thoen Photography.

When Greg thinks back to 1974, helping his Dad out while on a break from college, his Dad told him, "Son, life is short and you'll spend a fair amount of it working, so be sure that you spend that time doing something you enjoy".  Long story short, Greg went to work for his Dad full time and the next eight years were amazing before Don's life was cut short from a heart attack.  

Having learned everything from his Dad's insight and wisdom, thirty years later Greg loves the business now more than ever.

Greg & Jeff created 95% of their advertising images on large format sheet film without the assistance of Photoshop, using their skills to capture an image in its best light.  From table top to large scale automotive, it is composition, lighting, use of color and attention to details that keeps their commercial advertising clients coming back.  

In dealing with normal product flaws, some workarounds were time consuming and costly.  So they were one of the first Minneapolis photographers to have a full-time retoucher on staff.  They did a lot of what Greg coined "pre-touching", via airbrushing in advance on the product or in the set.

This worked well but...  Most post-production retouching was still very labor intensive.  In 1989 they bought their first  Mac.  At best, it improved their typing skills and office efficiency, but did give them a better understanding of what was to come.

They started outsourcing images to service bureaus on certain projects and that’s when they realized what potential there was in the digital environment.  Needless to say, the ROI was not cost effective “yet”, but they knew Digital was here to stay and planned accordingly.   

In 2001, Thoen & Associates moved their Commercial Advertising Photography studio to a fresh new space in Maple Grove, Minnesota.  After 27 years in what they thought was one of the best studio setups in the area (11,000 square feet), they made the big decision to design and move into a new studio based on how the digital workflow was changing the way they operate.  

Selling off their film based cameras, lighting and darkroom equipment while the market was still good, turned out to be one of the best decisions to date.  They even sold umpteen vintage pinball, jukebox and soft drink machines that they acquired over the years.  Who ever figured these old things would be worth so much?  

It was a brutal year long transition shooting everyday at the old studio and by night, loading a total of seven semi trailers full of good stuff to the new studio.  The last job they did at the old place was on a Friday and the client picked it up on Monday at the new studio - didn't miss a day.

Once Desktop Scanner technology was up to speed, they started supplying a free scanned file along with the sheet film to their clients.  It wasn't long before everyone just wanted the digital file.  Digital cameras on the other hand, would still be a ways out before they could rival scanned sheet film resolution.

Greg owes making the right choices in the digital transformation stage to his right hand man Jeff Natrop; who early on, bought, read and highlighted every Photoshop article and manual he could get his hands on.

We have three simple rules: Every project is the most important project. Every client is the most important client. Every promise made, is a promise kept.


Don Thoen

Greg Thoen

Thoen & Associates Advertising Photography, Inc.  is a full service commercial photography studio in Minneapolis MN.

Our photography services include:

Advertising Photographer for, Catalogs, Web sites, Brochures, Annual Reports, Outdoor Boards

Architectural Photographer for, Interior and Exterior Photography, Hotel, Restaurants

Automotive Photographer for, Hot Rods, Motorcycles, Antique Autos, Vintage Vehicles, Collector cars, Custom Street Rods

Food and Drink Photographer for Cook Books, Magazine, Restaurant Menus, Packaging, Web sites

Industrial Photographer for, Studio and Location Photography

Medical Product Photographer for, Medical Devices

People Photographer, for Executives, Lifestyle, Advertising

Product Photographer / Product Illustration for Advertising, Packaging, Catalogs, Brochures

HDR Photographer for High Dynamic Range Photography

Photo Retouching

Minneapolis Photographers Greg Thoen and Jeff Natrop welcome you to their web site. Here you can view their extended capabilities.

If you’re looking for a product photographer, food photographer, people photographer, industrial photographer, architectural photographer, interior photographer, automotive photographer, HDR photographer, medical photographer, macro photographer, or location photographer; then you’ve come to the right place.

Thoen & Associates, Minneapolis Advertising Photographer specializes in a variety of markets including but not limited to:

Product Photography, Food Photography, People Photography, Industrial Photography, Architectural Photography, Interior Photography, Exterior Photography, Automotive Photography, HDR Photography, Medical Photography, Location Photography, Product Illustration Photography, Lifestyle Photography, Annual Report Photography, Macro Photography. 20 plus years of experience and problem solving give us the ability to rise to the challenge. Look over our portfolio, then ask how we can solve your challenge.

Minneapolis Food Photographer - One of the many areas of photography we specialize is product photography. But when photographing food as the product, it presents challenges unique to food photography. It takes many skilled and “steady” hands to create the delectable images Greg and Jeff come up with for their clients. Their images grace the pages of web sites, outdoor boards, menus, and packaging.

Minneapolis Product Photographer Thoen & Associates specializes in Commercial, Illustrative and Product Photography. They meet the demanding needs for Commercial Advertising, Packaging, Web, Brochures, Catalogs, Outdoor Boards, POP Displays and Trade Shows. Complex to Simple, Real to Imaginary.

HDR Photography - This tool in the hands of a skilled artist can achieve an incredible range of detail, contrast, and color which was previously unobtainable using the now “traditional” digital tools. The examples on our HDR page will show how we use both HDR and Exposure Fusion techniques to create realistic dynamic images for our clients. Yes we can also give you the wild, surreal, super saturated, HDR images if that’s your goal.

Technical challenges abound for the Minnesota Industrial Photographer. Minneapolis Industrial / Medical Photographer, Thoen & Associates specializes in Industrial, Medical, Corporate, and Annual Report Photography. Greg Thoen states “we are fully equipped to handle any location photography challenge; many have taken us across the United States. Be it a factory, foundry, helicopter, or clean room; we have the years of experience you can depend on”.

Micro and macro photography is part of the skill set they use when called upon as a Medical Photographer to photograph medical devices, their uses and the manufacturing process.

Minneapolis Architectural & Interior Photographer | Thoen & Associates specializes in Architecture & Interior images in residential and industrial environments. Benefit from 20+yrs of experience with creative lighting, propping and composition. HDR or High Dynamic Range Photography extends the scope what was previously unobtainable. The utmost care is taken in every environment; be it an executive’s office, a commercial building with pristine landscaping, a custom home interior, or hospital operating room.

Minneapolis | St. Paul People and lifestyle photographer: Working closely and orchestrating people requires patience, people skills, and four keen eyes (two in front and two in back) watching the details. The relaxed and confident nature of Greg and Jeff assures the clients and models that the end result will be perfect.

Minnesota Automotive Photographer Thoen & Associates specializes in Custom Motorcycle, Hot Rod, Collector Cars, and Graphic Automotive Photography. It is all about the lighting and composition tailored specifically for each unique vehicle. It’s all about a keen eye for details. Highlights, shadows, chrome, highly reflective paint surfaces, curved lines, glass; all details Greg and Jeff are accustomed to enhancing.

Minneapolis Photographer Thoen & Associates Advertising Photography, Inc.

offers the following commercial advertising photography services:


Today, Greg and Jeff love it more now than ever. Harnessing the ever changing tools in digital photography, they love the daily challenges presented to them.

Using the advances in technology, coupled with their years of experience, they consistently offer greater value to their family of clients.

Fast forward with 16 years of digital experience under their belts. A paradigm shift in the business model has shown that T&A’s move to offer “Downtime” rates to be the right decision. More and more clients find themselves donning multiple hats, pinched for time, and just can’t stay for the photo shoots. Drop offs and downtime scheduling fits the “new norm” perfectly.

With more clients shipping projects to the studio and less actually coming to the photo shoots, it made it feasible to move the studio to Greg’s home. This gives T&A the ability to be super competitive when dealing with tight budgets (also the new norm); while still providing the “Gold Standard” in Quality and Service their clients have come to depend upon.