Welcome to Mark Steele Photography

Welcome to the website and portfolio of Mark A Steele Photography.  This site is designed to showcase entire projects as delivered to clients.  By viewing all the images from projects within my portfolio section, you will understand how I approach, envision, enhance and deliver a variety of award winning projects.


Global Shop 2013

GlobalShop 2013 is back at McCormick Place April 16th through 18th.  I’ll be attending the ARE design awards to hopefully congratulate a few of my clients as well as attend a few of the parties.

Spring in Chicago can be a little dicey. Warm or cold, it’s always a great time. I truly enjoy seeing clients, friends and vendors as we all strive to improve the retail customer experience. I’ll be on the show floor Tuesday and Wednesday with an Ipad full of recent work and a few samples in hand to give out.  Text, call or email me as I’d love to catch up and share some current work with you. Safe Travels!


MSPRDIawardRetail Design Awards

Congratulations to all the winners of last weeks Retail Design Institute’s Store Design Awards and mainly to Fitch Inc/Target and Chute Gerdeman/Aaron Brothers, two projects I had the opportunity to photograph. Both projects won First Places.  Also, I’d like to congratulate Bevan Bloemendaal of Timberland, a long time client and friend, for his induction into the Legion of Honor.  Well deserved!

Having the opportunity to photograph the event on behalf of the Retail Design Institute was an honor.  I truly enjoyed the evening with having the chance to talk with clients and industry friends.  Next stop…Global Shop.  If you’re heading to Chicago this year, be sure to look me up.


DDI Portfolio 2012

Congratulations are in order for several of my clients who have been featured in the September 2012 Portfolio issue of DDI.

Christian Davies of Fitch, Inc and Aaron Spiess of Big Red Rooster have been chosen as Retail Design Luminaries and Beven Bloemendaal of Timberland has been chosen as a Retail Design Influencer.  Also, Fitch was chosen as the Design Firm of the Year and clients Big Red Rooster and FRCH have been listed as among Design Firms of the Year.  On top of that, two projects I photographed, City Target and New Balance Flatiron District NYC, are listed among the Best Designed Stores of the Year!

You can read the article here.

It’s great to know that I work with some of the best in the industry.  These people and firms are always looking beyond the normal.  They inspire me to do that same!  Congratulations to all winners!


End of Summer

So far 2012 is turning out to be a nice year!  In January, The National Retail Federation’s Big Show at the Javits Center in NYC showcased more than forty banners of my work with its first ever photography exhibit titled “Documenting Retail Design-Showcasing Outstanding New Stores”.   It was an honor to have my work on display.  NRF also chose to showcase my work in their Washington DC headquarters in the form of more than 80 large prints for their walls.

The beginning of March brought Global Shop where I had the opportunity to visit with friends and clients, as well as network with many people in the industry.

In the spring, Fixtures Living, a project I photographed last fall for Fitch Inc won more than ten design awards in the industry.

Since then I’ve photographed some new grocery concepts including api+‘s Super1Foods as well as  SuperValu’s Megafoods.  I also had the opportunity to photograph a High Point NC showroom for Martin Roberts Design and Home Meridian International.  This particular site features dramatic elements and colors that give the HMI staff a comfortable place to showcase their six brands.

You can see these projects within the portfolio section of my site.

And personally, I’ve biked more than 2000 miles so far this year working toward my goal of 3000.  That’s enough miles to bike from Boston to Los Angeles, and that gives me an idea…


NRF’s Big Show-Big News!

Sorry this reads so much like a press release…but it is!  Very exciting news and I’m very proud to have been asked to display.

Award-winning photographer Mark A. Steele has been selected to exhibit dozens of his images documenting leading retail concepts at the 2012 annual convention of the National Retail Federation (NRF).

NRF will present its first-ever photography exhibit — “Documenting Retail Design” – during its annual trade show taking place January 16 and 17 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The exhibit consists of Steele’s images that creatively capture retail design projects that have opened over the past five years. Projects range from department and specialty stores as well as brand concepts.

“Retailers can learn about current trends and how other retailers are realizing their visions and investments for new stores, exciting prototypes and successful renovations that connect with customers,” says Dan Butler, NRF’s vice president of merchandising and retail operations. “Because the photos are taken near the grand opening of most projects, we are able to show and share how retailers look at those moments right before the doors are unlocked and the customers come in.”

A longtime contributor to major retail trade magazines, Steele’s photographs have been used in publicity and marketing campaigns, books, magazines, journals and annual reports. Retailers and brands have also used his images to impress Wall Street investors, mall developers, leasing agents and franchisees.

Longtime client Christian Davies, executive creative director, Americas, for FITCH, a Columbus, Ohio-based global design and strategy firm explains,  “Mark’s images tell the stories behind the work we do. I tend to like telling my own stories and I’m picky about how they are told, so it takes a lot for me to turn over that responsibility. But he’s never let me down.” FITCH has worked with Steele for more than 15 years documenting the firm’s innovative retail design for brands such as Chrysler, Nickelodeon, Harley Davidson, Sports Authority and Timberland, among others.

The world’s retailers and strategic partners gather annually at Retail’s BIG Show to share ideas, make connections, embrace technology and drive the industry forward. Last year, the event drew some 22,000 from 82 countries, who gathered to see the best and the brightest in retail speak on a broad range of issues facing the retail industry and to see the nation’s largest retail technology expo floor.


New Balance NYC

I photographed the New Balance New York Experience store in Manhattan a few months ago. With tight deadlines, a small shooting window, driving rain, people, traffic and parking how could I say I don’t love New York?

An on site three hour time frame made for some fast thinking and reflections on what it takes to serve my clients.  No shoot is ever perfect and I wish everything on site went without a hitch.  But it never happens…being prepared is what experience and professionalism is all about.  Experience allows me to make those quick decisions-camera angles, lighting, fixture placement-with confidence.  When my client walks away from the set, I need for them to feel secure in their decision in hiring me.
New Balance trusted me with their tight time frame and their story ended up with a four page spread in VMSD’s December 2011 issue.  Take a look at the images.


My Summer Vacation

Summer is nearly over and getting back into things is hard to do.  But just like in elementary school, I am going to share a little of my summer vacation with everyone.MSP-CoBlog

The Rocky Mountains of Colorado are stunning, breathtaking and exhilarating!  Along with my family, I took my new IPad and my camera and took to hiking the Rocky Mountain National Park along with a few other trails.  We visited glaciers, shopped some nice quaint small towns, visited dinosaur parks, chanced upon some great geology, and even had an interesting experience involving mountain roads and a GPS unit.  And I shouldn’t forget the double rainbow…all the way across the sky!

The images you see here were all processed on my IPad using software available from the App Store.  If you need any details let me know and I’ll be glad to share.  Also, while I’m at it, take a visit to the Mark Steele Photography Facebook page and give me a like.  It’s nice to have some company there!


10 Ways to Get More Value from my Photos

My portfolio is your portfolio. For more than twenty years I’ve partnered with design firms, architects and retailers to create images that showcase their brands, concepts and visions. It’s rewarding to see my images being used in ever more interesting and creative ways.

I want to make sure that you are making the most of my images.

Here’s a list of ten ways that the results of our partnership can be further used in order for you to create more value from your company’s investment.

1.  PR/Marketing –Nothing grabs people’s attention like a beautiful image.  Showcasing a state of the art innovation creates memorable marketing, industry buzz, and can get consumers talking.

2.  Sales presentations-Showcase past work to future clients. From web portfolios to one-on-one presentations, using high quality imagery not only presents your products and services in the most professional manner, it also elevates your brand.

3.  Trade Show presentations-Many companies rely on trade show presentations to showcase innovative designs and ideas.  Do you have the images you need to effectively communicate your viewpoint thus making you the expert?

4. Awards and competitions-My photography has garnered more than 100 awards for my clients within various competitions.  This exposure not only serves as a congratulatory note to team members and clients, but also increases the opportunity for additional media coverage.

5.  Real estate kits aimed at property management companies-Enhancing store concepts for the better mall and property management companies serves not only to acquire space with better malls, but better spaces within those malls as well.

6.  Visual merchandising/store planning guidelines and standards-Educating decentralized store associates on how to present consistent visual standards across sites, guidelines can help you differentiate your concept in today’s highly competitive retail environment.

7.  Prospective franchise materials-Showcasing new design initiatives for franchise materials and sales kits raises awareness among existing and perspective franchisees.

8.  Sharing best practices  - Consumer product and apparel companies, as well as retailers, use photo documentation of merchandising programs and floor sets to raise the bar for in-store execution and encourage increased sales performance.

9. Annual Reports/Investor Presentations-CFO’s and investor relations will frequently use imagery in order to entice investors and present new initiatives to investors, analysts and lenders.

10. Copyright/patent/trademark registration uses-Corporate attorneys will frequently use photography as documentation for copyright/patent issues.

Use equals value.  How do you use my images to increase their value to your company? Can you add any ideas? I’d love to hear from you.


Getting W I D E

Sometimes wide isn’t enough!  There are times when superwide is needed to capture a special image.  We get tight or ultra-wide spaces that a conventional lens just can’t seem to get no matter what you do, not to mention the distortion lenses seem to have.

I’ve recently invested in some real nice glass that allows me to use special techniques to capture these types of spaces and showcase them in a single images.  These are great to show overall spaces, showcase a space using panning in Power Point, internet headers etc.  How you use it is up to you.  How to capture them is left to me.  Take a look at a few and let me know what you think.


Aligning Stars

DXLextSometimes things just work out!  I just love photographing a great project, completing the images, sending them to a client then seeing them again, again, and again.

I am so excited when my clients think enough of my talents to hire me for their best work and trust in me to deliver the best images of their retail spaces.  Nothing feels better as an artist than to see spaces I’ve photographed printed in magazines, awarded in competitions and shown in portfolios.

A recent project, Destination XL, photographed for the design firm, JGA, is a great example.  A new Casual Male Retail Group prototype located in Schaumburg Il, this site has a look and feel all its own.  VM&RD, an Indian retail design magazine, featured this space as a cover story and I’m very pleased with the result.

You can download and view a PDF here.  Take a look and see if you don’t agree…

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About Mark A. Steele Photography

“Passionately, artistically and tirelessly...Mark continues to capture the branded retail experience through beautiful images! He has an appreciation and a sensitivity for the smallest details (from lighting to visual merchandising and fixture landscaping)...and the patience to realize all this to perfection - no matter what it takes.”

Nicole Rehfuss
Sr. Retail Visual Strategist Little