About Me

Growing up in Minneapolis and being the 4th of 8 boys, being driven was just second nature for me. I put myself through college at the University of Minnesota in the Commercial Art field, and soon after, I purchased my photo gear. I have continued shooting commercial fashion catalog and portraits for more than 20 years. For years 2019, 2020, and 2021, I have been awarded Top 3 Commercial Photographers in Minneapolis, where all of the commercial photographers face a rigorous 50-point inspection which includes customer reviews, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, trust, cost, and general excellence. I have helped many talent and businesses, giving them photos to help market them and their products.

When working with people, it is so important to be a people person. I love directing talent, giving them the advantage of better photos, and bringing them to new opportunities. My understanding of lighting of subjects to make them look their best is a skill that comes only with experience. So let me help you create that first visual people see, and let’s let that be your best first impression.



“John is an extraordinary photographer. He has an amazing gift at creating a playful environment and capturing ones authentic self. I couldn’t have been happier with the pictures he took of me for Interview magazine.”

Jason Behr


“John Wagner is a very special photographer and an absolute joy to work with. After 30 years of working with photographers, it’s obvious to me that he really captures your pure essence as an actor/model on film. He is incredible with those who are just starting out, helping to guide and explore together to achieve the best experience and images. And he’s a talented force with those who have years of experience and are looking to capture something new..”

Melissa Keller


“John is our preferred photographer for all employee headshots. Not only are his photos of the top caliber, but he is swift in his communication and turnaround time. I would recommend John to anyone looking to up their game with a professional headshot.”

Steph Wahlund

Acting Headshots

Below are examples of acting headshots. They can be shot in studio or outside. They show the true character of the individual. Clothing is basic as to not distract attention from the face. An experienced photographer will direct you to get the most out of your session. There may be something that I see that you have never explored and that could propel your career. Acting headshots are different than portraits – they show more of who you could be, where portraits are more about what’s on the surface.

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Corporate Headshots

Corporate headshots are business headshots, so wear a professional wardrobe for work – usually a suit, sportcoat, and tie for men or a blouse for women. They must show great quality lighting and composition and have a warm, welcoming feel like you are greeting your best client.

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Modeling Headshots

Modeling headshots should look like advertising and should be done by a photographer that shoots for advertising campaigns. If they have a portrait feel, they will not have the look commercial agents and art directors are going for. Some people get lucky and get a great shot, but if the talent cannot reproduce it, they will likely not get a call back. Clothing is all over the map, so if you are starting out, start timeless – pick solids and clothing that fits well. Designers like JCrew, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan are just a few that keep within those classic lines. Shoots will usually take 3 looks: first, casual-clean; second, a body shot that shows the figure in a way you feel comfortable; and third, a fashion shot that may be saying something about a trend.

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Portraits and Social Media Headshots

Portraits and photos for social media have the most freedom to be creative. They include family photos, senior photos, and general photos. LinkedIn mostly uses corporate photos; Instagram usually falls between portrait and modeling photos depending on the branding. Facebook shots are more about being personal, showing a day in the life. I have a lot of experience in all the areas, so you can let me know your ideas, and I will help make it happen.

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