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New photography studio moves into old armory

Hastings resident Brandon Rowell has been a professional photographer for the past 15 and a half years, but until recently, never had his own studio. As of Feb. 1, though, he’s finally gotten his own space inside the old armory building at the corner of Third and Sibley streets.

Rowell has always been into photography, he said, and in the late 1990s he got an opportunity to shoot some photos for a friend’s marketing campaign. He’s been shooting ever since and has developed a successful photography business.

While many photographers gravitate toward portraits and wedding photography, Rowell prefers working with structures. It’s a challenge to get the shot just right, he said, and to make a photo look as good as or better than the real thing. Most of his work deals with architecture, both exterior and interior, and serves his clients’ marketing or advertising needs. He also photographs products for his clients and does corporate portraits. He also does all his own photo editing and offers other services to his clients as well.

Over the years, Rowell has worked in shared studios with other photographers, but he really wanted a place of his own.

“I wanted a place I wasn’t sharing with other photographers,” he said.

On Feb. 1, he started moving into the back of the old armory, in a space that was once used as a garage. It’s a large space, which is perfect for Rowell’s business. One aspect of his work is taking photos of vehicles.

Bringing the vehicles indoors means Rowell can control the lighting and get better shots no matter the weather, he said. Another benefit is his new studio’s proximity to the downtown car shows, which Rowell said he hopes to get more involved with.

The studio is a work in progress for now, but Rowell has some big plans for it. He said he plans to reinforce the floor and install an infinity wall – a wall with no corners. A set of portable ramps will allow vehicles to drive right up into the studio, and the infinity wall will let him take shots that have no wall seams in the background. Although the seams can be taken out using Photoshop, Rowell said he prefers to get the shot right when he takes it if possible. He also plans to add some office space.

Rowell is eager to expand his business in Hastings. Although he grew up in Michigan, he’s spent the past 20 years in Minnesota. He has lived in Hastings since 2009 and doesn’t intend to leave.

“I think of Hastings as my adoptive hometown,” he said. “… I plan on staying here.”

He also plans to get more involved with the community and other businesses here, he said.

For more about Rowell’s photography and his business, go to, call 612-669-7306 or email