This year hasn’t been easy but as the most wonderful time of year approaches we here at McDonald’s Studio are looking back at 2020 with a different lens. Here, we’re taking a look at memorable and joyful events of the year through photographs we have created throughout the year. 

When we had a session dedicated all to man’s best friend and got some cute shots like this.

Moments like two young brothers sitting together as the younger discovers ducklings for the first time. 

When one of our editors, Chloe had way too much fun with photoshopping effects and helped to create this memorable shot.

How could we leave out when Joe was invited to the White House in pre-COVID 2020 to meet the Prime Minister of Ireland! While there, Joe created these photographs of the Supreme Court and Capitol.

This was not the end of Joe’s travels then either. Right after DC, he hoped on a plane to the Happiest Place on Earth and took part in a photoshoot at EPCOT.

And even when the pandemic came in full swing, we still managed to find merry and bright moments. Like when the cherry blossoms bloomed and filled the air with their fragrance.

Of course, Joe wasn’t just busy at the studio! As a State Representative, the Master Photographer worked hard with his colleagues to pass a relief bill to help those affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. Not only did the bill pass, but he created this photograph after adjourning the session.

We also learned how to make a few new food items and Joe captured this at home while he and his son attempted to make Disney-style churros. 

And even found new beginnings to celebrate…

Then a week after that we had a snowfall in the middle of October. Can’t say it came on time but it certainly did make for a beautiful picture! 

The holidays rolled around of course, and though they looked a bit different, we still managed to have some fun. A personal favorite was when Joe created this photo duo with the only and only Saint Nick! 

That’s A Wrap!

Yes, 2020 hasn’t been an easy year to endure but we here at McDonald’s Studios believe there can be moments of comfort and joy if you just look for it. With the year coming to a close, here’s McDonald’s Studios wishing you a Merry Christmas and here’s to many blessings in the New Year!

Welcome Back!

Wow, we haven’t posted on this blog since last year! Anyone else hear the crickets chirping? No? Just me? Okay then! Well to make up for that terrible joke, let me tell you all about some of the exciting things that will be happening at McDonald’s Studio in the New Year!

First Up…

Are you finding that your are walls bare when it comes to precious family photos? Is your Aunt Cheryl asking for a copy of the Easter photo of your kids that was taken last year? Was your wedding portrait damaged by years of love and you’re in need of a new print? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then I have some great news for you! Come January 2020 all month long McDonald’s Studio will be having our Reorder Special. With this stellar deal, you can get 50% off previously ordered images, 30% off newly ordered images and if you have ordered a print, you can get a digital copy of said print for just twenty-five dollars! New image or previously ordered, you can share that image on your Instagram for just twenty-five bucks! Sale ends January 31st, 2020.

But That’s Not All!

Tell me, what is cuter than small children playing happily on the first day of spring after a long hard winter? Kids doing exactly that with adorable animals! This coming spring (exact dates yet to be determined) McDonald’s Studio will have our 26th Annual ‘Duck and Bunny’ shoot going on! We use live ducklings and rabbits (yes, really!) and when you put such cute critters with even cuter kids the results will make everyone stop and say ‘awww’.

And the best part of all this adorableness? It’s only 79 bucks a session! Appointments fill up quickly for this one so be sure to call us ASAP to ensure you get your spot!

That’s A Wrap!

Of course, these are just a few of the fun things we have going on here at McDonald’s Studio’s in the new year. You could almost say it’s going to be a roaring year! Keep up with our Facebook page McDonald’s Studio of Photography Inc. or back here on the blog where you’ll be the first to hear more about these and other amazing deals we have coming in 2020 that would even make Jay Gatsby say “well done old sport!”


Our Story Begins in 1956

Back in 1956, Kenneth “KJ” McDonald opened the first McDonald’s Studio of Photography and in 1958 moved the studio to his hometown of Watertown, Minnesota. Thirty-two years later, his son Joe opened McDonald’s Studio in Delano and has been in business for thirty years. With such a history behind it, it’s safe to say a lot of things about the photography industry have changed since the first McDonald’s Studio was opened. What changed? Well, as they say a picture’s worth a thousand words.

KJ outside the original McDonald Studio in 1956

When KJ was starting to build his studio, photographs were developed from negatives; images on a strip or sheet of transparent plastic film. As the darkest parts of the photo appeared the lightest and vice versa these images were called “negatives”.  To switch it around, KJ had to make a “positive” of the image by projecting it onto a piece of paper with either a photographic enlarger or by way of a contact print. He was aided in this endeavor by his lovely wife Barbara.

KJ developing a photograph in 1949.

KJ and Barbara ‘Barb’ McDonald on their wedding day in 1958. 

Over the years of developing his craft photography changed again, going from negatives to film strips and then to video. KJ mastered all of them. Eventually, he passed on his vast knowledge to his son. Like his father before him, Joe had a passion for capturing precious memories on film and this lead him to opening his own studio at the young age of twenty-two.

The Story Continues in 1988

Joe in his studio, 1988

By the time Joe got his start in 1988, film cannisters were the new normal for photography and like his father, Joe developed and printed his images and used a darkroom to do so. However, the industry changed again in the early 2000s and digital began to take over as the age of computers ushered in a new era. As a result, he had to learn to use the computer to get his images looking just right. Later, he met and married his wife Rachel who used her expertise in graphic design to help him perfect his craft. Eventually, their boys began hanging around the studio as their family expanded.

Joe, Rachel, Alex, Jacob, Aiden and Winston, 2018


Eventually, the commitment and passion Joe brought to his craft earned him a Master’s degree in photography as well as numerous awards and recognitions. Some of these include an award from Kodak for “Photographic Excellence” in 1999 and that same year he won Court of Honor from the Minnesota Professional Photographer Association. Joe went onto win that honor again in 2007, 2009 and 2010. That same year the Professional Photographers of American awarded Joe “Photographer of the Year”. His most recent accolade was  “Best Photographer” for the Herald Journals’ Best of Delano 2018 piece. However, Joe maintains that the best titles he’s been given are “Dad” and “Rachel’s husband” respectively.

So, it’s safe to say that while photography has changed a great deal over the last few decades, the commitment of McDonald’s Studio to provide quality work and immortalized memories for our clients has never wavered once since 1956.  

Joe outside McDonald’s Studio, celebrating thirty years in 2018.