Born and raised in Sonoma County, the wine industry has always been a part of my life. It became apparent early on that there’s a lot more to wineries than meets the eye. So many amazing moments that come and go, and aren’t captured or really even spoken about. While selling wine on the phone for a few years, I learned that there’s a lot more to selling a luxury product than just making people aware of sales and blasting out pictures of bottles. So when I branched out to take on photography full-time, I vowed only to accept project that did the one thing that worked for me every time….tell awesome stories. I learned a lot selling wine on the phone:
Stories build value in the eyes of the consumer. They make powerful personal connections that can last decades. And while the best way to tell that story is face to face, a close second is through imagery.
When it comes down to it, your website is the face of your brand when you're not there to talk to the consumer in person.
I’ve always felt that cellars and vineyards feel like individuals. Every winery is different, because every winery is made up by unique personalities, with their own preferences and philosophies. Every wine is crafted based on thousands of unique environmental truths. Therefore, every story I tell is unique out of necessity. And I'm always looking for more powerful stories to tell.
-Based in Windsor, California-
My work takes me all over the state. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with inspirational clients across Sonoma and Napa Counties, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Madera, Mariposa, Solano Counties, as well as work out of state. No drive is too far.
What is licensing, and why do I charge for licensing?
As a photographer, I own the copyright to any photo I take. While I own that copyright, I agree to grant the use of those photos to individuals and companies. Photo licensing typically applies in any circumstance where the images shot for a client holds monetary value in a marketplace. A photo license allows a company to use the images in specific ways, and to increase sales and marketplace recognition.
There is much confusion over photo licensing, mostly because many photographers who typically work in the wedding industry, senior portrait, and events, do not charge licensing, as they are photos that do not apply to a sales arena, and therefore do not hold a monetary value.
As a commercial photographer, I work exclusively with companies, and every photo is specifically shot in order to increase the sales of that client.
What is your hourly rate?
I do not charge a standard hourly rate, because hourly fees can be incredibly misleading to people who are not familiar with the elements necessary to create effective images in a commercial photography setting. Every project, and every shoot comes with unique costs. For this reason, each quote reflects all of the elements necessary to create the images needed by the client. Everything from my time, the creative components like scouting locations, editing time (3.25 hrs per hour shooting) and prep time, the equipment necessary, travel, and licensing of those images are included in my quotes in order to reflect the exact costs i estimate it will take to achieve a high quality product.
Do I shoot weddings, senior portraits, etc?
What is “Documentary Photography”?
Documentary photography usually refers to a popular form of photography used to chronicle events to history and historical events as well as everyday life.
What kind of cameras do I use?
I am partial towards Sony Mirrorless systems as of late, but I untilize other professional systems (Canon, Nikon, etc) in order to achieve a specific look depending on the needs of a client.
I also have shot specific projects on a Hasselblad 500C in order to achieve a specific look from the 120mm film I use, or 4x5 camera for incredible detail and massive for factor in print. High quality drum scans from 120mm film can offer superior resolution and clarity that cannot usually be achieved on digital cameras, which can be helpful when shooting environmental portraits, and landscape images intended for large format printing.
Things a client may not consider
As a potential client, it’s easy to overlook some potential expenses involved with a quality photoshoot. For example, as a client, you see a photographer show up with bags full of cameras and lenses, lighting, and other tools. It's natural to assume that a photographer will be using those same tools for decades, when in reality, this equipment has a relatively short half-life. As a commercial photographer it is necessary to stay up to date with technology, and that requires constant reinvestment. As a winery must reinvest in barrels and other technologies year after year, a photographer must also make those investments in equipment such as professional camera bodies, lenses, lighting, processing equipment, editing software, as well as specialized maintenance on those tools. While you might not think about it, most companies do not typically hire commercial photographers whose equipment is in disrepair. More importantly, this is equipment that allows me as a commercial photographer to constantly improve in my craft, and achieve shots that are of extremely high quality. These annual costs must be factored into every shoot a commercial photographer takes on.
Why hire me over someone else in Sonoma or Napa who is quoting a lot less?
First off, I understand, everyone wants to keep their expenditures to a minimum. So do I. I have a lot of clients who have approached me to start projects because they are unhappy with the work that other photographers have produced for them previously, and often times these photographers were hired because they offered a really good deal to the winery.
Here’s something I believe in wholeheartedly, and have seen the financial side to back it up from a cost-benefit analysis with past clients. The monetary value of powerful imagery on your website, that tells your story, and creates a connection with consumers, is worth every penny spent above what you’d spend on someone who can offer photography that does not achieve that objective. I may be more expensive than others because I am offering a lot more of my time towards any project that I take on than most photographers are willing to put in (in the development stages of a project, the process of shooting the project, and the post-production of those images). This offers my clients a rich experience to illustrate to consumers through the web and through other marketing materials that pays off. Secondly, I think that a lot of people look at photography as assets to be used, and many photographers look at images as slots than need to be filled. In reality, photographs are the face of the winery when you are not there to greet them in person. They are stories that can be told to people across the US even if you aren’t around at the time to tell them. Photographs should be relevant for a decade, not just a quarter of the fiscal year.