As a native of Sonoma County, California, the wine industry has been a part of my life since birth. This has been a passion since I started working in the industry on my 21st birthday. My passion for photography rapidly grew as I began to explore the many appellations spread throughout the many hills and valleys of Sonoma and Napa, and eventually I made the jump to full-time photographer.
I easily could have chosen to do small projects with wineries here and there, but I was far more interested in the story that wineries have to tell. As someone who had worked in sales at a winery, I knew that the most important thing to the customer was a story, THAT is what sold the wine, its what gave it soul and character. I want people to have an emotional reaction to my work, and for the winery, I want those same people to be reaching for their wallets without hesitation.
So, I set out to tell stories. I set out to make something beautiful. I set out to create something that could make an impact, a lasting impact. I set out to create something that wineries could be truly proud of.
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?
Do I shoot video?
What is “Documentary Photography”?
What kind of cameras do I use?
I am partial towards Nikon DSLRs, but I sometimes rent other DSLRs (Canon, Sony, etc) in order to achieve a specific look depending on the needs of a client.
I also have shot specific projects on a Hasselblad 503C in order to achieve a specific look from the 120mm film I use. 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 am 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 (both 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.