Great photography is a crucial element of successful marketing. With iconic images, such as the milk-moustached celebrities enjoying a glass of moo juice all the way back to the dog listening to the Victrola, strong visual images have been central to make or break successful brand marketing.

DIY or Hire a Pro?

Over the years equipment has technically improved considerably, making the capture of wonderful shots easier. But only a professional photographer has the experience and skill sets to consistently produce truly top-notch (and effective) imagery to boost product sales and increase brand-building in ways that no amateur can come close to achieving.

In this week’s episode of “Marcia’s Medleys,” featuring guest Rick Bolen of Rick Bolen Photography and Bottleshotz Photography, we discuss the elements of great photography, accompanied by a few musical selections. Full disclosure: Rick took the photograph of me above, but I put together the composite image with the camera profile. (I’m sure he’d have a much more dynamic way to craft an image for this post!)

In this show, Rick talked about the many challenges of shooting wine and beverage bottles, individuals, and groups. He also describes the elements of successful commercial photography, providing several examples of composition ideas he developed for clients in the past.

Portrait photography also receives considerable attention. From business headshots to candids, Rick discusses some of his personal tips and tricks to ensure he gets the best shot and help the subject relax under the bright lights.

If you prefer to jump around the broadcast recording, here’s where you can find the key points:

Time Topic
6:55 What makes photography in Sonoma unique?
7:16 Challenges in photographing in Sonoma for wineries, vineyards, etc.?
7:45 Rick Bolen discloses the secrets to photographing wine bottles and glass surfaces
10:53 SONG: Color and Light – Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George
18:59 SONG: Strike Up the Band – George Gershwin, sung by Ella Fitzgerald
21:28 Rick Bolen on the types of photography
24:08 Rick Bolen on the elements of group photography
24:58 What works best? Do you prefer being the creative driver? Or have an art director indicate what they want in the shot for commercial photography?
27:48 What type of questions from a prospect client are the best ones to ask a photographer?
30:52 SONG: Fanfare for the Common Man – Aaron Copland
35:36 What types of things in portraiture photography are challenging?
36:44 How do determine if a portrait should be shot inside or outside?
39:31 Rick Bolen on the different types of lighting, from loop, to Rembrandt and split lighting
42:19 What advice would you give small business owners about asking the right questions to ensure they get the shot(s) they want and hire the right person for the job?
43:41 Rick Bolen on architectural photography (real estate) and use of before and after shots as well as photo restoration