Damion Hamilton: Napa Valley Wedding Photographer bio picture
  • Thanks so much for coming to our page! We hope you have a few laughs, lots of smiles, and maybe even have to do the fast blink to avoid some tears. We feel like the most blessed people on earth to get to do a job we love and work with some of the most awesome people out there. We are so lucky! We are very selective about our clients and take a limited number of events per year so that we can give them the very best service possible. It's important to us that you get the kind of personalized service you deserve. We consider it an honor that someone would choose us to capture their once in a lifetime moments!

Custom Event Group wedding at Solage Calistoga |Damion Hamilton|Napa Valley Details Photographer

A little while back, I had posted that we were excited to be featured on the Style Me Pretty Blog with a beautiful Custom Event Group Wedding.  Now, while I know you all RAN over to their blog to check out our work and thus this post is totally unnecessary;)I neglected to post pictures of the event on the blog.  This gorgeous creation was held at Solage Calistoga and was created by Rebecca Feeney of Custom Event Group, with elegant green and white floral design by none other than the amazing Kathy Hoffman.  I always look forward to seeing what Kathy will create next and with what unconventional materials! She is amazing! The lighting design put the spotlight on Got Light? OK, THAT was cheesy!

Keep noticing the details,


Rebecca excels at considering the comfort of her guests, in this case, providing parasols to keep cool on this sunny day.

The beautiful mother of the bride…one of my favorite images

Time to buy your tickets for the Blissful Wishes Ball! | Damion Hamilton |Wish Upon a Wedding Granter

You’ve probably heard us talk about Wish Upon a Wedding.  It’s an amazing organization doing great work across the Unites States, though I’m sure it will be global before long.  Wish Upon a Wedding is a collaboriation of wedding vendors who have come together to grant wedding wishes to individuals who are facing terminal illness.  We were privileged to be able to photograph Christian & Rehanna’s Wish Upon a Wedding in April and it was truly a blessing and it seems, life changing for all involved.

Some people wonder what the big deal about that is, it’s just a wedding wish after all! But after you read the stories on the WUW blog, you will have a richer, deeper understanding of why it’s important and makes a difference in the lives of the people touched by it.  For some, this is their dying wish…to share a very special day celebrating their love with friends and family.  For the latest wish recipients, Wally & Debra, this is an opportunity to renew their vows in a wedding that they never shared with family and friends. “Wally was diagnosed with Parotid Gland Cancer in December of 2008.  It is Wally’s wish to renew his vows with the love of his life, Debra, in front of his daughter Riley, and before Debra gives birth to their next child.  Debra is currently pregnant. His biggest dream now is to see his baby be born and hold his baby in his hands. Wally and Debra know that Wally will never have the opportunity to see his children grow up, but the couple dreams and hopes that he can be there for them in the beginning. Although they do not know what the future looks like, they are looking forward to this very special celebration with those closest to them, and plan to celebrate life, love and family.” You can read more about their story and the other wish recipients as well on the WUW Blog.

After you read stories like this, you begin to understand the importance of what WUW is doing.  Not everyone is a wedding vendor, but there are ways that everyone can help.  This November, WUW is sponsoring the Blissful Wishes Ball at 12 locations across the nation to raise much needed funds.  Please click on the link to find out about the locations. The raised funds are designated for purposes such as purchasing airline tickets that will allow 4 members of the couple’s family to fly to their wedding ceremony, hard costs such as food for the catering, etc.

We are formally inviting you to get involved!  You can do so by purchasing tickets to the Blissful Wishes Ball in your area, donating items (needed from all industries and areas of life) to be auctioned off at the Blissful Wishes Ball, or purchasing items from our nationwide auction beginning in September!  We also welcome monetary donations to further meet the couple’s needs. If you would like to donate an item to be auctioned off to benefit Wish Upon A Wedding,  be sure to include your company name & logo for greater exposure!

We have just purchased our tickets for the Blissful Wishes Ball, won’t you??

Keep giving to make a difference,


Damion - August 23, 2010 - 3:03 pm

Sandra, isn’t that handkerchief cute? Must have been the word of some artistic genius…Beautiful work yourself and thank you :) J

sandra - August 17, 2010 - 3:40 pm

Love the pix of the custom handkerchief :D Love your work Damion! (Li’l Inspirations)

How to BUILD your business | Damion Hamilton |Napa Valley Wedding Photographer

We are fortunate to be a place where we get to talk with so many people who are interested in getting into the events industry and want to find out how to get a business started doing what they love.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot, because it’s pretty tough to share what that we’ve learned in a short email or a few sentences because there is so much involved in starting a business, getting established in your market, and learning the in and outs of whatever industry you’re in.  So, I finally boiled down my thoughts to 5 short points.  These points are especially relevant for those getting into the events industry, however, I suspect that all of these points are great for business strategy across the board.  Get ready for my crash course in B.U.I.L.D.ing a business:

1.  B–Be Patient! Getting to where you want to be (and need to be) just takes good old-fashioned time.  It takes time to improve your skills to the place where they are desirable, it takes time to prove your skills to the people in your industry, it takes time for your name to get spread out into the market (especially if you’re counting on word of mouth), and it takes time to mature relationships to the point where there will be fruit gathered from them.  Give yourself time.

2. U–Uniqueness is important! In recent years, the number of photographers has typically numbered about 150,000, but as of this year, there are over 400,000 photographers.  400,000!   Currently, our industry is saturated with newcomers because they have been told by top selling photographers “This is how I did it & here’s how you can do it too!” But, guess what? The top selling photographers walk away with the money from product/workshop sales, but the newcomers walk away not knowing that statistics show that 75% of their businesses will fold before the 3 year mark.  Why? Because they are doing the same old thing as everybody else who went to the same workshop.  To succeed, you have to stand out from the crowd! You have to show your clients why they should choose you as opposed to the other 399,999, many of whom can do it cheaper!  What do you have to offer that not everybody else has? What makes you unique? Is it that you have an outstanding, bubbly personality, or that your events are known for being super modern, or that your photography style stands out because it’s different? Think about what defines you?  That’s what you have to know to be able to develop your business in a healthy way.  I could tell you about our experience starting a business until I’m blue in the face, but it’s not going to help you define who you are and how you will run your business.  Who are you marketing to? How are you going to be different than all of the other people in your industry that are pursuing the same market? Find your strengths and capitalize on them, baby! Capitalize! Are you a creator, then create! Are you a giver, then give! Are you a service oriented person, then serve! Are you an organizer, then organize!

3. I–Invest. To get a business off the ground, you have to be willing to invest.  It will mostly be in the form of your precious time and your valuable money and there is no way around it.  If you are serious about pursuing a career in the events industry, call up people that you admire and volunteer to work for them (Be aware though that they’re not most likely going to teach you how to coordinate a wedding on your first day volunteering on the job!)   You might end up filing papers in their office or running errands or in the case of photography, volunteering for events, headshots, whatever it takes!  You must create an opportunity to show them your stuff without them having to take a risk to do it.  The law of reaping and sowing is just part of our world and the way it works.  If you want to reap relationships and skills, you have to sow.  You have to put in the time and effort to show that you are worth it and to learn the skills that you need.  It’s gonna cost ya. (but it’s worth it!)

4. L–Locals count! Start locally.  Research the people in your regional area who are the experts in the field that you want to be in.  Follow their blogs, learn from them, volunteer with them.  I know it’s tempting to contact the most successful person in the industry, but I’ll tell you that you will be able to build (and reap from) relationship at a local level in a way that you won’t be able to from someone who is across the country.  AND if they’re at the very top of their game in your industry, likelihood is that they don’t have alot of extra time.  Yes, they have people who work for them to free up their schedules (for more work), but those kind of successful people are typically crazy dedicated and crazy busy! AND, truthfully, they probably get 30 emails a day asking them the same questions.  They don’t have time to answer, so they just hit “delete.”  Get in touch with the people that you aspire to be like in your regional areas.  You will find a wealth of information and get to reap some local benefits as well.

5. D–Develop Relationships! Relationships are key to any industry.  It all ties into the concepts of Being Patient, Investing, and starting Locally. Take the time to build relationships not just with clients, but with the vendors that you desire to work with.  I think relationships are the most powerful key that one can have to meeting the right people and being in the right places.  There are just some people that you will never get a chance to meet unless you have a relationship with someone that they respect.  It’s just the truth in this industry.  Find someone that you admire. Ask if you can take them out to lunch or even just bring lunch to the office for them and their staff.  Or bring a treat!  Make it genuine though, show that you care about them as a person…one can’t just show up with treats and think “Yes! I made it! I’m in!” (remember the patience and investment part!!)  And here’s another tip—don’t hit the business right away.  It’s important that you know people on a personal basis as well, not just a business basis.  TIP: When you ask someone out to lunch, don’t start off with what we call the “NOT first date” questions like — What are your settings?  How much do your albums cost? What company do you use? What is your profit margin?  Ect, Ect.  Big NO-NO.  Yes, we are willing to build a relationship with you, no we are not willing to divulge the information that has taken us  years of research and adjustments and changes to get to a place where it works for us.  That’s the key—for us.  What works for us will not always work for someone else.  It is important to gather wisdom and experience from those that have walked the path before you, but if you try to do exactly what they do, you will fail.  Why? Because it’s not you, it’s them! Oddly enough, in this day and age of technology and gadgetry, face to face relationship is super important for establishing yourself in any market.  People want to know who you are, not just what you do.

So, these are my thoughts just from our own personal experience.  I would love to hear yours! Please leave us a comment and tell me what additions you would make to my B.U.I.L.D-ing list!

Keep building!


Damion - August 23, 2010 - 3:02 pm

Thanks Kara! Hopefully you walked away with a nugget or two! Great luck with your business. I hope it goes well!! :) J

Kara Lizarraga - August 17, 2010 - 4:52 pm

This is great! I really enjoyed reading it and took away a lot of great information to help me out. I am finally starting build up my little wedding business that I have always wanted to do. Thanks for the great insight! :)

Damion Featured on “Destination I Do Blog” |Damion Hamilton | Destination Wedding Photographer

What a nice surprise for Damion to be featured on the “Destination I Do Blog” yesterday! Since the vast majority of our couples are having destination weddings here in Napa, he was able to share a few tips on Picking the Perfect Photographer for your Destination Wedding.  It can be a little tricky at times to select a photographer for your destination wedding because in many cases, you’re not familiar with the local market, what’s available, and don’t have the opportunity to sit down for a regular consultation the way a local bride does.  Read the article to find out Damion’s tips! Many thanks to Autumn Millhouse, author of “Romantic Napa Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples”  for the interview!

Keep sharing,


The Spa Treatment….|Damion Hamilton |Napa Valley Wedding Photographer

Ah…. the spa treatment.  What does that mean to you?  A detailed, focused time set aside to create an “experience” for you to enjoy.  Everything is taken into consideration from fresh, clean linens to the music playing to the tea available in the relaxing room.  Well, our goal as your wedding photographers is to provide you with the “Spa Treatment” of wedding photography….everything considering, choreographed, and mapped out so that we can help enhance and create a truly great experience for you.  As always, we are fine tuning the ways in which we do that, and I just again came back to this fact:  From beginning to end, from the first time we make contact with you until the last closing email, there are a specifically directed number of steps that we take to ensure that happens……88 steps to be exact. (Of course, that doesn’t include anything after the fact from all of the lovely clients that have become just our friends and that we love to spend time with now).  Just wanted you to know how important you are to us!

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