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!

“Spread the Love!” with Justin & Mary

Justin & Mary Marantz. Boy, how many times have I heard those names over the last two years! Damion met Justin & Mary over dinner two years ago at a photography conference (PartnerCon) and he came home talking about them and hasn’t stopped! He fell in love with these two wonderful people who were, at that time, about to tie the knot themselves and were nurturing their own photography biz over on the East Coast in Conneticut. Well, Damion really did love them and did “spread the love” to me, so naturally I HAD to meet them when we heard they were going to be in our area! We were so excited that they took a few minutes out of their extremely busy schedule to meet and talk with us over a yummy lunch at the Rutherford Grill and I found out that they are, in fact, just as lovely as Damion had shared with me. I can see why he was so impacted when he met them. (and we got to meet Cooper, their 5 yr old baby–see the pics!). See, in the two years since that first meeting, Justin & Mary have made a national impact in the photography business, though I have no doubt they are on their way to doing the same across the world. For the last several months, they have been doing a nationwide tour called “Spread the Love” where they encourage others in their businesses, not just for business sake, but for LIFE’s sake. It’s not a photography workshop, but rather a LIFE-shop. Of course, there is business involved, but when Damion shared with me all that they talked about at Jules Cafe at STL, it was much more than that…it was about setting goals, being extravagant with your dreams and life (of course in a responsible way), considering how you want to live your life and much more. I am just skimming the surface of what they discussed and encouraged the participants to do. One thing I loved was that each person had the opportunity to write their own eulogy. I love this because it’s very similar to one of the habits in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” which is: Begin with the end in mind. Doing an exercise like this is great because it puts our lives into a very different perspective than just the in and outs of every day life that consume us. When Damion read me his eulogy, I actually got teary eyed. I was so proud of him for what he wrote and how he pondered the way in which his actions today will affect the generations to come. He came away from this one day LIFE-shop with SO many great ideas and goals and we are so excited to start implementing those and dreaming EVEN BIGGER!!! Life is good and so is love, so when you have an opportunity, “Spread the Love!!”

Keep dreaming, Julie

This is an abstract Miranda took…can you tell what it is? The first person to leave a comment with the correct guess wins a special something!! Anyone thirsty for Starbucks?? hint, hint;)

Mary was craving the Corn bread at the Rutherford Grill…it was pretty darn good!

Me and Livy…photo by Justin.

Justin being Camera shy? What’s up with that!:)

Our self portrait of the 6 of us!

Just & dog treats with Livy and Cooper (Not shown)

J & M with their baby, Cooper

Being “UN-ordinary!” with Mary’s encouragement

J & M, J & M, J & M—third time’s a charm!

J & M listening and encouraging….

Love you guys…you’re awesome. Keep going!

Damion Hamilton - February 16, 2010 - 6:54 pm

Thanks Liz..Daddy handed down his old camera to Miranda, so she’s been learning how to use it. I think tomorrow I’m going to put up a slideshow that she made all on her own for a GATE project…it’s actually pretty good! Well, maybe winning this will be the beginning of a great career of winning!! Have an awesome day :) Jules

Liz Kausteklis - February 16, 2010 - 6:54 pm

I never win anything, yeppie…and I’m totally a fan :) It is a very neat picture, and that’s awesome that it was taken by a 9 year old…you have some talent on you hands!! I think that it’s very cool that we are all sharing contact information, it’s all been very inspiring for me!! Thanks!!

Damion Hamilton - February 16, 2010 - 6:52 pm

You are welcome any time! I hope you come back to visit. Or maybe we’ll come visit you :) Julie

Mary Marantz - February 16, 2010 - 6:52 pm

I LOVE it!! You guys are the best! Thank you soooo much for that awesome lunch. The food AND the conversation!


Kia Gregory - February 16, 2010 - 8:00 am

Super awesome to meet you at the Spread the Love tour, Damion. I took so much from those few short hours we all spent together.

Damion Hamilton - February 15, 2010 - 10:52 pm

Yep Liz! Great job…I thought it was such a neat picture by our 9 yr old. I’ll get that $10 sbucks gift cert in the mail to you–I hope you’re a fan! Yes, J & M are amazing. I’m glad you enjoyed it and it’s so cool how everyone’s linking up and sharing contact info! Wishing you much success!

Liz Kausteklis - February 15, 2010 - 10:52 pm

I also attended Justin and Mary’s “Spread the Love” tour, and they are wonderful people with amazing hearts!! It was a very motivating workshop, and I hope to lead an “Un-ordinary” life now :)

*Is the abstract picture a chair??….

We’re Back!

Hello to all of our friends! As you may have noticed, we’ve been absent from blogging for a few weeks, but for good cause! As of last week, we have finally taken the plunge to follow our hearts and re-locate to the Napa Valley in Northern Ca. Damion grew up here in the valley and I (Julie) also lived here as well, but 15 years ago, we moved down to Southern California where we had remained and grown for the last 15 years. Over the last few years, we’ve been very blessed and excited to see our business growing in Northern California and well, after much consideration, here we are! We are doing well and getting settled in here. The girls are starting to make friends and learn about the old haunts and history here as well, which is fun!

On that note, as our own welcome back, I wanted to share with you a few images from a shoot that Damion did on the morning following a heavy rain. If you haven’t been to the Napa Valley during spring, you simply must come! It is a beautiful time of year with the mustard flowers filling the vineyards, and the Mustard Festival is in full swing, spanning the time from Jan 30 through March 27th, with many events spread in between those dates. (As a side note, I just learned today tradition holds that as the “padres” were blazing the mission trail or “El Camino Real“, they would sprinkle mustard seeds along as they went, which marked the path with bright yellow flowers so that others could follow.)

Hope you enjoy! More to come!

Keep enjoying, Julie

Taken at Alston Park in Napa

The beautiful, countryside view from Artesa Winery. I love the open country!

Wedding Emergency at Solage — right place, right time!

So, in this post previous to Livy’s birthday, I was telling you the story about the day that Damion had the opportunity to capture the Vintage Reserve Band Review. I continue…but first let me tell you a little back story and explain that you never know what your day will include when you start out in the morning!

Here’s the back story: Got Light?, an awesome lighting company (OK, the best lighting company!) based out of San Francisco had originally planned to hire us for an event at Solage Calistoga, a great resort in Calistoga, on the same evening as the Vintage Reserve. Somehow, there was a little email miscommunication and they ended up hiring another photographer for that event. Fine, no problem…

So, Damion was shooting away at the Vintage Reserve, going on about his eighth hour straight when his phone rings. It’s a wedding emergency! His friend Jill Sandy, a hospitality consultant in Napa Valley, was calling from a wedding where unfortunately, the photographer that they had flown in from Texas had gotten very ill during the ceremony!! They needed someone to come to the wedding right away to help photograph the remainder of the wedding! Where was the location? Solage Calistoga:)This was so awesome for a number of reasons:

1) Damion happened to be in Napa for just two days.

2) The very last event that Damion had captured a few weeks before was an event with Rebecca Feeney from Custom Event Group and was at….Solage. So Damion was familiar with the resort and it’s layout and knew exactly how to get there in the dark!

3) Come to find out, the event was put together by Jenne Hohn, who is wonderful and is very well known for her beautiful work! Damion also already knew many of the vendors.

4) We were able to meet and help out some awesome people..the Sengbushes. They are fabulous photogs from Texas and are such darling people…they’ve been in the wedding business for 35 years and I can see why they are so loved…so sweet! Damion had an instant connection with them and we are so glad to have met them.

Anyway, come to find out, it was the exact same event that Got Light? had originally wanted to hire us for…it’s so interesting how all of these things came together. Damion and I agreed that it was exactly where he was supposed to be. Damion went intending on giving, but instead gained so much in relationships…what a reward! It was such a privilege for Damion to be able to work with such a great team of people.

There is no photographic evidence (maybe it was destroyed!), but my understanding is this: because Damion rushed from the competition (in jeans and tennis shoes) and didn’t have time to go back to the hotel to get his wedding photog clothes–he had to wear a server’s uniform!!! I would have paid money to see that!! and Jill, if you see this, thanks for giving him such a hard time…I’m sure I would have been cracking up too!

Here’s the gorgeous event created by Jenny Hohn with lighting by Got Light? that he had the privilege of capturing:

Solage Calistoga in the evening

Lounge areas on the lawn showcasing Got Light?’s talents

For those of you who love the Mason jar look!

Reception at Solage. One amazing effect that Got Light? produced is that the entire room changed color at least three times, from this warm amber/red hue, to purple, to pink!

Love the candles in the trees and the ring above the dance floor shown below. It created beautiful shadows and gave the illusion of raining flowers over the dance floor.

The beautiful couple, Megan and Kevin

Enjoying the party!

Vintage Reserve Band Review 2009

Enough talk, let’s see some pictures! Here are a few of the images that Damion had the privilege of capturing at the Vintage Reserve Band Review 2009, a high school marching band competition held in Napa, CA.

Here’s what Damion had to say about it in his own words on our FB fan page where you can find even more great images:

“Born and raised in Napa, I attended and graduated from Vintage High School, home of the Crushers. I spend 4 years in their millitary style competition marching band traveling all over northern California and to Florida during that time. Was some of the best experiences of my life, mostly to the thanks of our amazing director, Mr. Bill Gantt. Well…20 years later here we are….and when I heard it was the 20th anniversary of this band review that started the first year I was in high school…I just had to be a part of it. These pictures are what I was able to grab through my eyes. I hope you enjoy this blast from the past as much as I did.”

Getting ready!

Mr Gantt and Mr. Davis

How often do you see Main Street with just one solitary person on it?

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