Napa Sonoma Wedding Venues
Wedding inquiry season has begun! The proposals have been done-did you see my last one? Well, check out the Surprise proposal here. The venue may not yet be set and the dress is so totally on order but the planning has just begun. So, here are some of my favorite Napa Sonoma wedding venues. Mitzvah or party or corporate event? Good for those too! The venues: Of course, the backyard event would be YOUR backyard or that of someone you know. But you get the idea. It provides a unique and intimate setting that may only be yours and yours alone! That is pretty cool. Artesa is a simply AMAZING space. The view, the wine, the food, the hospitality and just all of it but THE VIEW is to die for. Even if the view is fogged in, the space and ambiance, art just make for a wonderful day. Quintessa Winery! Oh how I love the adorable owners of Quintessa. Now, this was actually their home and I cannot say if this space is available any time or to the public. However, it is worth checking out and if not, the other parts of the winery are just beautiful too. Andretti […]
Oakville Sessions – Gargiulo Vineyards
What makes a perfect day? I would suggest it is Oakville Sessions at Gargiulo Vineyards and the amazing talent they have. Of course we can add the view, the food, the wine and the sunshine in the amazing Napa Valley. Look at this talent! I had a wonderful time and even better, I got to photograph it! List of talent…Alex “Rockwell” Jacobs, Anna Wilson, Banjo Dan, Billy Dean & Friends, Brian Collins, Cecil Ramirez, Dan Berg, Dan Wilkinson, Dan Zepponi, Daniel Dey Los Reyes, David Duncan, David Pack, James Otto, Jeff Gargiulo, Jeff Larson, Joe Shotwell, Kelly James, Michael Lington, Mony Powel, Paul Hoffman, Shane Soldinger, Silverado Pickups, Tres Goetting, Wolfe Wein! Whew! Some were local people who play in bands, some travel the world as musicians in major bands or their own tours. One thing everyone there had in common? The love of music.  
Best Friends Animal Society -Strut Your Mutt San Francisco
Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals and do I all I can in writing petitions, volunteering or pet sitting. (Still waiting for someone to say “babysit my pig”). Last spring I took a road trip and actually volunteered at Best Friends Animal Society. It was amazing and fun and hard and beautiful and memorable and awesome. Recently, it was Strut Your Mutt, San Francisco and yes, people did strut too! Once again, I volunteered for Best Friends but for their Strut Your Mutt event. How do you not? Photos, San Francisco, dogs, dog lovers, walking, food AND raising money to “Save Them All” and a lot of local rescues as well. It was a hot day oddly enough and trying to track and photograph dogs that have a LOT to take in was not easy but I had a great time. I will say my cats were not happy with me on my return home though. I did not smell good at least on their terms. I was quickly forgiven though! If you can, if you have the time, if you have the desire, please help your local rescues with your time or cash. There are a […]
The Turing Awards at Westin St. Francis
There are rock stars then there are the rock stars of the technology world. I had the absolute pleasure of photographing the Turing Awards this year at the Westin St. Francis. The speakers and honorees are people who have changed the lives of all of us. This year’s winner, Tim Berners-Lee, created the world wide web. Yes, THAT www. It was a most intense two days. In all my time doing event photography, this event totally kicked my butt. I learned so much though while listening to the talks and chatting with some of the previous winners. The Turing Award is the most prestigious award in the tech industry. Think Nobel Peace Prize for geeks. I had such a lovely time meeting them and watching how some, especially Don Knuth, were like rock stars with groupies! After Don’s lecture, he was just inundated with people wanting to talk to him and get photographs with him. For me, what was most endearing about him, was that I had been sitting by him in the front row for a bit when he was leaning over the chair taking a nap. The first image below, was how the event started. See, it was […]
ILEA NCC Gala San Francisco Event Photography
It was a total honor and thrill to photograph ILEA Northern California Chapter’s Gala, Wanderlust. The Regency was turned into not the music venue that I am very familiar with from photographing events at the Ballroom and Social Hall but continental amazement by amazing vendors. This event gave me the opportunity to showcase San Francisco event photography at its very best. I definitely work with some amazing vendors in the wedding and event industry in San Francisco. This event brought together many of them to showcase their wares, experience and skills and it was just amazing. The event started in The Social Hall space with the continent of Africa. Greeted by some beautifully costumed and very handsome men and a cocktail is a good way to start a party. The Ballroom was dressed for Europe. Fine dining settings, opera entertainment and a three course dinner impressed everyone. Then last but not least The Lodge hosted desert, MORE cocktails and all that is South America. Dancers and acrobats that had everyone mesmerized. These events are a fantastic way to see just what people can do, meet new and talented vendors in the industry and actually even do some good. A silent […]
Napa Like a Tourist but the Event Photographer
One of my favorite gigs of the year is the Napa Seafood Summit. So while I’m the official event photographer, I also eat and drink-a lot. It is three very full days with fish mongers. Yes, I said fish mongers! They do exist but let’s just say it isn’t like you see in Seattle at the market. This diverse group comes from around the world to talk business, eat, drink and be merry. It isn’t all fun and games though. There is an abundance of EVERYTHING but they know how to give back to. Many of them contribute to foundations that help others in the fishing industry. I learned that poverty in Alaska is a serious thing. I had no idea. One foundation is helping a small town who rely solely on fishing deep in Guatemala. I have a great time at this event and feel as if I’ve been on a 3 day bender after but it is fun and truly rewarding. This is just about the details and what Napa and its people have to offer. If you are interested, I highly recommend any of these vendors and spaces. They were instrumental in making it all happen and […]
Small Business in the Big City
It was 16 years ago that I created, formally, my small business, Images by Misti Layne. Never did I imagine this endeavor but I cannot imagine another life today. I had all the small jobs you can imagine from bartending to somehow getting into IT originally with The Gap and a couple of dot.coms that yes, went bust. All the while, I never stopped photographing anything of interest. Along the way, people who knew I was interested in photography asked me to take portraits. One day, someone who didn’t care about wedding photography asked me to photograph their wedding. I hated it. But not really. I kind of sucked. They loved the images and told me a story of the best man.  He had been diagnosed with a form of cancer. After the ceremony, I photographed him looking up to the sky with a smile on his face that was just pure and beautiful. When I gave the images to the couple, they told me how he had heard me push the shutter and at that moment felt free and healthy and just purely happy. He was shortly after diagnosed to be cancer free. I’ve never forgotten that story in almost […]
Freemark Abbey hosts ILEA Napa-Sonoma
ILEA Napa Sonoma does it again! ILEA, officially International Live Events Association, had their latest event at the Freemark Abbey in Napa. I had the total pleasure of photographing it for them. They are a great group if you are in the industry and truly the best people in their chosen fields and just for who they are. The day was perfect and the event was fantastic and I learned something of course as well. The speaker was Erin Rose Opperman and she did a great job. It was about really taking advantage of social media. I’m not a fan but I know I must. Freemark Abbey History I wasn’t aware of the history of Freemark Abbey but they do a great job with showing you exactly what it is. They have been around since 1886 and were involved in “The Judgement of Paris”.  They have these incredible photographs around the site that integrate an old photograph with a new one and it is fantastic! I’m a total history buff so for me, this is just a great idea. The space is really unique with history and the renovations make it fantastic for an event space. They can completely accommodate […]
Visiting Dominican Republic + International Surgical Foundation
A recent trip to Dominican Republic in support of the International Surgical Foundation. This trip was short, purposeful and enlightening. The ISF is a team of people trying to help those in need in Dominican Republic who have mostly scoliosis or other back related problems. The goal was to see the average day in the life of a Dominican and specifically that of the girl who inspired it. This is an abbreviated story of lifestyle documentary photography as I saw it and lived it. It was simply a weekend to try and cram as much in as possible. I met with one of my oldest friends in Miami who is on the board of ISF (Her brother is the founder) and it was great to catch up. We arrived in DR and the goal was to show daily life of Dominicans, the hospital and a bit of what it is like to have severe scoliosis. Our “Day in the Life” didn’t go exactly as planned because well, customs. We were guests and as such we treated with food and drinks and everyone dressed in their Sunday best or Friday night dancing clothes. Even with that, you can’t help but feel […]
Corporate Head Shots Are More Than Just A Static Image
  by Bill Tancer, General Manager of Global Research Experian Marketing Services   The Importance of Visual Image During my days of practicing trial law, I dabbled in the pop psychology of neuro-linguistics. The thinking was that to effectively communicate with a jury I would have an advantage if I could identify if a juror processed information visually, emotionally or through sound. While I can’t remember all of the specifics of the practice I do remember that I identified as being primarily visual in the ways that I process information, and that I was in the majority. Throughout my later career as a writer, analyst and speaker, I can’t underestimate the importance of visual image. When analyzing large amounts of data I tend to use data visualization tools to find pattern and outliers. I met Misti back in 2003 when I was conducting research for my employer on how to effectively market to small business owners. I was immediately struck by Misti’s passion for her trade, so much so, that she served as an inspiration for me to develop my own love of capturing images, which I now practice as a street photographer. Knowing Misti over a decade, she has […]
Corporate Photography, People That Make Shit Happen
  I used to work in the corporate field and never imagined one day I’d be doing corporate photography and portraits for these types. Yes, yes, yes I hated sitting in a cubicle! Honestly, one of my biggest motivators to be successful as a photographer is not having my butt sit in a cubicle ever again. I’m more of a ‘throw on a jumpsuit and change the oil of my car’ type. It just wasn’t for me. That being said, I DO enjoy going back and photographing these professionals. I have met some amazing people who are doing amazing things. This is what I love about the San Francisco/Bay Area. Things happen here that make a difference around the world and the corporate types I am photographing are doing it. People are progressive, take chances and fight for what they believe in. They don’t just let life happen to them, they make it happen the way they want it to happen. The days are gone of sitting in front of a gray background and doing a little tilt and turn. Well, not quite gone. Occasionally, they do still happen and again, I’ve met some amazing people doing this style head […]
Game Programmers Fun ~ San Francisco Event Photography ~
SteelMedia UK hosts some fun events around San Francisco bring all types of people together in the gaming community. This event was 111 Minna Gallery and had a competition this time along with the talk looking for new games. It’s quite fun to see the excitement people have in their creations!
Harvey Milk Gets a Stamp ~ San Francisco Event Photography ~
A celebration at the beautiful San Francisco City Hall to celebrate the new Harvey Milk stamp was a great success and appreciated by many. The event was hosted by San Francisco and the mayor and all those who helped get the stamp made attended. A celebration was held in the gallery next door and hosted by EQ/CA. Harvey’s nephew was there to celebrate him and the stamp and people of all walks came to celebrate. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir was just amazing to hear in the rotunda. A great day!
It’s Arrived!
My new web site that is! I am so pleased to finally have this up and running. As most people know, this is not an overnight process. What fewer know is this is a life long process from experience to the past images to those that have yet to be created. So please know I appreciate every moment you spend here! Thank you and thanks to all for letting me to what it is I must–photography. Blog by Misti Layne