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Nicole Marino of BIGshot in Wine Country

WEDNESDAY - FEBRUARY 20, 2013 - NAPA, CA - Nicole Marino is the owner of BIGshot in Wine Country. She says her business can "capture people's stories through photographs, television and writing." J.L. Sousa/Register

Using both video and still photos, Nicole Marino creates documentaries about people, businesses or events via her business, BIGshot in Wine Country.

“I capture people’s lives and their inspiring stories,” in and around wine country, she said.

Marino has been working as a photographer since 2001. She also hosts a regular program on Napa Valley TV.

What is it about photography that you enjoy so much?

It’s the people behind it. It’s connecting with people. I love sharing their stores.

How did you get into photography?

I always had a camera in my hands from when I was 8 years old (but) I am a self-trained photographer. My college schooling never consisted of photography.

What’s a common question or misconception you get about your business or work?

People ask, “Can you make it being a photographer?” There’s so much competition out there (but) for me, it doesn’t feel like that. It feels like I am doing my own thing and what I love.  

What’s new at your business?

A new niche service (called) “Made a BIGshot” where I follow people on their tours and adventures and capture the experience. It’s making people feel like they are a big shot. It’s more of a VIP service. It’s a Hollywood feel. I’m offering different packages…from $250 to $2,500.

What’s your advice to someone who wants to get into your industry?

My advice is not to give up. If you have something you’re passionate about, go with it.  

Do you have a favorite piece of equipment?

I love my D300S Nikon camera.  The lens I absolutely love is a 50 mm f/1.8 lens. I love it because it gives you great depth of field. It’s a pretty inexpensive lens but it’s becoming more popular.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?

Startups are tough. Honestly, the answer would financial challenges and of course having enough time to get it all done. Being a one-woman show (literally and figuratively) you have to do it all yourself.

What was your first job?

My first job was with the top advertising firm in the Prudential building of Boston, Mass. working in the brand promotions department of Arnold Communications. I thought I’d start out with a topnotch company to get my career kicked off. I soon realized you were just a number doing many little tasks in that size of a company.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

I hope to be recognized in this world as an inspiring and motivational photographer and speaker.

Which other Napa County business person(s) would you like to see featured in “10 Questions for…”

Penelope Moore. The name of her company is called Wine Art Life.

Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?

Oprah Winfrey. She is one of the most inspirational people I know that has lived her own dream and made it all happen for herself.

My grandfather. He was my best friend. He’s taught me about the true meaning of life by being in the moment, loving life and others around you.

Jesus. Sometimes we all need a guidebook through the road of life. I feel if anyone can provide insight on our lives and career it would be Him.

What job would you like to try/not like to try?

Try: Having taken some wine course recently I intend on making wine for sure. But, truly I’ve always wanted to cook on a TV show. It’s been a dream to use all my creative talents. Not try: Although I spend some of my time sitting at the computer editing the photos I never want to be stuck behind the desk in an office setting.

How did you get into this business?

I love shooting. I love feeling the emotions people have when they are enjoying a great moment. Capturing true expressions and real life moments is what I do.

What’s on your to-do list?

Hiring a team of the TV show side of the business is necessary. Video editors who can help sift through the content and make it look great and a still shooters to join me in my shoots.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?

I would love to change the way I have to do it all to make my company operated. One day I would like to be able to pass off some of the projects that eat up much of my time to my staff. I’d love that freed up time to be spent out shooting some fabulous nature scene for a client or a topnotch magazine.

Reach Marino at 820-SHOT, or on Twitter at @bigshotIN.

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