A Day in the Life of a Professional Wine Country Photographer

Photographer VinoVisit
>Meet Rocco Ceselin

When I stop and reflect on my life, I realize that it has been a long journey since I moved from my home country, Italy. I came from a small region called Friuli Venezia Giulia, near the Alps. The area is known for its cultural diversity, the hilly countryside and its crisp, fresh, and complex white wines. Ever since I was a little boy, I was surrounded by culture and tradition that shaped my existence.

After high school, I took a sabbatical year, working in a wine co-op where I learned about winemaking and winery operations. I met hard working farmers with strong characters and driven personalities who deeply cared about their grapes and land. It was there that I gained a grounded understanding of what it meant to create living art.

Later on, I studied another form of art, graphic design, but my passion for photography was very vivid and intense. I decided to move to California to pursue my dream, so I started taking photos for the wineries of Napa. Quickly, my portfolio of clients blossomed into a wide variety of prestigious partners. I could finally proudly call myself a professional photographer.

“I learned to become a better photographer through art and observing the light of the great renaissance painters. ” 

A beautiful photo comes together when you have a combination of light, color, shapes, geometry and, above all, heart. I love choosing particular spots that might give me different perspectives and framing options. I always wait for the right light. Sometimes this happens in the early morning, other times in the last five minutes of a beautiful sunset. The sky after the rain, with crisp air and puffy white clouds, is a personal favorite.

‘Napa Mustard Flowers’ by Photographer Rocco Ceselin

As a photographer, I always challenge myself to look for new places. Climbing a tree, hiking on the top of a hill, or by simply taking the time to see something my eyes did not pay enough attention to previously…

Throughout the year there is always something happening in the wine world: harvest, vine pruning, winemaking operations, wine tastings, and the tourist season. A wine photographer has to be aware of all these events and be ready to capture them. My life’s experience has taught me how to capture the moment by being a present part of it.

Quoting one of my mentors, Jay Maisel, “A photographer always carries his camera with him as a way of living”.

His perspective transformed my camera into a physical extension of me.

The experience of capturing the seasons in wine country and seeing the changing colors of the landscape takes me back to my roots with every photo I take.

I currently spend my time traveling between my current home of Los Angeles, Napa and Sonoma wine country, and my homeland, Italy. I love to discover new locations, meet new people and constantly improve my skills as an artist. Curiosity and challenge keep my skills sharp for the next artistic adventure I will embark on.

I have been blessed to see my work published in various magazines and newspapers around the world such as: Wine Spectator, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Cigar Aficionado, Robb Report, the Observer and many more…

But the most important thing for me is to continue using my camera as an extension of me, and to continue to look for new adventures, experiences and places that inspire my photographs, and hopefully those that view them.
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About Rocco – Born and raised in Italy, Rocco Ceselin first mined his craft at the Advertising School in Udine.

After obtaining years of valuable experience in photography, as well as visual and graphic design, he moved to California.

Though Italy, with its historic and natural aesthetic, afforded him numerous sources of inspiration, he sought a different creative energy and found it in the natural beauty and pioneering spirit of California.

After years developing both his eye and technique in the disparate environments of San Francisco and the Napa Valley, Rocco Ceselin now resides the heart of Hollywood, where he is fueled by the city’s diversity and unique energy.


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