How Michal Venera creates style on a shoestring
Northern California–based Michal Venera specializes in lifestyle, product and people photography, and over the years, he’s shot enough shoes to run a double marathon, for high-style clients like Samuel Hubbard and Hoka. Many of these images were created in his stunning West Marin studio, La Colina Roja Ranch. But Michal and his clients also love the energy and romance that location work can bring to a product. So, he often takes a kind of scrappy, yet ultra-luxe “guerilla” approach. Recently he loaded some models and some shoes in a van and drove from Petaluma to Sausalito (where a friend’s boat was waiting in the harbor), stopping to shoot along the way wherever the scenery fit the shoes. And he figured out long ago that shoes are a photo subject that travels well. So wherever he goes, he packs up some size 8 1/2 samples and then recruits locals to serve as models on location—from a Parisian café to the Italian Riviera. It’s a total Cinderella story: If the shoe fits, Michal gets his shot, and the model gets to keep the shoes!