Joel Grimes Portrait 2011

In this week’s podcast feature, I had the privilege of chatting with the talented Mr. Joel Grimes.  He’s one of my favorite photographers and one of my most favorite people.  I’ll tell you why.   He’s driven, motivated, creative and is not afraid to push the envelope in the photography industry.  His work is unique and consistent but most importantly, he’s a good-hearted man that believes in one of the most important factors of success…hard work.

Driven by the creative process, Joel Grimes views himself as an illusionist, creating portraits larger than life.  His portrait work seems to have a style and character that others try to replicate but can never truly duplicate.  By utilizing his knowledge of light and HDR processes, Joel’s portraits take on a life of their own because of his precise skills of compositing a beautifully-lit portrait on top of an HDR background image.

“There is no face on the planet that is the same,” says Grimes. “And my vision as an artist is to capture that individual uniqueness through the creative photographic process.”

For over 27 years Joel has worked for many of the top advertising agencies and corporations across the globe for clients such as AT&T, Broncos, Comcast, Febreze, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett Packard, Hyatt, Kodak, Nikon, Pentax, Phillips 66, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, Qwest, Sony, USA Boxing, Visa, Volvo, and most recently Red Bull.   And that’s not even the full list of clients.  Joel fully believes that his success has come from his constant knocking of doors and beating the streets trying to improve his craft.  Hard work is his middle name and it’s proven in the high quality of work that he consistently creates.

Take a listen to our conversation as Joel talks about his style, his workflow and his advice for business growth in this podcast. Joel’s interview starts around 20:00.

Get the show here  or get it on iTunes

Pay attention to Joel’s detail, his coloration, his composition and his clarity.  And if you notice a constant in his photographs, you’ll see a desaturation of certain colors.  Joel is color blind and has utilized what some may call a “weakness” and transformed it into a definite strength in the stylization of his portfolio.

In 1990 Joel produced his first coffee table book, ‘Navajo, Portrait of a Nation’ which received a number of photographic and design awards and produce an eighteen-month solo exhibit at the Smithsonian American History museum.  But even more, this was the beginning of his current commercial work and unique style that you see today.

There is no doubt that Joel acts as an ambassador for HDR processes and compositing by teaching workshops and lectures across the country.  “I feel that by being an open book with my process I have an opportunity to inspire others to follow their dreams and passions to create”. Joel will be teaching in Phoenix and Nantucket this fall so be sure check out how you can glean from his educational resources and in-person learning here.

See Joel’s portfolio for more inspiration and for more daily updates follow him on Facebook.


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About MelissaNiu

Melissa Niu is a storyteller at heart. Niu's work ranges from her Broadcast Journalism experience at NBC in Seattle to her recent work as a co-founder and host of the photography platform, [FRAMED] Network. Her passion for photography, music and journalistic skills harvests into a massive need to tell a good story. As a mother of three daughters and running multiple businesses, Niu is constantly seeking balance, health, laughter and progression.


Commercial, HDR, Portrait, Sports


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