Gray Matters Graphic Design & Photography

Graphic Design and Photography

Commercial Photography

NRV Homegrown Business Alliance | New River Valley Website + Database Design, Graphic Design & Photography

Design, Commercial PhotographySarah Vogl

For the past four months I’ve been dedicating a lot of my hours to NRV Homegrown, a new business alliance & Go Local Discount program working to promote independently owned-businesses and encourage a culture of shopping locally in the New River Valley.

The program is modeled off of Asheville Grown, a Go Local program that’s been around for 6 years and made a huge economic & cultural impact in Asheville! I was first tasked with designing the website and searchable directory database. I joined the team and I’m now regularly assisting the movement by taking care of all their graphic design and photography needs.

Website & Database

The website is built on Squarespace with a database application hosted by Knack. I customized an application that fits all the unique needs of this organization with the help of programmer Derek Pacula. There’s also a back-end Administrative side to the application with multiple levels of permissions so that Representatives on the team can organize/view data and only Admins have editing permissions to make changes. Notifications for changes and additions to the database automatically populate our team’s Slack chat using a combination if IFTTT and Zapier.

Although this set of solutions is temporary and the organization is sure to grow out of it within a year or two, these easy-to-use services are a super affordable and simple way to get started.


Photos in our website gallery and on social media were (for the most part) taken by me. I spent a lot of time in local downtown centers and at farmer’s markets using my candid photography skills (my favorite kind of photography!) to try to capture the high energy and strong sense of community in these marketplaces.

I’ve also been taking product photos of our cards and of our other various printed materials to for social media and our website.

Social Media

I create an arsenal of designs and content ideas for each social media client using a combination of Canva (a popular, lay-person-friendly graphic design web tool) and Adobe Creative Suite. Using Canva for their large selection of templates and super-easy resizing allows me to spend extra time strategizing and experimenting with the best time/frequency to post for the greatest engagement across networks.

Graphic Design

Starting with stickers, flyers, documents and a mini-directory for a local festival, I’ve been taking care of all the little design details of this operation as they arise. It’s important for a start-up like this to have a consistent visual brand across all mediums, print and digital, to establish trust with the business owners and consumers who are learning about our program every day. I’ve just started working on our 32-page directory booklet which we might be printing 15,000 copies of this year! (No pressure!)

Doug Trexell, Realtor | Roanoke, New River Valley Personal Brand Photography

Commercial PhotographySarah Vogl

Doug was a regular customer in the sushi bar at the restaurant where I used to serve. Somehow or another I told him about my business. He’s now one of my social media marketing clients, and this was our half-hour personal brand photography session. We spent a few minutes before an open house posing some photos for advertising purposes, and so far we’re getting great feedback!

Check out Doug on Facebook and Google. He might be even more passionate about helping his clients than I...

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Personal Brand Photography | Christiansburg & Roanoke

Commercial Photography, Misc Photography, DesignSarah Vogl

In an effort to generate regular bookings this year, one of my ideas regards personal brand photography. I'm looking for entrepreneurs and people of the internet who post online every day (or nearly every day) and are in need of high quality photos that tell their stories throughout the year.

The goal of this agreement is to capture your brand's story throughout the year at a fair price that is sustainable for both of us. I would like to meet with you 4 times a year to design a shoot for your brand which would yield enough photos for you to post every day (or nearly every day, depending on what your social media routine is).

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If you post every day, we would create 90 images that would last one quarter of the year. If you don't post every day, perhaps we would plan for 60 images, or maybe even just 30.

These are not going to be like my portrait sessions. These are story-telling sessions. And yes, we are kinda trying to tell your brand's story before it happens! We're going to take your business plan and your financial goals into consideration to create content that will truly help your brand grow.

Price Breakdown

  • If you're the hostess with the mostest who needs 90 images, one for every day of the year, we'd probably design a shoot with a time limit of 3 hours costing $500.

  • If you're a little less of a social media mongul, we can organize a 2 hour shoot for $350, yielding 60 images.

  • If you're not sure you need this many photos and you just wanna give this "personal branding" thing a shot, let's do a one hour shoot costing the same as my current portrait session price, $250. The difference is that *if we both aren't satisfied with what we've captured in that hour, I'm willing to go over time to make sure we've captured everything you need for the quarter.* (The same kinda goes for the previous two models, though I do believe 2-3 hours will be plenty of time!)

In case you weren't already doing the math in your head, my photo sessions are $250/hour. 3 hours of shooting would normally cost $750, so if you agree to purchase my 90-photo package 4 times a year, you're saving $250 each time. In the end you'd be getting $3000 of high quality photography work for only $2000.

If this is something that you might be interested in, keep in mind that this is a big commitment from both of us! For this reason, I can only accept a small handful of these jobs right now. If you'd like to be one of the first and take advantage of these super low prices while they last, contact me now:


Michelle Elaine Designs | Product Photography

Commercial PhotographySarah Vogl

I put out a message on Facebook looking for friends who needed product photography. Reconnecting with people from high school on Facebook isn’t exactly at the top most people’s priorities, but in this case it was a total joy to be able to work with Rachel, the daughter and marketing brain behind Michelle Elaine Designs. We captured some styled shots of products to be used on their shop and in their social media marketing for fall and beyond. Can you believe our model had never done this before? She’s stunning.