Are you still using an out of date photo, a holiday snap or a selfie? I'm guessing that isn't really cutting it in creating the right impression for your business. If so - this blog is for you (details of my next headshot day are at the end).
According to Linkedin, your profile is 10 times more likely to be viewed if you have a professional headshot. And we all know that we literally have milliseconds to make the right impression with our online presence.
This is exactly what had been on the minds of the various business owners who came along to my headshot day last month. They were looking to create the right impression with their profile photos. So, they came along to my headshot day at My Workspot in Maidenhead - a fantastic co-working space which provided the perfect generic 'business-y' backdrop for my photos.
The aim of the day was to offer a special price to my headshot clients who would book an hour slot, including hair and make up. I also managed to slot in some men who only needed the headshot, while the women were having their make up done!
There was a wide mix of businesses represented - including a relationship coach, professional blogger, car leasing company, a business coach, Marketeer and HR consultant amongst others.
Here are a couple of photos of Alison Oswald from Mary Kay cosmetics working her magic before I started snapping away.....
Do you have a social media content plan but need pictures to bring this to life?
Would you like to blog in 2018 and need some imagery to make the blogs stand out?
What is holding you back from having your own photos on your website/blog/social media posts?
If you answered yes or even just a tentative 'maybe' to any of the above, then read on. Hopefully I can dispel a few myths about custom professional photography. Both in terms of the price (definitely worth reading on!) and also the reasons why they are so much better than stock images.
But first.....why have photos at all?
When potential clients visit your website, they form an impression of your business within the first 7 seconds. Wow - all that hard work agonising over exactly the right words, pages and photographs. This shows how important it is to have impactful images to really sock a punch when your potential clients are first making that judgement about your business.
On social media, photographs are hugely important too. According to Media Blog, Facebook posts with a photo receive 87% more interaction than Facebook posts without photos. Even more startling....apparently Tweets with images receive a massive 150% more retweets than tweets without images. (Source: /blog.bufferapp.com)
Now, the old adage goes, “a picture is worth a 1000 words.” So, when it comes to your website, why would you want those words to be someone else’s? With your own photography (rather than stock images), you have total control over what impression and emotions your website conveys.
However - many people assume that professional photography is going to cost the earth. Recently, I spoke to a business-owner who spent £200 on stock images for his website. After we talked about my prices, he was certainly wishing he had spoken to me first!
I have been lucky enough to work with many different types of businesses who recognise the need for custom images for their websites and social media posts. Why not take a look here to see how much better their websites look as a result of having personalised photos rather than stock images. One such business is Power of One Fitness Ltd who now have a bank of photos showing David 'at work' doing individual and group training both in the gym and outside. These photos are also regularly used on David's Tweets and Facebook posts.
Or another example is Virtual Angels - Holly and Nicola do lots of different types of work for various clients, so wanted to show this photographically. I hope you agree how much more impactful the photos are using the 'real' people behind the business.
And finally.....here are a selection of photos for a copywriter client who got a great range of different photos from her shoot including a headshot, photos of her 'at work' and also some abstract photos for use elsewhere.
Head Teachers can't just be experts at knowing how to get the best out of children nowadays, they also have to know how to run a business and how to 'sell' their school to prospective parents. Schools are having to market themselves with fabulous websites, beautiful prospectuses and well-managed social media posts. In order to really bring these marketing materials to life and stand out from the crowd of other schools, it is crucial to have a wide range of beautiful school prospectus photographs which really show exactly what the school is all about - it's facilities, it's ethos and what parents can expect their child to experience there.
My background is in marketing, so for me, it's not all about getting the perfect light for a specific shot (although that does help!) - it's working out what each photograph will show about your school. For example, if the school is known for it's academic prowess - does it show engaged, hard working pupils? Or if the school is especially proud of it's pastoral care, are there plenty of photos showing the children interacting with teachers and fellow pupils?
I have a wealth of experience photographing schools throughout the Thames Valley and London, so thought I would share with you what makes for a really effective school prospectus photography session and how to get the most out of your photographer. Here are some things to consider when planning your school photography session:
- Has your photographer worked in schools before? I can't stress the importance of this one - school photography sessions are usually fast-paced, fitting in and around lessons, getting around the school to be in the right classroom at the right time, working in tight spaces as well as checking uniforms are correct, ties are done up etc. etc.! Experience working in schools goes a long way here!
- Ask your photographer to have a chat with your web designer or prospectus designer before the shoot - they may have some suggestions on the sort of images that are needed - or indeed, there may be some specific 'hero' shots that are needed to be photographed in a particular way/shape/dimension.
- Brief your photographer on what the school is renowned for - academic results/pastoral care/sporting achievements? if your photographer knows this, they can bear this in mind when they are 'visualising' specific shots
- Consider which subjects are important to show? Don't just plan photographs for every single subject - remember, topics like geography, history, english etc. all look very similar in photos, whereas more practical subjects like science/music/art are much more impactful.
- Involve the teachers - this is REALLY important. Photo sessions are always much more effective if the teachers are expecting a photographer to be coming into their lesson. If you have 15 minutes on the schedule to be in a particular lesson - it's much better that the teacher has specific tasks already set up rather than interrupting a planned lesson and then trying to set up certain scenarios.
- Engage with the pupils - try to get reactions from them or get them engaging with each other. It's much more interesting to see photographs of pupils enjoying themselves than just immersed in a book.
- Warn parents/pupils that photography is taking place. Some parents don't like their child being used in publicity photographs. Conversely, for those who are being photographed, parents can ensure that their uniforms are smart and correct!
- On the subject of uniforms - the best possible time for a photo shoot is in September. You'll have lots of fresh-faced pupils in new uniform to photograph. Also - establish how much emphasis the school puts on smart uniform. Some really like to make sure that uniform rules are adhered to. Equally, some schools like to allow pupils to express themselves through what they wear at school, so in this instance, uniform rules will be more relaxed.
- Have a shoot timetable - this brings together many of the other points as it means teachers will know when to expect you photographing their lesson. It also will mean that you are able to review what lessons you are going into to ensure that you are going to be getting exactly the right kind of photos that you want. But within the timetable, allow for some flexibility - the photographer will need to get between classrooms and sometimes, you will come across scenarios around the school which are naturally happening which you won't want to miss.
- Finally, on every school photography session I have photographed, bear in mind that you will always get more photographs than you plan for - your school will be operating a normal school day and your photographer will spot things during the shoot that you might not have thought of but which will represent your school.