Blog

By Pennie Withers 10 Jan, 2018
Is a new professional headshot on your to-do list for 2018?

Are you still using an out of date photo, a holiday snap or a selfie?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.....
By Pennie Withers 08 Jan, 2018
Are you considering a new website?

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 can provide a bank of images to use on all of your digital marketing from blogs, to social media and of course for your website.  A library of around 50 photographs would start from £325. This figure includes the photoshoot, all development costs and all photos will be available on a private online gallery for you to download, in both high and low resolution.  I will discuss your exact requirements before the photoshoot and put together a shortlist to showcase you and your business in action.  The photos can range from individual headshots to team photos and there will also be a selection of photos about the business, not just the people.  These photos can then be used as a 'library' of photos for all of your marketing collateral, from your LinkedIn headshot to your regular Facebook posts and can be used time and time again. There are no restrictions on how and when they can be used, as is often the case with stock images. 

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.
By Pennie Withers 01 Jan, 2018

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.

Hopefully these tips will enable you to plan a really effective photo session for your school prospectus and website.  However - if you book me, you won't have to worry about most of them as I will already have them covered!  To see some more of my school prospectus photography - click here
By Pennie Withers 19 Dec, 2017
Despite being in business over 8 years now, I realise I have  never actually done a review of the year.  So - here it is for 2017 which turns out to have been my best year yet!  I have sat myself down with a frothy coffee and challenged myself to take a look at what I have done over the last 12 months, my best moments and how the business has changed.

I started the year with my annual trip to SWPP in London with my photographer friend Claire. This is basically a gathering of photographers (not sure what the collective noun is for us - maybe a 'click' or a 'focus'?!) and it's a great way to look at new kit that's been launched, get some fresh perspective on the industry and generally talk about all things photography. 

I also started the new year with a real focus on my marketing activity - thanks to Lisa Vassallo from One to Three Marketing .  We have met every 8 weeks throughout the year and I have been so excited to receive totally organic business enquiries - all as a result of the work Lisa has helped me with. I can't wait to continue this into 2018!

In terms of the photo shoots I have undertaken over the year, I have found myself working with every type of business that you can imagine - everything from one-man-bands and SMEs to global companies.  Everything from schools to solicitors, design agencies and marketing consultants, personal trainers to VAs, solicitors, equine vets and PR agencies. I just love the variety.  

I have found myself up ladders, in tiny spaces, hanging out of windows and even in the Royal Box at the Royal Albert Hall! Each and every shoot has been fantastic fun.


By Pennie Withers 02 Nov, 2017

A professional headshot is often the first thing people notice when they 'meet'  you online either on your website or on your social media platforms. Make sure the first impression, is the right impression!  If your headshot is out-of-date or a blurry holiday snap, then please consider coming along to our next headshot day on Friday 24th November at My Workspot in Maidenhead (full venue details below). 

These sessions offer fantastic value for money and are extremely time efficient.   You simply book a one hour time slot, come along in your chosen outfit and we'll do the rest!

For just  £100*, we will work with you to create a beautiful headshot, which you can use to create the right impression for your business.  
 
Alison Oswald , the UK’s number 1 Sales Director of  Mary Kay   will take care of your hair and make up.  Alison has a very natural style and all previous clients have felt her make-up has enhanced their appearance and given them more confidence for the photo shoot (see below for 'before' and 'after' photos of one of our previous clients).   Then  Pennie Withers  of  Photos by Pennie  will take a stunning headshot, again in a very natural, relaxed but professional way.  
 
Together, a bespoke hair, make up and headshot session would usually cost £175, so why not take us up on this fantastic offer and have a new headshot which you can use anywhere you would like for just  £100! For the men out there, Alison can offer a haircut and/or facial hair trim for the same price.  Alternatively, if you would rather just have your photos taken, without the hair and make-up, the price is £50, which offers exceptional value for money.  Please note that a headshot alone (no hair and make up) would be a 30 minute booking.
 
Our next headshot day is on Friday 24th November  between 9.15 and 5.15  at My Workspot, 2nd Floor, 85 King Street, Maidenhead, SL6 1DU. (See below for map and parking information)
 

Please just email us to find out what slots are available or if you would like any more information, please give Pennie a call on 07715 889457.

 
Frequently asked questions:

  • What will Alison do? 
    You turn up with your hair washed and dried as you usually would and Ali will work her magic, for that salon look – she will straighten it if necessary and she will also apply very natural make up, so it’s best to turn up with no make up on at all. For men, Alison can give your hair (and/or beard) a trim and still make you ‘camera-ready’.
     
  • What should I wear?
    Wear whatever you would usually wear to meet a client. This will create the right impression for your professional photograph. Perhaps a crisp white shirt with a coloured jacket/cardigan/scarf? Pennie will take a number of variations so that you have a choice of photographs to choose from.   Bring a couple of changes if you're not sure and Pennie can advise you. 
     
  • How will the session work?
    You will be given your hour-long time slot. Turn up 5 minutes before so that you are ready for your hair and make up to be done first. This will take approx. half an hour to forty minutes then Pennie will take your photo and you will be done. Please note, a session for just a headshot with no hair and make-up will be 30 minutes. 
     
  • What will happen after the session?
    You will be sent an email with a link to an online, password protected gallery where you can expect to see up to 10-12 different photographs. Once you choose your favourite image, Pennie will email it to you as a high-resolution jpeg which you can use in any media over any time period. She will also give you a specific Linkedin crop for you to that you can upload it straight away without any resizing.
     
  • Where is My Workspot and where can I park?
    The address for My Workspot is 2nd Floor, 85 King Street, Maidenhead SL6 1DU.  It is almost exactly opposite the '3' building very close to Maidenhead station.  If you are approaching from the Nicholsons car park (see below), the glass doors are on your left and feature very clear My Workspot branding. The entrance is sandwiched between 'Peakes' and Que Pasa. When you arrive, please come to the 2nd floor.
    Parking :
    The closest option is Nicholsons car park which is The Broadway, Maidenhead SL6 1NT. You are given a coin chip on entry, and you are only charged for the time you use.  (Ie - it's not pay and display). Alternatively, there is the Grove Road car park which is here: https://www3.rbwm.gov.uk/directory_record/9945/grove_road . Finally, there is up to 3 hours free parking at Maidenhead Retail Park . https://completelyretail.co.uk/scheme/Maidenhead-Retail-Park-Maidenhead

    *This session would usually cost £175 if booked as a bespoke hair, make up and photo session.

More Posts
By Pennie Withers 10 Jan, 2018
Is a new professional headshot on your to-do list for 2018?

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.....
By Pennie Withers 08 Jan, 2018
Are you considering a new website?

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 can provide a bank of images to use on all of your digital marketing from blogs, to social media and of course for your website.  A library of around 50 photographs would start from £325. This figure includes the photoshoot, all development costs and all photos will be available on a private online gallery for you to download, in both high and low resolution.  I will discuss your exact requirements before the photoshoot and put together a shortlist to showcase you and your business in action.  The photos can range from individual headshots to team photos and there will also be a selection of photos about the business, not just the people.  These photos can then be used as a 'library' of photos for all of your marketing collateral, from your LinkedIn headshot to your regular Facebook posts and can be used time and time again. There are no restrictions on how and when they can be used, as is often the case with stock images. 

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.
By Pennie Withers 01 Jan, 2018

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.

Hopefully these tips will enable you to plan a really effective photo session for your school prospectus and website.  However - if you book me, you won't have to worry about most of them as I will already have them covered!  To see some more of my school prospectus photography - click here
More Posts
Share by: