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How to Host a Successful Corporate Event on a Budget

Host a Corporate Event in Chicago

Corporate events provide several benefits to your organization. Hosting symposiums, conferences, business meetings or company dinners reinforces your image as an industry leader and creates networking opportunities. It helps foster and strengthen relationships with customers, clients, and employees. It also builds loyalty and can help you close sales.

Corporate events can be stressful and time consuming. They require careful planning and budgeting. The planning process becomes even more challenging when you’re working on a limited budget. Your brainstorming ideas can be put on hold once you realize that you may not have enough money for your next event.

Here are some great tips for corporate event planners who are looking to use their budget wisely.

Search for guest speakers early

Advance planning is beneficial to land the best speaker for your event. The earlier you contact the person, the better. Other speakers bump up their rates as their calendar fills up. To avoid this, we suggest that you contact a professional speaker at least 6 months prior to the event.

It is also a good idea to book a speaker who already has an appearance booked in your area. This secrect can help reduce your expenses since you will no longer need to spring for transportation and lodging.

Think through food arrangements

Food and snacks is one area where you can really make the most of your budget. Instead of a sit down meal, consider offering buffet. Buffets eliminate the need for a large wait staff, and they take up less time in the schedule, too.

Another added bonus is that buffets provide attendees an opportunity to interact with one another in a more comfortable mealtime environment.

Find the right venue

Finding a venue is one of the most challenging parts of planning an event. There are a lot of things to consider when looking for one. Of course, you need to consider your budget, the attendees, and the accessibility of the venue.

You want to make sure that the venue fits your budget. Also, find one that will be able to accommodate all the attendees. There is no point in booking a big venue if you are only catering to a small group.

Use sponsors

Some of the savvier companies have gotten really creative when they’re putting on events. One way to make the most out of your budget is to seek sponsorships for your event.

Find a budding company that is looking to get their name out in the public. Often, they don’t charge much for their services. Others would even offer their services for free. Take advantage of that.

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How to Take Headshots That Reflects Your Brand

How to Take Headshots That Reflects Your Brand

Consistency is the key ingredient for business success. Having a brand and sticking to it is essential to continually growing a business that will last for years to come. Consistency goes beyond the products, social media, and marketing campaign. It also applies to your professional headshots.

As a business owner, you are the face of your brand. The quality and style of photos you use conveys a great deal, not only about you as a person, but also about how you conduct business. Whether you’re using the headshot for your company’s website or your social media profile, you want to make sure that it lines up with your brand.

With this in mind, we came up with a list of tips to help ensure that your headshots reflect your brand.

Do your research

Even little details like the background, props, and poses you adopt will help tell your brand story through your photos. Before the shoot, you should have an idea of what you want your headshots to look like. From here, it will be easier for you to plan the next steps. Know what you want ahead of time.  Some things you may wish to think about are whether you want studio or environmental style shots that show the space you’re in.  Do you want something traditional, or something with more edge?  If you’re not sure what you want, consult with an experienced photographer to help you create the right image for your company and budget.

Hire the right photographer

Now that you have an idea of what types of headshots you want, it’s time to look for a photographer. Whether your brand is serious and stark or colorful and fun, your headshot should be taken in the same style as the rest of your brand.

You need a headshot that perfectly encapsulates your professional life. Browse through each photographer’s portfolio and find a photographer who knows how to capture the essence a brand. Can you envision them capturing your brand in a similar way? Find a photographer who can shoot images that matches your brand.

Select your outfit wisely

The type of clothing you choose should reflect your everyday work attire. It should also match or complement the colors of your brand. Also, choose something you feel confident and comfortable in.

You also have the option of using different photos for different platforms. For your company profile and speaker profiles, a traditional business look is ideal. For your social media profiles and other marketing materials, a business casual look may be more appropriate.  Of course, there’s no “one size fits” all, so choose your wardrobe based on overall messaging and what’s appropriate for your industry.

Choose the right setting

The background of the photo is just as important as your clothing. The right setting helps you tell a visual story about you and your business. If you are a fitness guru, consider holding the photo session in a gym. If you are a designer or an artist, we suggest that you get some shots in your studio.

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward With Your Corporate Headshot

business headshot chicago by g thomas ward

First impressions matter, especially in the business world. People make snap judgments about you. In fact, studies suggest that it only takes one tenth of a second to form an impression about a person. When someone looks at your corporate headshot, they’ll make judgments about your personality based on how you look. As it turns out, it isn’t easy to get past a bad impression.

In the digital world, the internet is your first chance to make a good impression, and impression matters. Knowing this, we highly recommend that you invest in an appealing, professional headshot. Sure, you can save money by asking a friend or a family member to take a picture of you using their camera. But, if you want to create a solid first impression to potential clients and customers, hiring a professional photographer is the way to go.

Whether you like it or not, your corporate headshots define you, your brand, and your business. As the business owner, it is important to remember that you are the face of your business. Keep in mind that this photo will be used on your website, social media accounts, and other company materials. Using poor quality, amateurish, or dated photos can have a real negative effect on your business.

Since most of our business transactions and communications usually take place online, it is important now more than ever to invest on a good corporate headshot. Unfortunately, some business professionals overlook it.

Today’s customers are savvy. They are going to do their homework before doing business with you. They want to make sure that they are dealing with trustworthy and reliable professionals. If they visit your website and find unappealing photos, chances are that you can come across as unprofessional. They may also think that your products and services are cheap, too. No one wants that.

Having a professional headshot is definitely an investment but one that is necessary and is worth it. If you are looking for a photographer who can deliver the fresh, professional images you need, contact G. Thomas Ward Photography today.

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Product Photos Can Make or Break Your Business

Stephen Burks furniture design dedon Chicago

According to studies, 8 out of 10 Americans are now shopping online. As online shopping accelerates, more and more businesses are establishing eCommerce stores. Investing in good, quality products is a “must” when creating an eCommerce store. But you also need high quality photos to capture the attention of your target audience.

Quality Product Photography

Professional product photography is one of the best ways of showcasing your products to your customers. High quality images can show the detail of products that compel your customers to buy.

If you don’t have the equipment or you don’t know how to take product photos, consider hiring a professional photographer. For years they have trained and taken the time to learn the skills needed to understand how to work with space, angles, and light. They know how to shoot your products and enhance its unique or best features. It may be one of the larger expenses for your business, but it will definitely have a great impact on your sales.

Customer impression

Whether you hire a professional photographer or take the photos yourself, your product photos will affect a customer’s impression of your product. People make their decision based on the photos you provide. They can’t try your lotion, perfume, or soap through a computer screen. They have no idea what your food tastes like. The perceived value of your product is often judged by the photos you use, as well as the look and design of your website.

The images you provide can make or break a sale. It doesn’t matter how great your product is. If you use amateur photos, then people will think that they are low quality.

Great photos sell

We are visual creatures. People process information visually. High quality photos are absolute vital in building a successful eCommerce store. This will not only make your products look more attractive, they will also help increase trust in your company.

Visually appealing photos capture the attention of your target audience. They drive more traffic to your website or online store. The more attractive and unique your product photos are, the more products you’ll sell.

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Professional Portrait for Medical Residency Application

G Thomas Ward Endorsement

Recently, I received an email from Nimmi saying that she needed a professional portrait to submit with her medical residency application. During our email conversation, she let me know that she was a tad camera shy and wanted some help being put at ease during the shoot. I let her know that she isn’t alone in being camera shy and part of my job is helping people feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera. Having (hopefully) allayed her concerns, we set up an appointment. Per Nimmi’s request, I had a hair and makeup artist present at the shoot, as well. I’ve worked with Tanya in the past, and I knew she’d be an ideal choice for hair and makeup. Lastly, I made sure Sirius Black’s schedule was clear that day, since our office super-dog has an uncanny ability to make everyone feel more comfortable! Here’s what Nimmi has to say about her experience with G. Thomas Ward Photography, as well as a few of her finished photos, one featuring none other than Sirius Black himself!

“I needed to put my best ‘shot’ forward, a professional portrait photograph for a medical residency application. This was not an experience I was looking forward to, but I had to get it done. After an extensive internet search, I instinctively select ‘G. Thomas Ward Photography’! I exchange e-mails with upload requirements, discuss pricing and make an appointment with Gary. Very business like, so far so good! Apprehensively, I walk down a nice quiet neighborhood street. Gary invites me into his beautiful dwelling, and immediately, I felt like I am visiting a friend. Gary and Tanya put me totally at ease, got down to work on me with, of course, wonder bundle `Sirius’ supervising: outfit, makeup, hair, pose, smile and “voila!” within less than two hours, I have a series of shots to choose from the gallery. It was a ‘BLAST!’ I got more than the best shot. I felt confident at the end of the session and had the most memorable experience. Thank you very much, Gary, Tanya, and Sirius.”

About

My years of experience include shooting for a wide variety of clients both corporate and personal, including Cartier, WTTW, The Chicago Reader, Northwestern University, Hartmarx, Music of the Baroque, Red Moon Theater, Theo Ubique, Third Coast Marketing and many, many more.

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1315 W. Albion Ave.
Chicago, IL 60626

PH: 773.271.6813