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Helping us be the face of our company

Napco training

No matter what profession you are in, you know that working directly with clients can pose interesting challenges. However, we do what we do because we hope that our hard work will ultimately be appreciated. That’s why I am always incredibly humbled and grateful when a client goes out of their way to tell me what a wonderful job I’ve done for them.

I recently had the good fortune to work with Jackie Stuckert at NAPCO, Inc., an amazing company that manufactures and sells bathtub refinishing products and provides training for bathtub and tile refinishing professionals.

When Jackie initially contacted me, she was looking for an experienced photographer to take company headshots for their new website.

“Our need was for professional headshots. I have worked with photographers enough in the past to know that some are frankly much better than others, and I wanted the best. Our website is our virtual storefront, and I wanted out team to look their best.  When I sat down with Gary, I was floored! He’s just amazing!”

On our first phone call, Jackie explained what her goals were for the shoot: they wanted to get rid of the stock photos they currently had on their site and wanted to highlight their own people. She didn’t want overly “slick” photos but instead wanted more friendly, authentic photos of the NAPCO team and work environment. She wanted people to look great, feel comfortable, and not look like they were sitting specifically for a photo shoot.

G Thomas Ward Production Facility Photography

Jackie had a vision. I listened to Jackie, asked her a few questions, and offered suggestions for photo ideas and techniques I thought would work well for the NAPCO team. The collaboration Jackie and I shared for this shoot was instrumental to the overall success of the shoot. By throwing ideas back and forth, reviewing photos my clients like and dislike, we can land on a vision for a shoot that fits each their needs and goals.

When conducting a photo shoot, I strive to make everyone feel at home and at ease. In the days following the 1st shoot, I was pleased when Jackie told me that I “made everyone feel so relaxed and natural,” and that she noticed that I took the necessary time with each person to help them feel comfortable.

Jackie was so pleased with the results of the first session, she hired me again a couple weeks later to take additional photos of the Napco plant and the workers in action for their marketing materials.  During the 2nd shoot, while we were between shots, I had some down time, and noticed there was a training class in progress. There were 3 new trainees interacting with the instructor that I managed to get several candid shots of.  Later, I shared these with Jackie and was blown away by her response: “He took the best photos of our facility! They were casual but they truly capture what we do here…we didn’t even ask him to do that. He went above and beyond…that’s Gary for you!” Thanks, Jackie!

Fortunately, Jackie and her team had such a great experience that I’ve since been hired back for additional engagements. Since the initial headshot shoot, NAPCO has invited me back to photograph their products and services.

Napco photograph of training

I continue to have a great time working with Jackie and her team of professionals at NAPCO. I can’t wait to work with them again.

If you are looking for a professional photographer for your company headshots, marketing materials, or upcoming events, please reach out to me. I would love the opportunity to speak with you about your goals and how we may be able to work together.

4 Ideas to Add Fun and Excitement to Your Conference

4 Ideas to Add Fun and Excitement to Your Conference

People attend conferences for a variety of reasons. Some want to learn something new while others use it as an opportunity to grow their professional network.

Conferences usually last for several hours. Attendees are glued to their seats for nearly the entire day. No matter how interesting the topic, people get bored towards the end. How do you make your conference fun and engaging?

Here are some ideas to add fun and excitement to your next conference.

Entertainment

Conferences don’t have to be boring. To keep attendees’ energy level up, consider booking some form of entertainment like a comedian, magician, or a band. These professionals will help energize and refresh the audience for the closing sessions.

Group activities

Most participants come to the conference individually. Many of them don’t know anyone in the venue. They may feel awkward and lost in a crowd of strangers. Plan activities that are designed to get the audience out of their seats and interacting with one another. You can divide them into small groups and implement activities like problem solving scenarios, group discussions, or group projects.

Get a great host

Emcees are the ones that will spend the most time with the audience. Since most executives don’t have the charisma or stage presence to host a conference, we highly recommend that you hire a professional emcee. They know how to keep the program lively. Plus, they have the biggest influence on how your audience feels, so it is important to get a great host.

Interactive food stations

Since the typical conference will last at least a few hours, feeding the attendees is never a bad idea. An interactive food station is a great option for these types of events. Here, food stations will be placed in different parts of the room. Attendees are encouraged to get up and make their way across the room to get a bite. Not only will they be able to munch on great tasting foods, it also provides an opportunity to network.

If you are looking for a photographer to capture your corporate event in Chicago, please contact me today for availability!

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The Importance of Entertainment in Corporate Events

importance of entertainment at Chicago events

A corporate event plays an important role in strengthening your relationship with your clients, staff members, and customers. Whether you’re planning a conference, awards dinner, exhibition, or convention, corporate events can promote your business internally and externally.

A successful event is one that attendees will never forget. Enthusiasm and fun is the key to creating an unforgettable event. Hiring entertainers can help you achieve that goal.

Here are 3 reasons why you should find good entertainment for your next corporate event.

Keep attendees entertained

Conferences and seminars are can be boring. People will be sitting through hours of presentations and lectures. No matter how stimulating the content is, many of them will look exhausted, bored, or disengaged by the end of the day.

One of the best reasons to hire entertainment at corporate events is to keep attendees entertained.
Have bands or comedians perform during breaks in the action. When planned and executed well, this helps attendees relax, laugh, and creates a good vibe at the event. This will also stimulate the audience and energize them for the next sessions.

Generate interest

Entertainment is crucial if you are trying to launch new products. This is especially important if you choose to do so in at a large exhibition. Since different businesses will be vying for people’s attention and show off their products, you need something that would grab people’s attention. Entertainment such as live music will help generate interest and entice attendees over to your booth.

Motivate employees

Hosting a corporate event is a great way to train your staff and familiarize themselves with new products. It is also a great way show your appreciation and reward them for their hard work. By incorporating some entertainment into your event, you’re giving them a chance to have fun and let loose. A well-planned corporate event can motivate employees, which in turn will help increase productivity.

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Tips for Hiring a Professional Photographer

tips for hiring a professional photographer

Photographs give life to moments in time, even after those moments fade into the past. At an event, photographers don’t just take photos. Instead, they use their skills, training, and experience to capture those memories as only a professional can.  As such, it’s important to take the time and plan according to hire a professional photographer who can meet your needs and understand your vision for the event.

We’ve compiled some useful tips to help you find the right photographer for your event – one who will provide you with quality photos capturing the heart of your event.

Photographic style

First things first. What type of photography style are you looking for?  You may know exactly what you want, but if you aren’t sure yet, that’s okay, too. Any experienced photographer should be able to walk you through their portfolio to help you understand various approaches and styles they are capable of capturing.

When hiring a photographer, take your time and conduct some research around different styles by browsing through various photographers’ portfolios. By identifying what you don’t like as much as what you do like, you’ll be able to find the right photographer for you.

Experience matters

Of course, you want to make sure that the photographer captures those once-in-a-lifetime memories. If you like what you see on their website or portfolio, don’t hesitate to setup an interview with them. Feel free to ask questions about their trainings, certifications, and experiences.

A seasoned photographer will exude confidence and will have the portfolio to back it up. This confidence comes with experience, and the more you speak with them, the better idea you will have of their comfort level of capturing your event the way you want.

Put everything in writing

Once you’re sure you have found the right photographer for your project, it’s time to dot the i’s and cross the T’s. Iron out the details from pre-shoot preparation through release of the photos. In order to avoid possible disputes down the road, do yourself a favor and put everything in writing. Go through the content of the contract with your photographer before either of you sign. Having this alignment from the very beginning helps ensure a smooth engagement and delivery of a superb product that you’ll be proud of for years to come.

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4 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Corporate Event

4 ways to promote your event with social media

A lot of hard work and preparation goes into making your event a success. As an event organizer, there is no better feeling than walking into your event and seeing it jam-packed with people. Social media is an invaluable tool that can help drive people to attend your event.

Here are 4 ways to use social media to promote your corporate event.

Create Facebook Event

Creating a Facebook event will take a lot of the work of advertising your event off your hands. It makes it easier for you to spread the word about your event. More importantly, it also helps you expand your overall reach since people are notified when their friends confirm their attendance to your event. This added exposure is as good as a direct invitation. Since viewers and attendees can also allowed to invite their friends to the event on Facebook, provided that it is set to public, you reach another audience that may not have ever known about your event otherwise.

Furthermore, it allows you to make mass announcements to all attendees. Using the embedded commenting features of Facebook Events, attendees can begin to connect and network with one another before and after your event.

Share Behind-the-Scenes visual content

This is one of the best ways to generate buzz for your event! Give your fans and followers a glimpse into your event by posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Simply snap a photo of your preparations and share it on your company’s business page. You may also share stories of how you’re pulling everything together. Don’t be afraid to make them fun! Everyone knows things come up when planning an event…have fun with it!

This gets people excited for the event because they feel like they’re in on the action. It also serves as a reminder that the event is coming up, so they can Save the Date.

Feature event speakers

More often than not, people attend events to listen to and meet the speakers. What better way to highlight the caliber of talent at your event than creating a blog post featuring your speakers and sharing it on social media? Better yet, reach out to your speakers and encourage them to promote the event. After all, they benefit from positive buzz just as much as you do. Not to mention that your speakers probably have a loyal audience of their own, too. When they promote their participation in your event to their followers, your event gets exposed to another subset of possible attendees!

Use hashtags

Having a unique hashtag for your event is important when promoting your event. Use it for online conversations and in every piece of marketing content to deliver. Encourage people to use your hashtag to take the conversation to a larger, more engaged audience.

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