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Behind the Scenes with G. Thomas Ward and NAPCO

Here’s a quick “behind the scenes” look at a video production project we recently completed for NAPCO.  We’ve worked on a series of still photography and video projects for NAPCO, and you’ll get meet our team, the NAPCO team and see a bit of how we work.  You’ll also see a kitchen transformed from “rough around the edges” to “brand new and beautiful”!  Let us know how we can help you tell YOUR story.

 

 

 

 

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Photographing David Morris’ Art Glass

Initial Contact

Glass artist David Morris contacted me regarding photographing his artwork. Up to this point, David had been photographing his work himself with his camera phone. However, he needed high quality professional images to apply to juried exhibitions, and thus get wider exposure to a more upscale clientele. We discussed various styles and techniques and settled on a clean presentation on white.

The Shoot

Since much of the work involves clear glass, the trick is to be able to light it to be able to get a clean white background, without losing the edges of the glass.  It takes careful lighting and technical experience to achieve the desired result.  You want to have a crisp white background with drop shadows to show the 3-dimensional quality of the work, but must be careful that the light is not so bright as to lose the edges of the clear pieces.

The Result

Here’s what David had to say about our experience working together:

As a new artist, it became apparent that it was necessary to market and sell my art glass. Initially, cell phone snapshots were OK, but it quickly become obvious that professional help was required. G. Thomas Ward photographed my art so well that it seemed I transitioned from hobbyist to “artist” with a few clicks of a camera. Lighting, shadows, background and reflections are so important for marketing art. Gary was incredibly easy, flexible and comfortable to work with. Though cell phones are quick and informal, professional guidance and specialized tools make a remarkable difference when presenting art work. I cannot thank Gary enough.

Though I normally photograph people, events, public relations and other types of corporate photography, it was fun and interesting to exercise my photography skills with David’s artwork. And it was great working with David. If you’d like to see more of David’s artwork, you can find him here: Fabulous Intentions Glass

 

 

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3 Reasons Why You Need an Updated Professional Headshot

First impressions matter, especially in the online world. Most people won’t admit it, but we are quick to form an opinion about a person based on the picture he or she uses.

Your image is your personal brand. As such, it is important to have the right picture that will make you look like a professional, confident, and credible person. If you already have an awesome headshot on your LinkedIn profile or website, that’s excellent, but make sure that you update it every year or two.

Here are 3 reasons you need an updated professional headshot.

Optimize your online presence

People who are considering doing business with you will do a quick Google search about you. They want to make sure that the person they’ll be dealing with is professional and reliable.

Every time you upload a photo of yourself, it comes up on a Google search. By updating your photo every now and then, you are getting more pictures of yourself out there. This will help you build a professional brand and presence.

Look modern and professional

When you were just starting out, you probably used a photo that was taken by a friend as your profile photo. It may not have been a big deal back then, but now that your business is growing, you want a good quality photo that gives people the message that you’re a professional.

Using an outdated photo has the potential to make people think that you, yourself are outdated or out of touch.   An updated headshot will look more modern and professional and will appeal to most customers.

Provide an accurate portrait of yourself

Experts recommend updating your professional headshot once a year. This is especially true for women, who may change hairstyle and color more frequently. Most people will do a quick search of the person they’re going to do business with. You want to make sure that the photo reflects your current age, looks, and abilities.

If you want people think of you as an expert in your field, do not use a picture of your 22-year old self. If you do, you may lose credibility in their eyes.

For the highest quality headshots, call G. Thomas Ward Photography in Chicago. Besides doing headshots, Gary also does event and other promotional photography and corporate video. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our photography and video services.

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Tips for Choosing the Right Profile Picture

First impressions matter, especially online. Living in the digital world, first impressions are often based on your profile picture. Think of it as the digital equivalent to your handshake. Your profile photo serves as your online introduction to others. This is why it’s important that you take time to choose the perfect headshot for your professional profile.

Here are some tips for choosing the right profile picture.

Choose a photo that is friendly and inviting

A warm, genuine smile will go a long way to attracting attention to your profile. Also, people will think that you’re friendly, pleasant, and approachable.

You don’t have to wear a big goofy grin. As the saying goes, “smile with your eyes.” It’s important that the image look real and authentic. Smile like you mean it!

Dress professionally

Your clothes matter. Choose a photo that depicts you in a manner appropriate for your field. You want to wow potential employers, clients, and partners with a headshot that makes you look like a professional.

Make sure that you’re wearing appropriate professional or business casual attire. That means a dress, suit, or blazer for women and a dress shirt or a suit for men. Dressing professionally also means you are freshly shaven (unless you have a beard) or not wearing too much makeup.

You should be the only subject in the photo

The photo should be of you, and only you. Never use a group photo as your profile picture. It can be extremely confusing to people who are viewing your profile. Cropped group photos are also a no-no. Nothing is more awkward than seeing someone else’s cropped shoulder in a photo.

Close-ups are your best bet for your profile picture. Remember, this is about you. Make sure that you are front and center and the focus of the photo.

Use a recent photo of yourself

Sometimes, people are tempted to use an old picture because they look young and attractive in that photo. The last thing you want is for people to be surprised when they meet you in person because you don’t like the person in your profile picture. Select a photo that reflects how you look on a daily basis. Make sure that your profile picture is up-to-date.

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Tips for a Perfect Professional Business Portrait

For most people, having their portraits taken is synonymous to going to the dentist. The idea of posing in front of the camera makes people feel anxious and self-conscious. In reality, though, having a quality portrait on your website and other marketing materials is a must-have these days. Hiring a professional photographer to accurately capture the essence of you and your team is paramount.

If you’re like most people, you don’t normally have your photograph taken by a professional. That’s okay! A quality professional photographer will take the time to help you feel comfortable and at ease during your photo shoot.

Here are some tips for a cringe-free business portrait photo.

Location, Location, Location!

Location plays an important role in the outcome of your photos. Doing a shoot in indoors with a solid backdrop color is common and can provide great results. If you’re looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, though, consider having the photo session in an outdoor location you love. Another option is to do the session in your office or a location that best represents your business. Being some place where you are comfortable and at ease will improve the resulting photos.

Cool and Confident

Wardrobe choice and location are important aspects of your photos, but if you’re not feeling confident when your photos are being taken, your clothes and the location can’t save you. So, put on your happy face and let’s see your true smile!

Nothing looks better than a genuine smile. Even complete strangers visiting your website will know whether or not your smile is “real.” Your personality shines through when you pose with a genuine smile for your portraits. A happy portrait also exudes confidence in your business. Ideally, your portrait photo will be uploaded on your website, on your social media profiles, and will also be used for speaking engagements. Be confident and give it your best.

Wear the right clothes

Business portraits are typically taken from the waist up. Choosing the right wardrobe to fit the theme of your photoshoot is very important.

The type of clothes you wear have a significant impact not only on the resulting images but on your confidence level as well. Every client’s goal is to look great in their photos, so make sure that you choose clothes that you feel comfortable wearing and that look good on you! Your outfit should be appropriate for your position and your business, and it should be something you like to wear. If you wear an outfit you love, that is one less thing you’ll have to worry about when it comes time to take the photos.

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Boost Your Conversion Rate with Better Product Photos

Good photographs can have a significant influence your conversion rate. In fact, it has been proven that products with better photos are more likely to sell. As such, it is a good idea that you hire a professional photographer to shoot your product photos. But if you choose to take the photos yourself, make sure that you feature your products in the best possible light.

Give these tips a go to improve the quality of your photos and increase sales.

Choose background wisely

The secret to taking beautiful product photos is to shoot them against a white or otherwise neutral background. This will give your photos a professional look and will draw attention to the products. Let your products do the talking by placing them against a clean, white background.

Provide photos from different angles

One of the limitations of buying products online is that buyers don’t have the chance to play around with them. Worse, some businesses only provide a few photos, and they are usually taken from only a few angles. To improve the online shopping experience of your customers, we highly recommend that you include photos from a variety of angles. Customers will be able to visualize the product better if you feature the product from lots of different angles.

Color accuracy matters

Many people prefer buying items in physical brick and mortar stores so that they can see the product in person. Nothing is more frustrating than ordering something online, waiting for it to arrive, and then discovering that the color isn’t the same as the one in the photo. This is one of the main reasons why customers return their products.
Make sure that your photos represent your products as accurately as possible. To decrease complaints and returns, make sure that you use photos that are of great quality. This ensures that the real product color is coming through clearly. Save the fancy filters for Instagram.

Keep the file size small

The age of smartphones has left people with short attention span. In fact, most people will leave your site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. To ensure that you have a speedy site, be sure to keep images small in size.

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Reasons to Decorate Your Business for the Holidays

The holiday season is one of the busiest times for the retail industry. In fact, most businesses make 20-40% of their annual income during the holidays. People are already in shopping mode and are looking to buy gifts for their loved ones. But with the increasing popularity of online shopping, brick and mortar stores need to find creative ways to get people into their stores.

If you haven’t already put up some holiday decorations, now is the best time to do so. There are several reasons why you should decorate your business for the holidays. Here are some of them.

Make Your Business Stand Out

A lot of businesses are vying for people’s attention, especially during the holidays. Many of them offer discounts and coupons. With competition among retailers tougher than ever, it can be difficult to stand out.

Now, imagine yourself walking down a street lined with stores. In front of you are two stores that sell unique, trendy pieces. One of them plays holiday music and is adorned with garland, lights, and wreaths. The other is not decorated at all. Which store do you walk into? Probably the one with holiday decor. Take time to add some holiday-themed decor to your store front. This will help your business stand out from the competition.

Attract potential customers

Some businesses think that holiday decorations are an unnecessary expense, but they’re not. In fact, it’s actually an investment that may pay off later on. When done right, it can attract more shoppers to your store. Most people are naturally drawn to bright, cheerful holiday decor. And since most of them are looking to buy something, this would be a great opportunity for your business.

Dig out the ornaments and spruce up your storefront this holiday season. Create a warm and festive space that welcomes everyone who walks through the door.

Get your customers in the holiday shopping mood

The day after Thanksgiving marks the start of holiday shopping. Now that you have already captured the attention of your target audience, you want to make sure that they spend a little more time in your store and do some shopping. A spectacular Christmas display will help get your customers in the holiday shopping mood.

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Naughty or Nice

Photographing Live Performance

The oft-quoted “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life” may seem elusive to some, but I must confess that I am one of the lucky ones to whom this rings true. I love photography, and the fact that I get to do it for a living is immensely gratifying. One of the things I love about photography is the people, places, and events it introduces me to.  Especially when I’m photographing performances.

Chicago’s Most Colorful Chorus

On Saturday, Dec. 9th, I had the pleasure of photographing “Naughty or Nice,” the holiday concert of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Illinois. G. Thomas Ward Photography has had a long standing relationship with CGMC, photographing many of their shows, along with images for posters and promotional material. While I photograph many corporate and non-profit events, I always look forward to the creativity, musicality, and flashy entertainment of CGMC. They are, after all, known as Chicago’s most colorful chorus, and for good reason!

One of the things I love about photographing CGMC is the challenge that it provides. Capturing the atmosphere, the excitement, and the playfulness of the choir is essential to bringing the concerts to life through photos. With so much movement and variable lighting, it takes a trained eye and a quick shutter finger to know when the moment is “just right” for that perfect photo. Luckily for me, CGMC is masterful at what they do, so being able to capture them in their element is a true joy for me.

Whether you’re looking for corporate headshots, event photographs, or a way to capture your next big production, make sure you find someone who can bring out the best in your team, company, or event. You’ll know if they’re the right fit for you if they’re curious, asking questions, and providing constructive guidance. Finding the right photographer is similar to finding the right employee: sometimes, you just know, and that partnership is a wonderful thing.

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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.