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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

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 photograph is the people, places, and events it introduces me to.

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.

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward With Your Corporate Headshot

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

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

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.”

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Helping us be the face of our company

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.

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The Importance of Entertainment in Corporate 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.