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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.

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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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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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Reasons Every Business Needs Professional Photos

Whether you’re running a mom-and-pop shop or a multi-million dollar company, you need to understand that the images you use on your website play a significant role in the success of your business. Not only do professional photos help enhance your brand, they also help in growing your business. As such, having professional photos of your products, services, and your team is an investment that should be high on your list.

In this blog post, we explore some of the reasons why you should invest in professional photos.

Wow! Factor

With so many businesses vying for the attention of customers, you want to find a way to capture the attention of your target audience. To do that, you need to go the extra mile to feature your products in an captivating and creative way.
People are visual creatures. We like looking at pretty things. Since the advent of the camera phone, the average consumer is used to being able to capture a photo of anything at anytime, even if it isn’t the best quality. That’s why quality, professional photos that grab the attention of your target audience are so important. By working with a professional photographer, you can work on a unique concept and showcase your products in a different way that separates you from the competition. Because of this, your photos will be more visually impactful and memorable.

Professional look

Think of your website as your storefront. Your website is usually the first encounter people have with your business, and you want to make a great first impression. Make it count!

When featuring your products on your site, make sure that you use high quality photos. This will raise the perception of your business and give you and your product a more trustworthy appeal. If you have low quality, grainy photos, however, people will make assumptions that your products are low quality, as well. Avoid this common misstep, and hire a professional photographer so you can showcase your business in a professional manner.

Online presence

The internet is the first place people go to when looking for certain products or services. They search online and visit websites of businesses in order to see what they have to offer.

More often than not, people only stay in a website for about 10 to 20 seconds. That’s it. That isn’t very long for you to make an impression, so do yourself and your customer a favor: provide them with exactly what they’re looking for.

We know that good content is one of the key ingredients to success, but great photos are the ones that capture the attention of people and entice them to learn more about what you have to offer and why you’re right for them. By combining these elements, you’ll be able to come up with an excellent marketing campaign that will drive more traffic to your website. Never underestimate that power of a good photo!

Contact G. Thomas Ward to secure the best corporate photos in Chicago.

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DEDON and Designer Stephen Burks Event Photography

I was contacted by Emily Levin at BDE about photographing a presentation by Designer Stephen Burks, an amazing artist who designs furniture for DEDON. The presentation was in the morning, followed by a reception and cocktail party in the evening.

I was selected by Emily based on my ability to capture engaging photos that tell the story of an event without being intrusive and for my ability to work indoors in lower light situations without using flash. Emily’s goal in hiring a photographer was to capture photos that gave the feeling that you were there…without being overly posed or harshly lit with a camera flash.

Once the clients saw my event work, they asked me if I was available to shoot more architectural-style images (with a particular goal of capturing the details) of the interior of the showroom with Stephen Burks’ furniture. I enthusiastically accepted! When they viewed the finished images, I was told, “The photos are beautiful!”

The people I teamed up with at BDE and DEDON were wonderful to work with. I made sure to get them the images that they wanted and needed. Whenever a client tells me that the photos I’ve taken for them are “beautiful,” the feeling is something akin to what an actor must feel when they receive a standing ovation. It’s nice hear the appreciation in their voices and see their faces light up when they see a particularly striking photo. I also love being able to help clients achieve their goals in marketing and PR and knowing that in some small way, I helped move their business forward.