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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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How to Prepare for a Headshot or Portrait Photo Session

If you’re like most people, you probably dislike the idea of closeup photos of yourself. But as a business owner, having a professional headshot is important. Remember that you are representing your business, so you want to make sure to make a great impression.

There is more to capturing great photos than just showing up at the studio and smiling in front of the camera. There are a few things you need to do to help optimize your photo shoot and capture great photos. Here are a few to get you thinking.

Hair

Your hairstyle plays an important role in the way you look. Use hair products like gel or hairspray to tame frizz and enhance shine. Make sure, though, that you wear your hair as you would every day. Natural-looking may be better than over-done, over-sprayed and over-teased, but the best look is well-groomed and professional. If you are planning to cut your hair, do so a week before the shoot.

Makeup

Headshots are not supposed to be glamour shots. You want to look the same way as you do in real life. Your makeup should be simple, but well done. Don’t go overboard. If you wear a lot of makeup, it will not look natural. Apply makeup to enhance your facial features.

If you can afford it, hire a makeup artist to ensure that you look your best throughout your photo session.  Be cautious about having your hair and/or makeup done in a salon before a shoot.  It is better to work with the photographer’s hair and makeup artist who is experienced at preparing clients for photo sessions, which can be very different than every-day, street, or evening makeup.  Also, having a hair and makeup present during the shoot allows for changes during the photo session.

Wardrobe

Your primary goal is to capture photos that best represent you. When choosing your outfit, opt for clothing that reflects your personality. Colors look great in photos. Choose colors that will complement your skin tone and will make certain features like your eyes pop. Since you want viewers to focus on your face, avoid tops with big prints and busy patterns.  Avoid anything that adds bulk, like shoulder pads, or big scarves.

If you’re having a hard time deciding what to wear, we suggest that you bring different outfits on the day of the shoot – from shirts to sweaters to formal blouses and light jackets. Then, your photographer can help you decide which works well on camera and to see what looks good on you. What’s important is that you’re comfortable with what you’re wearing and that you feel great in it. If you feel uncomfortable, it will show in your photos.

Be yourself

While all other elements such as clothing, hair and makeup will have a huge impact on the outcome of the photos, your attitude during the shoot is actually a lot more important than your hairstyle, your lipstick shade or what you wear.

Show the camera how awesome you are! The best photos are those that reflect who you are as an individual. Bring your personality to the shoot and be your own unique self.

At G. Thomas Ward Photography in Chicago, we let our professional clients bring their headshots to the next level by including the more playful option of having their shots with Sirius Black (our studio mascot). A long time client, local commercial real estate company Telos, for example,  takes their “official” portrait, as well as these ones to show their true personalities!

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The Importance of High Quality Images for Your Website

In an era where everyone has access to smart phones and a digital camera, it can be easy for people to dismiss the idea of hiring a professional photographer for your website. Although these devices allow you to take decent photos, understanding how essential good photography is for your business is paramount.

The type and quality of images you display on your website are reflect the quality of your business. Read on, and we’ll tell you how investing in high quality photographs can benefit your business.

Builds credibility

When people visit your site, they judge the credibility of your business based on what they see there. High quality photos can immediately built trust and urge visitors to take action. Plus, it can make a huge difference on the overall impression and effectiveness of your website. Think of the images on your site as the “window dressing” of traditional stores. An attractive storefront is more likely to engage potential customers.

Creates more conversions

High quality images aren’t a luxury. Rather, they’re a necessity for attracting future customers. High resolution, professional photos are important if you want to stand out from the competition.

No matter what your products or services are, consider how you’re coming across to your customers. If you use grainy, low-quality images, people will think of your products as cheap. This is especially true in the food business.

Low quality photos translate to low quality ingredients. People won’t be willing to pay as much for your entree, if they even come in at all. The key is to use photos that will do justice to what your company has to offer.

Enhance your SEO

The images you use on your website provide you an opportunity to increase your online visibility and make your content more appealing. That said, we recommend that you take the time to invest in high quality photos.

Images, when added with a certain consideration, can enhance your SEO and drive traffic to your site. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo favor original photos over stock photos. Make sure, though, that the photo is relevant to the content.

Don’t skimp on photography. Reach out to a local photographer like G. Thomas Ward Photography to help you to capture images that will help visually convey what your content cannot. It will be worth it and your business will thank you for it.

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Reasons Why You Need a Professional Headshot

In today’s digital world, including a profile photo has become ubiquitous as email addresses. If you are a business owner or a company executive, you have probably been asked to provide a professional headshot. You might be wondering why you need one when you can just use a photo that was taken during a wedding, a formal event, or your last vacation.

Here are 3 reasons why you need a professional headshot.

Make a good impression

Most people who are interested in your business will look you up online to see what you do and who you are. Not only are they interested in what your business has to offer, they are also curious to know who the person behind that business is.

Since many of us conduct our initial interaction online, you want to make sure that you make a good digital first impression. An amateur profile picture might not look as bad on your social media account, but for potential customers and clients it may appear “unprofessional”. Think of your profile as your storefront: if it isn’t enticing, no one will walk through the front door.

Personal branding

You probably spend a lot of time and money on your website, branding, and marketing campaign. Why not focus some of that effort towards improving your personal brand?

You want your photos to be current. Clothing, hairstyles, and photography styles change over time. Most importantly, you want people to recognize you when they meet you in person. Make sure that you update your photo every 3 to 5 years.

Represent your business

You, as the business owner, are the face of your business. The photo you chose to represent you defines your brand and your business. For most people, knowing the person running the business is important towards establishing a long term relationship.

Need an example? Pretend you’re looking for a supplier online and come across 3 companies. You researched to find more information about these companies. While navigating through their site, you found a picture of the CEO. It was a casual picture of him, which was probably taken using the camera on his phone. Would you readily strike up a relationship with this company or would you instead move on to the other two?

If you’re looking for a corporate headshot photographer, please contact G. Thomas Ward Photography. You can also view my galleries to see samples of my work.

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Tips for Hosting an Engaging Business Conference

Conferences can be incredible learning experiences. But with the hours of lectures, presentations, and the deluge of information presented, business conferences have the potential to become tedious really quickly.

Here are a few tips for hosting an engaging business conference.

Plan in advance

Planning a conference is no easy feat. As a host, you will need to do a lot of work, both before and during the conference. It is important to get started as early as possible to give yourself some time to finalize major contracts and handle any unexpected problems that may arise.

Consider the venue

Where you will host the conference is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make. One of the reasons most people think of business conferences as dull and boring is because of the choice of venue. Make your event one to remember by choosing a venue that has entertainment options.

Consider holding it in an area with a lot of activity like a hotel that is close to restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainment venues. Another option is to time your conference with a local event like a music festival. This will provide attendees and their companions with something to do outside of the conference.

Offer a program with variety

The main purpose of a conference is to share as much information as possible. Lots of conferences simply put their attendees in uncomfortable chairs and have their presenters parade on and off the stage giving lectures and presentations. A few hours into the conference, you may notice that the attendees are bored, sleepy, and overwhelmed.

Don’t forget to engage your attendees. Schedule a mix of formal speakers, small group workshops, and free networking time. It is also a good idea to set a task that is difficult, but not impossible, to complete as a team. This will foster teamwork and collaboration.

Plan for fun

You should plan for interactive networking opportunities to break things up a bit. Also, try to use technology to make things a bit more exciting for guests and to keep them interested, and encourage participation on social media with hashtags and keywords. You can also suggest a few activities for downtime during the conference.

tips for hosting an engaging business conference

 

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4 Ways Team Building Activities Can Benefit Your Company

As you probably know, your company’s success rests in the hands of your people. As such, team building activities not only benefit your employees, but your entire organization.

As more and more businesses realize the benefits of team building activities, companies of all sizes are incorporating team building programs into their training curriculum.

Here are 4 ways team building activities can benefit your company.

Keep employees motivated

Team building activities helps your employees grow. These activities are designed to help them develop new skills, conquer fears, and increase their knowledge.

By organizing a team building activity, you display to your team how much you value and care for them. When employees feel that you care about their success, they are more likely to feel motivated and take pride in their job, which often results in increased quality output.

Improves communication

In a corporate environment, employees have to work with different people. Since we all have different personalities, some employees may have a hard time dealing with their co-workers. Team building activities can help in this department.

The fun nature of team building exercises can help foster better communication among people. Since this is usually done outside the office, employees can mingle and communicate with their colleagues casually. After this, they’ll develop better relationships with their co-workers create a more positive working environment.

Moreover, it is a great opportunity for employees in various departments that may not normally interact with one another to get a chance to spend time together and get to know each other.

Increases productivity

The collaborative nature of team building activities teaches staff how they can use their skills and abilities to get the tasks done quickly and efficiently. It also challenges them to work together in order to solve the problems that they are currently facing.

Help your team recharge

Most employees spend the entire day at their desks, working on several tasks. Add their personal concerns into the mix, and you run the risk of having a stressed-out, burned-out employee that isn’t as productive as they might otherwise be.

Employees often see team building activities as a nice break from work. This allows them to get their minds off of work, if even for just a few hours. Because of this, your staff will come back to the office with a relaxed mind and ready to take on new projects.

4 ways team building activities can benefit your company

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Types of Corporate Portrait Photography

Corporate photography is not just about taking photos of men wearing dark suits in white background. It can be broken down into different categories.

In this blog post, we’ll give you a rundown of the different types of corporate portrait photography. Let’s explore the different types of corporate portrait photography to help you decide which one to use for your website, promotions, marketing materials, social media etc.

Traditional portrait

This is probably the most common of corporate portraits. Here, the face is the pre-dominant element. The subject is asked to look directly to the camera to depict visual representation of the person. It may either be up to the bust or the area above the waist.

You can have it done against a white or colored background in your office or in the studio. This is often used in marketing literature such as a business profile, a website, press publications or annual reports.

Environmental portrait

Corporate portraits don’t always have to be studio-type shots. It is often a good idea to incorporate the subject’s business when possible. Here, the pictures are taken in a place that is relevant to the individual’s business or corporate identity. A teacher, for instance, will be photographed in the classroom; while an engineer will be photographed at the construction zone. Aside from the facial expression, the relationship between the subject and his environment is also given emphasis.

Group portrait

Group portraits may feature three to hundreds of people. In this type of portrait, the subjects would sit or stand side-by-side. The photographer’s task is to highlight the bond existing between the group members.

Business in action

Today’s corporate portraits need to tell a story, and this is one of the best ways to do that. Here, the subject uses some props of his/her workplace and the photographer captures images of the individual while in action. The focus is not on the person’s profile, but on the business activity.

types of corporate photographs

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Preparing for Your Professional Photoshoot

Business portraits, head shots, profile pictures, avatars, proposal images, speaking engagement photos. You can call them whatever you like, but these photos are the first thing your clients and potential customers see when they search for information about you and your company.

Having a great headshot is very important as it speak volumes about you and your business. Most people have their portraits taken for business purposes – typically for industry publications, event print advertising, networking outlets or social media. Whatever your purpose is, it is important to look as as professional as possible.

Preparing for your corporate portrait can mean the difference between an average photo and a breath-taking image. Follow these tips to get the most out of your shoot.

G Thomas Photo professional photoshoot

Clothes

Just because it’s a headshot, it does not mean that you shouldn’t bother dressing up well.  Wear clothes that are neatly pressed and look new. If your clothes wrinkle easily, it is best to just bring it with you and change at the location.

The clothes you choose should make you look great, but do not overdress. Start with a simple blouse or shirt and then slowly add layers. Solid colors look great in headshot, but please avoid tops in flesh tones as they will blend your face into your clothes. Choose mid-tone colors in green, blue and wine and purple.  You may wish to consider bringing a few wardrobe options.  We suggest something that is “strictly business” along with something “business casual”.  Don’t be afraid to bring a few outfits.  We can help you choose which will make you look your best in photographs.

Face and Makeup

Be sure that your teeth are clean, eyebrows are groomed and lips are not dry. For men, all facial hair should be groomed. Trim your mustache, beard and sideburns.

Light, natural makeup is encouraged for a professional headshot. It can help accentuate your facial features, cover blemishes and help even out your skin tone. It should be simple, yet well done. You want your photo to be as close to how you generally look in person.

Do not wear heavy makeup. Save the smoky eyes, shiny eye shadows and dark lipstick for your date nights.

Both men and women benefit from using our professional hair and makeup artists.  Sometimes your own personal makeup doesn’t appear on camera the way it appears in life.  Our professionals will work with you to achieve the look you want for camera.  Men are often concerned about appearing “made-up”, but our artists are experts at removing shine, covering under-eye darkness and blemishes while maintaining a completely natural look.

Glasses

If you normally wear glasses, bring them to your session.  We can photograph you with or without them, or a bit of both.

Hair

If it has been a while since you had a trim, you may want to visit your hairstylist a week before the shoot just in case things go wrong. For men, it is fine to get a haircut a couple of days before the shoot.

While dyeing your hair can freshen up your look, now is not the time to experiment with hair colors. You wouldn’t look your best if your hair color doesn’t come out as planned.

 

Nails

Your photoshoot is a great excuse to head to the salon and get your nails done. A fresh coat of nail polish can make a big difference in your corporate headshot.  But if you don’t have time for that, make sure that your nails are clean and short.

Sleep

Get plenty of rest and avoid alcohol the night before your photoshoot. Not only will you feel better, you will also look better. Eye bags and dark circles won’t look good in photos. You wouldn’t want to look tired on the day of the shoot, right?

 

Practice make perfect

Confidence matters when it comes to facial expressions. A few days or a week prior to the shoot, we suggest that you practice your facial expressions in front of the mirror. You can choose to smile or not, just make sure that you do not appear too serious.  We’ll work with you to capture a variety of expressions.

 

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Common Posing Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Let’s face it: there are infinite number of ways to pose for photos, but no matter what pose you choose, it can seem awkward and uncomfortable if not done properly.

Think of your corporate photos as your online “storefront.” Prospective clients and customers will often take the time to check these corporate portraits out before contacting you. That’s why flattering, professional portraits help you put your company’s best foot forward.

This week, let’s take a look at some of the posing mistakes you want to stay away from, along with some suggestions on how to avoid common pitfalls. Hopefully these tips will steer you clear from these mistakes and end up with more flattering portraits!

Business headshot photography tips Chicago

Smiles

A genuine smile is something that comes from within you; it isn’t an accessory you can put on like a hat. As such, it’s important that you have a good relationship and rapport with your photographer. A good photographer understands smiles and knows how to get the best from you!

If you’re still struggling getting that natural smile, take a break and think about those things that make you happy. Casually chat with your photographer about these moments, and just relax. Remember: we delete unflattering photos and take the time to find the perfect photos for you.

Straight joints

A lot of people don’t know what to do with their arms and hands when posing. Without proper coaching, some people stand straight as a board with their arms practically glued to their body. This isn’t a particularly flattering pose when you consider that this pose makes your arms look bigger, especially if you’re wearing a short sleeve polo or sleeveless blouse. Plus, straight arms generally look stiff and unwelcoming. To make your arms look slimmer and more relaxed, bend your arms slightly and pull them away from your body. Also, relax your fingers, bend a knee and don’t be afraid to take a few photos with your face directly aimed at the camera.

Shoulders square on

The shoulders are the widest part of the body. Posing with your shoulders directly at the camera will make you look much larger than you actually are.

Whether you’re standing or sitting, angle your shoulders slightly toward the camera and bend forward at the waist. This will have a huge impact in your portraits!

Obsessing Over The Details

It’s important to carefully consider your wardrobe, jewelry and grooming well ahead of your session.  Once  you’re in front of the camera, however, let the photographer worry about these details.  What people see most in a picture is not whether every hair was perfectly in place, but rather, the overall energy and positivity in a picture.  So, it might sound cliché to say, “have fun with it”, but truly being “in the moment” and projecting a positive energy will make you far more attractive than perfect hair ever will.