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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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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 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.