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Reasons to Decorate Your Business for the Holidays

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

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

Make Your Business Stand Out

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

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

Attract potential customers

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

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

Get your customers in the holiday shopping mood

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

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Naughty or Nice

Photographing Live Performance

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

Chicago’s Most Colorful Chorus

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

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

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

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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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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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4 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Corporate Event

A lot of hard work and preparation goes into making your event a success. As an event organizer, there is no better feeling than walking into your event and seeing it jam-packed with people. Social media is an invaluable tool that can help drive people to attend your event.

Here are 4 ways to use social media to promote your corporate event.

Create Facebook Event

Creating a Facebook event will take a lot of the work of advertising your event off your hands. It makes it easier for you to spread the word about your event. More importantly, it also helps you expand your overall reach since people are notified when their friends confirm their attendance to your event. This added exposure is as good as a direct invitation. Since viewers and attendees can also allowed to invite their friends to the event on Facebook, provided that it is set to public, you reach another audience that may not have ever known about your event otherwise.

Furthermore, it allows you to make mass announcements to all attendees. Using the embedded commenting features of Facebook Events, attendees can begin to connect and network with one another before and after your event.

Share Behind-the-Scenes visual content

This is one of the best ways to generate buzz for your event! Give your fans and followers a glimpse into your event by posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Simply snap a photo of your preparations and share it on your company’s business page. You may also share stories of how you’re pulling everything together. Don’t be afraid to make them fun! Everyone knows things come up when planning an event…have fun with it!

This gets people excited for the event because they feel like they’re in on the action. It also serves as a reminder that the event is coming up, so they can Save the Date.

Feature event speakers

More often than not, people attend events to listen to and meet the speakers. What better way to highlight the caliber of talent at your event than creating a blog post featuring your speakers and sharing it on social media? Better yet, reach out to your speakers and encourage them to promote the event. After all, they benefit from positive buzz just as much as you do. Not to mention that your speakers probably have a loyal audience of their own, too. When they promote their participation in your event to their followers, your event gets exposed to another subset of possible attendees!

Use hashtags

Having a unique hashtag for your event is important when promoting your event. Use it for online conversations and in every piece of marketing content to deliver. Encourage people to use your hashtag to take the conversation to a larger, more engaged audience.

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Settlements around the Salton Sea

I recently returned from a visit to the Palm Springs area.  After seeing the film “Plagues and Pleasures of the Salton Sea“, it was on my agenda to check out the landscape and settlements around the Salton Sea.  It was truly the highlight of the trip for me in many ways.

Ever since my college days I’ve been interested in off-beat Americana, and people whose lives are their own very unique creations.

The settlements around the Salton Sea and the people who live there, certainly live up to this description.  I didn’t bring a professional camera on this trip, only my little Nikon Coolpix P 330.  Here are a few of the images I captured in and around Bombay Beach, Slab City, Niland, and Salvation Mountain.  I really hadn’t expected the area to capture my imagination quite the way it did.

My hope is to return someday and spend more time (with more professional gear!) photographing the people and settlements of this uniquely American place.

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Tips to Increase Attendee Engagement at Your Events

After spending countless hours planning an event, there is nothing more satisfying than witnessing its success. In a perfect world, every attendee would connect with other attendees and participate in activities.

There is an endless amount of proactive, easy-to-implement steps you can take to increase attendee engagement at your events. Here are some of them.

Build anticipation

Attendee engagement doesn’t necessarily start at the event itself. In fact, you should engage your audience before they even step foot in your venue. This will not only guarantee more attendees, but people will be more excited to attend.

Social media is one of the best avenues to promote your event. Create a unique hashtag and use it every time you post an update about your event. With the right strategy, you’ll have people talking about your event and your engagement will skyrocket. Publishing a blog post is also a great way to create pre-event buzz or stream a video from last year’s event.

Games

Games are a great way to entertain and energize attendees who are bored and drained from listening to lectures and presentations. With the right execution and an interesting prize, you’ll get people to interact and participate in activities.

Make time for networking

A lot of people tend to feel overwhelmed or intimidated when attending a large event, especially when they don’t know anyone. Encourage your guests to meet someone new and network by dividing them into smaller groups. This can help break the initial awkwardness that tends to happen at large gatherings.

It is also a good idea to have breaks between speakers or a cocktail hour after the event to give people an opportunity to network and engage with one another.

Allow for Q&A opportunities

Provide attendees an opportunity to address their questions. You can gather questions from attendees and have the speaker answer these questions at the end of the presentation. Attendees will be able to learn more from the Q&A session. Plus, they’ll feel more appreciated and part of the event.

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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