Initial Contact

Recently I had the opportunity to work with IZALE Financial Group to do their corporate portraits and headshots. IZALE mainly works with another photographer (Mark Weeks) who is based in England, but it was decided to find a photographer in Chicago so as to be more cost effective than flying him in from England.  Mark was in charge of choosing a local Chicago photographer. He contacted me and said he really liked my website and photography.  He described the job to me and asked me if I was interested, which, of course I was!

Hired By A Photographer

I actually find it to be kind of an honor to be chosen by another photographer! This differs from most jobs where I’m contacted directly by the client.  Since IZALE primarily works with Mark, the style, background and lighting of the images were all determined in advance.  Mark forwarded his style and lighting notes to me. And I set about matching them as closely as possible.  It was an unusual way of working for me, but I was reminded of back when I was in art school taking drawing classes.  One of our assignments was to copy another artist’s style.  Sometimes we get “stuck in a rut” shooting things in a style we are used to, which we know works, so, it was a great exercise to work with another photographer, match their style and see what I could learn from him.  Mark and his production team were great to work with and communicated clearly.

Day of Headshot Session

On the day of the shoot, I arrived at the location (The Hotel Wit) and set up my equipment in one of their ballrooms.  I met the President and CEO of IZALE and I photographed him first.  In total, I photographed 8 people.  We achieved a beautiful result and everyone looked great and full of personality.

Overall, it was a great experience working and collaborating with Mark and his team and meeting and photographing the team at IZALE.  Much thanks and gratitude to everyone involved!  Check out the results of our corporate headshot session below.


Chicago Headshots

After a long hiatus, G. Thomas Ward Photography is once again open for business and I’m  happy to say I’ve had my first post-pandemic corporate headshot client, Christina.  I’ve known Christina for many years and how we met is kind of interesting.

Many years ago, a young man named Walter contacted me requesting photos for his online dating profile.  We talked about the best approach and we had a great photo session.  I photographed him in and around my Chicago studio, in natural settings…at the grill, with my dog, at the beach.  We wanted the photos to look very casual and not posed and not too “professional”.  Through his personal ad, he met Christina and, after some time, they decided to get married.  And they gave me credit for meeting as Christina loved my photos of Walter!  So, they asked me to photograph their wedding, and later to do their portraits as a couple.

So, a few weeks ago, Christina contacted me to do her Corporate portrait for her LinkedIn profile and other professional uses.  I couldn’t be happier to have had Christina as my first post-pandemic client and I hope to be able to work for her and Walter for many years to come.  Here are a few images from our session.  Hair and Makeup by Tanya Renelt.

When I was in college, CATS was all the rage on Broadway, and it was the butt of endless jokes between me and my college buddies.   I hadn’t seen it, but the fact that suburban moms, families and cat people were RAVING about it, made me suspicious and downright contemptuous.  It was such a SPECTACLE and so ubiquitous, disdain seemed like the proper reaction. 

Many years went by and I didn’t think about CATS very much, but if it ever came up in conversation or otherwise intruded on my consciousness, it always induced a bit of an eyeroll.  Back in 2010, I was doing photography work for Theo Ubique, a local theater company that was best known for its intimate productions of big musicals.  They were about to present their production of CATS and hired me to do the press photography, which involved photographing a live preview performance.  I set my expectations low, put my camera on my tripod, and proceeded to watch and listen.

When it was over, I have to admit, I was positively impressed.  The costuming was great, the energy and talent of the cast was palpable, and overall, it just seemed unique, fresh and artistic.  Moreover, once it was removed from the category of being a Broadway, blockbuster, spectacle, and presented in an intimate, storefront theater, by a highly talented cast and crew, I was allowed to appreciate it for its actual content.

Now, at the tail end of 2019, we have CATS the movie musical, which has been almost universally panned by critics and the public.  Immediately, upon hearing how “AWFUL” it was, the college boy inside me got excited, and I couldn’t WAIT to see this train wreck.  I, along with my husband and a couple of friends, went to see it with giddy anticipation on Christmas night.  There were about 30 people in the theater.  Sitting directly behind us was a group of 4, 20-something young women who giggled and tittered with barely suppressed laughter throughout the whole thing.  A couple young men decided that it was an interactive movie and were shouting snarky comments for the rest of us to enjoy.  I sat there fuming at people’s disrespect because what I was seeing wasn’t that bad at all.  At one point, my husband was moved to actually stand up, and tell people to STFU and grow up and let us enjoy the movie.  (thanks Aitor!)  The mood settled down a bit after that.

Here are my thoughts on the movie.  There is some initial discomfort, which may perhaps manifest itself by feeling like laughing by seeing the actors in the CGI cat outfits, looking and behaving like cats, but the sooner you accept this convention, the better.  The rude audience I saw it with was especially moved to laughter by the movement of the cat’s tails and when the cats rubbed their heads in affection as cats do.  Get over it.   If you’ve already decided you want to laugh your way through the movie, you’ll have plenty of opportunities.  If you want to accept it on its own terms, then relax and enjoy. The CATS world is fully realized.  Like the storefront production I saw 10 years ago, the performances were great…the singing, the dancing and the acting were all great.  Since CATS is based on a “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (a collection of poems) by T. S. Elliot, don’t expect much of a plot here.  Enjoy the creativity, the dancing, the energy, the cast and the songs…and yes, enjoy the spectacle. 

By the way, the pic is from the 2010 production of CATS by Theo Ubique.


Here’s a quick “behind the scenes” look at a video production project we recently completed for NAPCO.  We’ve worked on a series of still photography and video projects for NAPCO, and you’ll get meet our team, the NAPCO team and see a bit of how we work.  You’ll also see a kitchen transformed from “rough around the edges” to “brand new and beautiful”!  Let us know how we can help you tell YOUR story.


Chicago Product Photography


Initial Contact

Glass artist David Morris contacted me regarding photographing his artwork. Up to this point, David had been photographing his work himself with his camera phone. However, he needed high quality professional images to apply to juried exhibitions, and thus get wider exposure to a more upscale clientele. We discussed various styles and techniques and settled on a clean presentation on white.

The Shoot

Since much of the work involves clear glass, the trick is to be able to light it to be able to get a clean white background, without losing the edges of the glass.  It takes careful lighting and technical experience to achieve the desired result.  You want to have a crisp white background with drop shadows to show the 3-dimensional quality of the work, but must be careful that the light is not so bright as to lose the edges of the clear pieces.

The Result

Here’s what David had to say about our experience working together:

As a new artist, it became apparent that it was necessary to market and sell my art glass. Initially, cell phone snapshots were OK, but it quickly become obvious that professional help was required. G. Thomas Ward photographed my art so well that it seemed I transitioned from hobbyist to “artist” with a few clicks of a camera. Lighting, shadows, background and reflections are so important for marketing art. Gary was incredibly easy, flexible and comfortable to work with. Though cell phones are quick and informal, professional guidance and specialized tools make a remarkable difference when presenting art work. I cannot thank Gary enough.

Though I normally photograph people, events, public relations and other types of corporate photography, it was fun and interesting to exercise my photography skills with David’s artwork. And it was great working with David. If you’d like to see more of David’s artwork, you can find him here: Fabulous Intentions Glass



headshots for the professional in chicago

First impressions matter, especially in the online world. Most people won’t admit it, but we are quick to form an opinion about a person based on the picture he or she uses.

Your image is your personal brand. As such, it is important to have the right picture that will make you look like a professional, confident, and credible person. If you already have an awesome headshot on your LinkedIn profile or website, that’s excellent, but make sure that you update it every year or two.

Here are 3 reasons you need an updated professional headshot.

Optimize your online presence

People who are considering doing business with you will do a quick Google search about you. They want to make sure that the person they’ll be dealing with is professional and reliable.

Every time you upload a photo of yourself, it comes up on a Google search. By updating your photo every now and then, you are getting more pictures of yourself out there. This will help you build a professional brand and presence.

Look modern and professional

When you were just starting out, you probably used a photo that was taken by a friend as your profile photo. It may not have been a big deal back then, but now that your business is growing, you want a good quality photo that gives people the message that you’re a professional.

Using an outdated photo has the potential to make people think that you, yourself are outdated or out of touch.   An updated headshot will look more modern and professional and will appeal to most customers.

Provide an accurate portrait of yourself

Experts recommend updating your professional headshot once a year. This is especially true for women, who may change hairstyle and color more frequently. Most people will do a quick search of the person they’re going to do business with. You want to make sure that the photo reflects your current age, looks, and abilities.

If you want people think of you as an expert in your field, do not use a picture of your 22-year old self. If you do, you may lose credibility in their eyes.

For the highest quality headshots, call G. Thomas Ward Photography in Chicago. Besides doing headshots, Gary also does event and other promotional photography and corporate video. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our photography and video services.

Corporate event photography at Chicago Natural History Museum

Exhibiting at a trade show provides several benefits to businesses of all sizes. It allows you to promote your products and services to hundreds or thousands of potential customers, get fresh leads, and generate sales. Given that there are so many companies vying for the people’s attention at these events, it can be difficult to stand out.
A well-designed trade show booth will draw attendees’ attention and give you the opportunity to engage and interact with them. Given the time, effort, and money that you have spent for this event, it is important to maximize your booth investment.

Here are some unique ideas that you can use to increase booth traffic and, ideally, sales.

Use technology

Technology plays a major role in our everyday lives. Embrace this, and use technology to your advantage to capture the attention of attendees and drive traffic to your booth.

Use interactive touch screens and digital displays to make your booth stand out. Not only is it appealing, it also inspires interaction and participation. It is also a good idea to use a unique hashtag for the event. Encourage them to use your hashtag for a chance to win a prize they can get excited about.

With a cool and fun booth, along with clear, simple instructions, your company’s booth is sure to be fun and encourage positive brand recall.


Trade shows provide a great opportunity to promote your products and services to potential customers. But you also need to remember that consumers don’t just buy stuff from anyone. Rather, they buy from brands they trust.

Exhibiting at a trade show provides the perfect opportunity to introduce your brand to the public.
Don’t just set a beautiful, attractive booth; make it informative. Build brand awareness by sharing some facts about your company, and try to incorporate it into your booth design. Make learning fun for your booth visitors.

Offer snacks or drinks

Going around and checking out dozens and dozens of booths can be exhausting. Give visitors a reason to stay in your booth, even for just a few minutes, by offering some snacks or drinks. Make sure, though, that you choose food and beverages that align with your brand.

If your company encourages healthy eating, then provide healthy snack options. If you are considering giving out bottled water to attendees, make sure that the packaging comes with your company name and logo. This way, recipients will be reminded where they got it.

Choosing the right headshot for your business

First impressions matter, especially online. Living in the digital world, first impressions are often based on your profile picture. Think of it as the digital equivalent to your handshake. Your profile photo serves as your online introduction to others. This is why it’s important that you take time to choose the perfect headshot for your professional profile.

Here are some tips for choosing the right profile picture.

Choose a photo that is friendly and inviting

A warm, genuine smile will go a long way to attracting attention to your profile. Also, people will think that you’re friendly, pleasant, and approachable.

You don’t have to wear a big goofy grin. As the saying goes, “smile with your eyes.” It’s important that the image look real and authentic. Smile like you mean it!

Dress professionally

Your clothes matter. Choose a photo that depicts you in a manner appropriate for your field. You want to wow potential employers, clients, and partners with a headshot that makes you look like a professional.

Make sure that you’re wearing appropriate professional or business casual attire. That means a dress, suit, or blazer for women and a dress shirt or a suit for men. Dressing professionally also means you are freshly shaven (unless you have a beard) or not wearing too much makeup.

You should be the only subject in the photo

The photo should be of you, and only you. Never use a group photo as your profile picture. It can be extremely confusing to people who are viewing your profile. Cropped group photos are also a no-no. Nothing is more awkward than seeing someone else’s cropped shoulder in a photo.

Close-ups are your best bet for your profile picture. Remember, this is about you. Make sure that you are front and center and the focus of the photo.

Use a recent photo of yourself

Sometimes, people are tempted to use an old picture because they look young and attractive in that photo. The last thing you want is for people to be surprised when they meet you in person because you don’t like the person in your profile picture. Select a photo that reflects how you look on a daily basis. Make sure that your profile picture is up-to-date.

Chicago corporate, event, portrait and editorial photographer

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.