From the Blog

How to make your everyday activity into beautiful marketing material

Turn your every day business task into beautiful marketing

I bet there are tasks you perform daily/weekly/monthly/annually without even noticing. To you they are just part of the job, but there is a good chance these activities are part of your key message and you could turn them into amazing marketing material. Let me show you an example...

I shoot for Ashley Farm Shop, but I am also a customer there, and last week I was chatting away to Sue as she kindly allowed my youngest to feed their hens, and she tells me their new chickens are laying blue eggs. Instantly questions spring to mind, how come the new hens haven’t been on their Facebook page? Why have the blue eggs not been on their Facebook page? “Ohh I didn’t really think of it” says Sue, I just collect the eggs every day… I leave the shop with six new blue/green eggs to take some pictures for them, and yes I did get carried away, but it occurred to me, there is a lesson here for all business owners, this isn’t just about eggs! This is about how the sizzle sells the sausage and how you make the very most of showcasing your business and your message every day. And, it means easy valuable content for your social media!

So first question is, what kind of sizzle will be suitable to sell these eggs?

There are immediate five stages to photograph:

:: Collecting the eggs, a great reminder on Facebook that these eggs are collected fresh every day from their very own, very free range hens!

:: The actual eggs, especially the blue/green ones, but even a basket full of normal eggs looks fab.

:: Show some of the people behind this family run business.

:: The lifestyle, feelings these eggs will bring. People don’t buy eggs to keep them, they buy eggs to eat them, to cook with them. So, importantly for the customer, they will get the most amazing yellow eggs that taste fantastic. How much more satisfying is it to make scrambled eggs when it comes out in a deep beautiful yellow colour, just like the ones you would get with your breakfast in an expensive boutique B&B! But there are other elements, by choosing these eggs you are supporting animal welfare as these hens really do roam freely on a huge area, and live the high life of hens and you are supporting a great family run local business.

Second question is, what is your brand and your message?

What do you and your business look like? Photographing an egg might not immediately sound particularly exciting, but you can take this in a lot of different directions! What are your colours? Are you light & bright / dark & rustic / earthy / minimalistic / lifestyle feel / people / families or perfectly styled and curated for the immaculate Instagram account? So here are some different ways you could photograph eggs, all comes with a slightly different feel and message… a different kind of sizzle…. Perfect to use across all your marketing materials. I could also have had a family enjoying these eggs for breakfast, I could have had ladies that brunch, there are endless opportunities here, it just depends on what you want to show.

You need to know your target market, who are they and how do they like their eggs? For Ashley Farm shop, some of these might be too Instagram manicured, as their style is probably more suited for the more natural and organic images, but I was on a mission to show different options here.

Here we go again!

At the end of chatting about the eggs Sue randomly mentions that she is off to dig potatoes next... well that is just another perfect opportunity! A key selling point right there, perfect for showing across their marketing! Apart from growing your own, you simply don’t get potatoes more fresh than this...

There you have it, a few examples of how you can turn your everyday business activities into beautiful marketing, just by documenting the job you are already doing.

Please get in touch if you have an idea, or maybe even just part of an idea...

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When YOU are your business – what images do you use?

Persona branding for service businesses

Do you struggle to come up with images for your marketing because you don't have a physical product to sell? Are YOU the main element of your business?

There are so many exciting service business out there, consultancy, copy writers, social media experts, coaches, counselors, stylists etc and it can be difficult to come up with images for your marketing when YOU are the main element of your business without any physical products.

At worst you could settle for a business card and no web presence, you could muddle through with a two page website with two tired stock images, or you could really embrace the concept and fully appreciate that it is all about personal branding!

You can rest assured the first thing a potential customer will do is look you up online. I totally believe in word of mounts and recommendations, but even after a recommendation the first thing I do is go and look the business/person up online. This means you have a fantastic opportunity to make your online presence amazing and really shine above your competition. You want enough personality to come through for people to feel you are real, and enough professionalism to demonstrate your competence! There are some spectacular Instagram accounts today nailing personal branding, and it is all-round very acceptable to market yourself as your business, and the image opportunities are endless.

I originally met Libby at a Market Harborough networking event and she booked me for some professional head shots. This is why I knew she had a great attitude to the whole idea of being photographed, she accepts it is for the greater good of her business and puts aside the whole 'oh I hate having my picture taken' and hence I choose to feature her in this blog post. Libby is a digital marketing consultant & trainer and a perfect example of someone who IS the main element of her business.

I could shoot this type of images all day long, there are so many opportunities and ideas to explore, particularly as you thrown in your own personality, your business mission, your branding and your ideas. Will you be advertising podcast, webinars, printables, free dowloads etc? The only thing better than one creative head, is two creative heads producing this type of content, so don’t muddle by on your own, get a photographer on board. It is also an amazing way to include yourself in your marketing materials, without feeling you are being photographed, much more “branding” than a usual head shot, and far more versatile for using across your marketing.

Great big thank you to Taste Social in Market Harborough for letting us shoot in their lovely new venue! You can follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/Taste-Social-1401339616543238/

You can find out more about Libby and her work at www.libbylangley.com or follow her on www.facebook.com/LibbyLangleyUK/

If your business could benefit from something along these lines, please get in touch. You can find out more about my business photography here .

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Are you missing a huge opportunity with stock images?

Are you missing a huge opportunity with stock images?

Beautiful stock images, cheap stock image and even free stock images, there is so much talk about stock images, but are you missing this one really big opportunity?

I see so many articles at the moment about stock images, and I see lots of people asking where you can find free stock images. Cheap is a great price and free is surely even better, and wow it is all super quick, and what busy business owners wouldn’t like a quick fix!
The only thing is, however beautiful, spectacular and free a stock image might be, the brutal truth is that is just isn’t your business!
The next brutal truth is that every single time you put anything out there for your business, it is a prime opportunity to show of YOUR business at it’s very best! So why I wonder, would anyone waste such an opportunity and instead show someone else’s image that isn’t anything to do with you or your business?
I do a lot of professional photography training every year and I vividly remember one of the trainers saying “always be aware of where you are letting your own brand down”, and I feel by not even using your own images, you are truly letting your own brand down. In fact I feel you are failing to build your own brand at all 🙂
Surely you wouldn’t buy a stock image to replace real images of you and your family, so why would do it to your business?

Free images vs. images that will generate sales

It is actually very affordable today to get professional business images done, and not only will you have amazing marketing content showing of YOUR brand, you will also find that your ideal customers will respond much better as they as now getting to experience the real you! You might feel you haven’t got beautiful premises to use for a photoshoot, but a photographer will always be able to create gorgeous images for you regardless. It is a chicken and egg situation, you NEED fantastic images to grow your business, so please don’t wait for your business to grow and look great before you get some amazing images done.

The aim isn’t just to get free images on your website, the aim is to get images that will create sales for you. So please, do something great for your business and get a quote for bespoke images before you assume free is the best price...

You can find our more about my business photography here

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Twins photography at home

Twins photography at home

There is something magical about twins, something just draws you in and you feel spellbound by the double dose of divine. I’m sure it is also double dose of hard work, but all I see is double opportunity for heart melting baby photography.

I have had the pleasure of photographing these two gorgeous little girls twice now, first in the studio as newborns and then again at their home when they were older. There are pros and cons of both studio sessions and at home photography, but one major difference is the opportunity to capture your real every day life at home. It is a total cliché, but our little ones grow up so fast, and as my own two are now 4 and 6 I truly appreciate how the memories are in the details of everyday life. I indulge in pictures of their rooms, their favorite toys, their clothes, all those little details from various stages of our everyday life that sparks my memory. Their perfect portraits are lovely, but that isn’t where the memories are kept.

It is a huge deal for mum’s to give up careers and dedicate such a chunk of our lives to bring up our children, this fills our everyday for years and yet we aren’t capturing those details. I hope you enjoy these images and video from these amazing girls’ at home twin photography shoot.

If you are interested in having your baby/babies photographed at home, please get in touch, I photograph babies at home in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

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25 ways to utilise your images from a commercial photo shoot

Ideas for using your commercial images

The obvious thing is to use your professional images on social media, but you would be foolish not to squeeze every little opportunity out of your new amazing images...

You have taken the step to invest in beautiful pictures, and the more you use these images the better your brand and business will look everywhere. We often let our own brand down somewhere; do you feel a bit twitchy perhaps when handing over your (old) business cards, or do you give out your website accompanied by excuses of it looking out of date? Mine is LinkedIn, I am not on top of that at all! Well, here are 25 ideas for utilising your professional business images that will all help your business and marketing look fantastic.

1. Social media

It’s the obvious one! Social media is a bit like a bottomless pit for content, and super time consuming. New fresh images are just the easiest content ever, and as a bonus they make your business look great and they are yours, which carries a lot more credibility than stock images. I can deliver your images back resized and with your logo on them, ready for use online. Or maybe we can add some clever wording and messaging on your images for you? On average you will get 100 images from a shoot, so if you post every other day that will be enough images for 6 month...

2. Website

As we spend so much time on social media we often forget to maintain our websites (me included!). More often than not people will excuse their website and/or be in the process or redesigning it. Well images will make or break your website, especially today as they are more image heavy than ever. And we all know that strong images, tells your story much better than words alone.

3. Flyers

Small flyers to hand out in addition to your business card, is a perfect opportunity to showcase your products or services. However people aren’t likely to give your flyer a second look it is isn’t instantly visually attractive.

4. Brochures

You might be able to do your own, or maybe you have a graphic designer working hard on a spectacular looking brochure, and you will already have images perfect for this use.

5. Business cards

There is hardly any space on a business card, but adding an image is a simply opportunity to actually show what you do and at the same time build your branding.

6. Post cards

I LOVE postcards. I love receiving them from people with little messages or thank you notes, and I love them even more if they have pretty pictures on them. Why not make some postcards with own images and give to customers as a present or give out at events or networking situations. Not only are you handing something out, people will most likely give it to a third party, advertising your business!

7. Vouchers

Everybody likes a voucher. And a voucher with a beautiful images, looking valuable, will be appreciated and maybe passed on as a gift.

8. A-board

Use your brand new images on A-boards outside your business. Or at events, or outside the venues or locations where you are working or perhaps at events you are sponsoring?

9. Signs

Have you thought about having a professional looking sign outside our premises? You never know why will spot it, and images attract more attention and sends a stronger message than just your logo. Or if you are a larger business, maybe use your images on signage around your business or grounds.

10. Car stickers and branding

Make a great looking decal to go in your car window! How often are you parked behind cars and reading their advertising in the back window? Or get your whole van branded with great images!

11. Window decals

Use your widows as a marketing opportunity. Window decals are not very expensive, so you can update them throughout the year and they are super easy to remove without leaving anything sticky behind!

12. Pull up banner

Use your new images on pull up banners and look more professional that the competition at events and shows. The images will be high quality so you can print them on larger items.

13. Exhibition stands

Because your images are big files and good quality, unlike your mobile phone pictures, you can use them on exhibition stands. Any exhibition designer will tell you to go for strong visuals rather than text, which no one will read anyway.

14. Desktop background

Do your customers see your desktop PC, laptop, mobile phone or iPads? Look that little bit more professional with some great business background images! Might be a good talking point if people spot your screen.

15. HTML emails

All the marketer tell us how important it is to build email lists for marketing use, and having great images will make your html emails look brilliant!

16. Posters

It is going to be a poster kind of year! Turn your images into gorgeous gallery style posters and hang them at your venue/business/premises. You might even be able to hang them at other people’s premises as wall decorations, but with your logo on them.

17. Press kits

If you are serious about growing your business and hope to be features in the press and media you will be ahead of the game with a press kit. Have brilliant images ready to send to magazines, and never feel a last minute panic to gather up images when an opportunity suddenly comes up!

18. Gallery for your iPad

Always be ready to show off your work! Have you got a gallery showcasing your products/services on your iPad and/or phone? Make sure to add your new images to your gallery!

19. Credit card/payment cards

Most banks now offer you the option to use your own image on your payment cards. Just another little opportunity, to show of your business every time you hand over your business payment card.

20. Picture books / portfolio books

iPad galleries and screens are great, but there is something wonderfully exciting about a beautiful printed tangible book! Coffee table books are popular for a reason, so if you have a waiting area or attend networking events or exhibitions create an inspiring picture book with your own pictures. You might be able to leave a beautiful pictures book in waiting areas of other businesses as well?

21. Online magazines like issue

Use your images to create your very own magazine or brochure online, using something like issuu.com. Make them beautiful and they are great for emailing to customers and giving a high end wow experience.

22. Slideshows and videos

Video is sooo popular, so create a slideshow with your images and/or use them in short little videos. Images are perfect for the opening and ending slides of video, with your contact details and logo.

23. Google places

Have you listed your business on Google Places? If you haven’t already, you definitely should do, and there is a section for images outside your premises, inside, your products, peoples etc. These are the images people will see when they google your business, so use your professional images for this, to ensure your business looks it’s very best online!

24. Third part website

Are you listed on trade association websites or in online directories, they very often offer you to add image(s), and as you will be listed alongside lots of competition, you want to use your very best pictures!

25. Printed magazine adds

Advertising in magazines is expensive, so always use the best images possible to get the best impact. Often the magazine can offer help with layout of adds, but you will be responsible for supplying high resolution, great quality images.

There you go – the more you use your images, the better your business will look and you have squeezed exceptional value out of your commercial photo shoot.

You can find out more about my commercial photography work here , or get in touch to chat about your ideas. And you can find out how to prepare for your commercial shoot here, to get the very best images possible.

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3 Tips for getting the very best from your commercial shoot

Top tips for your commercial photo shoot

Professional images is a business investment, and if you are a savvy business person, you will only invest in things that will make your ship go faster! Here are my top three tips for making sure you work me hard during a commercial shoot!

I do lots of commercial photography for businesses of various sizes, and I have learnt over the years that people approach this task very differently. Sometimes I come away completely exhausted and unable to remember the beginning of the shoot, because so much was packed in! But other times we waste time to even get going and poor planning means the customer gets fewer images from their shoot. I want to give my customers a perfect set of images that will make their marketing looks excellent, and the absolute key is to communicate and plan things ahead of the shoot.

1. What are you doing with the images?

Images can be used for so many different marketing projects, and it could make a big difference to how a photographer will shoot for you. If they are for social media, they are quite small images, and I might shoot an image knowing I will want to crop it in postproduction. But if the image is for a large exhibition stand I will want to keep every pixel possible, and I definitely wouldn’t shoot anything that needs cropping. If the images are destined for a brochure, show me the layout. Your designer might have designed a gorgeous full spread layout, in which case it is no good if you get a broad set of portrait images from your shoot. Will you want to write on the image, maybe marketing messages or pricing, in which case I will shoot the images with plenty of empty space for text. Will you be wanting the images in colour or in black and white? I will often shoot differently, with more contrast, if I know the images are destined to be in black/white. The more you can tell me about the final use for the images, the better chance you have of getting a set of perfect images.

2. What kind of look and feel are you after?

You might initial feel you just want “good professional” looking images, but actually there is more to it than that. If you have a look at examples you like and share them with me, I will look at geeky things like the lighting used, and hence I will know what equipment to bring with me and what locations will work well. Are you after close up product images or images of your production process or images with yourself? Would you like to include some head shots? Again I will bring different lenses depending on the type of images you are after. Where are you hoping to shoot the images? If you can send me a picture of your facilities I can gauge how much light is available etc. Will we need certain props for the shoot? You might have seen a fab images, with some gorgeous props, in which case please do share this, so we can source the props needed. Lots of commercial photography use great props that can really help make or break your pictures. Maybe we need a certain backdrop? Maybe we need simple details like food or cutlery? commercial_photo_shoot commercial_photo_shoot_ideas commercial_photo_shoot_ideas2 commercial_photo_shoot_ideas3 commercial_photo_shoot_ideas4 commercial_photo_shoot_ideas5 commercial_photo_shoot_ideas6 Preparing for a commercial photo shoot

3. Exactly what are we shooting on the day?

You are paying for my time, so you might as well make me work hard! Make a list of all the products or setups you would like to capture. Think ahead, what events have you got coming up like mother’s day, valentine, summer holiday, Christmas, special promotions? Plan ahead so you get a good bank of images to use across your social media marketing and any other marketing activities. You might need posters for your events or vouchers or magazine adds make sure you plan images for all eventualities. I am often shooting Christmas stuff in August, and valentines stuff in November! There you go, plan ahead, and that should give you a great commercial shoot with a fabulous set of images that will make your marketing shine for months! There are so many photographers around today, you might as well pick a good one, and get the best possible value for your £! If you have any questions about my commercial photography or cinematography, please just get in touch. I typically work throughout Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, but I am willing to travel further.
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Mum with one hand, running a business with the other…

Mumpreneur photography

Mumpreneurs, entrepreneurs, mighty hard workers, super multi taskers, call them whatever you want, there are lots of us who are mums with one hand and running our businesses with the other, and there in something really inspirational about other people’s stories, so here is the story of a local mum setting up her event management business.

Jo asked if I could do some professional head shots for her new business, but I had no availability on the days she had childcare, so I said to bring her little prince along to the shoot. This doesn’t exactly fill us with a feeling of high flying professionals, but reality is, we are juggling two roles! I hope you enjoy Jo’s story and this little behind the scenes from her shoot.

Jo’s story

I've been selling for over 18 years in various industries; Recruitment, Corporate Hospitality, Conference and Events, Web Development, Marketing Services, HR and Health & Safety Consultancy. I have enjoyed working for organisations and running my own business, both previously and currently. I have been lucky enough to be given responsibility to create sales activity and marketing campaigns with successful results. I have worked at many prestigious venues, which have enabled me to use my creative skills as well as developing new business and new business opportunities. I had been very settled into a Business Development role for a fantastic global brand/organisation and fell pregnant, I hadn’t quite anticipated how much having our son would change both our lives, for the better. The moment he was born I just knew, I couldn’t return to working full time and being away from home, away from him and missing all the special moments, I appreciate that some parents have no choice, they have to return to their full time employment. However, there are also others who are lucky to have parents still alive, or relatives that can step in and assist. As we moved away from our home town when I started my last job, it meant we were away from my husbands family and longstanding friends. Mumpreneur photo shoot Mumpreneur head shot Mumpreneur_photography Mumpreneur profile picture 3D4A0970 - CopyASWEB mums with small business Small business start up Toddlerpreneur So, when my request for returning to work part time was declined, we decided that I would set up Sheer Edge Ltd, we would somehow juggle business, childcare and make it work. I’ve had many job offers along the way, but I think its so important to try my best to make the business work. It’s been over a year now since we made that decision and I have no regrets, i’ve seen our son grow and watched the magical stages of development. Don’t get me wrong, I have probably set about it the hardest way, with no investment, no immediate client contacts to call upon, as a family we’ve really had to restrict our spend which is hard with a child. But i’m encouraged that we have regular clients who are booking with us and are seeing a regular increase in awareness and interest. Both in the hospitality booking service and event services. I think it’s important for clients to know how hard you’re working for them, how much their custom means to you, which is why it’s a good thing for them to know we have a new addition to our family. What it takes for you to juggle a business, child and being you. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Follow Jo on Facebook www.facebook.com/sheeredgehande/ Follow Jo on Twitter twitter.com/sheeredgehande Visit Jo’s hospitality & events website www.sheeredge.co.uk/

Have you got a dream of setting up a business?

Maybe you have already started out, or maybe you have a plan? The key point is to accept that it isn’t the easy option. It is a lot of hard work, but also very exciting! First step in making a business happen is looking the part, and great images goes a long way here. You might feel more like a mum a lot of the time, but you can still look like a professional business to your customers! Please do get in touch about getting you started with a broad set of images perfectly showcasing your business. Good luck!
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Cuteness even in potty training and sickness?

Any mum will know “everything is just a phase”, and strangely it turned out that even the phases I HATED the most, like potty training, carried sentimental value as soon as they came to an end...

I am not a very organic earthy kind of parent, I really do like everything clean and tidy and running on a schedule – I’m not proud of this, but it is who I am. This means I HATED potty training and anything that came with mess (but strangely I have no issues at all when newborns poo and wee on me during their sessions - different story!). Yet, when potty training came to an end it was a sign of my youngest growing up, more sand slipping through my fingers, and suddenly I did want to hang on to this phase; watch him chatting to him self on the potty and to those first little pants. We are all heartbroken when our little ones are poorly, but it is all part and parcel of being a mum, and rightly or wrongly I did also photograph these stages. I stumbles across these images the other day, when I was writing the initial “A day in the life of...” blog post, and they melted my heart, so thought I would share them, and encourage you to go and capture what ever stage your children is currently at... Look at how his little brother is close by when M was poorly on the sofa, bringing comfort and care. 3D4A1239AS 3D4A1241AS 3D4A1245AS 3D4A1254AS 3D4A1105ASBW 3D4A1112AS 3D4A1118AS  
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A day in the life of…

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” – I have practically grown up with these wise words by Soeren Kirkegaard, but they have never been more true to me than now...

A common criticism of my type of photography is that it isn’t “real”. Our children aren’t perfectly colour coordinated, sitting still, holding hands, with perfect smiles! They have often dressed themselves, (making you feel slightly embarrassed as you whisk them through Sainsbury’s), with snotty noses and an agenda all of their own which only rarely collides with yours. I am acutely aware that I have invested huge effort chasing the perfect picture for my customers, this was me living life forward setting aims for perfection. However, I have now had 6 full years to understand, retrospectively, what it is actually like being a mum! A few years ago I became more aware of this aim for perfection and to counter act it in some way I started shooting more personal and “real” pictures of my own two boys... I call these images “a day in the life of...” because they are just quick documentations of every day life with my little ones. They are a far cry from perfect, but the more they grow up, the more I treasure these little time capsules. It isn’t just about seeing them grow up, it is also about the toys they had, the clothes they wore, their drawings and general development, it's all in the details! I am just a mum with a camera, and my boys are probably the most photographed kids in Europe, but I highly recommend you set your self a similar project. Take some good solid pictures of everyday life with your kids, because sooner than you know they will be off to school! Secondly, do something with those images, put them in a book or collect them in a personal blog, just somehow collect them, so you can enjoy them. Here are some of my favourites, and I am going to post these more regularly which might inspire. My only regret is not starting this project sooner... DCIM100GOPROGOPR0024. 3D4A1966AS 3D4A1995AS 3D4A5961AS3D4A1931AS IMG_1421AS 3D4A1953AS 3D4A8691AS IMG_1462AS IMG_1555AS IMG_1560AS IMG_5511AS IMG_5508AS
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Natural newborn photographer Leicestershire

Natural newborn photographer Market Harborough

Spoiler alert; If you are broody this is probably not the post or video for you. This is pure and natural newborn photography, with a video sprinkle of newborn heartbeat, yawns and stretching and curling up, all those heart-melting features we want to bottle forever...

My newborn styling is always quite understated, but this time I wanted to take it back to nature even more, and just shoot a series of very pure and natural newborn pictures. The Internet is full of newborn images, but I have realised the ones that stop me in my tracks are the ones all about the baby, and less about the props. Still gorgeous images, perfect for displaying around your home, but most importantly perfect for remembering every little natural details about your little one forever. I have put together a very short video from the shoot, just because I wanted to show that there is no “magic”, just beautiful pure and content baby. I love the jerky newborn movements, the life confirming little heartbeat so obvious while she sleeps, and I love how she stretches and yawns and curls up when she briefly wakes up, squinting her eyes in the light but then instant goes back to sleep – these are the magical newborn moments, I hope you enjoy it.

Some of the final newborn images

I work as a newborn photographer from my Market Harborough studio, but I also offer newborn photography at home throughout Leicestershire and Northamtonshire. You can find out more about my newborn photography here .
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