Women in business

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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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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Magazine fashion shoot

Magzine fashion shoot for Harborough Living Magazine

It is so very true that when you move outside of your little comfort zone, that is where you learn the most! I do lots and lots of lifestyle photography, but not so much fashion photography, so taking on fashion editorial shoots for Harborough Living Magazine was something new – but I LOVED it!

Essentially it combines everything I love about photography; shooting gorgeous images and working with other inspiring women and businesses! This shoot really opened up my eyes for the possibilities of combining my normal lifestyle work with the commercial world. I love that for a commercial shoot you get to style and plan the shoot, and it also sparks my marketing background because the images are for marketing purpose. I haven’t really shared any of the images from these shoots before, but I hope you enjoy them... This shoot was at the fabulous Hothorpe Hall and their new woodlands and tree top house, and one of these images even made the front cover This shoot was at Keals in Market Harborough, one of these images also made the front cover. These images are from another shoot featuring some of Butler Steward’s gorgeous jackets.
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Audrey’s Tipsy Tea launch

Audrey's Tipsy Tea Launch Event

I was instantly intrigued when I first heard about Audrey’s Tipsy Tea concept, and I wasn’t disappointed! What a treat to taste and a treat to photograph!

This is another inspiring story of a super talented local mum – my favourite kind of business to work with. The interesting thing about working with small businesses like this one, is how you get to experience the behind the scenes as well, and you realise how solid the whole concept is. In the morning of Audrey’s launch event Sian and her two Rosette Head Chef husband are working hard in the kitchen, and we are shooting both still images and some video of the preparation work. They are meticulous about everything, the details, quantities, finishings and even setting the table and I am super impressed even before tasting any of the food! Once the guests arrive and are seated with the welcome drinks, Sian does a little opening talk about the business and tells us how she wrote the initial ideas for Audry’s while waiting at her son’s weekly rugby sessions. I think this something a lot of women can relate to. We take time out to bring our children up, but at the back of our mind is a growing and developing business idea and it is fascinating to then see those ideas become reality! I am not really into alcohol, and very rarely do I venture beyond prosecco and Bailey’s (in my hot chocolate), so I really didn’t have great intentions of tasting the tip tea delights, but wow I am glad I did! Every single beautiful delicate little cake had alcohol in them, but they were all delicious. I was so surprised that I enjoyed them, and not only did I enjoy them I absolutely wanted more – I could eat that cheesecake every day. This really is a great option for those special occasions when you want something different, something special!

Video from this launch event

Launcung your own business?

Launching a business is never simple, and requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but a really good, and I feel essential start, is to get some great strong images to show case you products and services! Friends and family might like you for who you are, but in order to win over brand new customers you marketing materials needs to looks the part and instantly send the right message. So if you are dreaming of starting up a new business or have recently started your adventures, please do get in touch if you would like some amazing images to proudly show of your fantastic work! You can follow Audrey’s on facebook https://www.facebook.com/audreyscatering/ and find out about all the other delicious treats they offer! The amazing flower displays were from Lavender Blue in Market Harborough, ALWAYS worth a visit when you are in town https://www.facebook.com/lavenderbluemh/
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Market Harborough Mumpreneur

There is no doubt that breast is best, but also no doubt that breast isn’t always easiest! This local Mumpreneur’s “Top up tab”, is an impressive little invention to help new mums make it a bit easier...

I had the privilege of photographing baby Freya as a newborn, and I will always remember her as she is the only newborn I have met with a proper little belly laugh at just a few days new! So when Freya’s mum contacted me about pictures for her new little invention the “Top up Tab”, I didn’t really have any hesitation in getting involved. It is hard work being a working mum, never mind starting a brand new business with a tiny baby to look after, so I have nothing but support and admiration for Sarah! And more importantly I genuinely like her product! I would instantly have bought one, if it has been available when I had my first baby.

Top up tabs

So one Thursday morning Sarah and three lovely models and their gorgeous babies came over for a business profile shoot for Sarah’s new invention. What a treat, to have four babies at once, and a privilege to capture that precious breastfeeding bond. For most of us, breastfeeding our babies, is such a short period in life, and it made me realise I had just about forgotten about that time, and it did hands down make me miss it.

Top up tabs

It also reminded me how mum is EVERYTHING to her baby. Those amazing melting moment smiles that babies give to their mums as soon as they see her. Weather they have just woken up and see her, or whether she has popped into the next room and reappears – magic big smiles! There is just nothing more important in their world at this time than their mum.

Top up tabs

Anyway, enough of me melting over the babies… A bit more information about the Top up Tab. I liked it because it means no need to purchase expensive breast-feeding tops, you can use any of your normal tops, with just a vest underneath. You can attach it to you bra strap when it isn’t in use, and not only will you always have it at hand, but it will also help you remember which side you are due to feed on next – anyone who has breastfed will recognise that once baby brain sets in you just can’t remember which side you fed from last!!! Super simple but really helpful – perfect little present to anyone expecting a baby!

Corporate profile picture, with baby

Usually working mums try hard to look professional without a trace of aby, but for Sarah her baby was the initial inspiration, so I thought it would be nice to include them both in her "corporate" profile images. Which one would you chose? Top up tabs

You can follow Sarah and her Top Up Tabs business adventures on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Topuptabs, I wish her all the very best of luck.

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Country living

Not only is the whole country living enormously trendy, it is also enormously enjoyable! I had a lovely time working with this fantastic place, right on my door step.

I love doing business profiles, especially local ones, but I do always include the people behind the business, so this is just phase one, and phase two will follow soon. The Nevill Arms in Medbourne and the White Horse in Stoke Albany has lovingly been restored over that past 15 years, but despite Marc being there every day, seeing his business every day, there was a magical moment when he saw it all in pictures, looking great, proof of their achievements, and something he can proudly show the world. Seeing really is believing when it comes to your businesses - we stop seeing it every day, but a set of new, fresh, beautiful images will bring it all back to life! I can’t believe how lucky we are to have, not just one, but two places like this, just on our doorstep!

The Nevill Arms Inn and Cafe in Medbourne

Nevill Arms Inn & Cafe in Medbourne Nevill Arms Inn in Medbourne

Nevill's cafe in Medbourne >
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Nevill Arm's room in Medbourn

Nevill Arms restaurant in Medbourn

The White Horse in Stoke Albany

The White Horse Inn and restaurant in Stoke Albany The White Horse in Stoke Albany

The White Horse restaurant in Stoke Albany

The White Horse Rooms in Stoke Albany

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Women in business – Market Harborough

Natural handmade soaps in Leicestershire

There is so much talent in our rural villages, with women running exciting small businesses, often from home or from small studio spaces. Marketing is hard when you are a small business, on a small budget, but giving your business a tangible look makes a big difference to the appearance of your business and marketing materials.

I really enjoy meeting women in business and hearing their stories. Often women have an ability to turn hard times into talent, and I find it very inspiring. My old marketing side does surface though when I meet other businesses, and I think there are some quick easy advantages to gain by having some good photos!

Personalised handmade cards and invitations by Pink Ink Creative

I believe good lifestyle images, will represent you and your business in a much more professional manner, and you are more likely to be taken serious by others businesses and networking connections if you look like a business, compared to the vague “oh, I just work from my kitchen...”. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working from your kitchen, but you can still create a brand and give your business a look to communicate that brand message 🙂

Pam's lovely spinning school in Stoke Albany

Last but not least, make sure you have a profile image that matches your brand and business. Being visible in your business and marketing adds no end of credibility, and makes the difference between you (a professional) and some unknown dodgy eBay dealer.

Corporate profile images for online and printed marketing

More about my profile photography

Businesses featured on this page are:

Amara soaps - Natural handmade soaps in Leicestershire

Pink Ink Creative - beautiful personalised handmade cards and invitations

Learn to spin at Pam's lovely spinning school in Stoke Albany

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