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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Before, during and after…

Before and after photography Market Harborough

“Before & After”, not only does this title suggest that there is something wrong with the women “before”, but it also suggest that we do something secret and magical to transform her, and neither are true!

Because of this dreadful connotation I haven’t really indulged in the whole “before&after”, but then Trine, one of my Danish friend came over to visit and we were just playing around and we did indeed end up with a bit of a “before&after” shoot. The important message from this is that we are all just normal women! There is nothing wrong with us “before”, but it is great to see ourselves at our very best.

Before...

We did the “before” picture – it is done in the same place as the “after” pictures in the same light, there I no “hidden agenda” here, it is just a quick picture before we got going with hair and make-up. I am not a hair or make-up artist, and I always use a professional make-up artist at my shoots, but on this occasion I did the hair and make-up. Beautiful portraits usually aren’t about dramatic make-up, they are about the women in the picture, so more often than not I go for quite a natural cover. Now “natural cover” is not to be confused with no make-up! Great hair and make-up together with clothing will make or break any shoot. Definition and a beautiful foundation will instantly give a fresh clean glow to your images.

During...

Posing, posing and posing is the main ingredients for the actual shoot. People tell me again and again that they were surprised by just how much I pose them. There is no “freestyling” or “strike a pose” on my shift – it isn’t your job to know how to “pose”, it is my job to photograph you in a flattering position! So we tried a variety of poses for Trine, and they certainly aren’t all comfortable, and they definitely don’t feel natural, but the important thing is they look great in camera.

After...

I have known Trine all my life, and we were just playing so she sat with me and did the post-production – the secret magical part where we transform people, right? Trine chose her favourites, and we then did exactly the steps I would do on a normal paid shoot. It was really interesting for me, because I would say “shall we soften the skin a little bit” and Trine would say “no, I think it looks fine”… i.e. it isn’t a matter of the images needing polishing beyond recognition! I would be using my (soft and subtle) Photoshop brushes and Trine would say “I can’t actually see that they are making a difference” – that is how subtle the polishing is. We tweak the colours and add final touches and hey presto, we have our final shots ready for printing. Trine posted one as a profile image on Facebook and instantly got well over 200 Likes and endless comments – it is a tiny thing, but it definitely does boost your confidence :o)

What’s the point?

The point is that we are all fine just as we are, but we do all have the potential to look fantastic. The next point is – it makes you realise that all the celebrities in the magazines have been through quite a treatment before they reach the front cover – a huge team of hair and make-up artists, high flying photographers and professional re-touchers who (unlike me) are very heavy handed in Photoshop. On an average everyday basis those celebrities look just like normal people, they have stretch marks, scars, spots and battle various things in life! So rest assured that you are good enough, just as you are, but it is great to see yourself at your very best...
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Featured newborn photography

It suddenly occurs to me, that apart from the parents, no one ever sees a whole set of newborn images. I might show a sneak peek of one or two images, but actually you get a really broad set of beautiful images to choose from, so here is an example of a featured newborn shoot to indulge in!

Mum and dad with their newborn

It is hard being a brand new parent! I know it is hard, both emotionally and physically, and you do not feel your finest just a few days after giving birth, so I do whole heartily understand when parents are a bit reluctant to be included in the pictures! However, I also know from experience, both as a mum and as a photographer, that you will be mighty grateful for photographs of your selves and your newborn baby in the future. Your unkind critical view of your self will change and you will simply LOVE being able to revisit pictures of you cuddling your newborn – this is why I always include the parents in the pictures!

Props and poses or keeping it simple?

My style is generally quite natural and you won’t find any crazy aeroplane props and turtle costumes in the studio! You will find a broad selection of tasteful pretty hairbands, fluffy blankets, wraps and rustic baskets and you can help choose the ones you like. You are also very welcome to bring some of your own things, maybe a teddy or a blanket to include in your shoot, to make your images even more personal to you and your baby. I will always try to shoot a mix of “prop” images as well as more natural images, so you get a good selection to choose from.

Attention to details

Who doesn’t love newborn feet! And lots of other details like amazing eyelashes, little hands, belly buttons ears and hair. I always shoot some macro images during a newborn session, so you have the opportunity to savour the details forever, maybe in an album.

How, where and when to book a newborn shoot?

These types of newborn images are typically done when the baby is between 7-12 days old. My availability is quite limited, so I always recommend you book before the baby is due so I can pencil you in. If you are blessed with a bump and have any questions about my sessions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. This still isn’t the full set of images from the session, but I hope you have enjoyed them and they have given you a good taster. I do the majority of my newborn photography at my studio in Market Harborough, but I can also come to your home. You can find out more about my newborn photography work here including a short video of behind the scenes from a shoot with gorgeous baby Oliver.
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Free shoot, free pictures… is it all just free?

Free photo shoot, free pictures

I urge you to read this before booking a free or cheap photoshoot with anyone - not because of the pictures you will get, but because of the process you will experience...

If someone offers you a £25 Mulberry handbag you most likely assume it is fake. If someone offers you a £25 brand new TV you probably assume it is stolen, but when someone offers you a £25 photoshoot or even free and a free framed images of your choice you say “yes please, sounds amazing”... why?! What happens next is you skip along to your photo shoot, excited about your choice of clothes and have a lovely time doing a wide selection of pictures. And a few weeks later you go in even more excited to choose your FREE framed image, only to have all your hopes crushed by the realisation that your FREE framed image is tiny and fits inside the palm of your hand! “oh, I’m sorry would you rather have that sizable gorgeous statement frame over there” says the kind sales person, “no problem we will happy upgrade your package!” – and that is the key, they are very happy indeed to upsell you, and that comes with a very high price tag that they most likely won’t have shown you beforehand!

This approaches come in many flavours

You might see this offer outright at events and festivals, but they are also disguise in more crafty ways like “gift vouchers”, “charity shoots” and letters from nurseries saying things like “we work closely with your nursery and as a present we would like to offer you a photo shoot…” I am not judging the photographers using this approach, and I am not saying that customers shouldn’t go along for the palm sized free picture – I just absolutely urge you to make sure you see the full price list before you book that shoot so you can see exactly what you will get for your £!

What’s my problem then

My problem with this approach is that, to me, it feels unfair! I genuinely work super hard to create gorgeous images for families to keep for generations. I am not about cheap and easy but I am most certainly about excellent value for money, and I want my families to be able to come back every year, or every two or three years to update their images so they build up a lifetime of pictures. However, when a family has been trapped into a hard selling experience and paid out twice as much £ as they had budgeted for they are scared for life to even book a professional photographer again – and that is a shame! I only offer packages that ensure a family walks away with a selection of images, and I know for a fact that even my most expensive packages are on par with the price of just one large statement framed images from these other studios. Yes, I sometimes do £25 special offers as well, but my pricelist is ALWAYS available at the time of booking and I NEVER trick anyone by including a tiny deceiving print!

Can't afford me

I totally understand that some people don’t feel they can afford me (we all have different budgets, I drive a Yaris not a Range Rover!), but I also know if you can’t afford me you most definitely can’t afford any of the “cheap ones”! So, if you have already booked yourself a bargain photo shoot, please do double-check the pricelist before you go along 😉
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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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Baby & toddler lifestyle photography

Baby and toddler lifestyle photography

Juggling a baby and a toddler is a tricky task at the best of times, and the prospect of managing the situation for a photoshoot can break the most grounded of mums, but it can be amazing!

Are you juggling a baby and a toddler? Would you like some gorgeous images of them but worry about the prospect of organising a photoshoot? An outdoor session could be just the thing! These gorgeous images are from Kew Gardens in London, which needless to say is a bit of a photographers dream location, but we have equivalently beautiful potential right here in Leicestershire! The thing with toddlers is they have no time to sit still and take orders, but they are fantastic at running around and doing their own thing. They also love cuddles with mum and dad, and actually this is a winning combination and perfect for pictures. Likewise, babies love being outside and weather permitting, are often much calmer than they would be inside a studio. It is a tough little stretch managing life with a baby and a toddler, and you could easily miss it all in a blur of nappy changing and trips to the playground. However, this makes it an even more magical time to capture great lifestyle images to look back at and relieve this short time in life. If you are after a broad set of images of your baby and toddler and you as a family then spring and summer is your opportunity! You can find out more about my work as a lifestyle family photographer or please contact me for availability.
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Cherry blossom family photography

Cherry Tree lifestyle photography

Leicestershire isn’t exactly renowned for spectacular cherry tree displays, but I’m super pleased with this little shoot – I think all mums and little girls should have pictures like these.

I had this shoot in mind for a while, but most of the large Cherry tree displays are in London, and of course they only blossom for such a short time! To make it even more challenging I spend about 50% of the blossoming season in Denmark (where it is still too cold for any of them to even blossom yet), so the odds were somewhat against me... However, I spotted this one glorious tree, and combine with a beautiful sunny morning and a picture perfect family I absolutely love this set of images! Next year I will be on dedicated cherry blossom watch! Have you got a blossoming cherry tree in your garden that would be good for your shoot?

Talk about threenager!

I don’t mean behavior, Leo was good as gold, but look at these images, can’t you just see the future teenager?! Sometimes it frightens me a little bit that you can capture such “mature” looks in really young children – a bit like getting a sneak peek of the future but they do look amazing! This type of shoot is perfect for young children, most of the time is spent cuddling mum and dad, and next to no time doing “sit still and smile”.

Reveal the location

Location spotting is great, I love it and subconsciously I am always doing it. However, quite often what I see as a great photography location might not look like much potential to others. I do think occasionally customers might wonder about my judgement when they turn up to my chosen spots. This is what I spotted one evening behind our local school, and I am very grateful that the head teacher allowed me to use it! Cherry Tree photography location
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