Family Photoshoot, what to wear!

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You’ve got the family to agree to a photoshoot, you’ve arranged the date, now….what do you wear!

Feet glorious feet!

If you’ve booked an indoor sitting, more than likely we’ll take the photos with no shoes on, so it maybe a good idea to prep your feet or invest in some nice socks.

Space-man

If you’ve got a room and a place in mind of where you’d like your family portrait to hang, make sure that the clothes your wearing match the setting.

Try to avoid overly fussy clothing and clothing with patterns as these can make your images date quicker, opt for comfort, something you can move easily in. We’ll do some shots standing, but we’ll also do some of you lying down, so it’s important that you think about this when choosing what to wear.

It’s nice to co-ordenate, a little, but not a lot!

Go with a colour, but choose different shades from it, e.g navy and pale blue, red, corals and pinks. Choose two main colours with a third accent colour across all the outfits.

Try to avoid branded clothing – Branding and logos tend to draw the eye and distract from the portrait. The same goes for characters and graphics on clothing.

Neck line – If you’re broad shouldered or big busted then V-necked clothing works well and elongates the body.

 

Any questions, get in touch or leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

The perfect christmas photo

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When asked to write an article on how to take the perfect Christmas photo it got me thinking as to what actually equates to the perfect photo? Is it the perfect composition? The perfect lighting? For me Christmas is a time for family and it’s most definitely about living in the moment. I spend my time in the studio posing families and getting the perfect composition for their family portraits,  but when it comes to spending time with family and friends it’s important to capture those memories and living in the moment and I do that shock horror by using the camera on my phone!

I know I’m a photographer and I should have my camera ready at all times, but the reality is I’m also a mum and a wife and at Christmas although I would love to be taking photos with my BIG camera, I’m also working, the chief present buyer, attending Christmas concerts and getting ready to open the doors to our friends and family over the festive period, so inevitably out comes my camera phone, capturing events as they unfold that I can then share instantly with everyone else, because lets face it, if it isn’t on social media, did it actually happen at all 🙂

We’re quickly heading toward the big day and photos of peoples Christmas trees are starting to appear on Facebook and Instagram, you’ve spent ages getting your tree to Monica Geller standards, you now need it to look insta ready. The same goes for the mulled wine boomarang ‘cheers’, the christmas markets and the light swith ons

So I’m going to give you a 6 useful tips on how to take the perfect photo in low light and capture the beautiful essence of Christmas.

  1. Capture the preparation stages

For me it all starts when the Christmas tree goes up. Time passes so quickly so I make sure that I photograph the kids putting the decorations on the tree, including the ones that they made in nursery! It’s all              about traditions and making new memories. Get in nice and close and fill the frame.

2. Focus on The eyes

Our attention always goes towards the eyes in a photograph, they’re a natural focal point that we are drawn to. Again get in nice and close to your subject, filling the frame. For a better quality photograph trty            not to zoom. Instead move to your subject, always ensuring that their eyes are in focus.

3. Taking the photo

It may seem logical to take the photo from the actual smartphones screen but it’s not always easy and most phones have an additional button on the side for taking photos, maybe use a little trial and error                  here, if it doesn’t look good taking it by pressing the button on the screen, using your body as a tripod use the other button.

4. Turn off the flash

Using flash in low light is a bit of a no, no, we want to try and capture that ambiance. Turn off the flash, focus your camera then keeping it steady take your picture. It’s also worth mentioning that if the lights              are flashing your images maybe a bit blurry, if the lights are stationary they won’t blur.

5. Turn off the lights

The main lights in the room are going to be too harsh, instead try using the lamps in the room as a light source. We don’t want to over light the subject, we’re trying to soak up the atmosphere of those fairy                  lights.

6. Check your settings

Most smartphones now have different cameras settings. Try adjusting it to a manual/pro mode and again turn off the flash. The Pro camera system in most smartphones are used to boost settings like shutter            speed, ISO, white balance, metering. With images taken in low light, the ISO must be kept in the range of 400 to 800, and the shutter speed is to be reduced by about 1/5 or 1secs. If you have very less light, it is          better to keep the shutter speed up to about 1/20 or 1/15secs.

 

Ultimately, it’s all about knowing the camera on your phone, it’s capabilities, having fun and creating special memories!!

 

Merry Christmas To You All,

 

Jemma

Maternity Sittings – What Do I Wear?

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You’re expecting….having a baby is so special and there’s no better way to cement that milestone than by having a maternity photoshoot. I’ve been doing maternity sittings for some years now but each one is still unique to me and my approach to each one is different, no two clients are the same and I hope that comes across during your time with me.

I always feel so privileged when I get asked to photograph this special time in your life, but your time with me doesn’t just start at your session time. In the run up to your sitting, we will talk about where your wall art will be displayed, it’s quite important to think of your homes colour schemes as this can determine what you wear.

I have wraps in various colours for you to use during your session, which are delicate enough to accentuate your bump but subtle enough to drape around the areas you don’t wish to be seen. With that in mind it’s always worth bringing along a few of your own items from home. White and black underwear & strapless bras are a good idea and white and black vests are great props and also really versatile. Floaty dresses and bodycon dresses make a great statement and can undoubtedly give you a very special image.

Thank you for reading, if you would like more information on my maternity sittings, please get in touch at enquiries@jhphotos.co.uk

Many Thanks,

Jemma 🙂

 

 

The Marie Kondo Effect….

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This is my first full week back in the studio and I already feel like I’ve taken a huge leap into 2019!! I’ve made a few changes to my diet which I’m really excited about and over the Christmas period I found myself watching Marie Kondo’s programme on Netflix ‘Tidying Up’. It’s a bit of a life changer – if you haven’t watched it, I can really recommend that you do. She makes you look at the items in your home and evaluate if you need them in your life or not, she helps you make improvements in your home.

After using Marie Kondo’s techniques over Christmas on my home, it made me think of what improvements I can use in my business.

Out with the old in with the new.

For me it’s updating the images on my website and also the images that I use on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I tend to think I’m speaking to the same audience with Twitter & LinkedIn but Facebook I use in a different way, therefore I have different images for my different clients and potential clients.

This week I’m dealing with quite a varied set of clients. I’ve been dealing with a beautician, a web designer, a lady who creates fantastic centre pieces from balloons for events and parties and a automotive repair centre, these companies are so varied but they all need the same outcome, which is they all need an online presents and to let their potential clients what they’re business is all about. They need a set of images that they can rotate for their social media to get their message across, and they all want their clients to see the people behind the brand.

I absolutely thoroughly enjoy doing this, for some it will be studio based and for others it we’ll go for a walk and come back with some great images!!

If you’d like me to have the Marie Kondo effect on you and create a set of images for your business, call me, we’ll work together and help you outshine your competitors.

Have a great week,

Jemma

 

Janine & Trevor Wedding – Granvilles, Stone

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This year has absolutely flown by and I’ve only just realised that I’ve not been sharing my work with you as much as I would like!

This summer I had the pleasure of photographing Janine & Trevor for their big day. It was an intimate ceremony with around 40 guests at the copacetic Granvilles Brasserie in Stone, Staffordshire. This  delightful venue is ideal for smaller gatherings and it’s picturesque courtyard garden was an exquisite backdrop to capture Janine, Trevor and their wedding guests.

It was such a wonderful day and it was an absolute pleasure to photograph this lovely couple on their special day.

 

team montage

Are you finding it hard to get all of your ‘team’ together?

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I had a call from a company recently asking me to come in and photograph them all. But as the company in question was in Staffordshire and some of it’s employees were London based it was proving to be a logistical nightmare for them to get everyone together, in the same building, at the same time!

Frustrating isn’t it….

I had a solution.

I went along with all of my equipment and photographed those that I could on that day. Along side doing my normal individual headshots, I also did a full length shot of each of them.

Those that couldn’t make it on the day, visited me at my studio where we did the same. And when it came to the editing stage they not only had their individual headshots, but I was able to compose a team montage of them all aswell!

So if getting all of your team together is proving to be a little tricky, you really don’t have to worry.

I enjoy tailoring a situation to suit your needs and making the unexpected work for you.

Have a great week,

Jemma xx

 

I love working with businesses and helping them with there imagery for websites and social media marketing. If you would like to know how I can incorporate this into your business, please get in touch on 07810516283 or email enquiries@jhphotos.co.uk 

 

headshots

One Photo Doesn’t Fit All Situations….

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I’ve been doing headshots for quite a number of years now, but it was only when I was looking back at some headshots from around 4 years ago that it suddenly dawned on me how headshots have evolved.

I used to find that clients just wanted a straight forward headshot for their LinkedIn profiles. Now with blogging, email and social media marketing being so popular, the headshot has changed.

Do you have more than one headshot?

I’m finding that most of my clients are now asking to have different headshots for different purposes. For example a work associate of mine has around 10-12 different images of herself that she uses.

It seems a lot doesn’t it?

But not really. When we do our local Twitter hour the photograph she introduces herself with is of her stood in the middle of her High Street. I think this is a very clever photograph. It tells you where she is located and that she is approachable.

Other examples are of her sat chatting with a client, another photo is of her with her associates. The last one she tends to use before signing off Twitter Hour is one of her standing on the stairs, it’s like the photo is saying “Oh one last thing before I go”!

All of the photos are well thought out, and this is what I ask my clients to think about.

Businesses are quite diverse, the professional headshot is perfect for LinkedIn and for your business card, but it’s possibly not the best image to use for marketing and social media content.

No Rules!

I think the rule book for headshots got thrown out sometime ago, sometimes it’s worth having more of a relaxed, natural approach.

I also love nothing more than playing around with different backdrops and lighting with coloured gels….this gives quite a fun, different feel to your images.

Well that’s it from me for now.

If your curious to know how I can help you with your business imagery? Please give me a call on 07810516283 or email me enquiries@jhphotos.co.uk

Thanks for reading guys,

Jemma xx

 

 

 

 

You can’t bottle memories, but you can capture them….

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Do you feel like time would just slow down?

I know I certainly do. My children are aged 10 and 12 and I really can’t believe where the time is going. One minute they were just babes in arms and now the youngest is at middle school, and we are preparing for my eldest to start high school!

I think sometimes we’re so busy working towards their next milestones that we forget to live in the moment and capture their progressions.

Do you ever see them do something which makes you stop in your tracks?

I know my children do that to me on occasions. It makes me pause and absorb that very moment.

I also came across it in the studio a couple of weeks ago when I was photographing a family. I had posed them and got my shot and then quietly asked the children to tickle their parents. The results were brilliant and when I was going back through them afterward this one image stood out and gave me gooses bumps….you know that moment when you laugh and you turn to your most favourite people. I’d captured it and now they’ve got that memory….forever!

When was the last time you and your family were all photographed together?

Don’t leave it too long….believe me when I say, they grow up far too quickly.

Have a great week,

Jemma xx

If you would like to book in for a family portrait session call me on 07810 516 283

Does your Business really need Professional Photographs?

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A few weeks ago I opened my inbox to a company asking me to photograph some of their products. I’ve seen the company in question’s work over the last couple of years and absolutely love what they do so I didn’t hesitate and got on the phone to them straight away. I went through the in’s and out’s of what I could do for them, did they require studio or a location etc and then it got to that inevitable question….how much?

Living in a small town I would hate to feel that people think I’m over charging them, I invest heavily in my business so I can buy new equipment and of course I have studio overheads, so when it comes to pricing I keep it fairly straight forward. I have an hourly rate and then a price per download. I don’t think I’m over priced, the price would also have included travel and realistically even though I was only there for an hour it would have wiped out my whole morning, but it seemed in this case the customer did think I was a little too pricey.

So it got me thinking – is there a need for photography in a business or is it a sheer luxury?

There aren’t many companies that will want to go without having any photos. They may think it’s an expense that they could do without, they may have a go at doing it themselves or use stock photos, they may think that their money can be spent better elsewhere….or can it?

I truly believe that every business in every sector should budget and invest in a professional photographer.

About 12 months ago I had a client ring me. At the time they were taking their staff photos on their mobile phones which was fine for what they needed it for, but when it came to having literature produced the designer they were working with suggested that it was now time for them to invest and have their photos taken professionally. This resulted in a panicked phone call. I remember that I was part way through photographing a posh clothing line when I had to stop what I was doing, change my lighting set up and photograph the staff members as they needed the images edited and ready to go to print by the end of the week! I’m pleased to say that I got it all done for them and resumed photographing my posh clothing line until late in the evening.

 

Like most photographers I like to pass the time looking at photographs. I like photos that stop me in my tracks, I like my clients to push me and like to create a unique photo that is just for them, not just a run of the mill headshot, but images that will make them stand out from their competitors. I think because I put so much time listening to my clients requirements and creating lovely photos for them that when I’m scrolling through the likes of LinkedIn one of my big bugbears is people being photographed standing against the office wall, with a big shadow behind them. Now I appreciate that it may not be feasible to have all members of staff photographed, but it is definitely worth investing in the key members of staff. I remember reading somewhere that the headshot is the new handshake, therefore this could be your first introduction to a potential client – don’t skimp on that first impression!

Your clients want to know you, they want to know who they’re dealing with. Stock photos have their place and are easy when you don’t have much time on your hands or simply feel that a photoshoot isn’t an option. I’ve had clients that have used stock photos initially and overtime felt that their websites needed to be more personable. They’ve got me in because they want their clients to know them, they want them to know the team and they want them to know their products.

Professional photos are a great asset to your business. I always ask my clients to think about how they would like to use their photos over the next 12-24 months. Not only are we now able to market ourselves on our websites, but we have a vast social media platform with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. Photos can be used to make all of these platforms more engaging.

I’m always impressed at how a Virtual PA friend of mine uses her photos. She posts frequently on Twitter and seemingly has a different photograph of herself in each of her posts. They are either of her alone or of her engaging with a client, but in these individual posts, she makes each photo relevant to the message that she is trying to get across.

So now this leads me to ask you again….does your business really need professional photographs? I hope this time the answer is a big YES! 🙂

How To Achieve A Great Headshot

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I am an avid networker, I stand up at least every other week and tell my clients and my potential clients why they need to have their headshot done or redone, but its only just dawned on my I’ve never shared it on my blog.

So here it goes…. Love it or loath it a headshot is now a necessity for your business, the headshot is the new handshake, it’s your clients first introduction to you and your business and we all know how important first impressions are. Whether you’re employed or self employed, people buy from people and your potential clients want to know who they’re doing business with.

Some people may question why it’s important to have a professionally taken headshot when they have a perfectly good DSLR or Smartphone so that they can take one themselves.  Selfies have there place. They are great for a night out with your girl pals and they can sit nicely on your personal Facebook page, but that’s where they must stay!

I have two sister friends of mine, both in the same industry and extremely qualified in their field, but on looking at both of their profiles on LinkedIn one of the sisters headshot had been taken professionally and the other sisters profile picture had been taken at an event looking a bit squiffy with a glass of wine in hand….this is a BIG No, No! Lets go back to that first impression again, is this the impression that you want to  give?

On the other hand, you may have a fancy DSLR, a white wall and maybe you, your partner or colleague may fancy themselves as a bit of a pro. I’ve seen this situation so many times on LinkedIn and it makes me cringe. The subject is stood too close to the wall so there’s no depth to the photograph, due to the indoor lighting conditions the flash pops up and you end up with a big shadow cast across your face and on the wall behind…..sound familiar? It doesn’t capture you in the best light, at your best angle, and it certainly doesn’t capture that perfect expression. All it does is makes you look unprofessional, and as a result it makes your business look substandard.

A good headshot can make a massive difference to whether people do business with you. You don’t get second chances to make a first impression, so make sure you show yourself in your best possible light, especially when you are likely to often be “meeting” people for the first time online.

 

A question I get asked is when does a headshot need to be updated?

As a rule of thumb if your appearance has changed recently, if you have changed hair styles/colour or if you have lost or gained weight then your headshot needs to be updated.

We have a saying in my networking group which is know, like and trust. It really is so worthwhile building a good relationship with your photographer, give them an insight to you and you will reep the rewards in your final images. I make a point of getting to know my clients, to have a knowledge of their business, this gives me an indication of how to direct their photoshoot, whether it should be a professional serious headshot or an approachable ‘working for you’ style shoot. By the day of their shoot I have a story board waiting for them of all the shots I want to try with them, this visual also helps my clients, it puts them at ease. One thing I’ve started to ask my clients to do is to do a Pinterest board for me. This helps them to be prepared before the shoot, it can help them think about what clothes to wear, how they should wear their hair and also helps them to think about props and poses.

I also give my clients a little guide as to what works and doesn’t work. For instance I try to ask my female clients not to wear a blouse, they look lovely but can pull at the bust, I also ask them to avoid patterns, I’ve nothing against them, but it can make that profile picture date more quickly as patterns change from season to season.

All in all it really is worth paying to have your headshot done professionally. We are all experts in our own industries, a professional photographer has had the training, has the knowledge and has the equipment which will bring out the very best in your skin tones and will add that glint in your eye. As a professional I spend time with you positioning you in certain ways, I chat to you helping you feel relaxed, and finally produce a headshot which makes you look amazing, approachable, friendly, yet professional.

Please don’t put off having your headshot taken, you’re not perfect, but neither is the next person. The best thing you can do for your business is differentiate yourself from your competitors and stand out from the crowd.

If you got this far, thank you for reading!

And as always….helping you and your business make a statement without saying a word,

Jemma