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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

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

 

 

Calling All Nail Techs…. A Guide To Nail Photography

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When I was scrolling on social media the other day I was amazed by how many people I know are nail technicians. Some are more established nail artists and some are just starting out and finding their feet with it all, but one thing stood out and that was the photography. All of these masterpieces need to be photographed and showcased to engage with their clients, create their brand awareness and generate new business.

As a professional photographer one thing I don’t like to give away after a portrait sitting is a digital download. There is one main reason for this, I have no control over the outcome. They could have a canvas hanging on their lounge wall which they’ve just had printed somewhere inferior, but when asked they will put my name to it. That canvas may have been printed at Tesco’s or Asda and I don’t want any association with that canvas….I want to be in complete control of my images and you should be in control of yours. If you ask your clients to take a quick photo when they get chance and they upload it onto social media on your behalf, those nails represent you, you need those photos to be the best that they can be, they could make you but they could also break you, are you willing to take that risk?

Here I’m going to go through a few basics of how at the end of every appointment you can photograph those masterpieces, put them on your own social media, get the WOW factor and therefore generate more clients.

Cameras – I know some nail techs will have a super duper cameras and some will simply just have their smartphones – and there’s nothing wrong with either. Smartphones are brilliant, and the new iPhone gives a beautiful bokeh (depth of field) which when doing close up work will only enhance your masterpieces. I have a Samsung S6 I tend to use the Pro setting on the camera. To do this go to the camera, you will see three small dots above the shoot button, press the first dot and this will take you to the Pro settings. Once there you can change your ISO and your shutter speed, I would tend to use an ISO between 200 & 800, the darker the room the higher the ISO number. If you don’t like your built in camera you can always download a camera app which will also let you have more control over your settings. My favourite at the moment for this is ‘Camera FV-5 Lite’, it’s a manual camera app which gives you more control over your images. One thing I would say though if you are going to use your smartphone, make sure it’s in good working order. You can have the best manicure and the best lighting but this won’t matter if the device you’re using is no good, also make sure that the lens is clean.

Lighting – When it comes to lighting, use what you’ve got whether that be natural light or using your lamps. A piece of white card won’t go a miss either as it will reflect light back on to those beautiful nails. If you are using natural light, just be aware of glare from the sun. Too much light can result in a lack of definition so some detail may be lost.

Posing – When it comes to showcasing those nails it is a necessity to pose the hands, this is really important. You’ve just spent the best part of 2 hours creating these nails, you need the hand to be in such a position that you can see the complexities of the manicure or the artwork that you’ve produced.  Get in nice and close to the nails, ask your client to move their hand away from there body, put the base of their hands so they are touching and bend their fingers, this will produce a claw like pose and is very effective when showcasing the nails. It also makes the nails the main focus of the photograph and adds a bit of depth to your images. You could also add a prop, I’m not sure if it’s just the season but I love a bit of texture at the moment, and some of the images that I love are photographed simply against the clients cuffs or you could ask your client to hold the bottle of polish that you have just used. These will be a fairly natural positions and comfortable for the client.

Thank you for reading, I have included some images of nail photography that will really show off your manicures and I feel really work. To view them just follow the link at the end of this article.

If you would like more hints and tips from me please get in touch on 07810516283 or email me enquiries@jhphotos.co.uk

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jemmalhancock/nails/

There are so many benefits to sending out a personalised Christmas card, it says ‘We Care’!!

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  1. Will you be sending out a corporate Christmas card this year?

Sending a Christmas card is one of our traditions. You are sending seasonal wishes, and this essentially lets your clients know that they are important to you and that you are thinking of them .

There are so many benefits to sending out a personalised Christmas card, but the main one is that it says ‘Thank you for your custom’.

Did you know that it’s 7 times easier to keep hold of a client than it is to gain a new one? It doesn’t matter if you’re a big or small company, look after your clients, let them know that you’re thinking of them, and make them feel loved!!

Email me at enquiries@jhphotos.co.uk if you’d like to know more

Saving time and money by looking what’s on your doorstep!!

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A couple of days ago I had a phone call from a lady from one of our local banks. Her role within the company had changed and she needed a new headshot to go with her new appointment. The trouble was that they wanted her to travel to a photographer 2 1/2 hours away and over 100 mile drive!! She needed it for a couple of days time so travelling this far was unrealistic so she started ringing round the local photographers. Some were charging an hour sitting fee, plus additional cost for the download, which considering she literally had a half hour window, with a 15 minute shooting time was very unrealistic. As I took photos at one of the local performing schools of her daughter, she got in touch with me asking if headshots was something that I did…..YES….there loss and my gain!!

From experience I always tell my clients to avoid blouses (us women and our busts – they never sit right!!) and opt for a dress, or a smart top, not too dressy and plain in colour so they don’t look fussy on LinkedIn etc. After going through what clothes were most suitable and which backgrounds would be preferable, I told her my costs per download and we scheduled her to come in in a couple of days time.

So, this morning she came in, I had half an hour to have a chat, put her at ease and get the headshot session done before she had to be at her next meeting. The images have been cropped, lightly edited and in the time it has taken me to write this have been sent to her, for her to choose between seeing clients a selection for me to carry on editing (brightening eyes, teeth & a little skin softening), by the end of the day she will have her final image downloaded on her device. Easy. And all she had to do was to walk across the road.

 

 

 

Headshots

The importance of a good headshot

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“I just want to lose a bit of weight before having my headshot taken”

 

“I hate having my photograph taken”

 

“I’m just not comfortable in front of the camera”

 

 “I’ve got a wonky nose, it looks awful in photographs”

 

“Can you make me look thinner”

 

Believe me, I’ve heard them all!! There isn’t a good time for a lot of things but as my lovely friend *Alison Bradford Business Coach always says, sometimes the worse thing you can do is put things off and I am a true believer in that! I am no way near a model, I would love to be a couple of stones lighter, hair to be glossier, and face to be thinner, I’m no way near a Kardashian….I’m a real person in the real world and as a business person I need to introduce myself to my potential clients and the best way to do that is via social media. A headshot is the new handshake, its your potential clients first introduction to you and your business, and we all know how important first impressions are. When I look through peoples profile pictures on LinkedIn one of my big bugbears is a selfie, please, please, please do not put a selfie of yourself on your business pages or even worse, please don’t put a photo of yourself and your friends on a night out! Now your potential clients know that you love a night out and love a drink which equates to a ‘not such a great first impression’!

 

A good headshot is all about good lighting, and I have good lights! I also make a great coffee to, so we can sit down and have a chat about what it is that you want to achieve from your headshot. Are you in the corporate world or more in the holistic industry? Either way we’ll sit down, have a chat and come up with the perfect shot that will make you look professional and get you noticed to your potential clients. Think your face is a little tubby? I have a technique for that. Think your nose is a little crooked? I have a technique for that too.

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. I help your potential clients take your brand seriously and those who represent you by showing your quality and leadership skills in a professional manner.

I help you tell your story….

 

If you have any questions about individual headshots or team headshots in the Staffordshire area, then please get in touch at enquiries@jhphotos.co.uk or 07810 516 283

*Find out more about Alison Bradford Business Coach’s 12 week Masterplan by going to www.alisonbradford.com

From caterpiller to butterfly

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A couple weeks ago I had a message from a lady asking about a graduation photo of her son as he was leaving nursery and had unfortunately missed the nursery photos, plus she also wanted to book in for a family photo session of them all so we were discussing that as well. As the conversation went on, she mentioned how her youngest was really shy. Having 2 children of my own and knowing how shy my youngest used to be, I could completely sympathise with her and it took me back to around 18 months ago when I first met Nicola & Lily.

 

Nicola was pregnant with her second child and she was after a female photographer for a maternity shoot. She also wanted to include Lily in the shoot who was only 2 years old at the time. I absolutely loved the idea of including Lily, as I remember how it felt carrying my second child and how determined I was not to let my eldest feel left out, so I absolutely embraced the idea! At the time she’d not only been messaging me, but also some other local photographers asking us all similar kinds of questions. You know, out of all of the photographers that she was messaging none of them would incorporate Lily in the sitting, she was told that this was two separate packages so she’d therefore she’d have to book in for two sessions, a maternity and a family shoot….how ridiculous! Luckily for me my flexibility paid off and she booked me not just for a maternity sitting but for one of my Bump & Beyond sittings. I love this package! It means that I get to photograph a pregnancy, a new-born baby and I get to photograph them again when baby is just sitting up, 3 times in less than a year…..all them cuddles….is an extra bonus! Nicola had warned me how painfully shy Lily was so a week before the sitting they came in for a drink and a biscuit….a pre session chat! Whilst Nicola & I were chatting away I made sure to engage with Lily as well. She was shy that day, but she told me that she liked Peppa Pig, luckily for me I have a Dvd player in the studio and 2 children who also used to adore Peppa Pig, so I promised Lily that I’d bring her the Peppa Pig Dvd in especially for their session. This helped enormously. Whilst I was photographing mum Lily could watch the Dvd, but she was also right there to come running into the shoot to have her photograph taken with Nicola, and we really did get some lovely shots of them both!

I’ve now photographed Lily and her family 4 times in the last 18 months, and believe me she’s no longer the shy toddler that came in for juice and a biscuit when she comes in anymore. She has the most beautiful red curls and I absolutely adore photographing her, it also just goes to show that it doesn’t hurt to bend the rules sometimes or simply put, it doesn’t hurt to be accommodating as I also like to think of it….so do you have a shy toddler, a Velcro baby? With a little coaxing I’m sure we can turn that little caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly!

 

Thank you for reading,

 

Jemma x

 

Well hello there!!

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Well Hello There!! I’m Blogging!!


If like me you have children and were off on your Holibobs last week you’ll have been running round like a headless chicken this week, picking up where you left off before you went away & catching up with everything that came in whilst you were away!

It was a busy time before we went on holiday. Not only did my new website go live but I also had a lot of editing to do. My youngest son is part of Rooftop Studios in Stone and as they have their show coming up I was asked to photograph the groups and individuals which was so much fun but it needed a quick turnaround, which I’m pleased to say we managed!

For our holiday we went to St Ives and had such an amazing time. My eldest sons Godmother was getting married down there so we spent a lot of the week wedding prepping and catching up with people. The kids had loads of friends to play with, we spent some lovely evenings on the beach, the kids playing in the sea and us watching the sun go down – we made some great memories!

Of course you can’t go somewhere so beautiful without taking photographs. We stayed at Trevalgan Touring Park (www.trevalgantouringpark.co.uk)  which was not only one of the nicest sites that we’ve stayed at but it was only a short walk away from St Ives town. We discovered some beautiful coastal walks, my husband and children are used to us going for walks and it taking forever! I couldn’t help myself, the views were too beautiful not to take any photographs!!

Anyway I hope you’ve enjoyed reading what we got up to, hope you all have a fab week!!