These are just some of the things that people say when we start discussing photography for their business. Whether it's a simple headshot or a portfolio of images to use on your website and social media, I will work with you to understand your business and what you'd like from your photos, as well as calm any fears you may have.
I don't want you to just take my word for it - I have worked with a number of businesses around Windsor and Berkshire, from those running their own home-based business to larger companies - and I have interviewed two recent clients to find out how taking professional photos felt for them.
Josie Wareing is a Nutritional Therapist whose business, Live to Thrive, offers personalised nutrition with an honest approach and an emphasis on education. And Michaela Spear runs Spear Reflexology, a small holistic treatments practice whose main focus is on foot and facial reflexology with additional treatments such as pregnancy massage, manual lymph drainage and abdominal sacral massage.
I find it really inspirational to work with businesses, seeing them going from strength-to-strength. There's a real passion in the businesses I work with! When I asked Josie what she enjoys most about running her own business, she told me "That I get to educate people in my passion for nutrition and make a real difference to their health outcomes."
Running your own business whilst challenging and demanding, is also very rewarding and flexible. It's the flexibility that Michaela really values: "I love the flexibility my business gives me around my children and life in general. I enjoy meeting new people all the time and making new connections."
Your website and social media pages are your shop-front - it's often the first place people interact with your business. First impressions count and professional photos show that you mean business, are professional and give your potential clients confidence in you. The right images can assure your clients that you are friendly and approachable.
I asked Michaela and Josie why they chose to have professional images taken for their business. Michaela explained "There are many therapists and other businesses in the area and I noticed they all tend to use similar pictures from the web. I wanted to capture essence of what I do, making sure that the pictures I use not only look nice but they represent the true image of my treatments."
Josie was rebranding and needed images she could use on her website and when featuring as a guest blogger on nutrition sites: "I rebranded my business and wanted some professional shots which incorporated food. I think professional shots stand out much more."
Another local business warns against downloading images you find on the internet, "I naively downloaded images that I found on Google relating to my area of business. I genuinely didn't realise that these images were copyrighted and that I shouldn't be using them. The company that owned the copyright found out I was using them and sent me an expensive bill for using them without permission."
Although you can purchase stock photography, it can often cost as much, if not more, than a dedicated photo session for your business. The added benefit of a shoot for your business is that it will be specifically planned around your brand and its values, and is unique photography that no one else will be using.
For any commercial booking, whether it's a headshot or a full portfolio of images, I will start with a consultation to plan the images you'd like for your business. For a headshot, this may be a quick discussion on the values you're hoping to convey (friendly, professional, smart, fun, quirky, etc) as well as background colours you'd like and what to wear.
When I worked with Josie, she was after slightly more than a standard headshot, wanting to incorporate food into her images. I had worked with Josie on her branding and logo, so we chose a setting and clothing that was neutral, then incorporated her brand colours through the colours of food involved.
Michaela was looking for a unique portfolio of images that showcase the variety of treatments she offers, from facial reflexology to maternity massage. We discussed the look she wanted for them, keeping them bright, fresh and clean to suit her brand. The photos would be taken in her treatment room and I planned the lighting to give the right feel to them.
During your consultation we'll also discuss what to wear. Clothing advice depends on the look you're aiming for and the message you'd like to convey. For example, in Josie's case we kept clothing neutral to bring focus to the brand colours in the props, whereas in Michaela's case, we stuck to clothing she'd usually wear to give a treatment. For a more creative or quirky business, we might add colour to your clothing. In any case, I would advise you to dress how you would when meeting a new client - after all your website and social profile is often the first time they will see you.
Let me tell you a secret - me too! - I'd much rather be behind the camera than in front of it. I always tell my clients this makes me the perfect photographer for people who hate having their photo taken as I know exactly how it feels! I'll help you relax and keep it natural. I'll also give you tips on how to pose to look your best.
I'm glad that both Michaela and Josie felt I put them at ease. Michaela said "The photo session was fun. I'm not someone who enjoys being in front of the camera and Abi understood this.", while Josie explained "It was a fun process and Abi made me feel totally at ease. She gave clear direction which meant that we got some great shots in a really short space of time."
You don't even have to look at the camera if you don't want to! Your session will be tailored to you and your business and I'll ensure you feel comfortable throughout. A recent client, osteopath Juliet Hartis said "Thank you so much Abi! Wonderful pictures! I really appreciated the time you took on the day and how easy and comfortable you made it all."
If you run a business, however big or small, professional photography can make a huge difference to your clients' first impression.
Hopefully this has convinced you that it will be totally painless, but if you still have any doubts, I offer a free telephone consultation. I'm more than happy to chat through how images could help your business, along with what to wear and tips to help you relax in front of the camera.
It's a real privilege for me to work with local businesses, plan the right imagery for them and see them grow. Josie & Michaela's businesses are going from strength-to-strength, so I asked them for their advice for anyone starting their own business. Josie said "Be authentic, set intentions and be true to your values."
Michaela's advice is to "Stick to your working schedule, plan a day off and try to use it to recharge your batteries. Running your own business is tough. Network and get to know other business owners in your area. It is always nice to collaborate or just have an occasional coffee together."
To find out more about Josie and Michaela, please visit: