Why I do what I do

It’s January and the beginning of the new working year. I’m not good at resolutions – why commit to something only in January when you should really be doing it all year round?

However, even though I don’t believe in new year resolutions, this year I’ve vowed to do one thing a little differently. In my business, at least, anyway.

I know what I do and the single most important reason why I do it but I have never really ‘put it out there’, nor have I ever specified to my clients why I truly want to help them in their businesses.

I’m a freelance corporate commercial photographer and I service other businesses to make them look good. But why do I want them to look good? Why should I care what they look like anyway? If they hire me and pay me, that’s a job well done, right?

Wrong! This type of attitude means I don’t care about my work, my clients nor their businesses. I don’t nurture them.

My goal to achieve the right results for each client is driven from the desire to see everyone look the best they can in their respective competitive markets. It will be their point of difference and hence, what makes them stand out and be chosen over another business who doesn’t look as great.

I am so over seeing mug-shot-style or selfie profile photos of highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals which don’t reflect the value they’re worth. I am so over seeing poor quality, badly lit and unflattering product photos on e-commerce websites and print marketing material which look like they’ve been taken by a toddler with a Polaroid.

I want to see businesses look GOOD. It’s the reason my profession exists at all!

I advise my clients on personal presentation targeted to attract their audience. I use suitable posing to enhance or disguise features and I employ clear and definite professional lighting techniques to produce glossy, professional photographs to highlight the subject. If the brief gets creative, then that’s when I really come alive.

I love to see businesses flourish and their perceived value increased. I love contributing to their brand and seeing the results the improvements generate. This means my clients’ businesses are evolving and growing and it’s a great satisfaction knowing that I had a part in that.

So, if you made a resolution this year to improve your business, start by improving the quality of your photos. Create a better impression by making yourself, your people, and your products look good. I want you to look good! Your presentation will determine your value and establish the human element behind your business. After all, people don’t deal with businesses, people deal with people.

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“What should I wear for my Corporate Portrait?”

This is one of the more common questions I get asked when a client books a corporate portrait session.

The answer varies but a few important rules don’t. Assuming that you don’t wear a uniform in your business, in which case, there’s your answer, you have to ask yourself two main questions: “Who’s my market and what’s my message to them?”

A profile image gives you the opportunity to connect with your market on several levels and in your photo, a good idea is to mirror your clients and prospects. What do they wear? How do they present themselves?

The philosophy is that we want to see ourselves in the people we do business with. So if you want to communicate with the high end CEO, a well tailored suit, a tie for the gentlemen, a simple neckline and understated jewellery for the ladies, will propel you straight to their office door.

If your business caters for the building sector, for example, the whole corporate attire may be unnecessary but a casual business look would be more appropriate. The gentlemen can loose the tie and the ladies can tone down the suit but one important principle still remains even here: you have to come across as professional.

A few important points to always keep in mind, regardless of what you wear in your photograph, your clothing has to be neat, without creases, it must fit well and be suitable to your body shape and you must feel comfortable in it. Remember that your outfit will also reflect your personality. I can’t stress enough the importance of liking what you wear, otherwise, uncertainty may come across in your photo.

Now, the last and most important thing to ALWAYS wear in your corporate portrait is a sincere SMILE. A good photographer can coax it out of you and will be able to show you and compare different expressions in your photos to choose the best one to suit the final use of your image.

But that’s for another post.

For professional corporate styling, consult a specialised stylist who can advise on what colours best match your skin tone and what styles suit your corporate image: http://mycolourmystyle.com.au/

 

 

What you should start thinking about after Father’s Day.

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Once Father’s Day is done and dusted (psst…it’s this weekend!) it’s a countdown to Christmas!

We make no apology for the early reminder but the truth is that the earlier you organise the office Christmas party, the more likely you are of getting your first choice at everything from the classiest venue being available on the date you want to your favourite DJ to provide the moves-busting soundtrack to your night.

The same goes for the entertainment. In past years, the ever so popular photo booth has been revived and has made regular appearances at many parties and celebrations, from weddings to the office Christmas party. Whether it’s a traditional box photo booth or one of the new open air variety, a photo booth can provide instant entertainment for guests at the event as well as lasting, hilarious memories from the night.

It’s time to start organising your end of year soiree so ask us about a FUN open air photo booth for your corporate Christmas party.

Book before the 31st October, 2015 for a complementary upgrade to a Christmas themed prop box.

Book a minimum four hour package and receive a complimentary guest book, valued at $130. *Conditions apply.  Click here to enquire.

Why I love shooting people and get away with it!

The greatest satisfaction I get from shooting (okay, photographing) people, is the joyous “Oh my God, that looks great!” response I get from my clients about their corporate photos, almost in disbelief. That’s just when they view them images on the back of the camera, even before they see the finished product!

I know most people hate getting their photo taken and that’s why we see either less than average, or no photos at all on people’s online profiles. Because they feel that they won’t look good in a corporate portrait, many don’t see the value in getting a shot professionally done.

I say, have trust in your professional corporate photographer. Chances are, if they’ve been working in the industry for longer than 15 years, they would have been classically trained in the techniques of posing and lighting and began their training and careers in the days when it was important to get it right in camera, without resorting to manipulation in the digital darkroom – Photoshop.

In my job, 70% of my time entails interacting with people to make them feel comfortable about being photographed, 5% is the actual shoot and 25% is post production. Whether the interacting includes a consultation before the shoot, either over the phone or in person, or just getting to know them for the first time when we meet for the shoot, I need to be a people person and help them break away from the preconceived notion of phobia towards the photographer.

Once we’ve had a bit of a chat and they relax into the shoot, I give them some directions for posing and we’re underway. We’ll have a bit of a laugh because that pose feels no way natural, we’ll shoot some more and then I show them the results. For me, that’s when the magic happens. Just to see their faces light up in almost disbelief that the person in the image is them is priceless. At this point I know we’re good and I have a happy client.

Sure my clients look good but the most important thing I can do when shooting people is making them feel good about the way they look which gets me off the hook and then they actually like me.

It’s vital to make my clients feel at ease while they are being photographed. By talking, laughing and having a joke with them, I ensure that they are relaxed and can give me the best version of themselves for the camera.

This client kept putting her shoot off, most likely out of fear that she wouldn’t like the results. After a bit of direction, lots of fun and a tiny bit of effort, she was thrilled with her photos.

 

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Why your Smartphone doesn’t cut it for your business head shot

Two words – Focal Length.
What is Focal Length, you ask? Putting it simply, focal length determines how much magnification a lens provides. A lens with a shorter focal length will show a wider view of a subject and a lens with a longer focal length shows a narrower view of that subject but at a higher magnification.
It is a classic rule of photography that when photographing tightly cropped portraits, in this case a head and shoulder shot for your business website and LinkedIn profile, best results are achieved with longer focal length lenses, minimum 85mm and up. This is because longer focal length lenses compress the distance between the camera and the subject, resulting in more flattering facial features for portraits.
Smartphones typically have fixed focal length lenses with an angle of view of about 60% which is roughly the equivalent of a 35mm lens on a full frame DSLR. This is ample for taking snapshots for your next Facebook post but won’t necessarily highlight your best features for your professional corporate portrait.
Unless you’re fond of distorted facial features, more commonly a rather large, protruding breathing apparatus, aka, your nose, then steer clear of smartphones for head shots.
Besides, your precious time is best spent on what you do best – your business!
Individual corporate portraits cost less than what you may think. So for peace of mind that the correct focal length lens that will make you look good is used, plus the added bonus of knowing that lighting and posing are also taken care of, enquire with me to update yours today!

Why I can’t make you look like Brad Pitt…(or Marilyn Monroe).

Because Brad Pitt doesn’t have YOUR awesome personality!
When business people come to the studio for a corporate portrait I often get asked to make them look like a Hollywood superstar. The truth is that through a profile image on a web site or print material, what business people should be communicating to clients and prospects is their PERSONALITY.
People buy from who they know, like and trust. Chances are that when a prospect sees an image of you for the very first time they don’t quite know you. But that image may determine whether they come to like and trust you.
So for that very important reason – TRUST – I can’t make you look like someone you’re not.
I don’t like to manipulate corporate portraits much through retouching because in finally meeting your prospect in person, they need to feel secure that they already know you, or a have a fair idea of your personality and should be able to trust you.
If you displayed a photo of Brad Pitt, they expect to meet Brad Pitt. Then they meet the real you and might feel some distrust in their approach to you. NOT how you want to start a business relationship!
So next time you need to update your corporate portrait, keep in mind that what people want to see is YOU. Be yourself and be honest, remembering that your photo needs to portray your PERSONALITY.

If you feel it’s time to sit under the spotlight and need some advice about how to best represent your personality in a photograph, please enquire with Francesca from Stilz Fotografika on 9680 9823 or francesca@stilz.com.au

To Stock or Not to Stock?

In our highly visual, modern and very competitive business world, will generic stock photography individualise and most importantly, personalise your company’s image enough to outclass your competition and impress your prospects?

The debate is whether to make use of generic stock photos purchased from global online image banks or rather, have a customised portfolio of corporate and commercial photography of your actual business, staff and products, professionally produced through a commercial photography studio.

Successful companies have known the answer for some time now. When prospects are introduced to a business through marketing and advertising, be it through a web site or printed material, consumers expect to see an accurate and realistic representation of the business. A picture does tell a thousand words. Just how that picture is created and who or what is the subject is vital to establishing the right first impression to do the business justice.

Investing in a personalised collection of photographs for the business will give the business owner creative direction to determine how the company is presented to the public. It also introduces real and actual people, rather than models who have little personal connection with the company.

A common objection to this however, is the misconception that people are not photogenic. This misconception is often due to the less than impressive images people sometimes see of themselves when photographed with an average snap shot camera, or nowadays, a smart phone or tablet. These cameras have limited lighting capabilities, a key element of professional photography.

Another important element is posing and this is an essential skill which contributes immensely to the final result. An inexperienced amateur may not be aware of certain angles and poses that suit a subject best. 

This is where the skills of a professional photographer come into play, initially by being able to make people feel at ease by forgetting that they are being photographed. This results in a much more relaxed atmosphere and much more comfortable subject. Secondly, the professional studios are equipped with the correct specialised lighting equipment. Coupled with the photographer’s skill and knowledge of photographic posing techniques, the subject’s aesthetic features may be enhanced and flaws may even be disguised. So trust that the professional studios know what they are doing and the ‘photogenic’ misconception will be eliminated.

What is the benefit in photographing a business’s actual staff and employees over choosing a stock image of models crowded around a computer monitor or laughing while in deep conversation on a conference call? (How many times have you seen those shots?)

The great benefit is that prospects can already begin to relate with the business and when they meet these people in the flesh at their appointment, they feel like they know the people representing this business already. The friendly, familiar faces (not the generic models) can also begin to instil trust in the prospect that the business is fair dinkum.

Using photographs of the company’s actual people, products and premises also contributes to the company’s branding. Again, prospective customers can identify the people or products as belonging to a unique organisation. Use of personalised imagery also guarantees that no two businesses are using the same stock images in their advertising, therefore confusing branding.   

Taking the time to plan a brief and organise a photographic shoot with a professional studio may be a worthwhile investment for a business to boost the first impression and personalise the company’s image.