Suzannah Ginders Photography

How To Keep Your Business Photography ON-BRAND

YOUR BRAND, ON-BRAND

Last week I had the pleasure of talking to fellow business owners at The Inspiration Space in Guildford, Surrey about building their brand with on-brand photography. It was a buzzing session with various other branding specialist mentors covering PRKaty Taylor, Graphic Design - Helen Bamborough and Social Media Content - Katy Earley. In my session I covered the following questions and will take some time to recap and elaborate on them in this post.

What is business branding Photography? What can it do for my business? 

How can I prepare for a shoot? How can I take better pictures for my business?

As businesses use visual platforms such as Instagram more and more, the importance of carefully curated and personalised authentic visual content becomes ever more paramount in the bid to stand out. With the channels we use to promote our businesses saturated, the expectations have made a distinct shift upwards, especially for smaller businesses. As this trend develops the viewer has become more discerning in what successful and compelling imagery consists of. As with any advertising, every aspect has to be considered, meticulously curated and on-brand. A feed with content which includes custom images for your business can really give it that edge. Regardless of what the business involves, at the end of the day, people love good photography, the increasing success of Instagram alone is a clear marker of this.

There are a few methods you can utilise to produce content that will highlight your brand; text based posts in your brand font and palette with your logo, mixed with professional branded images of your business, curated stock and if your brave enough then some pictures taken by yourself, can be the key to a really successful feed. At the end of the day there are no rules and making your mark can be about breaking the norm, however, whatever you choose to do; you need to have a consistent approach and be focused, otherwise your brand and messages will be lost. 

ON-BRAND : WHAT?

What is business branding Photography? What can it do for my business?


O  utline your USPs, target market & offering.

N  arrative. Share your story and reach the hearts and minds of your clients.

B  uild your brand identity with images that effectively communicate.

R  ecognition. Build familiarity and awareness of your business with consistent messaging

A  ttract. Tailor your content to your target market and what they love.

N  uture your connection and grow your client base. Develop & refine your message visually.

D  eliver your brand authentically with images that are yours, not generic stock photography.

ON-BRAND : HOW?

How can I prepare for a shoot?

Back to my first point; outline your USPs, target market and offering. To prepare for a shoot the foundations must be laid, your USPs, target market, offering and ideology must be clearly identified as this will form the foundations and inspiration for all of your content. Having this in your mind when you create your images will ensure you don’t miss an opportunity to communicate your brand visually. This is the first step I address with my clients, this understanding is the way I transform their business brand into a visual concept. It is a journey of discovery and will evolve as the business develops so it is always worth asking yourself to define your business at whatever stage you are at. Brand and marketing consultancy Opal & Co specialise in defining brands and guiding them through this invaluable process. The end result is their carefully crafted Brand Blueprint as outlined here.     

The next part is to create a visual campaign that encapsulates all of what your business is about in a way that is engaging to your audience. To do this; commercial understanding, industry specific knowledge and target are key, get creative, turn it on its head, think around the idea of what you are offering, what problem you are solving, what you mean to your clients. If you have a product you can frame it within this context, if you have a service then you need to employ even more of a conceptual approach to communicate your offering.  

In todays content hungry market we are not just focused on one main advert to communicate like the old days, we have the opportunity to share a brand story in a series of images but in doing this, consistency is important and that comes down to the ethos as well as the visual style. People like to feel they know, understand and support the brand they are investing in and its values. 

If you choose to use yourself as the focus of your brand, It is worth remembering that people are looking to you for something, as harsh as it sounds, they are interested in you with regard to what they need from you. Keep that in mind when you communicate and use it to highlight the things about you that support your cause. Keep it on-brand, there is an agenda, stick with it, use it and communicate your offering effectively and consistently. Producing content without a strategy is pretty pointless so pin it down and plan. 

If you use lots of client work as part of your business imagery then curate it in a way which highlights your brand and disperse it among other branded content so your own brand can hold it up and maintain its presence alongside the work. Adding your logo to social media posts which contain images of client work can also go further to reaffirm the brand presence.

How can I take better pictures for my business?

- Semiotics: When constructing your images keep in mind that everything has a meaning to your audience, every object, location, subject matter, mood. Use this along with the context to create the message and frame it within your brand values. It can be simple; some feeds have a theme that is all about visiting places that resonate with an audience and portraying them in a particular mindset or finding cool stuff in their brand palette. Sometimes it can just be a hook into a theme or distinctive visual style.

- Brand palette: Accessorise the image setting with your brand colours and items relevant to your business, scattering these items about in your workspace and even how you dress means when you come to doing those obligatory desk shots, business selfies or a full on professional business branding shoot, you will be subtly and beautifully on-brand. It sounds a bit over the top I know but when you see it working as a whole over all the business imagery it really does look good.

- Background / foreground / focal point: Think about how your images are constructed and ensure you have these areas accounted for. A simple backdrop can make the world of difference to an image as can a nice surface. If you do flat lays then consider purchasing paper backgrounds of textured wood, marble, etc to go underneath. If you do not have a good surface in the light these can be great as you can easily set up anywhere. 

- Find the light: The chances are unless you are particularly into photography you will not be using studio lighting and are more than likely using a phone for your pictures. This means you need to use natural light, never use the phone flash, it will look terrible. Find a spot with brilliant natural light and utilise it, use white card / a sheet to reflect and or defuse the light and maximise it. 

- Meter the environment: When you are setting up the shot use your phones metering system to get the right exposure. Move the phone around to see how it changes the image so it is exposed for the subject you intended not the window behind for instance. With an iPhone you can do this by touching the screen where you would like the exposure to be measured, try selecting the dark, medium and light areas to see how it changes the image. 

- Experiment with perspective: Move around, take shots from different angles and see what works. Take lots of pictures then edit them down to the best after.

- Camera stability: When taking a picture, where possible use something to stabilise your phone, even if it is just resting it in a cup or on a surface. Once you have set up the shot use the timer to take the picture. The resulting image will be sharper. If you are using a digital camera use a tripod when shooting anything slower than a shutter speed of 1/60 to avoid motion blur. Get familiar with the automatic settings that prioritise time or aperture, they are on the camera as AV - aperture value and TV (or S mode, depending on camera brand) - time value, these are great for creative control as a beginner as half the work is done by the camera.

- Rule of thirds: If composing images does not come naturally to you then take a look at the rule of thirds. A google search will arm you with what you need to know. It is a method based around dividing up the image into nine equal parts and then positioning the focal points in the intersections or along the lines. Most phones and cameras have a function where you can turn on a grid to see these guidelines on the viewfinder screen.

- Correct angles or create one: Use apps or the in phone edit function to correct any angles that are not supposed to be there. Keep lines and horizons straight unless it was an intentional slant. Sometimes an otherwise boring image can be brought to life with an angle so try putting one in to jazz it up.  

- Use filters consistently: Choose one filter and or effects process that fits well with your brand. Your social media feed should feel like an extension of your website. You can add filters and effects on the social media apps themselves and or before posting with photo editing apps. Find one process / filter that works and stick with it so everything has the same look. When transitioning to another look do it gradually. For phone photo editing I use Photoshop Express, Tadaa, Litely, Colour Story and Snapseed to name a few. For text based posts Canva and Snapseed are brilliant. These apps are ideal for throw away promotional content for social media and can be used with or without images incorporated. Canva is best for text only posts, you can click the plus button next to the colour selection and enter the exact code for your brand colours, ensuring that consistency throughout your marketing. Canva also has different layouts for the various social media platforms which is very helpful. All these apps are free and although they have some paid features they are extensive enough that this is not needed. 

- Exposure triangle: If you are using a digital camera, take a moment to look at an exposure triangle diagram, this can easily be found on Google search. It is the single most important thing you can know about how to make your camera produce the pictures you want it to. Once you understand the relationship between the three triangle points; ISO, aperture and shutter speed you will have foundations needed to control your camera. Any good beginners photography tutorial on YouTube will cover this. 

- Questions: One of the many practical questions that came up in my session was how to overlay your logo onto your images for use on social media. In order to do this on your phone without having to use desktop software you need to obtain a .png file of your logo. It’s basically a file with a transparent background. There are various apps to do the next bit but Adobe Photoshop Mix would be my preference. The basic app is free, you just need to sign up for an Adobe account to activate it. Then simply email the logo.png to yourself, save it on your phone, open your photo in the app and add the logo as a layer, move it / resize as required and save out into your phone pictures.

There is nothing I love more than to see my tips put into practice and to watch businesses evolve and flourish, so please feel free to tag me if you post something inspired by these words. To keep up with my news and tips in future, follow me over on my various social media platforms, they can be found in the menu on this site.

If you are starting a new business, or are looking to revamp your existing business with shiny new business branded photography, then please do get in touch. I have the technical skill to create any photographic style so we can build your unique business imagery exactly as envisioned. Whether your business involves people, products, services or ideas, I transform ordinary images into stand out, on-brand photography. All my quotes are final and full. There are no hidden costs to be added after the shoot so you can plan your marketing budget with confidence. Head to Commercial to see some of my work and find out more.

CREATIVE CONNECTION


Business Headshot Session in Haslemere, Surrey

YOU, BEING YOU

My business headshot session at Lythe Hill luxury country retreat on 14/03/2018 is ideal for those who need to make a great first impression with a striking, professional studio headshot. Perfect for social media, marketing and website use. The session is brief, relaxed and efficient, designed for those who are busy or just simply don’t particularly relish spending time in front of the camera.

Sometimes all you need is a simple, versatile picture of you, being you; no props, just you. A good headshot brings your name to life and connects you with your audience. My aim is to capture that glimpse of an individual that will really stand out. A picture that effectively represents you and what your about does the talking for you.

To achieve the best possible results, the connection between client and photographer is imperative. I connect with my clients and they connect with their market. 

For more information and to book please visit the Studio Headshot Sessions page.

If you require a more in-depth session, a picture of you in context doing what you do, a commercial shoot of your product, service or a business branding photography package, then please do get in touch for a bespoke quote. I work throughout Surrey, Hampshire, West and East Sussex, London and South East England.

If you are interested but can not make this date, then please contact me and I will keep you informed of future dates. Many Thanks!



YOUR BRAND, ON-BRAND

Get my top tips on the visual side of social media, my fave photo apps and how you can make your business stand out with on-brand content.

I have been super busy the last couple of months, all very inspiring stuff! I have been involved in some brilliant projects, two of the companies I have been working with are just setting up so do stay in tune for the launches of those. Working with businesses in the very early stages is so exciting. I have been able to really get involved in the colour pallet choices, utilising my creative background putting together conceptual ideas for the images, making up shoot mood boards and offering my guidance on the style and content of the images that will become so important to those businesses. 

As businesses use visual platforms such as Instagram more and more, the importance of carefully curated and personalised visual content becomes ever more paramount in the bid to stand out. With the channels we use to promote our businesses saturated, the expectations have made a distinct shift upwards, especially for smaller businesses. As this trend develops the viewer has become more discerning in what successful and compelling imagery consists of. As with any advertising, every aspect has to be considered, meticulously curated and on-brand. A feed with content which includes professional custom images of your business can really give it that edge. Regardless of what the business involves, at the end of the day, people love good photography, the increasing success of Instagram alone is a clear marker of this. At a recent Inspiration Space workshop on social media with Fiona Knowlton of TG Media, we looked at the engagement and use of the various platforms, it was surprising and it is clear; Instagram is where it’s at. If you are a business and you are not on it already, then get involved! Facebook is still a major one for B2C, however, Instagram crosses that boundary and is good for both B2C and B2B, giving those who specialise in B2B like myself, a very exciting platform to make our mark on.

There are a few tips you can utilise to produce good visual content; a mix of text based posts in your brand font and colours mixed with professional branded images of your business, curated stock and if your brave enough then some pictures taken by yourself, can be the key to a really successful feed. If you look around at the feeds which you love, you will likely find this is format they follow. 

Creating your own images may be easier than you think. Once you start thinking in terms of your brand colours and choose one filter from the many available that fits well with them you will be half way there. Having a good camera on your phone can make the difference as to if the images you make yourself are acceptable to use. I use the iPhone 7 plus, the camera is excellent and I would say a camera phone of this calibre is a must for any business. The portrait mode is brilliant for simulating a shallow depth of field, resulting in images that look more professional than your average phone and it works well on so much more than just portraits. You can add filters either on the social media apps themselves or before posting with photo editing apps. Find one that works and stick with it so everything has the same feel. For phone photo editing I use Photoshop Express, Tadaa, Litely, Colour Story and Snapseed to name a few. For text based posts Canva and Snapseed are brilliant. These apps are ideal for throw away promotional content for social media and can be used with or without images incorporated. Canva is best for text only posts, you can click the plus button next to the colour selection and enter the exact code for your brand colours, ensuring that consistency throughout your marketing. Canva also has different layouts for the various social media platforms which is very helpful.

When producing photos for your business, accessorise the setting with on-brand colours and items relevant to your work. Get a bit creative with it and If you are actually in the images then you can even go as far as keeping your clothing in your brand pallet! Sounds a bit over the top I know but when you see it working as a whole over all the business imagery it really does look good. Getting into this mode is also great for when you have your professional shoot as you then have these things available and scattered about helping to make you and your work environment subtly and beautifully on-brand.  

I look forward to sharing more tips and tales in the new year and seeing our businesses develop and thrive. Cheers to a productive 2018! To keep up with my news, follow me over on my various social media platforms, they can be found in the menu on this site.

If you are starting a new business, or are looking to revamp your existing business photography, then please do get in touch.  I have the technical skill to create any photographic style so you can build your business imagery exactly as envisioned. Whether your business involves people, products, services or ideas, I transform ordinary images into stand out, on-brand photography. All my quotes are final and full. There are no hidden costs to be added after the shoot so you can plan your marketing budget with confidence. 


Studio Headshot Sessions at Lythe Hill 15/11/17

Make a great first impression!

My headshot session is ideal for those who need to make a great first impression with a striking, professional studio headshot. Perfect for social media, marketing and website use. It is brief, relaxed and efficient, designed for those who are busy or just simply don’t particularly relish spending time in front of the camera. Set in the beautiful Lythe Hill luxury country retreat in Haslemere, Surrey, you are sure to feel at ease.

For more information and to book please visit the Studio Headshot Sessions page.

If you require a more in-depth session, a picture of you in context doing what you do, or a full package to cover all your business photography, then please do get in touch for a bespoke quote. 

If you are interested but can not make this date, then please contact me and I will keep you informed of future dates. Many Thanks!



What The Clients Say

I connect with my clients and they connect with their market.

I guide my clients through the planning and execution of their shoot. I take time to understand their brand and work with them to formulate the images they wish to achieve. I realise that to attain the best possible results, the connection between client and photographer is imperative. I connect with my clients and they connect with their market. That link and understanding is paramount and is underpinned by my attentive client support. Since setting up Sarah Read Veterinary Physiotherapy based in Milford, Surrey, has gone from strength to strength.

Here is what Sarah had to say about her experience with me;

“I recently set up my own business and Suzannah did an amazing job shooting and editing photographs for my website and marketing materials.

I had a few ideas for the types of shot I was looking for and Suzannah fulfilled the brief to the letter while adding some more great ideas of her own which worked really well.  Suzannah was so calming and professional and really put everyone at ease during the shoot.

Friendly and efficient, Suzannah was so helpful all the way through the process and I am absolutely delighted with the end results, I get lots of positive comments from prospective clients on my photos. I am quite a perfectionist when it comes to promoting my business and I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for professional images.”

If you are starting a new business, or are looking to revamp your existing business photography, then please do get in touch. All my quotes are final and full. There are no hidden costs to be added after the shoot so you can plan your marketing budget with confidence.

To hear more about what my clients are saying please visit Testimonials.


Featured Shoot - Business Startup

Creative Connection; It’s a beautiful thing!

I connect with my clients and they connect with their market.

I love working with businesses and there is nothing quite as magical as the startup. I take great pleasure in being involved in such an exciting time for any business. The moment when two minds come together to create something visually compelling is a beautiful thing. 

Below are some images from a project I have been working on recently for boutique yoga business, RF Yoga based in Godalming, Surrey. 

Here is what Rebecca had to say about her experience with me:

I have been blown away with Suzannah’s attention to detail, her dedication to ensuring the vision I had for my pictures and theme of my website was captured throughout. I cannot recommend her enough to anyone wanting to bring their business to life. I couldn’t be happier.

I use my creative background teamed with my technical qualifications to transform ordinary images into insightful, original, stand out photography. I guide my clients through the planning and execution of their shoot. I take time to understand their brand and work with them to formulate the images they wish to achieve. I realise that to attain the best possible results, the connection between client and photographer is imperative. I connect with my clients and they connect with their market. That link and understanding is paramount and is underpinned by my attentive client support.

I provide a comprehensive service, including retouching and compositing in-house. This keeps full creative control, ensuring the exact specifications we are working towards are preserved throughout the project. My clients maintain direct contact with me from initial brief to delivery. I work tirelessly to achieve perfection within strict deadlines. I am familiar with the challenges that are faced when setting up a business while juggling full-time employment and or childcare. I am happy to do business outside of usual working hours to accommodate for this.

If you are starting a new business, or are looking to revamp your existing business with high quality, creatively inspired photography, then please do get in touch. All my quotes are final and full. There are no hidden costs to be added after the shoot so you can plan your marketing budget with confidence.


My Journey

My Journey
As a child I always painted and made things. At school and college I carried this on; drawing, painting, designing and using linear editing machines to make short films. It was around this time I began constructing shoots using my friends as models for media and art projects.

Throughout my early education, I always excelled in the artistic and subjects that engaged critical thought and social theory. I was and still am, essentially an artist; photography is my chosen form of expression.

I had always had an interest in photography, but it was during my Foundation year at Camberwell College of Arts, I discovered the darkroom and I basically never came out; I would spend most days like a vampire. The whole of my foundation show was photography. From then on, my creativity was all focused on photography and as my technical range grew, my work developed and my love grew from strength to strength. I completed my Foundation and was awarded a Distinction. I then went on to study Photography within a fine art discipline at London Guildhall University, graduating in 2004 with a 1st BA Honours degree.

After leaving university, I longed to take my lense around the world and so I took a 12 month contract working in an office to save up and then went travelling. As well as taking some nice pictures, I also met my husband and now father of our two children.

Immediately upon our return in 2006, I got to work on building up my commercial photography business, then known as Suzannah Lea Photography (my maiden name). We lived in London then and while setting up, I worked simultaneously in various jobs, anything that would fit in with my photography. Every hour outside of the day job was spent shooting, editing and dreaming of the next bit of equipment I could buy. I had many a night editing until the dawn and then would go straight out on my merry way to work. The love of what I do was the thing that carried me through those times, that and coffee! Suit and heels by day, camera by night! I also exhibited and sold work out of a gallery in East Dulwich on the street where we lived.

I worked in various companies, from a small PR agency, to a corporate international communications company and pretty much everything in-between. I have worked in both the public and private sectors. I met some amazing people and got to work on some incredible projects, but for me it was all about getting home to my camera and building up the career I truly love.

Having worked in various environments, I learnt a lot about company culture and the different needs of various sized businesses and sectors. That understanding has carried through to my commercial photography work. It has also given me a broad knowledge of how business works, which has helped me in setting up my own business and helping others do the same when working with startups.

In early 2009, we moved back to my hometown, Haslemere in Surrey, to set up home and start a family and I began to shoot in the Surrey area as well as London. On 22nd of July 2016, I launched a total rebrand of my business under my married name Ginders, to mark my full return to work having previously scaled back during my maternity.

I plan to build and expand my business over the coming years and continue to develop and grow through my photography. I look forward to all the people I shall meet and being part of their journey too. Get in touch! Exciting times.


Associate Accreditation

These beautifully presented certificates arrived this morning, confirming the renewal of my professional Associate qualification, placing me in the top 10% of practitioners. Time to celebrate!

So, it is official! I am a registered member of the SICIP (Society of International Commercial & Industrial Photographers) and have been accredited with an Associateship ABPPA (Associate of the British Professional Photographers Associates). 

The Societies have a strict code of ethics and assessment that is rigidly enforced to ensure the consumer is not only hiring a highly talented photographer, but also one with impeccable business practices. 

All organisations that represent working photographers in the UK have virtually identical structures in their qualifications systems.

A little quote from The Societies of Photographers regarding their Associates;

At this standard, we are viewing images that not only display a high degree of technical ability, but also portray imagination and creativity in execution and presentation. These are important factors that often go hand in hand with higher prices as this qualification is held by the top 10% of practitioners, who coincidentally are often impressive image-makers and astute businessmen.”

It’s really great to be on board with such a prestigious organisation that takes the quality of photography being put out into the world as seriously as I do. 

If you would like to discuss booking a commission for high quality, rich, vibrant and creatively inspired commercial photography, please get in touch

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