A professional online presence is crucial for small businesses. And whether they’re for your website, social media channels, printed marketing materials or PR opportunities – high-quality photographs of yourself (as the small business owner) are an absolute must.

But hiring a photographer is a significant investment for a small business. So how do you ensure that you end up with photographs you love?

I am delighted that Tina Bolton, founder of Tina Bolton Photography is here to share her expert advice on how to have a successful, stress-free photoshoot! (And having recently had my professional pictures taken by Tina, I can confirm that she really knows her stuff! Tina was full of fabulous ideas, great at making me feel relaxed and I had 100% confidence in her). Over to Tina:

You need to stand out from the crowd

It’s that stage. Your business image needs to be ‘out there’ in order to reassure and attract new business.

Do potential customers really need to know what you look like? Surely your results speak for themselves? Well, yes, they do to an extent. But in the highly competitive internet arena, what will make you and your business stand out from the crowd?

High-quality photography projects a professional image

Clients and customers naturally look more favourably on a business which has invested time, effort and money into a professional online image. People buy from people, fact. By presenting a professional, approachable and personable image, you’ve given yourself a head start. Don’t believe me? Go and take a look at some of your favourite businesses online, they’ll have excellent imagery.

Find the right photographer for you

Worried you’ll look awkward or cheesy? Not if you plan your shoot carefully. Your starting point is to first decide (as the business owner) on what kind of personality/image you want to project in your photographs. Choose a photographer whose style you like the look of. Talk to fellow business people and find out who they used, then check out their photographs to make sure you like them.

Agree a brief upfront

Your next step is to have an in-depth discussion with your chosen photographer and agree a brief. Be sure to cover the following:

– The reason for the photoshoot
– Your business and types of clients or customers you wish to attract
– Send examples of photography you like & explain why it appeals (e.g., the light, colour, personality etc…)
– Your budget and what’s included in the shoot, such as editing, number of images etc.*
– Your outfits(s) for the shoot
– Types of shots you need taken

Be open to suggestions

A good photographer will be able to make suggestions and creative ideas based on your brief, they may even suggest changes in order to enhance your ideas. Be clear, and open minded – sometimes these ideas are well-worth trying.

My advice is to always ‘work it baby’ – switch on that lightbulb smile, channel your inner successful entrepreneur and give it your all. Ignore the voice inside your head which is giggling at you for doing so! Listen to your photographer – they should be confidently directing you in front of the camera to ensure you do look your best.

Make sure you’re happy with the end result

Finally – sit back and enjoy the images, you’ve worked hard to achieve them. However, if you feel that they don’t quite hit the mark, talk to your photographer, stating why. They should be more than happy to edit or reshoot to your satisfaction.

Quick tips for a successful photoshoot

1. Prior to the shoot, have a final discussion with your photographer to ensure there are no surprises!
2. Check the weather forecast. If your shoot needs to be outdoors, make a contingency plan with your photographer.
3. How do you ensure you look good in the photos? Make an effort with your appearance. Consider having hair and/or make-up done professionally too.
4. Accept that you are going to be photographed – pulling faces and moaning that you don’t look good in pictures will ensure that you won’t look good in the pictures!

* A point to note: Professional photographers will issue a ‘Licence’ for you to use their images on a business basis. They do not, as a rule, hand over the copyright. Check how long the licence is for (perpetual for this kind of work is normal).

BIO:
Tina Bolton is an award-winning photographer based in Hampshire. Her photographs have been published in The Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, Fabulous Magazine, Junior, Black and White Photography and Digital Camera magazines. Tina’s work has appeared in bestselling non-fiction books by authors including Desmond Morris and Janey Lee-Grace. She has also been featured on the BBC and Channel 5. www.tinabolton.co.uk

Tina Bolton of Tina Bolton Photography