UPSCALE YOUR WEBSITE WITH PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY

UPSCALE YOUR WEBSITE WITH PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY

UPSCALE YOUR WEBSITE WITH PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Tips for Clients

Team Portraits
Business Branding
Corporate Headshots

 

Building an engaging website takes time and experimentation. We know as our website here at Tori Soper Photography is always a work in progress.

Between creating blog posts such as this and updating our photo galleries with recent images, maintaining this aspect of our online presence is definitely a commitment and one that has consistently produced results.

With that in mind, here’s a few tips on how we, as Chicago’s leading commercial photography team, can help you create visual content that tells the story of who you are and what you do.

 

AS CONSUMERS WE ARE VISUAL LEARNERS

Most people would categorize themselves as visual learners and this directly affects the way the audience interacts with a website. If the site lacks visual points of interest, viewers will just scroll through and leave the site in a matter of seconds. This creates a higher bounce rate which Google is not a fan of. We’ll get into this in a bit more detail below.

On the other hand, if there is original visual content  including professional photography highlighting your team, products and and the services you offer, you’ll grab your audiences’ attention which will encourage them to spend more time checking out how you can help them solve the problem they are working on.

Here’s an example for you. We all like to place a face to the name. Home buying is an incredibly long and sometimes personal process. We are opening up our finances to a mortgage officer and Realtor in addition to divulging our hopes and dreams as we consider investing our savings into a new home. Having online reviews from past buyers is a huge benefit but having a professional headshot that conveys your authenticity and openness is a must. People trust what they know.

Chicago-corporate-photographer

Using professional photography to highlight your team and leadership.

KEEPING UP WITH THE NEW

Back in the early ’90’s, when the internet was beginning to make it’s way into our daily lives, websites were a basic four-color scheme with various fonts and copy and maybe some clip art. We’ve evolved from this elementary approach and now have the ability to add video, animation, and professional photography.

The technology moves fast and in order to stay attuned to our customers, we need to keep a pulse on how they expect to experience our digital marketing. Whether it’s our social media profiles, e-mail signatures or most importantly, our website, consistently enhancing our branding through professional photography is one way to keep our audiences engaged.

Ensuring our website is fast to load, has new content, is up to date stylistically and effectively uses visuals along with written content shows our audience that we are listening to them and care about their online experience with us.

“It’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.” -Douglas Warner III, Former CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase 

CONTENT IS KING

There is this little company named Google. Perhaps you are familiar. They are the leading search engine in the United States carrying close to 70% of the market as I write this. Google and it’s competitors rely on content to understand what your website is about.  It’s much more complicated than that of course and mastering SEO does involve some magic fairy dust and crossed fingers but it pretty much comes down to, in the words of Bill Gates, “content is king.”

With high-quality written content, your website can attract an audience. With fresh, high-quality visuals including professional photography, you keep your audience. Take this post for example. Of course it’s incredibly well written and you’re on the edge of your seat but if this post were only words on a page, you might just scroll through quickly. Adding in the photos illustrating the services we offer, including corporate headshots, on-location portraits and business branding, tells you everything you need to know about what we do. I might add we cover corporate events, too but that’s a story for another day.

Words are tools. Professional photos are tools. Use them wisely on your website to showcase your talent, engage your audience, keep your content fresh amd capture the best of your brand.

Chicago-corporate-photographer
Chicago-corporate-photographer
Chicago-corporate-photographer
Chicago-corporate-photographer
Chicago-corporate-photographer
Chicago-corporate-photographer
Chicago-corporate-photographer

Our corporate headshots are great for teams and we make it convenient for you by conduction sessions at your office. 

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH CONTENT

We all tend to be fans of what is familiar, what we know, what we have access to. By telling your brand story with professional photography, your website gives insight into your process, your services, your people and most importantly the passion that keeps the doors open and the lights on.

For all of the written content that has been carefully created for our websites, we can give even more insight by visually illustrating this. Photograph your people doing what they do, working in teams, brainstorming storyboards, having a great time together as they develop new ideas that benefit your clients. Showing these behind the scenes images, a day in the life of your team is what is called branding photography or corporate lifestyle photography. These images are great for home and services pages within your website.

The must have About Us page should show your off the leadership and team at its’ best. Our location portrait sessions feature our clients in their home or commercial office, outdoors, really anywhere that will help us create a background that is interesting. The other popular option is corporate headshots. In this case, we provide a color backdrop and can also provide custom backdrops if that might do the trick for your team.

As Chicago’s top commercial photography team, we’re pros at helping our clients develop image libraries that upscale their brand. When you’re ready to take the next step and create images that capture you as a leader in your industry, we’ll be ready! For more information on our services, rates and for a custom proposal, please get in touch!

Three Reasons To Hire A Make-Up Artist for Your Photo Session

Three Reasons To Hire A Make-Up Artist for Your Photo Session

TIPS FOR CLIENTS

WHY WE RECOMMEND HAIR & MAKE-UP STYLING

Chicago-Portrait-Photographer

With 20 years in the business of commercial photography here in Chicago, we’ve focused on providing the best in corporate headshots and on-location portraits and we are big advocates of using the professional services of hair & make-up stylists.  Here’s our take.

BETTER RESULTS

We have one chance to make a first impression and being the visual people that we are, we are always taking note of appearances.

Make-up artists are pros at making you look like you’ve had the best day. Even if you’re not one to wear make-up or just think you won’t need it, remember, the camera sees us differently than we see ourselves.

The lighting we use for our corporate headshots and portraits though soft and flattering can emphasize inconsistent skin tones and the oils that collect on our face. The hair & make-up artists we’ve partnered with are experts at identifying how this lighting affects our subjects and they use their experience and artful techniques to smooth skin tones and help you achieve a polished and professional image.

Chicago-Portrait-Photographer

Tools of the trade. 

Onset at one of our corporate photoshoots. 

BE MORE CONFIDENT

So many of us are not the biggest fans of having our photo taken. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones that is a natural but most of the clients that we’ve worked with benefit from a bit of coaching and a boost of confidence during their headshot sessions. Having a professional make-up artist to help you get ready, give some feedback on wardrobe and be there on set to help you achieve absolute brilliance is a confidence builder for sure.

You’re job while you’re with us is to focus on showing us your best self through the poses we coach your through and finding the the most authentic expressions that are both inviting and compelling.  Feeling a little pampered and walking into your headshot session primped and powdered can make you feel a little empowered. Hurray for that!

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”
— Edward Steichen

IT’S THE BEST INVESTMENT

Next to investing in your professional headshot with us, that is. It’s really a story about value.  You’ve decided that updating your corporate headshots and personal branding is a priority so take the next step and treat yourself and your team to a little pampering and ensure that you look more polished and professional than your competition.

And remember, these professional portraits can be used in so many ways and on so many platforms.  From websites to social media profiles and email signatures, you name it. You’ll be able to get so much mileage out of your headshots so consider this another investment in yourself and your team.

Chicago Portrait Photographer

Making magic on set for another team headshot session. 

HOW CAN WE HELP?

Do you have questions about how we are handling photoshoots during the time of Covid-19? Great question and we have an answer for that. Keeping our clients and crew safe is our number one priority and we’re taking steps to ensure that we protect all of us. To learn more, please click here

Any other questions about this article or to check into rates and availability, please get in touch!

 

 

Create the Perfect Shot List For Your Next Event

Create the Perfect Shot List For Your Next Event

EVENT TIPS

CREATING THE PERFECT EVENT SHOT LIST

With 20 years of experience photographing everything from galas, fundraisers, product launches, conferences and more, we know that a well-documented shot list is the key to capturing the big moments and the smallest details of each special event. Let’s get the shot, every time.

Attendees at the annual conference for the Partnership for A Healthier America do stretching exercises to break up the day

FIRST STEP: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE IMAGES

Consider how the photos will ultimately be used. Will the content be integral for marketing another event, used to engage attendees on social media? Determine the audience and then you can focus on the art direction for your content. 

STEP TWO: START BUILDING YOUR SHOT LIST

There will be moments that are absolute must have’s such as awards presentations and keynotes. You’ll want to begin building your list around these defined events. The candid shots can come in between these times to be sure to capture the unposed moments such as audience engagement and networking experiences.  

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in the fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.”  Henri Cartier-Bresson

MUST HAVES TO INCLUDE IN YOUR SHOT LIST

1. Critical Details: this includes general information about the event including the website, onsite contacts (email and cell phone), approximate start-end times and location(s).

2. Run of Show: this should include the most up-to-date schedule, along with locations/room numbers for sessions and panels, etc. This will help us to understand the flow of the event so we make sure we are exactly where we need to be.   

 3. Must-Have Moments:  Let us know what shots you’ll be looking for from each touchpoint of the event. Of course, much of this we will cover by default however if there is a moment where there is a break in the keynote for an award presentation and you’d like us to get that presentation along with a photo of the presenter and recipient looking on camera, we need to be sure we are in the right position and direct the subjects to smile for us. The more we know, the better. 

 4. Additional Details: We are fans of maps, agendas, bios and more. If you have any supporting content that can help us provide the best event coverage, please pass this along. 

STEP THREE:  ASSEMBLE THE PHOTOGRAPHY TEAM

You’ll be looking for the team of event photographers that is a good fit for your event. Portfolios, online reviews and your own network are a great resource for referrals. We’re fans of experience as it takes time to refine the skills needed to adapt to the constantly changing flow of events, know how to move quickly, unobtrusively and always be in the right place at the right time. 

STEP FOUR: PREP THE EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY TEAM

Here’s the chance to review the shot-list with the content creators to elaborate on all of the details.  Reiterate the art direction and branding while leaving room for creative freedom. Confirm the call-times, onsite contacts and venue information.  As for the dress code, we default to all black but there may be cases when the brand requires something else.  

STEP FIVE: PUT IT ALL ON PAPER

Make sure the event photography team has an easy to read shot list and schedule along with venue map if applicable. Images for social media will be shared with you during the event so be sure to share the online folder where you’d like these files sent to. We recommend DropBox and for smaller events have also used text to send a few highlights. 

STEP FIVE: USE THE CONTENT 

The images we provide will help to expand your audience on social media. They can be used in collateral materials to market the event to next years’ sponsors, in strategy reports, awards presentations, company newsletters and the event website and app. The more platforms where you can publish the photos, the more you’ll see how the careful planning and execution paid off.  

Feeling Confident For Your Headshot

Feeling Confident For Your Headshot

One of the main components to a great headshot has little to do with the technical skills of the photographer and instead comes directly from the person in front of the camera. When we’re creating your portrait, we’ll be working together to make sure you’re feeling comfortable and confident in each frame.

Confidence is that element that turns headshots that are flat and ordinary into portraits that draw upon something much more profound than just the lines and curves that physically represent you. This is what we’ll be looking to draw out together in your session.

Natural confidence in front of the camera really is a rarity for most of us, including myself so I get it. But there are a few things you can do to prep yourself before your headshot session and that can also help while you are on set, because when you’re more comfortable you’re more confident.

 

 

You Be You 
Every single person photographs differently. It’s all about angles. Take a moment to stand in front of a mirror to see what I mean.

Starting with your head at center, slowly rotate it a few degrees at a time to the left and then right. Do the same up and down. There are literally thousands of combinations, right? Each one presents you in a slightly different way based on the angle and your expression. The same is true moving down your body and doing the same with your shoulders, arms, core, legs, and feet for full-body portraits. 

Of course, part of my job is to help you determine your best angle.  When you’re in front of the camera, go back to that no-pressure zone of just posing for the mirror. Imagine you’re just delivering another stellar selfie, and you’ll be just fine. 

Just You & Me
Self-sabotage is real. You let all these future thoughts of who will see the photo, what they’ll think, and how they’ll judge take control of your confidence now. It allows self-doubt to creep it’s way into your photographs and this doesn’t work in our favor.

Check all thoughts aside from what you’re doing here and now at the door. As far as being nervous in front of me, your headshot photographer, realize that I’m too busy judging myself to judge you. My singular focus is to deliver the the most enjoyable photography session possible by ensuring my own skills and artistry are on point. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the process. 

Wardrobe Choices 
You’ll want to make your wardrobe choices depending on the kind of photoshoot you have. If you’re doing a corporate portrait against a backdrop we provide, this style guide can help. Alternatively, if you’re looking to do something more casual such as an environmental headshot for branding where we use your office as your backdrop, then you have some more room to play. In each case, it’s best too wear colors that not only compliment your skin tone but also coordinates well with your backdrop or environment.

I suggest you approach that choice from a highly personal standpoint. What makes you feel confident? What makes you feel comfortable? What do you love not on the rack but actually wearing? And whenever possible, play it safe and bring options as we can make some decisions together on set.

 

 

Do Some Research
Look around in magazines, on social media, and other sources for examples of what you’d like to accomplish. Look at backgrounds, lightening, poses, clothing, accessories, angles, props, and so on. 

Use your research as a tool for inspiration more so than emulation. You’ll gain confidence in knowing your likes and dislikes and testing them out to see if they work specifically for you. 

Be Open During Your Shoot 
When we work with you, it’s an us thing. As with any relationship, this requires honesty and openness for success. I want to make sure that you are comfortable or if you need a break, want to regroup and I‘m also open to your questions and suggestions.

This openness removes all confidence blocks and allows us both to deliver. At the end of the day, we’ll have created portraits that you’ll be confident to show off.  

More Tips For Partnering With Your Event Photographer

More Tips For Partnering With Your Event Photographer

In the previous post, we laid out the beginning steps for partnering with an event photographer to cover annual meetings, conferences, trade shows, galas and other special events. Here, we’ll wrap it up with the final steps that will help you work with your photographer in capturing the best of your event. 

STEP 4: CREATE A BRIEF

Create a brief that includes an outline of your event schedule as well as the following list of items:

  • Event schedule: Sequence of events
  • Location(s)
  • People and places

We’ll need to know the start time of the event and will plan to arrive earlier in order to touch base to go over any loose ends. We’ll also need to know the sequence of the events throughout the day. If the conference is at a hotel, please include the room numbers and session names we need to cover as well as their start and end times. And always be sure to confirm the address(es) with your event photographer as there are several Hyatts and Hiltons in each major city such as Chicago. We will be photographing each keynote, presenter and panel however if there are VIP’s at the event that will only be attending, give us a heads-up. If you’d like some candid coverage of them, we’ll need to know who they are so we can pull up their online profiles and identify them during the event.

STEP 5: CONSIDER THE EVENT SET-UP

Think about what furniture, settings, props and lighting you’ll use for the event. Keep in mind the height of the speakers if they’ll be presenting at the podium. I have seen a few vertically-challenged presenters being dwarfed by the podium, which makes it very difficult to capture them and this is something that could be easily prevented by making an apple box available. 

Stage lighting is also critical to the quality of the photos we deliver. There have been several instances when we’ve worked with our clients to tweak the stage lighting in order to fully light the presenters and panels because the “stage wash” that was being used was unflattering and created excessive contrast on the speakers. Since we do not want to use our on-camera flash during presentations as it can be obtrusive, we’ll want to make sure we test this prior to the event launch.

 

 

STEP 6: GO OVER ANY ADDITIONAL NEEDS

Are you looking to offer corporate headshots at your conference or tradeshow? It’s a fantastic way to bring attention to your brand and send home attendees with a gift that they’ll value. To find out more about high-volume headshots, click here.

If you only need a few headshots of the staff, we can arrange to bring in lighting or use available light at the venue. In each case, we’ll want to be sure we have an advance notice so we have the proper equipment, scout out the best spot for set-up and nail down the timing. 

We hope this list of ideas will help you to organize your event and gives you a heads-up on how you can work with your photographer to make sure they capture the best of your event. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to get in touch! We have over 20 years of experience covering trade shows, conferences, meetings, galas, and more so we’d be happy to help!

 

Essential Steps For Partnering With Your Event Photographer

Essential Steps For Partnering With Your Event Photographer

Hiring an event photographer is an important step toward promoting your brand, your business and your professional organization. Event photography involves capturing the key elements of each unique occasion including collateral and signage, keynote speakers, panel presentations, audience engagement, networking, receptions, dinners and more. As experienced photographers, we understand the key aspects of your messaging are illustrated throughout each occasion and know how to capture the images and moments that make your conference, meeting, convention and trade show a must-attend event.

In planning an event, an integral part of the process is identifying and working with a professional photographer who really knows their stuff and someone you can work with to get results that exceed your expectations.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most essential key elements of hiring an event photographer so that you will know what to do to get started.

 

STEP 1: DETERMINE HOW THE PHOTOS WILL BE USED

Think about how you intend to use your images and what you want them to accomplish. Will you be using them to highlight featured speakers during the event for social media? Will the images be used to market the event for the years to come or is the photography coverage meant to simply document the event?

By communicating this with us at the beginning, you’ll ensure we’re both on the same page and we’ll shoot the kind of event images you need. 

STEP 2: BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

If you are not quite sure yet what you want to use your photos for, look through this list and see which ones seem most applicable.

Marketing content– You may want to use your event photos for a number of marketing opportunities. List these below the heading marketing collateral. 

Newspaper/magazines– Newspapers, magazines, and other types of publications all have specific criteria for photos including size specifications and submission deadlines. Some careful planning with us will make sure you pass along images that are optimized for their specific format.

Image Libraries– If you are building a photo portfolio of your services and/or products, hosting an event is a fantastic way to add to your library. Capturing the interaction between your products and people is a great way to get the word out about who you are and what you do.

Social media content– We all post photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to increase followers, likes and leads. We can arrange to make photos available to you as the event is happening.   For example, as your keynote speaker is presenting, you’ll receive a handful of shots via text message to use on your social media feeds. It’s difficult for us to see a well-executed event that uses cell phone photos to highlight their speaker presentations, panels and networking. Trust us, we’ve got this and our images will look fantastic on your feed.

Poster and banners– If you are wanting to capture moments to use in large posters and banners or other print media, you’ll want to give us a heads-up. We may want to adjust the sizes and dimensions of the final images we submit to accommodate your needs.

Online websites and blogs- If your goal is to create content for your websites or blogs, we’ll want to make sure you have access to images that are not only sized for print but also optimized for web use. Photos, if not sized properly for websites, can seriously slow down your site and when your site is slow, your bounce rate increases drastically. We’ll make sure to save a second set of the final images specifically for the web, ensuring that they are optimized to keep your visitors coming.

STEP 3: ACCESSING THE EVENT IMAGES

If you plan to put out a press release or use images for your social media feeds as the event is going on, you’ll want to give us a heads-up.  We can upload images to Dropbox or what’s even faster, we’ll shoot over images for you via text. Just keep in mind, magazines and newspapers are particularly picky about meeting deadlines and they rarely have time to wait. Together, we can make it happen.

Stay tuned for the next blog post when we’ll wrap up the key elements for partnering with us for your event photography needs. In the meantime, please visit on us Instagram and check out our favorite event images.