There's something bright on the CJP horizon!
As a photographer I really do like a gadget. There is nothing more lovely than a bit of shiny new technology!!
However, I don’t get much of an excuse to buy new gear now as I just about have enough photography toys. In fact, I have so much camera gear, I could just about start my very own Canon camera store.
So... when Taylor, my videographer, asked for a gimbal it seemed like a great opportunity to indulge my addiction in buying shiny new techie stuff.
A gimbal is something that you hold the camera with and is suspended so the shots are really smooth and professional as the videographer moves about when shooting. Taylor assured me it would make all the difference.
I got him to research what the best option for our needs was. He managed to find one for £700 - whoops! (And I wasn’t even the one who was going to get to play with it). But with video being so important for our marketing I decided to go for it.
Turns out it was a great decision. Taylor is a fantastic videographer and has been making brilliant videos for me for a year now, but the gimbal just upped his game out of sight. Having smooth panned shots creates a whole level of not only creativity but also professionalism.
This was evidenced when we produced a video to promote for our new Brand Ambassador campaign for our studio. The feedback has been so positive and the video has helped generate over 100 applications.
Take a look here and I’m sure you will agree, the use of the gimbal certainly makes the whole video feel professional:
So, here's the good news!
Following on from our successful Brand Ambassador campaign, we are now scheduling in a series of videos to really showcase the business.
We are going to be producing properly planned and constructed videos to reflect our values of quality and customer service.
It is an interesting process and it a good chance to take a look at how we present ourselves to customers.
I’ve got a hunch that you might have been thinking about video yourself? I’d also suspect that maybe it has just been put into the ‘too hard basket’ and you’re not really sure where to begin?
Here comes the exciting news! Taylor is now permanent on the CJP team and he is raring to go to dedicate himself to producing creative, high-end business videos.
So, if you know you need to up your video game (and let’s face it, most of us do!), get in touch to see how we can work together to create high-end, professional video to truly showcase you and your company.
Click here to start the film rolling!
Or call the Carmel Jane team today on 01277 822674 to find out more.
Until next time,
Ever been to Vegas? I’ve just got back. Still recovering (and not just from the jet lag!).
It’s a crazy, weird old town. But it was a brilliant few days at the real reason I went – a huge schools & sports photography conference.
Honestly? I nearly didn’t go. The last few months have been so busy (Germany, Greece, LA & New Zealand since October!) that going away again left me in a bit of spin.
But I’m SO glad I did. Because as always, there was so much learning & inspiration!
The biggest takeaway was around clarity & focus. Or as they put it, “Choose Your Rabbits”. You can't chase them all, otherwise they disappear down the rabbit holes. Choose 2 or 3 and execute them brilliantly. Which if you’re like me, with billions of ideas, is a powerful reminder!
Anyway. The other great thing about events like these is the people you meet. Surrounding yourself with like-minded business owners & swapping ideas.
Which is why today, I wanted to share Safari MK’s story with you!
If you’ve never been, Safari MK is an award-winning indoor play & party venue in Milton Keynes. But they take it to a whole new level! It’s very cool & so well done (as you’ll see in the video below – the ‘glow in the dark’ party room is incredible!).
It’s owned & run by the amazing Gordon Foster.
Gordon & I first met when I joined the Entrepreneurs Network a couple of years ago – again, that thing about surrounding yourself with other smart business owners!
So when Safari MK were looking for new photos for their website & marketing, I was thrilled to get the chance to work with them.
Watch this quick video now & see for yourself just HOW cool it is (loved being Queen of the Jungle!):
Projects like this are my absolute favourite. Because it’s not about just taking static photos of their business – but capturing the essence of their spirit, energy & culture in every image.
Even after 20 years & millions of photos, I still get a kick when I see pictures like this!
The whole point of a commercial photography is to drive sales. To create desire for the experience of visiting Safari MK. To showcase everything that makes their business unique.
The party rooms; the award-winning food (which is divine!); the creativity. The little world of imagination that your child can escape into, for a couple of hours.
When you see the pictures – what 8-year-old Arsenal fan wouldn’t want the football party? What parent wouldn’t choose the soft play venue with award-winning food, over soggy chips & tepid coffee? What child wouldn’t want to spend a rainy Sunday charging down that slide?
Above all, Safari MK’s photos show how you can expect to feel – and your child to feel – when you’re in their world. And they make you want to feel that way.
Gordon could just say all this on his website. But the right images build trust, credibility & desire in a way that mere words (or worse, poor pictures!) never could.
All to bring more people through his doors, grow his business & help more families have a memorable, relaxing afternoon playing together.
So! You know I’m going to say this – but if you want the same for YOUR business, we’d love to help.
Just get in touch now for a chat! Click here to contact us or call the Carmel Jane team today on 01277 822674 to find out more.
And a massive thank you to Gordon & the whole Safari MK team, for choosing us to help showcase your brilliant business. We had so much fun!
Until next time,
p.s Click here to watch the 2-min video (save you scrolling back up!) And then do give us a
shout on 01277 822674, for a chat about how we can help!
As a creative & a photographer, it’s no surprise I love dance. Capturing bursts of beauty & movement isn’t easy. It takes time, practise (20 years & counting) and a very specific skill set.
I’ve just counted & we’re up to well over 500 regular dance school clients - large and small. That’s how much I love it!
So! I thought I’d share Jo from Dance Steps Academy’s story with you this week – because it truly shows the power of amazing photography and how effective it is when used well.
As well as being loved by her students & parents, the way Jo’s taken our live show photos & used them to market her dance school on Instagram is just brilliant:
Jo and her team run a full-scale theatre production every two years, which all classes take part in.
It was a real pleasure to work with her & her dancers. Here’s some more pictures from her live show:
Click here now to see more of our Dance School Photography (there really are some stunning live shows).
But! Jo didn’t stop there...
Once her live show was over, Jo then decided to book a shoot at our own Carmel Jane studio (here in Ingatestone). Which has a rather fabulous sprung floor:
And then a shoot at Jo’s dance studio too, where she bought the students in & we did class photos:
Which show the energy, creativity & talent of their dance school perfectly!
What I really admire is how Jo has made the very most of ALL her images – from the live show & studio shoots, to inspire her Instagram followers to come along to her classes.
Each Instagram post is carefully branded to reflect her target market for each class, in the fonts, style & language she’s chosen. There’s a clear call to action & the photos are a careful balance of inspirational & accessible. And I especially love the second post here, which truly captures the joy of dance:
Who wouldn’t want that feeling for their child?!
One of the things I love about being a business owner is that you get to choose your focus – where your heart lies. For me, it really is dance.
It’s why at Carmel Jane, we’ve focused on becoming the UK’s leading dance and stage photography company.
Here’s what that fabulous Jo d'Unienville, Principal of Dance Steps Academy says:
“I absolutely loved how professional Carmel and her team were. Their background
knowledge of dance, expertise in photography & knowing the best way to capture
your business through the lens of the camera were all just second to none.
“It really was a dream!
“The pictures are fantastic & the shoots have been such a huge success.
“And the most amazing thing is that now I have a huge variety of professional photos
of my students (that I’ve been using for all promotion of my school), and it really
makes us feel exclusive and unique. Thank you so much!”
So! For a chat about dance photography & your upcoming live show – and how we can create stunning images for you, just like Dance Steps Academy:
• Call our team today on 01277 822674;
• Or click here to get in touch online now
And a huge thank you to Jo & the whole Dance Steps Academy team. Do follow them on Instagram @dancestepsacademy.
We’ve loved every minute of working together!
Until next time,
Is a Personal Branding Photoshoot right for you? Do you need one? And what exactly should you expect?
PERSONAL BRANDING: A CASE STUDY IS A PERSONAL BRANDING PHOTOSHOOT RIGHT FOR YOU? DO YOU NEED ONE? AND WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD YOU EXPECT?
We’re delving into a recent Personal Branding session to help you discover all the answers!
Client: Laura McDouall, Founder of Tell My Story & The Copywriting Project
Sector: Copywriting & Marketing
Venue: Hilton Hotel, Milton Keynes
Laura got in touch because the pictures she was using online had got out-of-date(as happens so easily, when you’re busy running your business!).
Her business has evolved over the last 12 months. And rather than showing them in the best light & driving sales, Laura felt the old imagery was actually a barrier to new clients coming their way.
People do judge you instantly, when they hit your website or social media. Laura was using old headshots & stock images –which she felt looked tired & uninspiring, rather than instilling confidence in their ability to do a great job.
Laura was also doing more public speaking& wanted some new shots to better align with her positioning as an ‘expert’ in her field.
Finally, she told us about her plans for growth over the next 12 months –and how her personal brand as the ‘face’ of her business was key to this.
STEP #1 – IS A PERSONAL BRANDING PHOTOSHOOT RIGHT FOR YOU?
Here’s a few questions to help you decide!
•Do your current images truly reflect you–who you are; your core values & the reality of doing business with you?
•Do they attract the right clients to you –or put them off?
•Do your pictures do you justice? Are you proud of how you & your brand are represented visually online?
•When someone hits your website –is it immediately clear what you do (within 7 seconds)? Could your imagery be stronger?
•Does your website have personality (to set you apart from your competitors)?
•Has your product or service evolved–but your images haven’t?
•Is it becoming more important for you to raise your personal profile, for the overall growth & development of your business?
And when Laura explored these questions in her business, it was clear that a Personal Branding Photoshoot was exactly what she needed!
STEP #2 – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE WITH YOUR NEW PERSONAL BRANDING IMAGES?
The next step is getting clear on the purpose you want your images to serve.
Where will you use them? And what message are you trying to convey for the people who see them?
And from here, we can plan the details of your Personal Branding Photoshoot, to make sure we capture the perfect images to meet your aims!
Laura was already very clear on this when she got in touch (as you’d expect from a professional marketer!).
For her, it was about attracting more of the right clients into her business& driving sales.
Like most of us business owners, Laura had been working hard to build her audience online – growing her email list, connections on LinkedIn & nurturing her Facebook group.
She wanted her Personal Branding Photoshoot to serve 3 core purposes:
•Public speaking – Laura wanted images she could use for her speaker bio & positioning herself as the ‘expert’ for speaking opportunities. She told us she needed direct, confident & polished images, to convey a sense of self-assurance & build trust in her ability to deliver on stage.
• New website – Laura was looking for photos to visually communicate what Tell My Story does in a strong, authentic way. So that when prospects hit their website, the pictures immediately reinforce what they do. It was important these images were aligned with their brand’s core values, with an approachable & creative feel (rather
than anything too corporate).
• Social Media & Content Marketing - to connect with their audience online. Laura was clear that she wanted her target audience to see the photos, resonate with them & think “she looks like someone who ‘gets’ me & my business”. For these pictures, she wanted a softer, more relaxed approach, in a real-life setting.
It was great that Laura was so clear on these aims – because it meant we could focus on capturing exactly the right feel for her Personal Branding.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SETTING
For Laura, we chose a hotel that gave us the right balance of formal and less-formal backdrops, to meet the multiple purposes she wanted her pictures to serve.
We’ll help you decide on the right setting for your Personal Branding Photoshoot too – whether that’s at your business premises, here in our Carmel Jane Photography studio or at an external location.
DECIDING WHAT TO WEAR
We’d always suggest you bring 2 or 3 different outfits to your photoshoot.
And when you’re thinking about how to dress, it all goes back to the purpose you want your images to serve:
• A suit, waistcoat & tie conveys a very different image of you to trousers & shirt unbuttoned at the neck.
• A bright red jumpsuit & animal print belt has a very different feel to a black dress, or jeans & t-shirt.
There’s no right or wrong here! It’s about you & your personality - deciding how YOU want to seen when people view your images, and then dressing accordingly.
By bringing a few different outfits along, we can create different images for different purposes within your business.
Laura told us this was something she struggled with - wearing bright colours she knew would stand out online vs her usual preference (navy & black).
In the end, she says she’s glad she went for her usual style. Although they might not grab attention on Facebook, there’s no disconnect between the person you see on screen & the person you get turning up at meetings or speaking gigs.
She felt best wearing what she was most comfortable in (which comes across in her photos!).
FINDING INSPIRATION FOR YOUR PERSONAL BRANDING PHOTOSHOOT
It’s always really helpful if you take some time to study the people you admire; how they brand themselves; and share some links with us!
When Laura did this, it helped her get super clear on what she wanted to achieve with her Personal Branding – and even more helpfully, what she really didn’t want.
STEP #3 – WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR PERSONAL BRANDING PHOTOSHOOT
Laura’s shoot took around 2 hours – and once we’ve completed your Pre-Shoot Consultation, we’ll confirm all the details & exactly how much time you need to allow.
We’ll bring all the lighting & equipment we need to capture a whole range of shots in different settings & deal with whatever circumstances our photoshoot location throws at us!
Here’s what Laura had to say about her experience:
“I’m not a massive fan of having my photo taken – but Carmel Jane & her team have an incredible ability to help you relax! We pretty much laughed our way through the whole photoshoot session & I think we got some really natural-feeling shots as a result.
“They have a brilliant way of directing you, so you feel massively confident – telling you exactly how to sit, where your hands should be & where to look. You can tell they have so many years’ experience of putting people at their ease!
“I had some ideas of how & what I wanted, which Carmel Jane then took & made them SO better! She & her team have an amazing eye for detail, picking out features in the hotel setting that I would never have managed to in a million years.
“The whole session was completely relaxed & fun, while still being 100% focused on the end results we needed. I love the shots they produced - and I never thought I’d say that about pictures of myself!
“It feels brilliant to know your imagery is working to drive the right clients your way, instead of losing business when it’s not quite up to scratch.
“I’d recommend Carmel Jane Photography to any business owner, for images that don’t just look great – but that are authentic, with the specific purpose of growing both your personal brand & your business.
“Thank you to Carmel Jane & the whole team for an exceptional experience!”
To find out more about YOUR Personal Branding Photoshoot, click here now or call Carmel Jane Photography today on 01277 822674!
WE ALL KNOW THAT IMAGES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER FOR OUR BUSINESS. RIGHT?
People find you online – on your website or social media – and instantly decide if they want to find out more. Or they click away.
It’s a weird thing. Because it’s not a conscious thought process (at least, it’s not for me!). You make a snap decision based on the feel of the business you’re looking at. Either something connects & tells you you’re in the right place, or it doesn’t.
That’s the power of images. They help make people feel that YOUR business is the right place for them.
Trouble is, it’s easier to get wrong than it is to get right!
AND THAT’S WHY I WANTED TO LET YOU BEHIND THE SCENES IN THIS WEEK’S BLOG – WITH THE AMAZING TEAM AT BAKERS.
Mandy & Steve own Bakers, they have a huge factory in Brentwood where they make loads of labels! They’re wonderful people & have a team of fabulous staff (I promise they’re not paying me to say this!).
Bakers are at the cutting edge of label printing technology. They push the boundaries & try things other label printers won’t. Their entire philosophy is about being versatile & adaptable, to deliver exactly what their customers need.
They’re a family run business. They’ve been making labels for 45 years. And they’re leading the industry with their tremendous products & service.
But HOW do you capture images that reflect their amazing culture & the incredible energy in their business, in a factory setting?
Can you imagine how damaging it would be if their images were boring, dull or stuffy? If they were even just a couple of degrees off? The picture that would paint for their clients & prospects – undermining everything they say on their website + everything they truly stand for? (And by the way, I’ve seen this happen SO many times!).
WELL – ALL IS REVEALED. WATCH THIS QUICK VIDEO NOW & YOU’LL SEE WHAT I MEAN (AND YES, WE REALLY DID LAUGH THAT MUCH!):
YOUR BUSINESS IMAGES NEED TO TRULY REFLECT YOU. NOT JUST WHAT YOU DO, OR YOUR PRODUCTS & YOUR PREMISES – BUT WHO YOU ARE. WHAT YOU STAND FOR & WHY YOU DO IT. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT FROM EVERY OTHER COMPETITOR OUT THERE.
And that’s the joy I get from every single commercial shoot we do!
I’m pretty passionate about business (which may be the understatement of the year). I just love it. I love connecting with switched-on business owners & helping them create images to showcase their business in the most authentic, inspiring way.
But let’s be real. This is not about pretty pictures. I’m a fairly determined business owner myself (again – understatement!) and everything you do HAS to generate an ROI. Otherwise, what’s the point?
THE WHOLE POINT OF YOUR PHOTOSHOOT IS TO MAKE MORE SALES. AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT SETS US APART FROM OTHER COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS. WE ‘GET’ MARKETING IN A B-I-G WAY. AND EVERY SINGLE PICTURE WE TAKE SUPPORTS THAT AIM FOR YOU - TO GET MORE NEW CLIENTS COMING IN.
Anyway! I digress. Back to Bakers.
I’m really proud of the images we created for them. Each picture tells a story of the people in their business. They support Mandy & Steve’s ethos & reflect the amazing culture they’ve created.
ULTIMATELY, THEIR NEW IMAGES ARE 100% ALIGNED WITH THE REALITY OF BEING A BAKERS CUSTOMER.
As you’ll see in the video, they’re polished & professional without being too corporate. Friendly & relaxed, without being too casual. The personality & expertise of their team shines through.
If you want labels, you hit Bakers website & immediately feel that you’re in the right place. Their culture, expertise & capable hands are immediately evident.
And I know I should probably show you an ‘official’ quote from Mandy here. But just loved her comment on Facebook!
So. You & your business. What are you really all about? What do you stand for? Why should people buy from YOU instead of your competitors?
DOES YOUR WEBSITE SHOW PEOPLE THIS? THE SECOND THEY HIT IT?
What about your social media?
Or is something not quite right?
Maybe your business has grown & evolved since you last had pictures taken. Maybe you didn’t love your current pictures in the first place. Maybe you’ve never had proper images taken before. Maybe you know your website needs updating (doesn’t it always?!) & you’ve been putting it off.
But to stand out in this hyper-competitive, crowded online world – now IS the time.
We’d love to have a chat about what we could do for you, to create amazing images to drive your business forwards this year.
And a new photoshoot is SO much fun, great for energising your team (again, as I think you can see in the video!).
Do get in touch. Click here to contact us or call the Carmel Jane team today on 01277 822674 to find out more.
And a massive thank you to Mandy, Steve & the whole Bakers team, for being such fantastic clients & letting us share your story today!
Until next time ,
p.s. Click here to watch the 2-min video (in case you didn’t watch it first time, to save you scrolling back up!)