I know some of you will hate me for this, but I’ve been thinking about Christmas for a looooong time now! I’m going to blame it on “running a business” and “forward planning”, but honestly – yay, Christmas! Now it's 'almost' December I can blog about it!
I think we’re pretty much all making the most of anything we can look forward to, so let’s do Christmas in style. That tends to mean a focus on those you love, and what you can give them this year that they wouldn’t buy for themselves.
A Photographic Session is an Experience They’ll Love
Whether you’re shopping for the workaholic who’d relish the chance to spend time with family, or the grandparents who crave memories and time spent with loved ones – what about a family photoshoot?
It could be fun with props in the studio or a day out somewhere they love, they can choose. And, when you gift a session with me, it will include a selected number of prints so your giftee won’t need to worry about added costs.
You can choose from packages starting at £95, to find out more about this option, give me a call.
More of what you love
Maybe you’ve had a session, with me or another photographer, not that long ago. I’m guessing (well, it’s not much of a guess because I see it a lot) there may have been images you loved but didn’t purchase – I know, you have to draw the line somewhere!
Now’s the chance to treat your other half to that super-cute image of the puppy you couldn’t justify – or a fabulous picture for their desk. I can't stress it enough - PRINT YOUR IMAGES.
Perhaps you’d like to share these gorgeous images with others, share the love!
Whether you choose an image to print, or you prefer to gift with a voucher, make the most of those pictures you love and make give them their time in the spotlight!
The gift of clicking
But what about those who want the joy of creating their own images.
It could be you’re putting together your own wish list or looking for ideas for another budding snapper in your life. How do you know which is the right camera to choose?
Well, this is a very personal choice so I’m not going to give any recommendations, what I’ll do here is give you my top 3 tips, I hope they help.
Of course, once the camera has been gifted, it’s important that you – or your recipient – get comfortable with it.
Don’t be scared to check out resources or people to help. I recently spent some time with someone looking to improve their shots, it was great fun to see the confidence growing and I’m looking forward to seeing what he creates!
The countdown has started
The thing is, I honestly believe that some of the greatest gifts we can give are our time and attention - much love from my family to yours. MERRY CHRISTMAS.
(I’d love to be able to help you gift an experience to your loved one, get in touch – I’m always happy to help.)
Simple Steps to Incredible Images
You’ve decided to invest in some professional photos. It’s a great opportunity to capture special moments and you’re looking forward to the images which will make you smile. But are you looking forward to the day itself? For many of us (I admit, I’m including myself) having our photo taken isn’t something we feel particularly positive about. Having the spotlight on ourselves (real or symbolic) can be cringe-inducing, but it doesn’t have to be – and preparation is the key.
Putting You in the Picture
You’ll only enjoy the experience if you feel confident and comfortable – while it’s my job to do that at the shoot, it helps if you don’t arrive feeling nervous. Let’s talk about what you want. And even if you don’t know what you want, talking about it before the shoot will help us create a plan together. Having some ideas, knowing what you expect to happen, will take away some nerves – I promise. Choose outfits you look good – and feel great – in. If you need help choosing, ask someone you trust. If you’re going to have group photos, consider whether your outfits will work together; if this is a business shoot, think about your brand colours (you don’t have to wear those colours, but you don’t want to clash with them). And maybe have a change of outfits too. Have “things” which make you happy. Particularly if this is a family shoot, entertaining the children will be important. But in any situation, having props around which make your smile – or a have story you can share – will create the atmosphere we want and present you perfectly. How about a pamper? Getting your hair done before a shoot is quite normal, how about you take the opportunity to include professional hair and make-up along with your session – that’s a proper pamper.
Where Will We Go? Are we indoors or out? Your place or mine? Certainly, someplace special!
My place , is it the studio you’re after? I’ll make you comfortable with everything you need (loo, kettle, settee and toys). We don’t need to worry about the weather, parking is easy and if you let me know beforehand you can bring pets too. For a lot of situations, my studio is the perfect choice.
“Every time I work with Laura, I always feel confident that the end result is going to be more than what I imagined it to be. Her amazing studio makes me feel very relaxed and at home, and she is always willing to try new, innovative ways to get the perfect photographs for my publicity shots. Couldn’t recommend enough ☺️ ” Amanda J
“Very professional and friendly service from Laura she makes you feel at ease in her studio, I wouldn’t go anywhere else for studio photos we was so pleased with our family photo and my head shots for my website” Anna P
Your Place. Whether it’s your home, work, or somewhere else you’ve chosen, I can bring my camera to you. Maybe you’ll feel more comfortable in your own surroundings, or you’d like a location which holds special memories; whatever your reason – you’ll get what you want. There may be more practicalities to consider when we’re not in the studio – weather, footwear, other people – but we can be flexible if necessary and by talking and planning we can make sure we’re not caught out.
“Had our first photo shoot with Laura yesterday. She is incredibly talented, friendly, professional and is so lovely and kind with the kids making the experience great fun! I highly recommend Laura and will definitely be returning for more photo shoots. Thank you again” Kat M
“I had the most brilliant brand shoot with Laura to update my website and social media photos. We had so much fun at the shoot together, and I cannot tell you how much I adore the finished products. Laura has made me look how I do in my head, but never seem to manage for myself on camera! I'm just delighted - she's amazing, and the whole process was fantastic from start to finish.” Rebecca C
Are you ready? You see, when you enjoy the process, the photographs are so much better. So my job – apart from pressing the button – is making sure you enjoy the process. (Obviously the button pressing bit is quite important too.) I hope this has helped you feel a little more prepared for your photoshoot – if there’s something you’re unsure about, get in touch – I’d love to help.
Whether you’re selling your house or renting it out for holidays, getting someone to pick your property can have a lot to do with your pictures.
Anyone looking at property online – or in an estate agents window - can be easily wowed by the right images, which is why professional photography is so important.
Whoever you have taking the photographs of your property (and if you’re in Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire/Northamptonshire, I know someone who can help), there are things you can do before the photographer arrives to make sure you get the best photos.
Staging Your Space for Success
Even if you – or someone else – is living in the property you’re photographing, it’s important to present it so others can see themselves in that space. You’re not looking to create a blank canvas, but somewhere welcoming.
These tips will hopefully guide you to make the most of your space, showing off its best bits while (perhaps) hiding those elements which viewers don’t want to see.
1. Before You Even Open the Door
Think about how the outside of your property looks.
Taking cars from the front of the house will give a better view.
You should also hide any bins and put away the washing line, hoses or any garden toys.
If you have outdoor furniture, consider setting it as if it’s being used – cushions in place, maybe something on the table, but normally without the parasol up or you’ll only see half the garden. This is all about welcoming viewers in.
2. Bright and Beautiful
Make sure all light bulbs are working and lights are on, even in the middle of a sunny day your house will have shadows and having the lights on will make the property seem much brighter and warmer.
Similarly, all curtains and blinds should be open. Again, creating light in the space is essential and having as much natural light as possible is certainly a preference.
3. The Heart of the Home
Let’s move into the kitchen and make the most of it.
Make sure any bins are hidden and there’s no clutter on the surfaces – that’s tea towels, oven gloves, kitchen roll or chopping boards.
Make sure the sink is clear – hide the soap, draining board and washing up bowl.
Remove personal clutter, including magnets, notes and planners. We’re trying to encourage someone to imagine themselves in your space – not wonder where your aunt stayed when she sent that postcard from Barcelona.
This includes pet clutter. Food bowls, beds and toys should all be hidden – the buyer (or renter) won’t be sharing with your Buddy and might even be put off by animals (obviously, it’s just because they’ve never him).
Empty your washing machine and tumble drier – then hide the washing instead of hanging it out, of course.
And, make sure cleaning products – cloths, sprays, all of it – are also hidden (just think of all the fun you’ll have finding all these things once the photographer has gone!)
4. The Smallest Rooms
Well, whether they’re the smallest rooms or not, bathrooms will still need to be in order.
Make sure they’re clean and tidy – this may seem obvious but sometimes the family bathroom is used mostly by children and, well, it might need some attention!
Clear things round the sink and bath (yes - flannels, toothpaste and brushes, shower gel and even rubber ducks), remove mats, used towels and make sure the toilet seat is down.
Again, hide the cleaning products, and the bin too.
5. Sitting, Dining, Sleeping Spaces… Everywhere Else!
Clean and tidy is obviously what we’re aiming for!
Get rid of clutter including personal pictures and rugs which can make your room seem smaller. You may even want to consider hiding those extra pieces of furniture which, when gone, will suddenly make the room seem much bigger (the cat’s favourite footstool or the extra table which keeps your tea always in reach).
Take throws from sofas and make sure cushions are tidy.
Do you want flowers to brighten the space?
Are desks and tables tidy? You may want to present them as ready to use – as long as they aren’t cluttered.
Make the bed – and make it look great, think about the colour of the bedding and how it looks in the room. Do you have extra cushions or throws? Again, we need to be tidy not cluttered!
Are there things under your bed? On top of your wardrobe? Piled on the bedside cabinet? Left on the floor? Of course not – you’ve hidden it all (I know your cupboards are getting full, just wait ‘til you start the proper clear out!)
Are you ready?
The right photographs will make your property stand out, get more interest – make more money. The right staging is an essential part of that process. Your property is probably one of your biggest investments – it’s worth your time to make it look as good as you can.
And, of course, when you’re investing in professional photography for your property pictures, you want to make sure you get the best results.
Do you have any other tips about presenting your property? Or any stories about interesting things you saw when looking round someone’s place – we won’t tell, promise. If you’d like to talk about presenting your property for sale or rental, get in touch – I’d love to help.
One of the joys of Spring, for me, is the chance to get out into the sunshine with my camera. (Obviously I take my camera out in the colder months, but I’m less likely to have company when it’s wet and muddy.)
As the weather starts to settle (let’s be positive here!), I can book in your photoshoots with a reasonable expectation of sunshine, so let me tell you how these location shoots work.
Business or Family, This is About Finding Your Place
Firstly, I can be flexible.
Before any shoot we’ll talk about what it is you want to get out of it, who’s involved, what their needs are and if there are any specific shots you want. We’ll talk about where the shoot should take place – it may be your home, office or property; or it may be a favourite family place, a corporate event – or even afternoon tea?
I know the place is important, but the people are more important. Making you comfortable is an essential part of my job, which means we’ll talk through options for bad weather, we’ll talk about outfits which will look great but be comfortable, if this is for your business – we’ll talk through who hates having their photo taken and how we can keep them happy.
Anyway, this is all just words, let me tell you about a couple of my recent shoots and you’ll see what I mean.
Into the Woods – With the L Family
I love working at Evenley Wood Garden; this is a beautiful space and in Spring the light is stunning.
Of course, there is a risk that it’ll be wet or muddy – so we kept an eye on the forecast and I was able to offer the family reassurance that we could rearrange if the weather made it necessary. There was no need for that though, everything was excellent. (This is actually a fact… another photographer we bumped into agreed it was the perfect location for a perfect family - without prompting! Happy dance.)
With parents, grandparents and the two children, I knew I’d have plenty of opportunities to snap and, I think it’s fair to say, everyone enjoyed it. (Random fact, sometimes the hardest people to please are the parents because they’re too busy worrying… Let me reassure you parents, you don’t worry about how your offspring are behaving on a photoshoot – it’s not your problem. I’ve done this before, and we all know they behave better for other people, right!)
The thing is, a beautiful day with people you love in a gorgeous space is bound to result in stunning photographs – this day did not disappoint.
Then Down to Work – I went back to school
Sometimes, it’s about getting into your space, and this is something else.
Having been invited to photograph a local primary school, I had a fantastic opportunity to document everything which makes the school special.
In some ways, it was very much like any corporate or business photoshoot – we wanted to demonstrate the atmosphere, the facilities and people as well as the locations. In other ways it was quite different – ensuring DBS certification, considering privacy aspects and working with children of course.
Understanding what the school wanted to achieve with the photography was obviously essential – but then, creating the space where we could achieve that while the school day happened around us was a whole other concern.
I love this kind of work, ensuring we’ve got a clear vision and providing the photographs which capture not only a brand but the feelings they inspire – perfect.
Once the school received the images, they were immediately able to use them on social media, and they’ll be updated to their website really soon.
Find Your Happy Space
Getting out on a location shoot can be incredibly flexible and fun.
While for certain situations the studio will always make sense, at this time of year it’s great to be able to consider the opportunities afforded by the places which are important to us.
Why don’t you share your favourite locations, maybe somewhere you’d love to be snapped? And, if you’re inspired to create some of your own incredible images, get in touch – I’d love to help.
It feels like a while since I was here, and that’s because it is. All the way back in 2020 (I won’t ask if you remember it…).
I always take some time out at the start of the year to review, plan, explore and play: it felt good to have some time out to focus on me and the business, including my hopes for LC Photography for this year.
When allowed I’ve also been taking photographs, of houses, people and things – I love what I do.
While they were still working out the details for next steps out of lockdown, I’ve had the pleasure of a few commercial shoots. I’ve set up the system and we can now work together again. As I post the studio is now allowed to open to families again. I will be taking it slow and making sure a lot of cleaning happens. There's also some great offers on location shoots if you'd prefer.
If you’ve been thinking about your product photography, do get in touch. I’ve really enjoyed being back in the studio even for the odd few shoots I've been allowed to do – and that’s not only because I had the chance to capture the beauty of Fannie-Anne’s bakes (honest – mind you they were SO good).
Geeking Out Over Lighting and Afros (see blog image)
I have this amazing client, I mean – obviously – I have lots of amazing clients but I want to tell you about a particular one today. Her name is Bella and she’s been with me for years, both as a boss lady to be and having photographs done with her family. We were talking a while back (as we do when I’m making people pose for me) and discovered a joint wish that we were able to fulfil together.
Bella is beautiful with an amazing sense of style and ideas for gorgeous hair; together we were lamenting the general lack of images of black women showing natural hair (or natural style), so we decided to create some of our own.
The photographs I took of Bella are stunning – because she’s stunning. Not only did I get to take beautiful pictures celebrating her natural beauty and awesomeness, I got to geek out with themes, lighting and editing, creating something which fulfilled her vision and mine. (Possibly the best photographs I’ve ever taken – ssh!)
How Are These Houses Moving So Quickly – They Don’t Even Have Legs?
One element of my business which has been incredibly busy recently, is the property work I do for Russell & Butler. Whether people are relocating because their life has changed or they are taking up the opportunity of stamp duty relief, house sales are going through quickly right now. (I want you to know how much I’d like to make more house moving puns here… but I won’t.)
When You Want to DIY
During this most recent lockdown, I spent some time helping someone desperate to get some awesome product photography and frustrated when – despite lots of Googling and YouTube research – she wasn’t getting the shots she wanted.
The thing is, these ‘one size fits all’ tutorials don’t actually work for ‘all’. I was pleased to be able to help her set up her shots, suggest lighting fixes and get the images she wanted. If you’re struggling to get the photos you want, I’d love to help – or I could always take them for you.
Early 2021 Top Tip: Editing with Stored Actions
Once the shots are taken, there’s another level of skill required in editing to create the perfect photograph. Whether you use Lightroom or Photoshop, using stored actions for repeatable effects is incredibly useful - allowing you to create the perfect atmosphere or look.
One of my favourite resources comes from LSP-Actions.com. Created by award winning photographer Lauren Bennett, these presets were created for her own benefit to make editing easier and they definitely do. Not only that, Lauren is also incredibly supportive, signing up for her products I’ve become part of her group and been truly impressed by how helpful she is.
If you love taking photographs but don’t have the same love for editing, have a look at this site and see how it could help you create better pictures and processes.
Getting Your Orders In
The last thing I wanted to mention this month is a bit of a random one, it’s about sales. As a business owner you won’t be surprised that some of my time is spent thinking about sales, but I don’t often talk about it.
But recently, I did something I wouldn’t normally do and it’s made me consider my own prejudices. Having sent out my usual emails requesting orders, I had a reason to follow up with a further, later, email contacting those who hadn’t got their orders in. What surprised me, was how many people responded positively.
I’ve never wanted to do pushy sales, so my process has always been – a couple of emails and then leave it, let’s not nag. But the response to this recent mailing made me wonder, perhaps I’d actually been letting my clients down. Picking photographs is often something people like to take their time over – and that time for consideration can inevitably lead to things being forgotten.
So, how do you feel about being sold to? Written to? Reminded?
How many communications is too pushy and how many just useful nudging?
I’d love to know what you think
In fact, whether it’s your thoughts on obnoxious salespeople, product photography, editing, or the imminent arrival of Spring, I’d really like to hear your thoughts. You can leave a comment below or get in touch.