Tag Archives: business

Promotional Video – ‘How to Drive Your Business to the Next Level’

This seminar was filmed for a promotional video. Beverley Corson and Bryan Charter are Engineering Business Growth. They are a good example of the value of business networking – they met at a breakfast meeting, realised they shared a lot of their business philosophy and formed a partnership. This seminar – How to Drive Your Business to the Next Level’ is a taster for their ‘Engineering Business Growth Club’. 

I used my BBC training and skills to make this promotional video, filming editing and post-producing. If you’d like your business to benefit from a BBC-quality video, call on 020 8977 2529 or message me.

Kingston Chamber of Commerce New Board Members – Portrait Photography

Portrait photographs of the new members of the board, Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Elected at the annual general meeting, it’s an awesome weight of responsibility, but they held up well, at least for their first day!

Breakfast Muffins in the Mayor’s Parlour – Business Event in Kingston

On the desk of the Mayor of Kingston upon Thames – books to makes sure he knows his place…

Kingston Chamber of Commerce’s latest networking breakfast event was in the Mayor’s Parlour in the Guildhall.  I had to go and have a look – just too tempting for a nosey person like me.  You always meet some interesting people at these well-attended events, and you find out about their many great business ideas!

New Hotel in Kingston and a Nice Place for a Networking Event

I love a nice hotel. There’s a charming, boutique establishment on a back-street in the Marias, Paris we’re very fond off. But there’s something about a big, grand hotel that’s rather wonderful. Kingston-upon-Thames is about to get one of those. The Doubletree by Hilton is opening soon, and Kingston Chamber of Commerce held a networking breakfast in the new hotel’s Sopwith Suite. Kingston’s aviation heritage has given a theme to the hotel, they’ve used the names and photographs of old Hawker aeroplanes. The purpose-built structure went up seven years ago, but was mothballed by the then owners. Under new owners, it’s been  finished it to a very high standard, king size beds, giant TVs and a carpet with a design based on an aerial view of Kingston. It’ll be a great place for a meeting over a coffee or a bite to eat. And I’m not just saying that because I got a free breakfast! And a chocolate muffin. And a pain au raisin. 

“Every picture tells a story, make sure it’s the right one!”
Trevor Aston Photography and Video is based in Teddington, Richmond upon Thames in southwest London close Kingston, Twickenham and Surrey.

How About Us? Staff Pictures on the Company Website

Getting a job is a little like being adopted. You enter someone else’s family with it’s different ways of doing things, different look and sounds, different smells. As time passes the strangeness fades until one day, almost without noticing you become one the gang, an insider, part of this no-longer-new family.

That’s why it’s so interesting to go into a company to shoot profile portraits of the staff. You’re never anything other than an outsider, but an outsider with a mandate to stare at each person and disrupt the routine. As a pebble tossed into an otherwise still pond, it’s fascinating to watch the ripples pass through the private world of the office.

While many quite enjoy the break in routine and an excuse to get away their desk, others just hate having their picture taken. I move each person on quickly after capturing a quick impression of them. It’s not really a portrait, but something to show to clients and customers to enable the process of engagement to begin, even before they’ve spoken to or met anyone. It reassures them them see that none one in the company has two heads.

My commission to photograph the staff at Receipt Bank on Fleet Street was a tribute to the power of networking. The call from Nelson came some four years after we’d attended the same group for about six months. I’m pleased to report that the staff of Receipt Bank have only one head each.

Corporate and profile portraits

Laura’s Pet’s Pressies editorial photography

BBC Children’s had a sort of ‘junior Dragon’s Den’ programme, which 9 year old Laura won. Her prize was the opportunity, support and resource to try out her business idea; ‘Pet’s Pressies’. She came to ‘Pets at Home’ in Richmond with her Dad, the BBC sent a TV crew. As well as the the retail space, Pets-at-Home merchandiser lent Claire, one of their experienced merchandiser. Laura was great, she listened to the advice she was given and was very self-assured talking to the customers.

 

Find the right photographer and you’ll look good forever

There’s no real secret to getting a good picture of yourself.

look-good-forever

All you have to do to look great in a photo is to be relaxed in front of the camera. Simple!

Just choose a photographer with a feeling for, and understanding of you, then you can look good forever.  Simple really.

I don’t know why women have to be so difficult when they get in front of the camera. Or what makes men even worse.

 

 

 

 

a good working portrait

looking away from the camera can look good, emphasising the subject’s personality

looking good in a profile portrait

some people just look good in front of the camera!

Almost no one likes having their picture taken, many people really hate it so it’s a relief when a client walks in with a more sanguine attitude. ‘It’s got to be done.’ They tell themselves. ‘I’m going to feel uncomfortable with the camera’s beady stare fixed on me, but it’s a necessity of modern life.’
Nicola Hill of NC Media believes people should just get on with it. “After years of standing in front a TV camera I know there’s no flaw in me that a lens hasn’t found already.” Nicola was a reporter for Sky News before she set up her own business. “But I know how to look my best on camera. My advice is too make an effort in choosing a good photographer, you must find someone you feel you can trust.”
Well, we photographers spend time and money making ourselves visible online, so it’s never been easier to find us and see what we do. So here’s the first step towards getting a good photograph of you; get searching photographers’ websites and look for portraits that you wish were of you.

You can’t look your best if you think the photographer’s a bit creepy, and frankly many of us are! So the next stage is to work out whether you’re going to like the person you’re about to licence to gaze at you. You could send an email and see how long it takes for them to reply, what’s the tone of the reply, is it spelled correctly? I’m not suggesting that all creepy people have bad grammar, but if they can’t be bothered to run a spell check over an email, will they bother to polish the post-production on your picture?
Compile a short-list and ring them all, it’s unlikely to be a long list, tell them what you want to do with the images and what you don’t like about your appearence. Their response will betray how well they listened to you, and that’ll give you a good idea whether you want to work with them!

Here’s a blog to help you choose a style for your portrait.
Here’s a blog about judging a photographer‘s work.

women sitting at a pieno

your photographer should understand what’s important to you

a great smile is always a winner in a good profile portrait photograph

a great smile is always a winner in a good profile portrait photograph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trevor Aston works in Southwest London and Surrey photographing portraits, PR, events, food and products, editorial, architectural and interiors

Make-Up for Your Portrait Shoot

It’s surprising how often people don’t make any special effort with their appearance before a photo shoot.

But most of those people are men. Most women realise that make-up for your portrait shoot is worth the trouble….

profile portrait photograph

even when you’re beautiful, it’s worth paying a little extra attention to your make-up

Writer and broadcaster Vanessa Feltz once asked me what I thought about the colour of her eye shadow. The make-up artist had just stepped away. I didn’t think anything, I had no opinions on any aspect of eye shadow or make-up in general but because I was directing this BBC film shoot I had to express opinions on this and anything else I was asked. “Well I think you look great Vanessa, but I can see why you’re questioning it.” I was playing for time, then the make-up artist returned and Vanessa asked what other colours she had. I helped choose by not saying much.
Having photographed hundreds of people I do now have opinions on make up, simply because my job as a photographer is much harder if the make up is wrong. I know how my lighting works with the flesh tones and face shapes as they’re hidden or exaggerated by make up. I’ve garnered my knowledge by being flattering.  It’s helps distract people so they forget about the camera.  I say how good they look and ask if they’ve used much make up, because I really can’t tell! So here are some of the general thoughts and  some specific bits of advice.

profile portrait photography

a portrait photography session is special occasion, why wouldn’t you make a special effort?

  1. Do make a special effort with your make-up for your photo shoot: it’s a special occasion.
  2. If you can get professional help; do. Otherwise do it yourself because you know what works on you.
  3. Look like you, don’t try anything knew but be the best you possible.
  4. Be restrained.
  5. Choose a foundation as close to your skin colour as you can find.
  6. Don’t use mineral-based cosmetics because the camera sees them as shiny.
  7. Line both top and bottom eyelids.
  8. Use mascara.
  9. Avoid shiny eye shadow.
  10. Putting lip stain under the lip-gloss will be more stable and is less likely to need touching up
  11. Avoid very glossy lips; less can be more in a photograph
  12. Use a hair spray with glue-like properties.
  13. Take a brush or comb to the shoot.
good profile portrait photographs

let your natural loveliness shine through by using make-up, but sparingly!

It’s hard to look your best in photographs if you’re not feeling good about yourself so it’s worth doing your best to look your best. Of course there’s more to feeling good than slapping on a bit of lippie, but it’s a good start!

Trevor Aston works in Southwest London and Surrey photographing portraits, PR, events, food and products, editorial, architectural and interiors

Getting Better Group Portraits

Act like a new teacher demanding attention from an unruly class – it’ll help getting better group portraits.

group corporate portrait photography Kingston upon Thames-02There are many occasions when both amateur and professional photographers find themselves trying get a group portrait – caralling a bunch of people to pose for a photograph. It can be a lot of fun, get a crowd laughing and you can do anything with them. Or it can be like herding cats….

The ability to slide shadow-like into the background can help get great candid photographs. But like a conductor imposing their will and their interpretation of the music on an orchestra, photographing a group of people is one of those times when any desire to blend in has to be put aside. Instead, you should be like the new teacher at the start of term demanding the attention of an unruly class, or act as a the sergeant major commanding compliance from a platoon of new recruits or perform as an actor on the stage as the curtain goes up after the interval. Of a bad play!

Crowd photography is first and foremost crowd control, sometimes getting a good photograph of a group depends on the strength of the rapport you create with the people you’re photographing.
group corporate portrait photography Kingston upon Thames-9650.jpgTo keep the group on your side it’s vital to be efficient and as quick as possible, so know the precise location you want to use and have the lights set up before they arrive. If you have the choice, stage the shoot outside, a bit of fresh air can waken them up and put some colour in their cheeks. Ask the venue staff where photographers usually take group-shots, it’s likely to be the best place in the grounds. Otherwise think about posing the group within a natural frame like a doorway. Position them with the sun to the side to avoid squints or silhouettes.

getting-better-group-portraits-conferenceAlways use a flash to fill in the shadows on a sunny day, or punch up the colour on a dull day. Soften the flash through a photographic umbrella if it’s a small group, this will help avoid the flat, ‘flash’ look. If the weather drives you indoors use flash to give you the flexibility to stop down the lens for depth-of-field, or look for a light-coloured ceiling or wall to bounce the light from. Maybe you’re a lucky person and you’ll find a large indoor space with discreet decoration to stage the picture.

 group corporate portrait photography Kingston upon Thames-257.jpgOr perhaps you’ll be confined in a room with too much furniture, violently patterned wallpaper and a low ceiling. Well, you’ve still got to get the picture so there’s no choice but to get on with it and use what you got, and always remember that group shots are about the faces, not the art direction.

Indoors or outdoors, there is one great secret to composing a group of people; arrange them in a way that you looks nice. Simple. You’re the photographer – trust your eye, it’s as good as anyone else’s. Be assertive – arrange them how you want them. Symmetry can help, so can the rule of thirds. Look out for light fittings, red fire alarms, green exit instructions, signs pointing to the toilets. But the most important thing in arranging a group is making sure you can see everyone’s face.

group corporate portrait photography Kingston upon Thames--2.jpgLook out for the shy ones trying to hide at the back. Moving an individual whose name you don’t know is a problem, so if eye contact doesn’t work then forget good manners and point. Directing with a light touch gets a better response than the heavy hand; boss people around with a smile and joke! Sometimes there’s someone you can safely pick on, “I knew you were going to be trouble” “There’s one in every group”. But be careful, don’t comment on appearance or body shape, a crowd can turn very quickly! Of course people want to help and co-operate, if they are not playing along ask them to do it as a favour for the hosts or their friends, even for the boss! And point out that they won’t get their dinner until the photography’s finished!group corporate portrait photography Kingston upon Thames-8465.jpg

Trevor Aston works in Southwest London and Surrey photographing portraits, PR, events, food and products, editorial

 

A Bad Profile Picture is like a Limp Handshake

Displaying the wrong profile picture to your social network can make an even worse impression.

bad-profile-pictures
Friends will see the joke behind your new quirky profile pic, but new acquaintances will take it seriously. So with the quirky quashed, how do we avoid giving anyone an opportunity to make an unintended judgement about you? Don’t think that you can get away with not posting a picture at all, that’s like refusing a handshake all together.

Basing any judgement on a photo alone is unreasonable and liable to show prejudice. However we’re programmed to measure and assess other people from any cue we can, so it’s difficult to be unaffected in how we treat the person behind the profile.

But we can use social networking images to steer the impression people get of us. Good pics give people a chance to put a face to the name, to confirm that you are the witty charmer they met last night and not the sweaty bore. If someone’s thinking of offering you work, won’t they first want to check you out? Do you look like someone they could work with? Are you more or less like them? And when did you ever hear someone say; ‘I’ve got a great memory for names, it’s faces I struggle with’?

Your face is your logo. In the age of the biometric passport the picture’s not your only identifier, but across a range of social media websites your mug shot works just the same as a corporate logo. Just think how much effort companies take to get a logo right, and then how much they use them.
bad-profile-pictures-please
So here’re some steps to looking the best you can.
– Welcome the attention of the camera, remember it’s your potential life partner or new client you are greeting. So no pressure!
– Nervous now? Try closing your eyes, think of the person who loves you the best, imagine them standing in place of the camera, open your eyes and give them your warmest smile.
– A gurning smile is not warm.
– Show you’re trustworthy by meeting the viewer’s eye directly – which means looking at the camera.
– Clothes still count, dress appropriately for your line of work and look like you care, Facebook pics can be casual and LinkedIn formal, so perhaps pitch it in between.
– Make an effort with your grooming, but if you’re not a model don’t try to look like one. And men, comb your hair!
– Get someone else to work the camera for you, but tell them to fill the frame with you.no-more-bad-profile-pictures
– You don’t need lots of megapixels, but if you use a camera on a phone make sure there isn’t a greasy thumbprint over the lens. And they’re worse than tummy buttons for holding on to fluff.
– Plenty of light, the camera can’t work well without it, but not direct sunlight. Sunshine will make you squint, put you in silhouette or cast unsightly shadows.
– It’s behind you! What is? The thing that’s taking the attention away from your face. The plainer the background the better.

If you don’t want to get shot, don’t hand out ammunition!

See some examples of corporate headshots I photographed

Trevor Aston works in Southwest London and Surrey photographing portraits, PR, events, editorial