Tag Archives: business

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!

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.

 

Richmond Business Awards 2015

The Richmond Business Awards recognise the strength and vitality of business in the London Borough of Richmond. The twelve categories in this Richmond event are sponsored by some the bigger businesses in the Borough. We all get to dress up for the award ceremony in the Live Room at the rugby stadium, where the food was surprisingly good!

Paddy O’Connell from BBC Radio News was the master of ceremonies. He drove the event like a thirsty cowboy so it didn’t drag on and got to the dancing before anyone got too emotional.

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Best Business Award – Butterworth Laboratories

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Best Small Business – Page Tiger

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People’s Choice – Richmond Theatre

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Best New Start-Up – Brilliant Play Solutions

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Best Charity or Social Enterprise – Richmond Borough Mind

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Best Achievement in Corporate Responsibility – Haymarket Media Group

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Best Website – Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond

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Best Professional Practice – Tech Division

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Best Exporter – FT Technologies

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Best Training and Development – Hanover IT

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Best Retailer – Kew Enterprises

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Best Customer Service – The Maris Practice

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Best Business for Innovation – Foehn Ltd

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The Commended and Highly Commended

 

Find the right photographer and you’ll look good forever

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just be relaxed in front of the camera, easy isn’t it?

There’s no real secret to getting a good picture of yourself. Just choose a photographer with a feeling for, and understanding of you. Then you can look good forever. Simple.

Almost no one likes having their picture taken, many people hate it. But like the condemned ordering their last meal, most people just resign themselves to it. It’s got to be done, your going to feel uncomfortable with the camera’s beady stare fixed upon you, but it’s a necessity of modern life. As the book says; ‘feel the pain, and do it anyway’.

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no tie, casual shirt, unshaved but looking good

looking good in a profile portrait

some people just look good in front of the camera!

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 your photographer, find someone you feel you can trust.”

a good working portrait

looking away from the camera can make a portrait appear less formal

Most photographers spend time and money making themselves and their work visible online, so here’s the first step towards getting a good photograph of you; get searching photographers’ websites. 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 some 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. Recommendations from people you respect are priceless, do you know anyone who has recently had new pictures taken? Web designers love good photographers, good photos make their job easier. Check out business networking groups and professional associations for their recommendations.

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

Another stage before calling them could be to 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. Anyone who immediately tells you how good they are should be crossed off your list. They should take the time to find out about you and what you want. Ideally they’ll offer some suggestions about their approach. 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 should tell you if you want to work with them.

women sitting at a pieno

your photographer should understand what’s important to you

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

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….

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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.

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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!

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

 

 

A Bad Profile Picture is like a Limp Handshake

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

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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.
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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!

More on headshot photography