As some of you will know my first career before photography was producing and directing documentaries and factual television so when ‘Countryfile’ asked me to follow them for a couple of days and capture behind the scenes photographs of their team at work I was thrilled!
I still have super fond memories of (the one and only) John Craven having a cuppa in my kitchen before I drove him to location. I can still see my (usually very composed) hubby’s face as John introduced himself. He was a proper fanboy and just looked wide eyed as if to say – ‘yes I know….it’s you off Newsround – in OUR kitchen!’
As a behind the scenes photographer you need to work in the background and slip by largely unnoticed. You are expected to document everything that is going on to really capture the atmosphere on set from start to finish. Knowing what was happening, why things take time, when to speak and more importantly when to stay quiet is paramount! Having experience of filming I knew when I could grab people for quick portraits, where I would be out of shot and when to remove myself altogether if time pressure was becoming too much.
The question most people have asked me is… ‘has much changed from when you last filmed last with them 8 years ago?’ The answer, is no, not a lot to be honest! The teams were still super friendly and fun, the subject matter still brilliant and the days still tight on time!
Countryfile films most of it’s VTs (Video inserts) in less than two days, which believe me is very short for Prime Time telly. Most of their filming is natually outdoors which means filming can be under extra pressure from short daylight hours and the vagaries of British weather. Then there is the added pressure of traveling from location to location, getting contributors into position and having to feed people! The crews are made up of director (who often self shoots), cameraperson, sound operator, presenter and researcher. As anyone who’s ever done a shoot knows, things don’t always go to plan, these shoots were relatively straightforward, but we were still under time pressure. To the untrained eye filming can look laid back and very relaxed – but often they are not shooting, because they are waiting for an airplane to pass overhead, a piece of kit to be fetched, a battery to be replaced…all the while knowing that the clock is ticking.
In my opinion they still make brilliant programmes with fab content that look stunning – Hurrah for The File – shame I didn’t get a chance to catch up with John though…hopefully next time.
16 years working for the BBC and Channel4 on a lot of property programmes which meant that when I photographed my first hotel it felt like I’d come home!
It’s a very similar skill set that I employ when trying to capture a mood or convey an emotion of a property in To Buy or Not to Buy’ or ‘How to Build a House for 100K’ both of which I directed and produced respectively.
Before photographing a restaurant, hotel or home we sit down and together work out exactly what mood and story we need to convey. What are the images to be used for, who is the target client and what is the emotion or sentiment we need to create.
This way together we create a wealth of beautifully crafted images to convey your message and on websites, social media or in print. The right images to help create a following and get you more visitors and sales.
Below is a project I recently undertook for the fine dining boutique hotel ‘The Feathered Nest’ in the Cotswolds.
Branding is more than just a logo, colours and fonts. Your visual identity is actually made up of lots of different elements, including photography, but what is brand photography, why is it important and how can you get some for your own brand?
What is brand photography?
Brand photography is the opportunity for you to have a wealth of professional images that represent your business visually, and fit with your brand identity through their use of colours, tone, props, sets and more. These can include photos of you, your team, your products, your process, your space and other things that make your business unique.
Maybe you’ve had a headshot taken before for your LinkedIn profile or website about page, and while a beautiful, professional headshot is important, it’s just one piece of the branding puzzle. To make your business look it’s best, you’ll want a range of consistent, bespoke photos that will keep your business looking tip-top across all of your marketing material over time.
“So pleased with the photos Kate took for me. The lifestyle shots were great and just what I wanted for social media and ultimately saved me a huge amount of time and stress. She’s a delight to work with; relaxed and adept at capturing exactly what I was after. Thanks Kate!’ Seaforth
Brand photography makes your brand more approachable and human
82% of consumers trust a company more — and 77 % are more likely to buy from a company — if the founder uses social media. This isn’t to say that these photos are just for your social media profiles, or that they should all include you, but to point out that people want to connect with other people, relate to others and see the face behind the company.
Now I know what you’re thinking, and as someone who hates being on the other side of the camera – I’m with you! But I’ve realised how important it is that people know who I am, I found a photographer who made me feel comfortable and confident, and had my first set of branded photos taken just before Lockdown! So from one crazy gurning business owner to another, I can assure you that it’s doable, not as scary as you think, and totally worth it!
When you and/or your team can be seen throughout your marketing, potential clients will be able to see who they would be working with, get a glimpse into the process, and imagine themselves being a part of that experience. Photos with humans in them take your products and services from seeming unattainable or conceptual and bring them into reality as something tangible and desirable.
Brand photography sets a fab first impression
People form a first impression in just nanoseconds seconds, so everything you share has to grab them fast! Good quality, consistent, professional photography is going to help capture and retain clients. They will see that you appreciate attention to detail, high quality content, consistency and great aesthetics. I know that if something is presented well, I’m already mostly convinced without even knowing anything about the product or service!
Brand photography increases engagement
We all know by now that visual content goes a long way and has a much better engagement than text-only content, and if you’re not convinced yet, here are some cold, hard facts. 65% of marketing execs say photos, videos and illustrations are key to communicating your brand story; Facebook posts from brands that included images earned 87 percent of all engagements; 51% of B2B marketers prioritize creating visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy; tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images; articles with an image once every 75-100 words received double the social media shares as articles with fewer images; Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images. (Hubspot) Have I hooked you yet?
You need images and more importantly, you need good quality, on-brand images.
Consistency is key, and photography increases brand consistency
You might have your logo, colours and fonts down, but if your photography doesn’t match, you’re in trouble. Having all of your visual elements work together cohesively is vital in maintaining brand consistency. Brands that are consistently presented are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility and 90% of consumers expect their experience to be consistent across all channels and devices used to interact with brands.
Now you may be able to find some good stock images that kind of work but chances are they won’t be on-brand, or if they are, a hundred other people are using the exact same photos in their brand. Stock imagery is good when you first started out, but it should be the goal to have your own, unique and perfectly on-brand photos to use instead.
Where you can use brand photography
I get that maybe you’re wondering where you could possibly use all of these photos and you’ll totally want to get your money worth if you’re investing in a photographer, so here’s a few ideas for how you can use these images once you have them:
As your social media profile photos, especially if you’re a team of one, or your brand is really personal, like a life coach or blogger.
For Instagram photos
In your Instagram stories
To show who you are on your about page
In blog posts
As the graphics for your paid ads
To show your process
As the sign-off of your email newsletter alongside your name
On one side of your business card
To introduce yourself in a webinar
On the team page of your website
Throughout a PDF opt-in
For a client thank you note
As part of your PR/Media/Press package so others can write and share about you and your business
In your email signature
As podcast artwork
In your online course content
Time to take action!
Now it’s time to make it happen! If you don’t already have a photographer in mind, have a look around my pages and then if you want to chat more – drop me a line, we can jump on Zoom, have a cuppa and catch up.
It’s really important that you get on with whoever you partner up with on this. So make sure you get references and find someone whose work you enjoy, and who you get along really well with. The most important thing, especially if you are going to be getting photos of you and your team, is to work with someone who makes you feel comfortable and you can have fun with, because this will show in the photos.
Will it rain on my wedding day? What on earth do we do if it does?
We happen to live in one of the greenest, most beautiful countries in Europe and it’s mainly because of our rain/sunshine combo! So the chance of rain even on that summer saturday in August is high – at least 50/50.
So what should you do?
Here are some of my recent brides top tips;
1. Embrace it. You’ve got a fab venue, laugh, love and nip outside when you can for photos. If you are positive, your guests will be – happiness is infectious it spreads.
2. Have lots of clear brollies at the ready. As a photographer I always carry a few in the boot of my car and some super lovely bright ones as my brides often love a ‘pop’ of colour – Flying Tiger has great rainbow ones for £5 Primark has some lovely clear ones edged with black or white.
3. Use doorways for images you and the guests take – the dark behind and natural light from outside works wonders with any photos you are taking.
4. Be flexible – remember, once the rain clears up the light can be amazing and will make any colours you’ve chosen appear brighter and more vibrant. Be ready to nip out between food courses if necessary to grab dry photo opportunities.
5. If your ceremony is outside, make sure guests are aware and dress appropriately – let them know if you plan on staying outside even if it rains! They may want to rethink their shoe choice and wear a vest!
6. Do speak to your venue and have a contingency plan. If your ceremony is outside speak to the venue about gazebos. Check you can have one at the last minute and don’t have to order it days in advance.
7. Everyone loves a rain photo or brolly shot – get out there in the rain and enjoy the craziness of it all!
Below are images from Lauren and Phil’s beautiful day. It poured in Biblical proportions all day and didn’t dampen their spirits at all!
So at the end of last year I photographed the gorgeous Helen and Chris on their wedding day. They chose St Peter’s Church in Powick for their marriage ceremony, followed by the gorgeous and intimate Elmslie House for their reception.
Elmslie House is a grade II listed family home where they open the ground floor to music events, craft fairs and other events including weddings! The large main area allowed for the guests to sit in long ‘Harry Potter’ style dining tables whilst there were still other areas to mooch off to for some quiet time. Despite it’s age, the house feels modern, light and airy and the owners are super friendly. What I love about being a wedding photogapher is that every day is unique and that’s obviously down to the people!
Helen and Chris’ wedding was relaxed and laid back, which I think was all down to Helen’s brilliant planning. The day was just perfect and it was an honour to have been a part of it. I think we got some beautiful portraits, but also some fabulous shots that are just a little bit different – don’t just take my word for it though – take a look!