End of the ¬£25 Profile Picture

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone but I haven’t raised my rates in about 5 years. I restructured how I charged just to make it easier for clients, but I never actually put them up. Shocking I know!

Drum roll please…you have one week to get in touch to get 2017/18 rates. Most of the general photography pricing isn’t going up by much, but there are going to be options to add tailoring of images for accessibility and SEO amongst other things.

Don’t panic! You don’t need to get the photography done immediately, as long as we have started the consultation process this week (5pm Friday 6th April 2018) you get the 2017/18 rates. Lets be honest as I write this it is currently snowing…I have no problem waiting for warmer weather ūüėČ

On it’s way out is the ¬£25 profile pictures, so you have one week left to book for the 16th of April 2018. If you need an updated headshot or know someone who does send them this link.

If you’re thinking about raising your rates too here’s a great article by Denise at Sandstone Castles on why and how you can go about it – When was the last time you raised your rates?

Give me a call on 0776309221 or email claire@clairewatson.co.uk if you’d like to chat about projects you have coming up. Otherwise book your ¬£25 profile picture here NOW!

C x


Could a retainer save you money?

WLC Business Excellence Awards 2016-1.jpg

New Year revisiting a new idea. Last year I introduced the idea of a retainer to my business photography client options. It was new to me and I wasn’t entirely sure how it would workout for either me or the client. The only ‘retainer’ type structures I could find online were either similar to a shoot deposit or were guaranteeing availability, whether work was carried out¬†or not. The latter usually being fairly expensive for the client.

I wanted to do something that both saved clients money and made it easier for them to include photography in their annual budget and I hoped gain a slightly higher overall spend and a more steady income throughout the year. I was pretty sure it would be very cost effective for the client and that the regular payments would be good for my cashflow, but I was a bit fuzzy on the details.

My usual approach would be not to take an idea forward until I had every detail perfected with the consequence being never taking any action. This time I decided to suck it and see!

A big thank you goes out to West Lothian Chamber of Commerce for being the first to take me up on the offer…the guinea pig so to speak. We sat down and came up with a budget, event list and a few other details to build flexibility and reliability in to the agreement. Now with 3/4 of the year through¬†I’ve done a quick audit. 10 events have been covered¬†from the launch of the Developing Young Workforce programme, annual awards to the monthly breakfasts. When the normal fee is compared to¬†and the amount paid through the¬†retainer¬†the Chamber has so far saved 60% and been able to build a great stock of images of all their events for PR and future promotions.

I’d love to hear about any successes and failures you have had with similar or new pricing structures. Or for that fact any time you’ve introduced new concepts to your clients that they might not be familiar with. How did you go about it? What did you find that did or didn’t work?

And if you’d like to talk through how a retainer might work for your business give me a call and we can grab a coffee and a chat.

Contact me on 0776 309 2221 or email claire@clairewatson.co.uk

Communicating what to whom?

What do you want to say? Who do you want to say it to?

Are the two most important questions you should ask yourself when thinking about the pictures you are taking for your business. Let us stick to social media for this post for brevity’s sake.

What do you want to say? Images are all about communicating your message so what is that message? Who are you as an individual, small business, company? What are the things and values that are important to you? What makes you stand out from your competitors? What do you want to achieve? These questions are our starting point in improving our communication with our target market.

Who do you want to talk to? Is the second part of that successful communication. Are the people you want to talk to present on the social media platform you are using? What do they want to see? What questions do they want answered about you? What is going to make them engage of disengage with you?

You should look at using pictures as a way to improve how you communicate with your current and prospective clients. Effective communication is never just one directional (no I don‚Äôt mean the boy band). If you’ve not sure how you can start doing this have a look at your competitors. Who’s doing it well?¬†Ask your market what they like. Or come along to my next training, get some tips and try out some different options.

I’m fairly new to Instagram myself, so I’m out looking for guidance and ideas. This is one of the blogs I thought was useful. ‘21 Mistakes You Can‚Äôt Afford to Make in Instagram Marketing‘ by Rachel Daley.

To conclude, pictures can be used to both attract and put clients off. So make sure it is intentional not as a by-product of not thinking thinks through properly. This picture might alienate large sections of the market but speak directly to a specific group. I’ll let you guess the market.

Have a great weekend.

Claire x

UK police visit Balearic islands

Problem solving: How does a photographer serve up a solution?

As a commercial photographer each job presents it own challenges. I have always viewed myself more of a service provider that an artist. I look at what a client needs to get across to their target market and create images that serve that need. Here are 3 examples of the theory in practise.

Case study: Edgen Murray

Edgen Murray is an international steel manufacturer that supplies to the oil industry. They brought me in on a 2 fold project. The first part of the project was to take profile pictures of the management team that matched pictures that had been taken in their other locations in Australia and Singapore. The second was to shoot the various steel products they had on site and capture the size and scale of their new site at Newbridge.

In part one we shot the management team at the head offices in Edinburgh against a matching grey backdrop and lighting as close as I could get to the brand identity specified. Those images were then edited to match exactly the ones from the other regions to unify and clearly represent the company as a global player. The second part of the project involved photographing key products and the site in general. Here are some of the images and some kind words from the marketing manager.

“We have used Claire for taking corporate headshots of our senior management and have been very pleased with the service she has provided. Moreover, Claire has been great in assisting us with digital work we needed done urgently on other photography. She has been very helpful, professional in turning around projects quickly, and in general great to work with.”

РValentina Mina, Marketing Services Manager

Case Study: ConnectED Profile Pictures

ConnectED is a networking group that meets every Tuesday. We wanted¬†to help small business owners get professional profile pictures, so we arranged to have them taken at one of the weekly meetings at a discounted rate. The challenge was how to get images that captured everyones personalities. By making everyone feel comfortable and relaxed then adding a few tweaks with colour balance and saturation in the editing process I created individual portraits from the same lighting and equipment set up. Eddie had a few kind words to add…not like the dentist at all ūüėČ

“If you’re a little self-conscious then getting your photo taken can be a bit like going to the dentist! Claire made it fun and easy and the result speaks for itself. Did I mention fantastic value for money?”

–¬†Eddie Caldow,¬†Printer Cartridges,¬†Empty Cartridge Recycling,¬†Printer Maintenance,¬†Printer Engineer,¬†Sustainability

Case Study: Rock Trust

The Rock Trust works in Edinburgh and the Lothians with young people between the ages of 16- 25 who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Their role is to advise, educate and support young people. The project was to capture the different sides of the charity. The experience you people can expect at the centre and in the supported accommodation. The fundraising events businesses and individuals can get involved in, as well as the research and conferences that the charity organises and supports.

“Claire worked with us to create and implement a plan for our website and publicity images. She paid great attention to our work, the service users and our values and ensured that she not only met, but surpassed, our expectations. Claire has worked with the young people in their homes, staff team at our conferences and supporters at our events and she works well in every situation. We continue to work with Claire as not only has she produced beautiful images but she is also great to work with.”

РKate Polson, Chief Executive at The Rock Trust

So if you have a photography problem let me know and I might be able to serve up a solution.

Simple imagery fundamentals when branding your business

Simple imagery fundamentals. What are the important things to think about when choosing images for your website, Facebook, Instagram etc?

Day 15 Colour wheel

First think about colour. You might have a warm colour pallet (colours yellow through to crimson) or a cool pallet (purple through to green). There is lots of information on choosing your colour scheme and using the psychology of colour to maximise your brand in your industry. This is one of many of you to look at if your are really interested “How to use the psychology of colour”.

How does this relate to your images? Is your brand bold bright or more muted? Your images should match or¬†compliment your brand on your website and things like your banners at the top of Facebook or Twitter. They should continue to convey your brand to your prospective clients. If you use Instagram then think about choosing one filter as it does a similar thing, but there are a lot of other things¬†to talk about on Instagram, so I’ll tackle it in a separate blog.

Second thing to think about is shape. Do you have large images that tex scrolls across, wide banners, square tiles, long drop down banner type images? The dimensions of your images are important as the rule of thirds (see previous post) is also a good guide, but as the dimensions change you have to visualise how that effects our composition. Here are the dimensions for Facebook to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, but this is equally true for blogs etc.

Day 15 dimensions

Okay I lied it’s not that simple…that’s why photographers ask you for money. It’s not just having a camera and taking nice pictures. However¬†if your keen to have a go and are short of money thinking about colour and shape is a good place to start when branding your business.

Simple photography, the lazy person‚Äôs guide

Let’s keep it simple for the weekend. You don’t have any time, you don’t think you’re creative, you’re not really interested in photography, but you need to take pictures for your business.

Here are 3 things, using 1 rule, you can do to to take better pictures without the need for time, creativity or enthusiasm (though try and have some fun with it!).

Here are 3 things and the rule of thirds.

  1. Don’t put a horizon in the middle of the picture. Put it on the upper or lower third.
  2. Off centre portraits, putting the person’s eye on the top left corner to create a stronger connection to the image as when looking at an image people spend the majority of the time in that corner (45%).
  3. Leave empty space in the image. Don’t feel the need to put you subject¬†bang in the middle of the frame as big as possible (it’s boring). Put key details in the transects of the lines and don’t be frightened to leave some space. It leads to a more interesting picture.

So when taking pictures your first thought to make your photography better and more engaging should be the rule of thirds. Simple!