Overcome The Fear of Having Your Picture Taken

Expert Guest Post: Overcome The Fear of Having Your Picture Taken with Hypnotherapy

Some people hate having their picture taken. Many would prefer to stay on the other side of the camera, being the one taking the pictures of everyone else. On the rare occasion someone else does get hold of a camera and snap a picture, the finished result usually ends up with a turned away face. The fear of having your picture taken is really quite common. There are millions of people that simply are not comfortable or have high levels of anxiety when someone tries to take their picture.

It might be just as hard to explain this fear of being photographed to yourself as it is explaining it to other people. After all, everyone’s doing it! It’s fun! It’s a great way to be remembered with your family and friends. What’s wrong with getting your picture taken at a family reunion? Don’t you want to be remembered as part of the family? But yet when that camera is staring right at you panic sets in! All you know is you don’t want any part of it and you want out of your situation immediately. Away from that camera. Also, what happens when you need that professional headshot? Standing there in front of a camera all by yourself, can be an even more daunting experience.

Maybe you’ve tried to come to terms with yourself and rationalize your feelings. Perhaps it’s because you always hate being photographed because you think you never look good in a picture. Maybe you feel that people will judge you on how your photograph turns out. Or even you just can’t stand the idea that you will have no control who will see your picture. Perhaps you have absolutely no idea why you don’t like your picture taken.

Does Hypnotherapy Help?

Yes! You can really be more comfortable and relaxed. You can break free from emotional barriers that have been holding you back from being photographed. Also, you can learn highly effective and enjoyable techniques that can enable you to be more at ease. Therefore, social occasions become more enjoyable and professional photos become less daunting.

If you have had enough of being uncomfortable having your picture taken and would like to be more relaxed, then why not consider hypnotherapy?

What Happens In A Hypnotherapy Session With Me?

Initially, I will be collating lots of information from you about the way you experience having your picture taken. By getting to know you helps me, to help you in the best way depending on your personality and challenges. I use a range of therapies within a typical session including Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). These are both excellent at managing anxiety and increasing confidence. Also, off course, hypnosis is used. These therapies complement each other, when used together and can offer a very effective, positive outcome. I am very much guided by you and your needs during a session. I have no power over you nor can I magically make you different. However, by working together with you, I am confident in helping you achieve a positive outcome. I am passionate at empowering people to be the very best that they can be and to feel great about being You.

Dedicated to your wellbeing,


Lorraine Grant is a qualified hypnotherapist with a practice based in Norwich. You can find out more and contact Lorraine through her website: www.lorrainegrant.co.uk

Commercial Portraits – Creating a Branded Headshot

Commercial Portraits – Creating a Branded Headshot

CoCommercial Portraits - Andrew Lamb Headshotmmercial portraits are an important part of a company’s use of images. Staff headshots help to bring real faces to the business, giving it a more human feel. Websites and brochures benefit from using headshots of staff. They help customers and potential clients to relate better to the brand as people relate most easily to people.

However, as with many other aspects of branding, it is easy to make mistakes by trying to cut corners so that a box can be ticked but done cheaply and quickly. Many may resort to taking pictures of one another using mobile phones with the subject standing against a blank wall. All too often, this leaves people looking less than comfortable and fails to connect the images with the overall branding. Commercial portraits provide an excellent opportunity to communicate your brand and personality.

Commercial Portraits - Jim Adcock HeadshotSometimes the connections in the image may be extremely obvious – as with the profile picture of the social media expert above (Andrew of Lamb Social Media). You may also wish to bring in imagery that is slightly less obvious but still carefully aligned with the brand. For example, this image of Jim Adcock with cogs and gears in the background was produced to go with his strapline “The Mechanic for your Business”. In the context of the rest of Jim’s branding, this headshot makes real sense.

Commercial Portraits - Oliver Hill HeadshotIt is also possible to draw on something as simple as one of the main colours of your branding. This headshot of Oliver Hill of Hill Coaching uses the green which features in the logo and across the website. Keeping continuity in colour is a simple way of drawing your brand together and making positive associations.

Commercial Portraits - Trevor Taylor HeadshotSometimes, we might want to use a commercial portrait to convey tone. This image of a financial advisor was designed to articulate the serious, professional nature of the business along with the friendly personality of the individual. It needed to say professional and approachable. The lighting and colour scheme as well as the final pose all assist with that.

Personal Branding - Birgit Profile PicOf course, sometimes we may want to go with a relatively neutral image for various reasons. But it is important to think through the options rather than simply defaulting to a white background because it is trendy. We can so easily waste an opportunity to do something unique to our business if we just go with the norm.

Staff Portraits-6If you have your own premises, particularly if the architecture is a little unusual or easily recognisable, then it may be worth using that as the background for your headshots. For example, this shot was taken using the stairwell at the Centrum building on Norwich Research Park.

Staff Portrait Cromer ChurchThis image also makes use of the surroundings where the person works. It is a slight deviation in terms of composition on a classic headshot, but this staff portrait gives a 

In cases where you may be able to have not just a small square but a larger image, then the opportunities for branding or association become even greater. For a letterbox cropped image there is plenty of scope for including something that contributes usefully rather than just having blank space.

Headshot - Archdeacon portrait

Headshot - Susanna Gunner_

So, I would suggest that whether for your own personal branding or for your business or organisation, take time to think more about your profile pictures. Choose creative options that will fit in well with your branding and help you to stand out from the crowd. There are many different approaches you could take. For example, you could use colour, your premises, local landmarks and more to align your commercial portraits with your brand and location. You could also add elements in Photoshop that could reinforce your message. Yes, you may choose to use a simple, plain approach. But make sure that you don’t just default to that, especially if it doesn’t fit with your brand!

If you would like help creating a branded headshot or a series of staff portraits then please do get in touch. Although based in Norfolk, I can arrange to travel to your location for a shoot. I have provided headshots and portraits for entrepreneurs, various businesses, professional musicians, models, bishops and a range of different staff in different organisations.

© Joe Lenton, October 2017






Is Your Product Photography Consistent?

Is Your Product Photography Consistent?

In previous posts we’ve considered the role that photography can play in fortifying your brand. It can be a powerful way of enhancing your brand’s story. You can set an anticipation of value in the potential buyer’s mind by making your products and services look high end. In this post, we’ll look at keeping product photography consistent to avoid weaknesses in your brand.

Is your product photography consistent - sample on white -2

Once you’ve decided on a look for your products it is important to keep it consistent. When the imagery looks like it belongs together, it is easier on the eye and makes the browsing experience more pleasant for visitors to your site. If the lighting or finish varies too much, then it makes the brain work harder when trying to make sense of the whole. So, it is worth considering if your shots are repeatable or not. For a one-off advert it might be fine to do something really different. In fact, that might be beneficial. However, if you are putting together a well-designed catalogue or online shop, it is worth taking the time to get all the images to sit well together.

Is your product photography consistent - sample on white -3

The first step to decide can be quite simple. What will the background to each image be? In many cases, white is ideal for e-commerce or catalogues. However, you may wish to have a particular colour or background that gives more of a unique feel to your brand. Then, it is important to think what kind of impression the images are to give. Should they look clinical? Should they look a little unreachable or exclusive? This will help finalise the background choice and also inform the lighting setup to be used.

Is your product photography consistent - sample on white -7

In the sample images shown on this page you can see that I’ve gone for a bright, clinical, catalogue style. All the products have been shot on white. They have all been taken using the same lighting setup. This helps them feel like they belong together. Clearly they are also linked by subject matter. What do you do, though, if you sell a wide range of products? You could have a different setup for each main section, or you can keep the product photography consistent across the board. Even though the items might be from different categories, their presentation can help make them feel as though they belong on the same website.

Is your product photography consistent - sample on white -5

This is the type of thing that you will see on major retail websites such as Amazon. They sell a wide variety of products, but somehow the site does not look dissonant. The consistent level of presentation is one element that helps to make it feel as though each item somehow belongs. Adding an image that is very different will draw attention to it. This can be very helpful if you want to draw customers to a special offer or a particular product you want to focus on for a while. But, this trick should be used relatively sparingly so that the pages don’t look chaotic.

Build a strong brand - watch photo

The image above will stand out when you scroll through. So, be careful which images are drawing attention and which you want to simply sit nicely on the page. Only change the look if there is a real reason to do so. It can be a powerful device, but only if used deliberately and carefully.

Is your product photography consistent - sample on white -6

Other colour schemes and post-production can of course play a part. For example, here are 2 shots from a case study I did on Argan Oil products:

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -12 Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -10

The presentation is almost identical. There are some differences in the lighting, but the overall feel keeps everything feeling securely within the branding. For another example, you might like to look at this post exploring a look for cosmetic product photography.

Sometimes I act as a consultant for businesses looking to do their own product photography due to regular high turnaround in stock. I always advise them of ways to keep the process as simple and repeatable as possible. There is no point in me showing them something that only works for one product and not the rest. No matter what size your business is, you can always benefit from keeping your product photography consistent. Think of it as an investment in keeping your brand strong.

© Joe Lenton, August 2017

Food Photo Story – Duo of Lamb

Food Photo Story – Duo of Lamb

Goldleaf Catering Lamb Main Course-1

I recently worked with Goldleaf Catering to photograph food from their fine dining menu. The dish you can see above is their Duo of Lamb – Slow braised shoulder and roasted rump with carrot purée, pea & bean fricassee and lamb jus. This was prepared by chef Matt Johnson at their usual kitchen in Norfolk. In addition to photographing the final dish, we thought it would be good to get some photos at various stages of preparation in the kitchen. The images below form a food photo story, showing how the final duo of lamb dish came together.

The star of the dish is this beautifully cooked roasted rump of lamb:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - cooked lamb

The stylish, colourful streak was created using carrot puree:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - carrot puree

Matt briefly sautéed spinach and seasoned it:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - spinach 1 Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - spinach 2

He then arranged the spinach into a small pile on the plate, ready to support the lamb rump, with the braised shoulder presented neatly beside it:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - plating the spinach Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - plating the spinach 2 Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - plating the spinach 2

The broad beans and peas added a vibrant splash of green to the plate. Here you can see how chef Matt arranged them either side of the carrot puree:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - plating the beans

He melted butter in the frying pan until it foamed and then sautéed the asparagus in the foaming butter:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - melting butter

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - frying asparagus

Here you can see the finished asparagus tips arranged on top of the fondant potato:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - plated with asparagus

Couldn’t resist a close up of that juicy roasted lamb rump:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - lamb close up

All of the elements are on the plate, including a small jug of the jus, ready to pour:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - plated with sauce in jug

The side view shows the height in the dish and the harmony of the elements working together:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - plated with sauce in jug side view

Chef Matt then added the jus to show the finished look:

Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - adding sauce Food Photo Story - Duo of Lamb - adding sauce to beans and peas

Here is the finished dish – “Duo of Lamb – Slow braised shoulder and roasted rump with carrot purée, pea & bean fricassee and lamb jus”:

Goldleaf Catering Lamb Main Course-1

This final image and some of the others were created in a makeshift studio in a room near the kitchen. As this dish is part of Goldleaf’s fine dining menu, we went for a bold, classy, high end feel to the images. The finished shot involved four lights to show off the freshness of the produce, the juiciness of the meat and the glossy jus.

© Joe Lenton, June 2017

More of my food photography can be seen here from a previous shoot with Goldleaf Catering.

Advertising Photography Case Study – Argan Oil Products

Advertising Photography Case Study – Argan Oil Products

For this advertising photography case study I chose a range of argan oil products available at the local pharmacy. The aim was to create a series of images that would showcase these products individually and together. I wanted the images to work with and enhance the branding already evident from the products themselves. So, the palette of colours I chose to work from were earthy browns and greens with some warm orange. This would enable the images to look harmonious through complementary and matching colours (if you are a photographer you might find this article useful: composing using colour harmony).

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -1

This first image took the tones of the bottle as the inspiration for a coloured gradient background. I thought it might be interesting to show oil so used some cheap vegetable oil around the base of the bottle with a little dribble running down the side. Whilst I quite like this as a possible image to use in the final set, I wasn’t sure it would make the cut as the main hero shot. Nevertheless, I wanted to try out one more shot with this setup to see if this was the look I wanted to stay with or whether to try something else.

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -7

The shot of the Argan Oil hydrating hair mask was intended to show an interesting swirl in the product. However, this was more difficult to achieve than anticipated. It also left me thinking that the product looked less chic with the lid off and the screw thread visible. So, I rejected this shot. The lighting is ok, but a little bland. So, inspired by the colouration on the parts of the jar I produced a variation as shown below.

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -6

The closed jar looks much smarter than the open one. This helped to keep more of a sense of a luxury product with good design. I like the way the colours mimic the packaging. Having more than one colour gradient also adds an extra dimension of interest. So, I decided to apply this principle to other shots as well.

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -5 Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -4 Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -3

After changing the lighting and surface around a few times, I preferred the third of the above images. The light green looked a little too clinical to me. There is some benefit to that kind of implication as the products might be seen as almost medicinal, highlighting that they are supposed to be good for you. However, clinical can also feel less welcoming and more “cold”, so I preferred a warmer look that conveyed an organic idea with the earthiness.

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -2

This image was trying to bring a bit more creativity and fun into the series. In many ways I think this has been quite successful. It gives a sense of the product in use, practical and not just for sitting on a medicine cabinet. The monochrome gradient works ok with this thanks to the foam at the bottom. It might still be worth trying with green added as well.

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -9

Now that I was getting more of a feel for an overall look, I wanted to start putting more products together in the same shot. Some products had the green as primary colour with the brown/orange as secondary whilst the majority were the other way round. One interesting way to present them was to have opposite colours in the background to the foreground products. This helped the products to stand out even more. So, I went for a product range shot using similar ideas.

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -8

It was important that the products look like they belong together. The colouration in the background helps to tie them together harmoniously. Bright highlights on the products helps to keep them looking slightly clinical, yet not overly so. This image seems to strike a good balance between aspects of the branding and range of appeal. The next stage involved creating an alternative look that could be used as a variation on the themes so far. For this I took the stylised “A” from Argan oil and turned that into a watermark. This was added to a 2 tone background using colour harmony as before. The final touch in processing was to add texture layers to enhance the earthy, organic feel.

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -10

This look seems to work very nicely, pulling various branding elements together and serving them up boldly and simply. I wondered if it might work with several products together in one shot. I also wanted to try with an eye-catching splash to see how that would affect the feel.

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -13

This doesn’t seem to work. The splash is intrusive and we are losing some of the higher end look of previous images. The hand and nail cream is looking cheaper rather than better. I am also not sure that this look works so well with multiple items. However, I felt it worth persevering with to create these final 2 images:

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -11

Argan Oil Advertising Photography Case Study Image -12

So, this advertising photography case study led me to 2 final looks that helped to enhance the Argan Oil brand in different ways. Both draw on the  colours already present in the packaging. They also both convey something of a healthy, organic vibe whilst also pushing towards something more high end rather than cheap. I hope you agree that the final images in each style make the product look like a mid-range product at least rather than a cheap, budget item. You may be interested to know that each of the products in this series was purchased for just £1 in the pharmacy. This seems to be their ongoing price and not just a one off sale.

This advertising photography case study was designed to show how product photography can enhance the branding of a product. It also shows how you can raise expectations of price and value for the purchaser (see also my post on how you can add value with high quality product photography). 

© Joe Lenton, May 2017

The Importance of Retouching for Product Photography

A key part of creating great images of your products is getting the retouching right. We don’t want to see dust or marks. The customer needs to see our products looking as near to perfect as we can get them. So, do not underestimate the importance of retouching for product photography. This is the stage at which the final polishing takes place. The lighting and styling for the shoot itself has to be got right, of course. But now, we need to create the final look. Compare these 2 images, for example:

The Importance of Retouching for Product Photography- Argan Oil Products The Importance of Retouching for Product Photography - Argan Oil Products

The 2nd image is what it looked like prior to retouching. As you can see, various defects had to be overcome. The background was a little too textured so that needed to be smoothed out. The line between what the products were standing on and the background was too pronounced and needed to be removed. There were specks of dust that had to be got rid of. The reflections on the bottles needed some refining. Even with careful cleaning of the shooting area and the products themselves it is very hard to avoid some dust creeping in. Certain surfaces even seem to get worse the more you wipe them! Take a look at this example:

The Importance of Retouching for Product Photography - machinery The Importance of Retouching for Product Photography - machinery prior to retouching

Once again the 2nd image is the original shot from the camera prior to retouching. As you can see, dust was a real problem here. We had carefully cleaned many times but it kept coming back. Also, there were some minor imperfections in the surface of the paintwork that showed up under flash light. So, this needed to be smoothed out and made more appealing. We all know that something rarely stays that black and pristine, yet we all expect our potential purchases to look just right. We desire perfection so we need to show our products as close to perfect as we can. Skimping on the final retouching stage can still leave us with an inadequate image.

One more example:

The Importance of Retouching for Product Photography - watch The Importance of Retouching for Product Photography - watch prior to retouching

To achieve a high end finish, this watch product shot needed to be retouched. The 2nd image illustrates what we would have been left with if we hadn’t polished the final picture. I’m sure you will agree, in every case we have looked at here, the importance of retouching for product photography is clear to see. It can make the difference between an ok image and a great one. It can push your product to the higher end in the customer’s mind.

Retouching is a service that your professional product photographer should recommend to you. If they don’t ask you about it be sure you ask them! Some photographers will outsource their retouching. Others will include it as part of their finishing. For me, the retouching of product shots is a process I prefer to give my personal attention to. What customers have seen in my portfolio is a set of images that I have crafted from the stage of concept, styling, lighting and shooting to the final retouched look. Keeping the process fully in house has enabled me to create my own photographic style that customers know to be consistent. You might like to take a look at some of my product photography portfolio.

© Joe Lenton, April 2017

Furniture Photography – Serene Furnishings

Furniture Photography – Serene Furnishings

Furniture Photography - Serene Furnishings at Cosy in Thetford-1

I was recently commissioned to undertake furniture photography for Serene Furnishings. The new chair display at Cosy Carpets & Comfy Beds in Thetford has just been installed and needed to be photographed for a brochure due to be released soon. A lot of thought had already gone into how to light the display, so I decided not to use flash. Each chair was highlighted by its own spotlight and the whole display has a bright, chic feel to it. So, I felt the photograph should reflect this and look bright, smart and appealing. In order to retain as much detail as possible for processing I shot bracketed exposures which were then compiled into an HDR image.

Furniture Photography - Serene Furnishings at Cosy in Thetford-2

The second furniture display to be photographed was this dining set of table and chairs. We used a dynamic angle to show off as much of the table and chairs as possible. Furniture photography is often most successful when the viewer can more readily picture it in a home setting. So, we cleared an area of the store to create a more homely feel. Pictures on the wall and a light stand nearby added to the sense of home styling. This image was also created using an HDR composite image from bracketed exposures. A range of different images with different crops were created to enable flexibility as to how this dining set would be showcased in the brochure.

Great care was taken not to introduce large amounts of distortion withthe wideangle lens when shooting. As usual, all images have been retouched to the highest professional standards using various techniques in Photoshop and utilising a few select plugins.

© Joe Lenton, February 2017


Cosmetic Product Photography – Focallure Face Powder

Cosmetic Product Photography – Focallure Face Powder

Cosmetic Product Photography - Face Powder-5

Cosmetic product photography is an important part of professional product photography for photographers in the fashion products industry. People spend enormous amounts worldwide on cosmetics each year. So, in order for brands to compete for a slice of this lucrative pie they need to stand out. It is important to find ways of presenting the product that make it look appealing and luxurious. At the high end of the market it should create a feeling of aspiration for consumers. Other areas of the market will be looking to find ways to communicate value as strongly as possible.

If you don’t have a particular household name attached to your brand or something that marks you out as different (such as the approach of the Body Shop, for example), then you may need to be more creative to corner your section of the marketplace. I recently acquired a budget priced face powder from an online retailer. The packaging and design are trying to raise the customer’s expectations above it being a cheap brand and then delivering on the sense of value when you discover the price. So, I decided to produce a series of images that would work in sympathy with these aims. I constructed some images that would show off the packaging and design in a way that could make it look more high end and contribute to the sense of value for the consumer.

Cosmetic Product Photography - Face Powder-2 Cosmetic Product Photography - Face Powder-3

The different layouts allow for slightly different shaped final images and provide variation on the theme. These types of images should work well for advertising or editorial, raising the bar above the usual on white catalogue shot. Moreover, I experimented with other techniques to produce something eye-catching and playful that might potentially reveal another side to the brand.

Cosmetic Product Photography - Face Powder-6 Cosmetic Product Photography - Face Powder-1

With this set of cosmetic product photos we are able to give the Focallure Face powder an exciting and more luxurious feel that could lead the customer to a sense of delight when they discover that it is priced at the budget end. Although this was just a sample case study rather than a commissioned job, I hope you can see how the product has been enhanced through careful styling and photography. These images are indicative of some of the kinds of results we can achieve for your products and your business.

Cosmetic Product Photography - Face Powder-4

You might like to read more in our earlier post about how you can raise your product’s values in the customer’s estimation using high quality product photography. Cosmetic product photography as with other areas of product photography can be explored creatively so that you can position your product in the market and stand out from the competition. Whilst you may find that catalogue style shots on a white background are fine for shopping sections of websites, you may like to control your customer’s perceptions of your product more carefully with key stand out shots both online and in print.

To discuss what we could do for your business please contact us.

© Joe Lenton, Feb 2017

Add value with high quality product photography

Add value with high quality product photography

If you want your customers to be willing to part with good money for your products then you need to make your advertising images visually appealing. You can add value with high quality product photography. An item can look like it is worth just a few pounds if it is photographed badly. However, even a cheap item can be made to look expensive and feel luxurious if you use high quality product photography. For example, take a look at the watch pictured below and give an estimate of its value.

Add value with high quality product photography - watch & bracelet

The photo suggests that it could well be gold and it looks like a luxury item. The lighting makes it shine and look elegant. The background is clean and neat with a soft gradient colour that enhances the mood. So, is this a product shot for a high end jewellery shop? No, actually this is an item I picked up in a charity shop. It cost £5. Hopefully you will have got the impression from the photo that it is worth much more than that. Similarly, here is another cheap item of costume jewellery purchased at a charity shop that I decided to try and make look high end:

Add value with high quality product photography - heart bracelet with red splash

Likewise, I bought a couple of very cheap cosmetic products by budget brands and transformed their appeal with high end product photography:

Add value with high quality product photography - Focallure Cosmetic Powder

Add value with high quality product photography - Red Nail Polish Splash

A photo is not “just” a photo. It can communicate a lot of information very quickly. It is important for your branding that you ensure that potential customers get the right impression. Even if you are selling cheap, budget end products it is worth creating a sense of something better. The customer is then going to be convinced they have got a bargain. If they see something that looks like it should be more expensive then they will more readily part with their cash. So, make sure that you add value with high quality product photography instead of risking cheapening your products with sloppy or below-par images.

If you would like to discuss creating high end product photos for your business please get in touch.

© Joe Lenton, Jan 2017