Comment

Photography Terms to Know

Can knowing a few of the most common digital photography terms make you look better in pictures? It’s time to find out.

Aperture – the size of the opening in the camera’s lens, which can be adjusted by the photographer to change the amount of light that hits the camera’s image sensor. This is the kind of thing that only photographers really “get” – the rest of us can just nod sagely.

Aspect ratio – the ratio of an image’s width to its height. Examples include 1:1, 5:4, 16:9, and 3:1.

Crop – when you look fabulous in a shot that also contains an ex or happens to be in a less-than-picturesque location (looking at you, car selfies), you’ll be glad you know that to crop is to remove a portion of the captured image from the final photo. Digital images are easily cropped using image editing software.

Depth of field – the range of distances that an image captures as “in focus” or “sharp.” Photographers can manipulate depth of field in several ways to create a unique final photo.

Digital photography – because photos used to be captured on actual film (and developed in a darkroom – crazy, right?), digital photography refers to a form of photography that captures images as digital files rather than recording them on film. These days, when we’re talking about photos, we generally mean digital. The most common digital picture file is JPEG (see below).

JPEG – one of several digital file format types, JPEG is the most popular file type for digital photos. And here’s a fun fact destined to make you a Trivia Night hero: JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. The file is compressed to make it easier to store – how much compression occurs is up to the photographer.

Pixel – the smallest unit of a digital image, pixels are the tiny dots that make up digital images. They’re also a type of fairy (because everything you read on the Internet is true. Right?).

Resolution – the number of pixels a digital image contains. High-resolution images have a fine level of detail, whereas low-resolution images have less detail.

Retouch – to remove imperfections from a digital image – like magic! – using postprocessing software. Also known as your best friend.

Soft focus – to use a lens, filter, or postprocessing technique to create a slight out-of-focus effect that “softens” the image. Soft focus can create a beautiful effect, but it is best wielded by an expert (friends don’t let friends take Glamour Shots).

Are there digital photography terms you’d like to understand that we didn’t include here? Let us know in the comments!

 

Comment

How to Look Great In Your Business Headshot

How to Look Great In Your Business Headshot

At CoCreate Studios, we’re in the business of making you look great, with custom photography and video services for business. But there is a lot that you can do to help create the best possible professional headshot. When you work with us, we’ll give you in-depth advice customized for your specific goals. But in the meantime, here are a few tips to help anyone get a better business headshot.

Before the shoot

Get lots of rest and make sure you eat right. There’s something to the old adage, “you are what you eat.” Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and dehydration all create a haggard appearance. To make sure you’re truly well hydrated and well rested, start catching up on sleep and boosting water intake a few days before the shoot.

The morning of the shoot, take a page from the glamour pros and use a few Hollywood-style tricks. For women, go for a natural look with makeup. It’s easy to overdo it. The eyes are a major focal point, so use a light coat of mascara to widen them. In general, going too dark with lipstick can be a big mistake. Light, bright, and natural are better guidelines for lipsticks.

Men and women alike can benefit from reducing hair flyaways and frizzies. Having a few hairs out of place can draw attention away from where you want it to be. A smoothing balm, shine spray, or other finishing product can help your hair get camera-ready, too.

What should you wear? It’s best to avoid a lot of pattern in your outfit: a scarf or tie can work, but a checkered blouse or striped shirt might appear too busy on camera. Avoid solid white and super-saturated shades.  Neutrals, muted tones, and pastels work well. When in doubt, bring a backup outfit to the shoot.

At the shoot

The best thing you can do to create a great photo is to relax and be comfortable. To do that, some folks swear that holding a prop helps them hold their body more naturally. Holding a book, a flower, or some other item gives you something to do with your hands. Try it – you might find that it cuts down on the dreaded “corporate stiff” look.

Something to ponder: swans don’t have double chins. Before the shot, take a second to elongate your neck by lowering your shoulders and moving your head slightly forward. You’ll have a more graceful look instantly.

Have you ever noticed that no one looks great in passport photos? One reason is because you have to face the camera squarely (i.e., mugshot-style). For your business headshot, a 3/4 angle will flatter your features while still showing your whole face.

Anyone who looks at your photo can tell the difference between a fake smile and one that is genuine. To get a real smile, have fun! Talk to your photographer, share a funny story about your day, or even listen to a joke. It’s a photo shoot, not a NASA launch.

And remember, if all else fails, our photo experts can open their bag of tricks for a little retouching magic. The result? A professional headshot you’ll be proud of.


The team at CoCreate Studios is ready to help you have fun and look your best in your next professional headshot. Photo packages start at $295; video packages

Why Great Photography is an Essential Business-Building Tool

You may have heard about the importance of building your company’s brand. And by “you may have heard,” we mean, of course you have heard. A strong brand is engaging: it turns leads into customers, and customers into evangelists.

Have you considered how the photography on your website affects your brand?

The goal of your business’s website is to position your brand effectively and, ultimately, to bring in business. Many of our clients understand the value of investing in web development and design in order to communicate brand values. Far fewer of them consider photographing the corporate environment to be equally essential.

An untapped resource

This is actually good news – for your company, that is. If other companies are not using professional photography, you can set your organization apart. And if your competitors are using custom photos, your brand will suffer in comparison if you’re using stock photography.

Custom photography is an essential brand-building tool, on par with your logo in importance.

What’s wrong with stock photography?

Nothing, in theory. Stock photos cover a range of topics and situations, including scenes of corporate offices and people at work. But have you noticed how those business stock photos all kind of look the same? Like they came out of Central Casting? That’s because stock photos are generic – and “generic” is a brand killer.

Embrace the power of your company

Your company is not generic – it’s unique. Your brand centers around that uniqueness. In order to win new business, your business needs to engage its customers. Images are powerful engagement tools – our brains respond to them in ways we are only beginning to understand.

The split-second impression of the photography you use, can either draw viewers in or push them away. The choice is yours.

---

CoCreate Studios is a team of creative pros dedicated to helping businesses own their stories. Photography packages start at $295, and video packages start at $995.  Questions? Give us a shout. We’d love to meet you

The Secret to Creating High Quality Video

The Secret to Creating High Quality Video

blog_audio.jpg

Hint: it’s not what you think.

What sets a good-quality video apart from one that screams “amateur”? The answer may surprise you.

An informal (and highly unscientific) survey of amateur videographers suggests that 8 out of 10 rank the quality of the video camera, as measured by its pixel rating, as very important to creating a good video. And at first blush, it makes sense. Good video needs a good video camera. Right?

Well, maybe.

The truth is, it’s the quality of the audio – more than the quality of the video – that gives the overall impression of quality. Whereas it’s possible to shoot clear, sharp video with a medium-grade camera picked up at a big box electronics store, most people walk out of that same store without having purchased a microphone.

A mic makes the difference.

A video camera’s microphone does not have the dynamic range to capture the full color and range of a voice or sound. The resulting audio sounds tinny and one-dimensional. Another major issue is ambient noise. The microphone is picking up any sound nearby – not necessarily the sound you want the audience to hear. The result is muddy and distracting. To take your video up a level, invest in a good microphone and cable. It doesn’t have to be expensive – there are many available for under $100.

Don’t rush the music

Another aspect of audio quality that needs more attention than it typically gets is music selection. Music establishes the video’s emotional tone. It is important in the same way that a film’s score is a critical part of the movie’s overall impact on the viewer.

At CoCreate, we take extra time and care with the music selection for our videos. Rushing to choose the music nearly always results in a uninspiring – or worse, silly – end product. Defining a video’s emotional appeal through music is a key aspect of the video creation process.

CoCreate Studios is a team of creative pros dedicated to helping businesses own their stories.

Check out our money-saving packages, or give us a shout. We’d love to meet you.

VIDEO IS CHANGING THE GAME. HERE’S HOW.

VIDEO IS CHANGING THE GAME. HERE’S HOW.

Many small business owners ask us how they can maximize their marketing budgets. What gives the most mileage for each marketing dollar invested? These days, we have one answer: video. Why? Read on.


THEY SUPERCHARGE YOUR SEO

Companies using video enjoy 41 percent more traffic from search than nonusers. Google and other search engines reward websites with embedded video, ranking them higher than sites without it. In fact, your company is 53 times more likely to rank on the front page of Google if you add a video to your website (with the right title and tags, of course).

THEY ENGAGE LIKE NO OTHER MEDIUM

Immersive. Dynamic. Engaging. Whatever word you use, video grabs the viewer’s attention. A well-crafted video also piques the viewer’s interest in the product, service, or company. In other words, video speeds members of your target market through the preliminary stages of the AIDA buying process – through awareness, interest, decision, and right to the best part – action.

THEY PLAY NICELY WITH MOBILE

They are built for mobile – whereas text-heavy content is challenged by mobile’s small screens, video is right at home. In fact, 40 percent of consumers report that they are more likely to make a purchase on their mobile device if the product in question uses video marketing.

THEY WORK BETTER

In a 2016 report, 70 percent of marketers said that video converts better than any other type of content. Businesses using video grow company revenue 49 percent faster year-over-year than organizations without video. It’s hard to argue with those numbers.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Video should be at the top of your organization’s marketing to-do list for 2017. But be careful: 62 percent of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand that published a low-quality video. 

CoCreate Studios can help you generate stellar video content, whether it’s a standalone piece on your company’s website or the centerpiece of a campaign. Video is how you own your story in 2017. We’ll show you how.

The One Thing Your Business Needs

The One Thing Your Business Needs

Are you using video to promote your business? If not, it’s the one thing you should put at the top of your business growth checklist for 2017. Video is a game changer, and smart companies are taking advantage of its potential. 

Here are five great ways to incorporate video into your business’s ongoing promotion activities. 


1. Embed a video on your company’s website This is a classic first step, and for good reason. A short video, done well, can boost customer engagement with your company in less than 60 seconds. Include a video alongside the content you’re proudest of – your team, your products, or your homepage – and prepare to grow.

2. Make video a key part of every landing page you create Planning to launch a new product or service line? A recent study shows that videos on landing pages can boost conversion rates by 80 percent. 

3. Become a subject-matter expert on YouTube  “How to” searches on YouTube are way up, indicating that people are turning to YouTube as a way to find expert resources on almost any topic. Posting a series of simple how-tos can boost brand visibility and drive customers to your website. The secret? Focusing on answering the user’s question, not on thinly-veiled, self-serving promotion.

4. Create a social campaign As technology evolves, video has a more prominent position on social media than ever. Get more mileage out of the investment you make in video by designing a campaign around it.

5. Highlight your career achievements Tell your own story, directly to your clients, customers, and potential employees. Introductory videos help decision makers get to know you and develop a connection. They can also supercharge your prospecting and networking activities.

---

CoCreate Studios is a team of creative pros dedicated to helping businesses own their stories in 2017. Check out our money-saving video packages, or give us a shout. We’d love to meet you.

 

17 Ways to Take Your Business to the Next Level in 2017

17 Ways to Take Your Business to the Next Level in 2017

1. Set a goal. Dream big, but tie your goals to specific amounts, deliverables, and timelines.

2. Make a plan. It has often been said that a goal without a plan is just a wish. You can always adjust your plan as the year progresses, but starting with a plan gives you the answer to the all-important question for any business owner: “What’s the best use of my time and energy right now?”

3. Prioritize. Your plan probably has too many elements in it. Scale back to increase the chances for success. You can always add more things to your plate later in the year.

4. Upgrade your profile picture. That outdated (or worse, amateur) photo is not cutting it – no matter how great you look. And yes, no matter how close you crop it, we can all see the shoulder of the person next to you. A professional photo shoot is easy, fun, and more affordable than you think.

5. Refresh – or create – your business’s logo. The great thing about the logo creation process is that it helps you define the core of your business. Not only its products, services, and target market, but its essential identity. The next great thing is, no matter how long you’ve been in business, a refreshed logo can breathe new life into your enterprise.

6. Boost your credibility. Now is the time to gather testimonials or ROI data from your customers. Knowing that other people had a positive experience with your product or service makes potential customers more likely to buy from you. And your best customers will sing your praises far more directly – and more effectively – than you can.

7. Add a video to your site. Videos are fun and engaging. Plus, adding a video to your company’s website increases the chance of a front-page Google ranking by 53 times.

8. Build your email list with a winning incentive. Whether you’re an Internet-focused company or not, having the email addresses of people who would like to hear from you is like having gold. Entice them to sign up for your email list by creating and offering a high-value tip sheet, how-to guide, or other valuable content.

9. Show off your expertise. Whether you choose to add (or recommit to) a blog on your website, publish guest posts in other venues, or create thought leadership pieces like white papers, demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about is always a great sales pitch.

10. Advertise your value with video. You and your team are your company’s most important asset. Short videos focused on your team members and their stories can drive up customer interest in your company’s products and services.

11. Update your website’s design. How long has it been since you gave your site a new look? Not only do older sites look dated and out of step with current digital design trends, they are not likely to be optimized for use on mobile devices. That means your old site is costing you money.

12. Make social content consistent with your brand. In 2017, everyone is using social. But are you using it as well as you could? Make sure your social presence reinforces – not dilutes – your brand. 

13. Build your funnel. Your marketing efforts should be part of an integrated, well-defined sales funnel. 

14. Update your website’s content. Many small businesses start by bootstrapping everything possible, and that most often includes the words on your website. It’s time to trade in amateur work for polished, marketing-focused copy tailored to your audience. Make this the year you get it done.

15. Consider a recurring revenue model. One-time purchases are nice, but ongoing payments over time are nicer. How can you add or modify your current model to accommodate recurring payments or subscriptions?

16. Go narrow to win big. Specialization is one of 2017’s biggest buzzwords, and for good reason. Narrowing your company’s focus to a specific target market allows you to tailor your messaging, pricing, and promotions for maximum effect.

17. Don’t go it alone. No business owner is good at everything. Focus on what you do best, and build relationships with small business-focused professionals, from accountants to creatives. It’s one of the best investments you can make.

CoCreate Studios is a team of creative pros dedicated to helping businesses own their stories in 2017. Check out our money-saving packages, or give us a shout. We’d love to meet you.