An Interview with Chelsea Lane Photography
Photography is so important for your business and brand, especially in this day in age. With social media being a huge aspect of marketing, you have to be authentic and have more content. A lot of people rely on iPhone pics, but if you want to stand out and look professional, you're going to want to hire a pro. For this month’s blog I interviewed Chelsea Lane Photography to talk all things headshots, styling, stock images and the overall importance of custom images for your brand.
Tell me a little bit about who you are, what services you provide and who you do it for:
Hi! So excited to “be here”. I’m Chelsea of Chelsea Lane Photography. I’m a photographer in Asheville focusing on small weddings and small businesses. I love both of these groups so much and actually find a lot of overlap in those audiences. I work with small businesses to promote their brand, product, team and often social media presence. I work with small weddings of usually 50 guests or less taking place in the WNC area. Both clients are prioritizing what’s important and not letting old-school norms dictate how they do things.
What are the top reasons why a small business should invest in professional photography?
Professional photographers bring much more to the table than pretty pictures. We guide you in posing so you look your best. We accommodate for natural and artificial lighting to still get the results needed. We put the atmosphere at ease which creates more welcoming images. We photograph with your end goal in mind. All of these things create results that will hopefully last you much longer than a casual iPhone snap! And, of course, the quality is better and more flexible than a phone pic!
If someone has never hired a professional photographer before, what types of shots do you recommend they capture for their business when they’re just starting off?
I recommend making a list to prioritize the photos you need. I consider the owner’s portrait most important – your audience wants to see you and feel that you’re a real person who they can trust. You’ll need it for your About Me page, your social media presence and any marketing promo if you plan to speak or collaborate.
Next up are the basics of your business - you need solid images of what you offer. For example, photos of inside your coffee shop + sample coffee shots can give you a great foundation.
Next in line are the lifestyle images. These are my favorite and my specialty, I find them very important once you have the basics in place. You engaging with customers, you working in your office, customers enjoying your product, your products in use in someone’s home, etc.
Most of my shoots combine all 3, especially for my repeat clients who see the need for ever-evolving images. Remember, headshots and those basic foundation images don’t have to be boring – they should be YOUR STYLE!
What are some ways to make a headshot a little more fun and less blah?
Oh I love this question! I think headshots can be WHATEVER you want them to be! The old fashioned rules are irrelevant in my eyes, I think your photos can be as simple or as artistic as you want, they just need to match your brand.
Headshots can be a standard portrait or they can be you in action and doing the work you love or even a candid. As long as it gives your audience a clear idea of you (they can recognize you for a 1st time coffee date) then it works. Scroll through potential photographer’s website portfolios (not just their Instagrams) to see whose work speaks to you. Who’s captured something for another client that could work for you too.
What are your thoughts on using stock imagery?
I completely understand why some businesses go for stock photos (time + money) and I will say that stock photos have come a loooong way in the recent years. I think you need to do what’s best for your business and revisit that decision in 6 months as you grow.
A custom shoot will always be more beneficial. A shoot set-up just for you + your brand will create images that represent you like no stock photo can. I hope business owners want a sense of identity and want to stand out and to feel proud of everything they’re doing – all of that can be captured by hiring a photographer in place of stock photos.
Say you’re that coffee shop owner, wouldn’t it be better to see your latte in the mugs you use instead of a cheesy stock photo of coffee beans? Your customers would love to see you serving coffee and chatting with clients in your shop instead of a stock photo of some other coffee shop and actors.
Do you have a set style or do you like to change it up?
I have a signature style that is full of natural earth tones, a touch of mood and a lifestyle vibe. I have my preferred style + subjects to shoot (we all do, we all have an ideal vision) but I put my needs to the side when I work with clients. I prioritize their needs, not mine. The goal is that the images I share with the world will attract the kind of client that appreciate what I can offer in terms of style and vision so it’s a happy partnership.
I’ve connected with small business clients where I understand their brand and can take on the challenge of a different style. I’ve worked with clients for minimal/clean brands, light/airy vibes and even quirky/colorful clients. If I feel like we’re not a good match for any reason at all, I’ll send a list of awesome local photographers who’d be a better fit.
It’s important to me to only take on a style that I can understand and portray accurately.
Do you suggest getting makeup and hair done before a photoshoot?
Professional hair and makeup will obviously make you look your best, can’t deny it. Is it always an option for clients on a budget or my repeat clients? No! And that’s ok, I’ll make specific suggestions or edit appropriately based on the client’s needs.
One thing I like to be up front about is that I’m not a commercial photographer aiming for unrealistic perfection. I like my images to look natural and realistic!
Do you make suggestions on what people should wear or just recommend they have a few outfits ready?
I offer up tried + true tips for clothing to all my clients before the shoot. I’ll tweak my suggestions based on their style and brand too.
That being said, people are people! I have clients that show up in what they want and we’ll still rock the shoot. I don’t want to make people look or feel different than themselves. Does a flowy dress look incredible in most pics? Yes! Are we still going to get good photos if they’re in a tee + jeans? Yes! Be who you are, listen to the tips photographers send to you and envision the final results.
Photography isn't included in my website package, but if you're in need of professional pics, I'd be happy to bundle those services into our project. Or you can work directly with a photographer before we get started.
To learn more about Chelsea and see more of her work, check out chelsealanephotography.com.
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