How Photos Can Change They Way We Sell

A lot of my clients are suspicious about using high quality personal photos on their website.

I can certainly understand this. After all, it is so easy these days to take photos from stock and just use those.

The problem is that those photos just look fake and do not elicit any kind of response from your audience.

What is better instead is to use your own photos to bring the personality of your website forward and impress your audience with your personality and openness.

In this post I want to explore some examples of both good and bad websites that are using photography in the right and wrong way.

The Wrong Way – Generic Stock Photography

Here are some examples of what most companies choose to do. Which is certainly easy and looks ok, but lacks that extra step that really brings things further.

Engineering Consulting.

Ok, this is not a mind-blowing topic that normally suggests great photography, but any website can benefit from awesome images.

This website from a friend of mine at Flow Consulting uses only stock photography on all their service pages. Take this one for example, on mergers and acquisitions, it is not exactly inspiring. Nor does it bring anything to the table. It just shows a bunch of people standing around a clipboard.


Consulting Training

This website has a similar problem with their stock photography. Again it is not showing any personality and lacks the depth that you could have with a relationship to the audience.

Not only that, but it uses images without any people in it. Even worse for creating a connection with your reader.


The next examples will take things to another level with a more personal touch and connection.

The Right Way – Branding and Photos

The following are some better examples of how photos can really help you sell your products or services on your website.

Amy Porterfield

I am not always a fan of over-personalising your website with only shots of you. Showing how amazing and beautiful you are. But Amy seems to pull this off to great effect.


In fact, many personal brands are doing the same thing with a full body or head shot in the hero section of their homepage. And then other personal images scattered around the rest of the site.

Amazee Labs

This can also be done in other ways where things are also more fun. Take Amazee Labs in Zurich.

Their personnel descriptions are fun and make things easier for the future customer to connect. Even on social media, where they have all the fun icons for each of their employees readily available.


Using Photos To Your Advantage Instead

So, next time you are considering putting some stock photos on your website, have another think about it.

Instead, at least spend a little bit of time (or money and hire a pro like me!) and the results will surprise and perhaps amaze you.

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 Photography Blog Theme Options

When I first started out using WordPress many years ago, the choices were in many ways a lot simpler.

You could choose from some of WordPress’s own free themes and there are a whole load of those you can choose from still today. The problem with going down that route is that the features are often not what you are after and the support is lacking, at least for someone not quite as technical (because WordPRess does have it’s own built-in forum etc, but it is more technical than most would like.).

So what do you do if you own a blog, especially a photography blog like this one and want to create a modern and stunning blog without breaking the bank or learning to code like a guru?

The WordPress Theme Options

Personally, I think some of your best theme options are the ones that come with lots of configuration options.

This could mean that the Configurator that comes built-in to WordPress is well adopted and useful for your website.

Elegant Themes

The themes that come with Elegant Themes I find are quire good at this, albeit a little simplistic in some cases, but they are certainly a good start for a simple and clean blog. And the benefit of this kind of all-in-one theme purchase is that you can just keep trying them all until you find one that you really love.

Here are some examples of the huge range of themes you can choose from with Elegant:

Elegant Themes


And if you use a theme like Divi by Elegant themes you can try out their Page Builder which has some amazing new capabilities since the real ease of Divi 2.4 back in June.

Thrive Themes

One new contender in the market that I have been having  lot of fun with lately is Thrive Themes. They offer some amazing and conversion focused themes (which is rare) and they have a Page Builder too that is even more full featured.

I found this great review of Divi, Thrive Themes and X Themes (which I won’t go into here) in case you want to see what they are all about.

Thrive has quite a number of distinct theme choices, but the power is in the builder. With their content builder you can create pages and posts as you see them (which as you might know is called WYSIWYG). So intend of the usual WordPress (or even Divi to an extent) guesswork, you can build pages and almost 100% know what they are going to look like.

For a non-technical photography blogger this can be an amazing time saver and in general just saving my ass!

Here are some of the kinds of pages (including landing pages by the way) that you can create with such a page builder:


Thrive Themes Squeeze


Thrive Themes Landing Pages

Other Theme Options

I don’t have all the answers for you when it comes to building amazing themes for photographers, but one of the other main places I look for stunning themes when people ask me is ThemeForest.

Unlike the other options I have presented above (which I think are the best for most people I know) Theme Forest comes with a sometimes daunting list of options for themes.

And because it is just a marketplace, you have no consistency or guaranteed support. It all depends on the developer, where they are, if they are still supporting your theme and so on. Whereas with Thrive and Elegant, you are always backed up by a team as well as getting an easy to use page builder thrown in with the mix.

What Would I Choose?

Ultimately, as I tell all my photography friends and customers, it depends on your needs and your taste.

None of the ones that I love will necessarily suit what you are after.

So your best bet? Take a look at the kinds of look and feel you get and see if you like them. Sure they can be changed to a certain degree, but in general you want to start off with something you like. That is key.

Then, you have to look at how much you want to change something and if you can use their page builder or you have to hire a developer. That is another key decision.

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email!

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 Photography Tips: Understanding ISO

Continuing on with our series about photography tips and understanding the settings, this week we are going to look at the ISO Setting.

In the last two posts, we took a detailed look at:

The last of this trio is the ISO setting.

What is ISO?

In days gone by, when we were all using film for photography, ISO was a standardized way of measuring the sensitivity of a film to light.

Continuing with that tradition, the makers of digital cameras wanted to keep the same idea and apply it to digital sensor technology.

So we can continue to use the same numbers and ideas as we used to, at least in essence.

Different ISO Settings

ISO Settings generally range from 50 – 1600.

Of course it varies from camera to camera, but these are the numbers most seen on DSLR models today.

The average value people use is 100. This is meant for standard light conditions and will give you the most detailed, least pixelated image (except for 50 which is slightly better).

Then as you need more light, but actually cannot get it, you can ramp up your ISO setting.

The following infographic from Digital Photography World, puts it all in context for you:

ISO settings

Examples of Using ISO

So to give you an example of how ISO can save the day, let’s take a look at a few situations where you might want to use it.

High Shutter Speeds

If you are shooting very high shutter speeds 1/1000 or less , or moderate shutter speeds (1/500) in lower light, you will have an issue in some cases.

The camera just cannot make a good shot (ie enough light) with the aperture your lens has, the shutter speed you need (to shoot action for example) and the standard ISO.

So when you face a restriction like this, you need to start ramping up your ISO in increments until you get the range you need.

Starting at 100 or 50, you basically move up one ISO setting at a time until you get the values you need.

Low Light

Another standard situation, briefly touched on above, where you need to play with ISO a lot is when you have low light.

So if you are shooting indoors, you might switch to ISO400 or 800 as a standard. Although many of the wide aperture lenses available with DSLRs today mean that it is not necessary.

The same can happen at sunset or sunrise, if you need to fully expose a subject, instead of just capturing the sky, which is normally light enough.


I hope you now have the complete picture on what all of the settings are that you can use in any given situation in your photographic shoots.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or shoot me a mail via the contact form.

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 Photography Tips: Understanding Shutter Speed

Another one of the mysteries of professional photography that I want to clear up, is shutter speed.

It is perhaps one of the most important elements of photography, and something that you really need to understand to get the most out of your camera and your photos.

camera shutter

A Camera Shutter

The most basic thing you should know is what a shutter is. At it’s most basic, it is an element inside the camera that moves up/down to allow the light to shine into the camera (through the aperture and onto the sensor). After a specific amount of time, that we will get into in a minute, the shutter then closes and the shot is done!

Shutter Speed

So the shutter opens for s specific amount of time. That is called the shutter speed.

This, combined with the aperture, controls how much light is hitting the sensor. So you can use these two settings (in manual mode) to ensure you have enough light for the shot.

At the same time, if the kind of shot you are taking is more shutter sensitive (action shots for example) you might also want to keep your camera on Shutter Priority and let the camera make the lighting decisions.

Using Shutter Speed

Camera shutter speeds are measure in seconds, and usually range from a number of seconds, to a fraction of a second.

In normal every day photos,taken during daylight, you will be shooting in the fraction of a second state.

But if you want to get a specific effect or the light starts to get low (night, sunrise, sunset, indoors etc) then changing the shutter speed to over a second becomes an issue.

Everyday Shots

When you are working with handheld shots with a lot of light, you want to try to keep the shutter speed at 1/60 second or less (1/50 and smaller). The 1/60th works well for a 50mm lens, but once you get to a 200mm or above, you will want to change this to 1/200th of a second. This helps you avoid blur caused by your hand or body moving while holding the camera.

It’s either that or you have to use a tripod, which is not always possible.

surfing action shot

Action Shots

If you are trying to capture action, then we are moving into the hundredths of a second realm. Depending on what exactly you are trying to capture, and how far away it is this could be something like:

  • 1/500th for general action shots
  • 1/2000th for something moving faster like a bird


So now you have the basics. What a shutter is, hows to set it, and when to use it.

i hope this comes in handy for you next photo shoot, whether it is just an outing or a trip to the forumla one grand prix!

photo credit: fstoaldo via photopin cc
photo credit: casch52 via photopin cc

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 Photography Tips: Understanding Aperture Settings

When you move towards the more professional end of photography, you want to have more complete control over what is happening with the camera.

And that means understanding all of the elements that can influence your shot.

So today I wanted to go over the perhaps least understood of these: the aperture.

What is an Aperture?

At it’s most basic, an aperture is just a hole. And a camera has one pointing towards the subject of the photo.

It is where all the light comes in and actually forms the photo itself.

So this hole has a large influence on what happens to the camera. And this hole, let’s call it the aperture now, is opened and closed when you take a picture.

That is then the shutter speed that affects exactly how much light comes through, when used in combination with the aperture.

Of course, the interplay of all settings on a camera is quite complex, and that is why I found this video which shows you how:

  • Aperture
  • Shutter
  • ISO
  • Light

can all be changed to work in harmony together to create an awesome shot. Take a look at this video and you will come out the other end a lot wiser!


F Stops in an Aperture

Still thinking of the aperture as just s hole through which the light passes, you now might ask yourself what all this f-stop stuff is about.

That is the way in which aperture sizes are measured, and give us an accurate way of understanding how far open or closed the aperture is.

It is actually more confusing because the numbers are kind of backwards. A small aperture has a large f-stop number. And vice versa.

So with a standard 50mm lens, you might find a larger aperture which numbers ranging in the 1s or 2s.

Here is a great diagram displaying some common aperture settings as found in Wikipedia


Apertures and Depth of Field

Where this really starts to get interesting is in terms of depth of field.

You might have heard about this concept before, and even if you have not, I am sure you know about the effect.

Basically depth of field is the amount of the image that appears in focus.

As you know, depending on the type of effect you are going for and the type of photo you are shooting, this can come in very handy.

Let’s take a quick look at the two most common examples:


When shooting a landscape it is ideal to have the whole shot in focus. Although almost impossible, using depth of field we can achieve a great results.

Generally what you want to do is the following:

  • Focus 1/3 into the shot
  • Decrease the aperture (high f-stop number)

This combination usually gives you a very long depth of field and should ensure your landscape is in focus.


The opposite it more or less true for a portrait. Here you want very little in focus.

You have to be careful how close you are to the subject when making the determination, but generally you focus on the eyes and have a smaller depth of field (smaller f-stop number).

This gives that blurred background effect.

Of course the lens you are using, and the zoom have an effect on how much f-stop range you have. So this is something you have to play with.


So there you have it more or less in a nutshell. An aperture is just the hole that the light goes through, which you can control with a manual camera like a DSLR.

Then using this setting you can have a huge affect on the result of your photo.

Have fun!

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 Portrait Photographers I Love

As a keen portrait photographer I spend a lot of my time chasing my idols. At least online.

So I thought I would share with you all some of my fav portrait photographers so that you can get a glimpse inside my mind and theirs and learn what it is that makes a great photographer great.

My List of Portrait Geniuses

There are so many photographers in the world today, but so few that are really standing out.

Yuri Yasada

One of my favorite is Yuri Yasuda. He is a Japanese genius.

Simplicity is the key, or course, but with a little creativity his portraits have taken the world by storm. Below is one of my favorite images of all time.



Sarah Cheng-de Winne

Another of the starts in portraiture is indeed Sarah. She has a way with the camera, and Photoshop of course, that makes her photos pop.

If only I could get my portraits looking as amazing as hers I would open my studio in New York sooner rather than later!

Here is one of my favorite portraits from her that certainly will inspire you to shoot more often!


Alessandro Rochhi

One of the few real life photographers out there, Alessandro manages to capture things as they happen. And he also manages to portray life as it is. Few frills are added.

His recent series of an Italian summer beach holiday really got my attention and the image below is very indicative of his style. Enjoy



Simon Powell

Simon is more of a photographer of models, but I still think we can all learn something from him. His way of capturing the emotion of the moment really appeals to me, and perhaps will to you to.

Be sure to head over to his website when it is updated and see what he has to offer, you won’t be disappointed.


The end

Those are four of my favorite photographers that deal mainly with portraits and style. So if you want to learn a thing or two about photography then I recommend you follow their latest stuff as well.

You will not be disappointed that is for sure.

If you have any other suggestions for photographers that I would be following too, be sure to drop me a line.






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 Why Photography is here to stay


I have heard a lot of people pronounce the death of photography many times over the years.

Whether it was because of the invention of the computer, or now because of the cameras in smartphones.

People always find a reason why something’s time is up, and now is the new time of the …. insert your favorite new toy here.

But I strongly believe photography is here to stay. Of course I have a vested interest in it, but here are a few reasons why I think it is not going away anytime soon.

Reasons Photography Won’t Die

The number one reasons I think photography is here to stay are:

  • people love being in control of their own memories and experiences.
  • reminders of life’s best moments will always hang on your wall
  • art is continuously evolving, but still photography is one of the number one mediums

So why would you want to get involved in photography or even use photography for yourself?

Reasons to use Photography in your life

If you have a big event coming up you might want to record that momentous occasion in one form or another.

Video is a great medium for such things, but the problem is that no one has time to watch the whole even again, live.

So then you need to hire someone to take the video and condense it into the best moments. That can work, but what if some of the other best moments are lost?

That is when photography comes into it’s own. You can always take pictures of the most important parts of the event and then select yourself at a later date. Unlike with video, you do not need an editor, you can just use yourself.


One of the best ways to record a family’s growth is with the occasional portrait that you can hang on the wall.

Whether it is the birth of your chile, or an award or graduation. Portraits can be a fantastic momento that you can simply hang on the wall and remember forever.

I can help you remember

So if you need a professional to help you with your next life changing event or magical moment, you might want to get in touch and invite me to that event.

Not only will it be recorded forever, but I can portray you or your family at it’s best. Which is always something we want at such times in our lives.

Just head on over to my contact page, and send me a request. I will be in touch asap.

All the best


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