Thursday 20 April 2017

How's your business looking to your customers?

It's very difficult sometimes to be objective. It's easy to look at other people's websites and profile photos and think "I like the look of that company" or "that looks like a person I'd like to do business with", but it's much harder looking at our own websites and material that our customers and clients see and thinking "would they choose me to spend their money with?".

When was the last time that you looked at your website.  Really looked at it? Are all of the photographs up to date? Does it show everything that you want (and nothing that you don't want)? Remember, as we're constantly being told, a goldfish has a longer attention span than the average person, so do the photos you're showing to your clients grab them enough to make them stay with you rather than swimming off to the next company on the Google search results?

You'll be unsurprised that I spend a lot of time looking at photos. I also spend a lot of times looking at the photos that companies are showing to potential customers. These can be on their websites but also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc etc. These photos range from the truly superb to the, um, not truly superb.

It's not a coincidence that every large and successful company spends money on good photography. When you scroll down your Facebook feed and see a great photo, it's normally an advert photo. But look how many likes that photo has. Hundreds, if not thousands. That photo has caught not just your eye, but many, many people's. That great photo has made potential customers stop and look. Will people stop and look at your company? 

Sure, an iPhone photo is cheap. It's free in fact. But do you know how much value people place on things that are free? None. Is that how much value you're placing on your company and its products and services? 

You may also have noticed that in those suggested people on Facebook, the people with the best profile photos also normally have the highest number of friends. I don't mean the prettiest people, I mean the best photographs. It's not confidence. Everyone loves a great photo and they get you noticed. 

If you've taken the time to read to here, I hope you then spend the next few minutes looking again at the image that your company is presenting to the outside world. Then, when you've done that, if you are totally happy with that image, that's fantastic! Sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine, relax and give yourself a pat on the back. If you're thinking, maybe the outside world isn't getting the very best impression of you and your business, then don't pour that glass of wine just yet. Call or email me now and let's get you those great photos. Then you can have that glass of wine...

Alastair Hilton

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Headshots and portraits that get you noticed for all the right reasons.

How do your customers really see you?

We all have our own impressions of people. Those that we meet on business, in the street, on Twitter; we all make a snap judgement about them. What forms our judgement of all of these people?

Their face.

Everyone makes that initial judgement of a person from their face and that means that people are judging you too. They see your profile picture on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and your face is all they have to go by.

Shouldn't you be looking fabulous?

It isn't about looking like a model. It's about looking the best that you can. Have a look through your social media feeds. Those people that you haven't met yet, what do you think of them? 

Would you hire them?

Now take another look at your profile photo. Would people hire you? Would a customer or a casting agent call you? Remember, it doesn't matter how great you are at your business, or how superb your website is, if people see your profile photo and make a snap judgement, they may not get as far as clicking on your website.

It's not about being perfect.

There are very few of us who look like models and even those that do, in my experience as a photographer taking their headshots, still have hangups about their appearance. 

It's about looking the best you can.

I've photographed a lot of people over the years and specialise in headshots and portraits. During a shoot, I love to get to know the person I'm photographing. Everyone is nervous at the start. Once they see how fabulous they can look though, they relax. That's when I can get the best photos. 

It's you at your best.

If you are considering getting the best headshots or portraits, then why not take a look at my website

If you have made it this far, I'm hoping that your snap judgement of my profile was positive! 

Have a wonderful day and stay fabulous.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Professional profile photo or selfie?

You've got a great logo!

You've also got a lovely website, a super Facebook page and a wonderful product. Oh, and you've then thought "I need a profile photo. Quick, I'll take a selfie whilst I'm sat here in this coffee shop. Job done!".


All of your efforts at creating a professional appearance for your business have just been ruined by that amateurish photo of you. And, if you then added SnapChat filters to your selfie, please stop reading this and delete it at once!

The above photo is what you should be showing to your potential customers. Don't you think that my photograph of this person creates a better image? What about this photo too?..

You're now thinking "I hate having my photo taken. I look bad in photos" etc etc. Well, believe it or not, that's exactly what both of these people said before I photographed them. Honestly.

Do you know what they said afterwards though? They said they loved the photos and what's more, so did everyone else!

I take photographs of people. Headshots and portraits. Do you know what my job is? 

My job is to make you look wonderful!

It takes only about 30 minutes for me to take a gorgeous photo of you. It costs a lot less than you've spent just having your logo designed and believe me, your customers and potential customers, would rather see you looking fabulous, than the selfie you're using right now.

When you decide that you want to look your best, I'm here.

Looking forward to photographing you very soon.

Alastair Hilton
London W4 Photographer

Wednesday 2 December 2015

5 Things to do for your business today

Don't you just wish that there were only five things that you had to do with your business today? You know that there are probably five hundred things, but if you think about them all, they'll overwhelm you and you'll do none of them. Here's a list of just five things so that you can get that warm glow of satisfaction when you've ticked them all off in only one day!

1. Update your business Facebook page. 

You have got a business Facebook page haven't you? When a potential customer comes across your page and sees that it hasn't been updated for three months, what are they to think? That you're so busy and successful that you haven't had time to update it? Maybe. What they'll probably think however, is that you aren't in business anymore or you're a one man band and not professional enough to be able to handle their job or worry that they can't trust you with their money, so they'll go to the next business that has an updated page.

2. Update your Twitter account.

Rather similar to number one of course. Twitter however, takes more time and effort to keep on top of. Do you know how many tweets you need to be doing each day just to be seen? One? Four? Well, it's actually about fifteen tweets. A day. Everyday. Instead of being daunted by this, there are ways of writing fifteen tweets and scheduling them to go out at various times of the day. So write fifteen tweets now, schedule them and tick this job off your list too!

3. Add those testimonials.

You've done great work for your customers haven't you? They think you're great don't they? Well why not tell the world how wonderful they think you are. Potential customers and clients really do rely heavily on knowing that other people have used you and that you're a great person who can be trusted. Testimonials are one of the best ways of getting more customers to buy from you. If you can use a photo of your happy customer next to their testimonial, then this is absolutely the best thing to do. Put as many new testimonials as you can on today.

4.  Ask all of your happy customers to post a Google review.                     
Google reviews are one of the greatest things that you can have as a business. These alone will help boost your website up the Google rankings and get your business in front of a lot, lot more people.  Doing a Google review is very easy and straightforward, however, in my experience, getting even a very happy customer to take the time to do it is hard work. You'll need to call them and ask them to do it. Then follow up with an email and a link to do it. Then call them again to see if they've had the time to do it. Then thank them (a lot!) when they have done it. Don't, whatever you do, just email everyone you've dealt with and ask them to do one.  Your success rate will be low and you risk people posting something less than a five star review, even though you thought they loved your service. If you can get just one new Google review a week that's superb (you'll have one by the end of today though won't you?). More than one a week and you're amazing.

5. Put your business on the map.

Are you on Google maps? If you have a High Street shop, then you absolutely must be on the map.  If you are on there, is your business showing in the right place on the street? This is such a common issue that I see, whereby the shop is shown one hundred metres away from where it really is. And a hundred metres could be a hundred miles if your customers can't find you. If it's in the wrong place it's very easy to move it to the right location. Once you've done that, make sure it has your website on it. And the correct opening times and phone number. You'll also want several nice photos of your business on there.

There, you've finished! How easy was that? You've ticked a whole list off today and can give yourself a reward! If you are unsure how to do any of these things, or need help with them, then you know who to ask.  Me. I'm here to help with all aspects of your social media, your website and Google related things. You can email me now and let's tick the list off together.

Have a great day and I look forward to helping you to get even more customers for your business.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Take better photos

Taking photos is easy.

Taking photos that anyone else wants to look at is a little harder. 

Everyone's a photographer now. We all have a camera in our pocket or handbag at all times. It's called your mobile phone, but it can take wonderful pictures.

"The best camera is the one that you have with you"
This is such a true saying. You really don't need the fanciest, most expensive camera. I've seen superb photos taken on a mobile phone and pretty awful ones taken on a camera worth thousands of pounds. All you need to do is take a little time to think about the photo that you are about to take.

A few extra seconds can make all the difference.

Think. If you move a little to the left or the right, will it be a better composition? Do you want to include that building to the right of the photo, or not? What about crouching down to get a different angle? Or tilting the camera up to get more sky and those overhanging branches in, or tilting it down to get more foreground in the shot?

The rule of thirds and why it works...

If you place that tree bang in the centre of your photo, that's all that the viewer's eye will see. We can't help it. It'll be a shot of a tree. Move that tree to the right or left of the photo, about a third of the way in and your shot will be transformed. Try it.

What's wrong with altering the image after you've taken the photo?

Absolutely nothing in my opinion! Sure, there are plenty of 'purists' who believe that once the shutter is pressed, it shouldn't be altered. What rubbish! You've taken a little time to get the photo to look as good as possible before you took the shot, now take a little more time to edit it to perfection.

Don't get carried away though...

It's very easy to get carried away when using photo editing software/apps. Try to resist! I always know the effect that I want to achieve before I even pass the shutter. I know that the shot will look best in black and white, or with a more dramatic sky. Once you've got used to the editing software, you'll start to think like that too. Play around with it, discover what the effects do to your photos and learn what looks best for your style.

Crop away!

So many times I see a photo that is good, but would have been brilliant if it was cropped slightly. Look at your photo. If it has a random person's arm captured at the edge of the photo, crop it out. If there is a distracting bit of overhanging tree branch in the corner, or the top of the photo, get rid of it. A viewer's eyes are naturally distracted by these types of things on the edges of your photos and you want them to focus on the main image, not half a face in the corner.

Don't be afraid...

If you take a little more time composing the shot, think about the rule of thirds and thinkhow you want the image to look after editing, your photos will be way better. And don't be afraid to take loads of photos. Edit away. Practice makes perfect and in no time at all, you'll be taking photos on your mobile that others will actually want to see!

Friday 27 November 2015

So how are you going to get the customers to come to you?...

You've spent ages finding the right shop in the perfect location. Designed your logo, spent a fortune refitting the interior and got your stock all laid out beautifully.

But how much planning have you put into how people are going to know you're there?

You know that your business is the best, but does the public? Do they know that you are about to open, or even that you have opened?

"Build it and they will come" is a great saying, but will they? Are they?

So many new business owners are very knowledgeable about their product, experts in their field. But are you also an expert in advertising? A social media expert? The best person around at publicising your business? Or are you really relying on people pouring through your doors just because you've opened them?

The difference between a business that succeeds and one that fails, is rarely because nobody wants to buy your product, or that someone else's product is better, but because people don't choose to buy the product from you. Starbucks doesn't necessarily make better coffee than other coffee houses, McDonald's doesn't necessarily make tastier burgers than everyone else, but both of these companies knows very, very well how to get people to choose them.

You need to sell yourself!

You are probably not the only person selling your product, but you are the only person who is you! The only person who is selling your product in exactly the way that you are doing, or going to do. So make sure that you tell people why they should choose you and not the many, many others.

Tell everyone where you are!  

You know where you are. You know why you're great. But does everyone?

There are many ways that you can promote your business, but are you an expert in this field? Do you really know how to make social media work for you, or have you set up a Twitter account, posted a "hello I'm on Twitter" tweet and got stuck when that didn't bring in a million followers and customers?

If you are an expert in promoting your business then you will have a great new business. If you aren't, then you really should look at paying someone who is an expert. It doesn't need to cost a fortune. In fact, the costs can be very small.

The cost of paying an expert to promote your business is certainly a lot, lot less than you've already spent on the premises, the stock, the staff and the website!

If you are a business owner who is about to launch your shop/product, or one who really wants to bring those lovely customers and their even lovelier money to your business, I can help.

Everyone is different.

What I have proved over my career, is that I really can take a business and massively increase their turnover. There is no reason that I can't do the same for you too. After all, your success is my success.


If you'd like a totally confidential chat about what I can do for you, then get in touch at and take the first step to becoming as successful as you know that you will be.

Looking forward to a great future together.

Alastair Hilton