About the author: Jane Burkinshaw is a professional photographer and passionate about all things photography related. Jane specialises in portrait photography and runs photography courses.

People do business with people. Use your commercial portraits to make them want to do business with you.


Think of commercial portraits and the first thing that will probably pop into your head is a head and shoulders shot of someone in a suit against a plain background. This is a somewhat outmoded and clinical way of introducing yourself and your team to prospective clients.

Far better to have photographs that convey the culture of the business and personalities of you and your team. The images still project professionalism and expertise but, in addition, they start the process of building a relationship before the clients have even met you.

This is exactly why Clare and Bill approached me to take a series of pictures of them for their consulting business. They have a great working relationship and it didn't take much to get them to relax and enjoy the photo shoot. They both had a number of really awful jokes up their sleeves, hence the laughter. 

Here are a few examples of the images they now have with which to entice new customers - a good mix of fun, working shots and some non-stuffy 'headshots.' 





Many thanks to the beautiful Mere Court Hotel, Knutsford Cheshire for providing the location.

If you'd like me to work with you on your lovely products or service, get in touch so that we can arrange to have a chat.


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Cheers! Raising a glass to my latest commercial photography assignment.


I do like a glass of wine... or two... so I was very excited to be approached by a Manchester-based wine grower and importer - Boutinot. I was doubly thrilled to learn that they wanted photographs that would tell their story as a company with a genuine "family culture." They embrace their staff, growers, suppliers, merchants, clients and wholesalers as part of the Boutinot family.

If you've been reading my blog lately you'll have realised that my favourite assignments involve using photography as a vehicle to tell a brand's story. It's not only about the product, but the people who are involved in creating it and the place(s) where they work. This kind of photography gets me really excited and is extremely rewarding. It allows me to be more creative and to get to know the brand and people inside out. The resulting images are more heartfelt, real and engaging.


The Boutinot offices immediately convey a sense of the culture as the above collages show. No stuffy corporate decor here and bottles of wine everywhere! These images were not part of my first assignment but I'm really glad I grabbed them quickly on my camera phone (the amazing Samsung Galaxy S7).

My actual brief was to photograph two of the year's most important events: 1) an evening reception for growers and producers from around the world, at the new Boutinot head office in Cheadle; and 2) the annual wine tasting event at the Lancashire Cricket Ground in Manchester.

The evening reception at Boutinot
The photography style was to be informal, candid and to reflect the Boutinot culture. With the wine flowing and corks popping at the evening event this was easy to achieve!

The annual wine tasting event the following day was an eye-opener for me... no one actually drank any of the wine! The corks still popped and gallons of wine were poured, but the tasting itself was a serious business. Noses were thrust into glasses, wine was swirled around and held up to the light. Finally it was rolled around in the mouth for several long moments and then a few paces to the spittoon to dispatch it. Notes were made in the wine tasters notebook and then it was on to the next one. Sniff, look, taste, spit, repeat.



Images from the annual wine tasting event at The Point, Manchester

I loved this assignment... and not just because it involved wine (and a tiny bit of sampling once I had clocked off!), but more because it jelled so well with the direction in which I am taking my business - the importance of story telling with images. People deal with people and want to trust the organisations they do business with, and ultimately enjoy it too. Photographs go a long way towards reflecting the ethos and culture of a business.

I am a commercial and portrait photographer based in Cheshire. I also run photography workshops and one to one lessons for private individuals and businesses. Get in touch to discuss any of your photography requirements.



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Tell your brand story in pictures and stand out


I did a photoshoot for a client recently that gave me pause for thought and helped me to resolve a problem I'd been struggling with for a while. I knew I wanted to take my photography business in a slightly different direction but was finding it difficult to shape into a clear story.

In my head and, importantly, in my heart it's crystal clear. I want to work with people who are their brand - passionate individuals who have built up their businesses based on their love for what it is they do and out of values that guide them in their lives. I've made some progress already steering my business in this direction, working with artisan bakers, artists and florists, photographing not only their products but also their work place and them as the heart and soul behind the business. 

This is Emma, the driving force behind the Cheshire Flower School.

And this is Jenny of Parsley Pie Art Club Hale
(read more in my blog about this shoot)

These photographs can all be classed as commercial or business portraits but they are actually much more than that, incorporating clear signs of what the person does and also an insight into their personality.

When Naomi of Branching Out Online asked me to do a series of photographs of her that she could use throughout her marketing materials I was delighted. I know Naomi really well and am a big admirer of her ability to maximise businesses' online presence.

Naomi doesn't sell products that I could photograph beautifully for her, she sells her skill, knowledge, experience and passion for online marketing. She's certainly not alone in offering these services but she does stand out in how she "puts herself out there": she is her brand. She is bright, bubbly, friendly, open and insanely enthusiastic about what she does. That's her point of difference.


One of Naomi's trademarks is her use of vibrant colours and she put a lot of thought into how to make this come through in the photo shoot. All the way through we used props and colours that reinforced her branding and her vibrant personality.

Having a great online presence using apps like Snapchat, Facebook Live and Periscope.

Using appropriate props to allow you to get maximum use out of the images. This is how Naomi is using the images on social media.


Naomi also employs positive messages as a way to motivate and make images talk and I loved the props we used to convey this.


We were also very conscious of leaving space in the images to put marketing messages.

If I go back to the "light bulb" moment I had when I worked my way through these images, it was that I knew that I wanted to be more than a commercial photographer taking head shots for LinkedIn profiles... I want to tell people's story in pictures, capture what makes them and their business unique. Naomi knows the power of telling her story and uses it to build trust and loyalty, to make a powerful emotional connection with her target customer base.

She isn't afraid of sharing the low points as well as the highs and 2016 was a very tough year personally. We did some shots that reflected that and will allow her to share how she turned things around and has moved forward in a very positive way.


Have you thought about your brand story? It gives your brand a very powerful voice, makes it stand out, makes people want to connect with YOU. Why do you do what you do? If you can communicate this in words and then in pictures there'll be no stopping you!


If you are interested in booking your own photo shoot to tell your story get in touch








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When you love what you do... make sure your photographs say it too!

When you run your own business you pour your heart and soul into it and then throw in a large amount of blood, sweat and tears. It's impossible to separate yourself from the job, you are one entity. Its life blood is your personality, passion and commitment.

This is why I firmly believe that the photographs of you that promote your business and tell people about you should capture this. A static head shot against a white backdrop is going to be hard pressed to do this. I much prefer an editorial style that gives you much more freedom to be yourself and communicate via a single image your absolute passion for what you do.


When Jenny Bent from Parsley Pie Kids Art & Craft Club asked me to do a photo shoot of her to celebrate 15 years in business, we both had a very clear idea of what we wanted to achieve and I was so pleased and excited that Jenny was willing to inject her personality and love for teaching art into the images.

What followed was a lively, energetic, hilarious and messy photo shoot in Jenny's studio. She is a strong and striking character (I think you get that from the images!) and was a joy to photograph, willing to try anything and with lots of inventive ideas of her own.

We shot lots of different poses with a number of props so that Jenny has a good choice of images for her social media going forward.

To book a photo shoot that tells your clients how much you love your business get in touch!







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