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.

Use the power of pictures to tell your story


I love photographing people who come to me and ask for "more than just a headshot." They have realised the power of images to promote themselves, their brand and their story.

Sarah Pickles wanted to go one big step further and write her story about fighting stage three breast cancer  and as part of that process she wanted images that would show her personality and most importantly, inspire others to fight too.

Sarah's sense of style - fashion and beauty - are also key to her brand and how she promotes her beauty school and it was essential that the photographs captured that too.

The beautiful vintage decor at Violet's Vintage Teas
It was obvious from the start that we needed a unique venue for the shoot, somewhere with a strong authentic vintage look and we were very lucky to be able to use a beautiful private home that is the secret location for Violet's Vintage Teas. Aside from providing the perfect location for the shoot, it gave us our theme of a vintage afternoon tea (and of course cream cake and cups of tea to keep us going!)

Cake home made by Violet's Vintage Teas
It can be quite hard to be in front of the lens but Sarah was a natural and we also found that it helped to role play! I think we probably got a bit carried away with pretending that Sarah was a high society lady telling me all the gossip (made up of course!). Here are some of my favourite shots from the shoot.





This lovely photograph (below) is Sarah's official headshot and has been used on the front of Vita magazine - the national magazine for breast cancer care and is also on the back of Sarah's book.



CREDITS: Sarah's book "The Shock Factor - Sarah's Story: beating breast cancer one day at a time" is out now and available from Amazon. I love that a very good mutual friend of ours was editor, proof reader  and mentor to Sarah on this book: Sian-Elin Flint-Freel. Huge thanks also to Violet's Vintage Teas for opening up their beautiful home to us. 
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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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Commercial photography shoots ARE fun!!! by Cheshire Photographer Jane Burkinshaw

Let's face it, most adults hate having their photos taken, especially as we get "older" and clients that come to me to have a commercial head shot or portrait done are usually dreading it. And I know where they are coming from, as I don't enjoy having my picture taken. Is that really me? Is that what I look like? I don't get how I can look so different from the woman I see in the mirror.

Of course I only see myself from one angle in the mirror and my face is in repose (or in my "mirror face" according to my husband!). At other times we are photographed from all angles and in mid sentence, mid frown, mid unflattering looking down - our faces and bodies frozen for  a split second in the most unforgiving light.

I needed some new shots of me recently and decided to invite some of my photography students to have a go. They loved it as an opportunity to learn and, surprise, surprise I really enjoyed it and was very pleased with the results. The secret was lots of laughs and jokes to make me relax and them knowing which poses and light and angles would work. There were some pretty dreadful shots of me where the light and my pose were wrong but we deleted them quickly and moved on.

Shots taken by my photography students
I use the same strategy of fun and laughs when I photograph clients - children or adults - and I love it when people tell me they are surprised that it was so much fun! Last weekend I met a lovely couple, Russ and Teresa, who wanted images for their businesses. Russ needed a very corporate shot and was dreading it! Teresa runs a successful garden design company and wanted pictures that reflected what she does. Fresh from the hairdressers she was also quite nervous before we began.

I always have a coffee and a chat with my clients before we begin and right from the outset I'm working to make them relax. Once the shoot starts I gauge how far I can go with being a bit cheeky, teasing and getting family members or colleagues to help make people laugh. On this occasion I had a great little assistant in 10 year old Ashley and then Russ and Teresa took it in turns. The sight of Russ wielding two enormous umbrellas and a pair of stepladders was enough to guarantee smiles.

Lots of laughs behind the scenes
Teresa's final images
I offer commercial photography services on an hourly, half day or full day basis. I can shoot in a purpose built natural light studio or on location. If you would like to have a chat about your photography requirements please get in touch.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

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How professional photography will make your business stand out from the crowd (by Cheshire commercial photographer Picture It Big)

Lexington soft furnishings for Arighi Bianci
Never was there a truer saying in this age of the internet and social media. Hopefully I'm preaching to the converted and you already know that having great imagery of your product or service has a major impact on how you are perceived by your target market.

But the accessibility of digital photography - snap an image on your phone and upload it in a matter of seconds - means that many people are still tempted to do their own. This can seem to be a sensible way of saving money - and we're all trying to do that at the moment - but unless they know what they're doing it's a false economy.

Why spend all that time, energy and passion creating a brand new product or  renovating new business premises, to simply present a second rate view on your virtual shop window i.e. your web site!

Many people are worried abut the cost of commissioning a professional photographer - even sounds expensive doesn't it?! But I work with a wide range of clients, with differing needs and budgets. From the outset I work with you to understand what you can afford to spend and what you would like to get out of the shoot. It's surprising how much can be done in a half day's shoot if we are organised and have planned out exactly what we are doing beforehand.

PR shot for the Managing Director of White Rabbit England
I have done several shoots for White Rabbit England, designers and producers of a range of very cute products for children - bone china animal shaped lamps, soft furnishings and lots more. Each time we have packed a lot into each day long shoot, including individual product shots, rooms and PR shots. It's important to know how the final image will be used, whether it's for a catalogue or product listing, a  piece of editorial or banners for an exhibition. I have to admit to getting a real thrill when I see the final images displayed on leaflets, web sites etc!

White Rabbit England home page
I was approached recently by a company called Kraamzorg, offering private postnatal care (I wish I'd had access to this!). Their shoot was a little more complicated as they required models - a baby, a mum and some slightly older siblings! Rather than go to the expense of using professional models we called on friends and acquaintances and accomplished everything in a half day shoot - you don't waste time when babies and young children are involved. The resulting images are lovely, communicating the caring professionalism of the Kraamzorg service.

Kraamzorg UK home page
For private dental care company Beyond Orthodontics it was extremely important to show prospective clients that their reception area was more like that of a spa than a dentist's waiting room! This shoot, including shots of "patients" in the treatment rooms, was accomplished in a two hour shoot.

Reception and client consultation area for Beyond Orthodontics
If you  require product shots on a frequent basis e.g. cupcake companies, some crafts etc, I can work with you to show you how to take better shots with your own camera. These shots shouldn't be the showcase images of your web sites or promotional materials, but will provide you with decent images to post onto Facebook and Twitter. Usually a couple of hours tuition is enough to teach you some easy tips and techniques.

For more information, for a no obligation chat about your photography requirements or to book a shoot contact me (Jane) on 07868 750505 or email jane@picture-it-big.co.uk. I cover Cheshire and the South Manchester area.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!
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