At Perfect Layout, we encourage the sharing of knowledge and experiences to help local businesses develop themselves.
Every other month we get together with a local company and chat to them about how their business is doing and how they got to where they currently are.
By reading about them, may help you improve your own business processes. We wholeheartedly advocate promoting local businesses in Essex, to help raise awareness about them.
Read on how a passion from childhood turned into a business that would fit around family life.
So, tell us a bit about you and how you got into photography?
Photography was always there. I started when I was really young. I remember being at school and taking photos with a compact camera, which I would then get developed. However, I really got into photography in 2004 when I got my first digital camera. Having limitless opportunities to take photos, really got me into it. Having a digital camera made it easier to practice and delete.
I started my own photo blog, where I used to post my photos. Then, I took photos of family and friends.
After my son was born, I was debating whether to go back to my previous job but realised I could start up my own photography agency and balance work and family life more flexibly. In 2016 Alina Clark Photography was born.
What were you doing previously?
I studied Journalism and did my Masters in Media and Communications. My thesis was about how photography impacts how you vote. So, you can see that photography is a theme that has been running throughout my life one way or another.
I worked for a media agency up until I went on maternity leave. Prior to this, I worked at an advertising agency and my role was in accounts management.
What were your initial aspirations for Alina Clark Photography?
At the very beginning, I thought I would do business photography. Creating photos for company websites, such as physical products or plates of food for restaurants. That never really came to fruition. Instead, at that time, I was taking lots of photos of my son and realised that these photos were evoking good responses. So, I realised that there was a market for taking photos of people rather than products.
Tell me more about the style of photography that you do?
I was always drawn towards the fly-on-the-wall style photography, witnessing events in their pure form. I explored this documentary genre for family photography. I now take photos of families in their own environment, doing everyday activities. This style of photography stands me apart from the posed family photo shoots. My genre of photography sits between the lifestyle and documentary style photos.
Describe a typical commission.
Before any photo session, I would ask my clients what they would like to remember at this stage of their family life. For example, are there any special games, or toys that they like to play or activities that they like to do This way, I know beforehand what the children like and get to know them quickly.
I give minimal direction on how to pose, instead I follow the family and I take photos of parents interacting and playing with their children. My job is to orchestrate real life moments and to steer them into playing out everyday life situations that can be captured on camera.
For the newborn photo sessions, it’s about capturing the new family as they are in that moment in time. Capturing the family home and what it looks like - showing the emotion and reality of having a newborn baby at home. I try to capture the rawness of their new life as a family.
How long does a photo shoot last?
Up to two hours. With the newborn shoots, the time frame allows for feeding/changing the babies. A baby can also be asleep and awake during that period too.
For the family shoots, it gives them enough time to do a variety of activities and capture them naturally.
How many photos do you take?
I probably take around 1,000 photos in a session. I am always shooting because you never know when something may happen and how and when that beautiful photos will emerge. Those in between moments, when you don’t expect something to happen, is when the magic occurs.
How many photos do you deliver back to the client?
I usually show the client 40 images from the shoot. Within the 1,000 images there will be a lot of similar photos, and ones that don’t make the final cut.
How long does the editing take?
As you would imagine, I must look at every individual photo. The culling from 1,000 to 50-60 takes around 1.5 hours. Then the editing of those photos can take another 2 hours. It may sound like a long time, but this is because I hand edit every image to ensure that they of the highest quality and are beautifully enhanced.
How does your pricing work?
As of July 2019, I offer an all-inclusive investment of £295. This includes the consultation, photo shoot, image-editing and access to the final photos in a gallery on a secure webpage. There are no hidden costs.
An additional paid-for feature that my website offers is an online print shop. If clients want to have physical prints, there is a facility to order what they want and get it delivered straight to them.
I bet people often ask, ‘why would I want a photographer when I have a smart phone?’ What is your response to that?
The skill doesn’t lie in the camera, but in the eye of the photographer. It’s the composition, the lighting and the framing of the photo that makes a good photo.
When you hire a photographer, you don’t only pay for them - you pay for images that last a lifetime. Professional photographs should be timeless. They will be technically correct. They will evoke emotion. Not everyone has that skill with a camera.
How do you promote your photography services?
Word of mouth is a big part of my expanding client base. I am on Facebook and Instagram, where I post regularly. I put leaflets around in the local community.
I also get involved with the local community. For example, I have done photo shoots for a local primary school, when a circus came to visit. I also did a shoot for the Reception Assembly.
I want to do more collaborations with local businesses, where we can do some cross promotion. That will be my focus for the coming months. Also, anyone running family or children-based businesses, there is an opportunity for cross promotion. I can take naturally candid photos in exchange for them promoting me.
Do you have a website?
Of course, my website is a not only a business card, but it’s the shopfront to my business. I need to have an online presence so that people can see and like the work that I do, in order to book my services. I always try to make the homepage images provoke emotions.
On my website I have a portfolio of projects that I have worked on and I have my blog that regularly has fresh content. I couldn’t have my business without all these features on my website.
Tell me about the Project 365?
This is a personal project that I am currently working on, whereby every single day in 2019 I am taking a new photo and posting it to the website – hence Project 365. These photos on my site allow people to get to know me and get a sense of the photos that I take.
Where do you see your business going in the next five years?
My love is still around families, maternity and newborn and the events around family life, such as christenings, birthday parties, baby showers, holy communions with a documentary style edge to them.
I would also like to do more personal projects and shoot more creatively. For example, self-portrait projects, documentary projects and colour orientated projects.
Where do you seek inspiration?
I look at other photographer’s work, but I find there’s a fine line between inspiration and then trying to compare my work to theirs. I do look at other photographers who shoot in a different way to me, as I am curious to see how they shoot and their editing styles. These are photographers that I like that spring to mind, who I follow on Instagram:
So, if you’re looking for a magnificent documentary photographer, Alina can be found via:
If you have a business that you would like to feature in this regular slot, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you!
Get in touch with a member of the Perfect Layout team if you are ready to improve the online visibility of your business.
In online marketing, a conversion rate is the ratio of total visitors to visitors who perform desired actions. Different companies measure successful conversions based on the nature of their business and their goals.
For example, an online publisher might consider the submission of a form on a subscription page a successful conversion; whereas an online retailer might measure their conversion rate by the number of clicks to the "Add to Cart" button.
Higher conversion rates typically translate to a greater return on investment and that is why Internet businesses in every industry employ many methods to improve conversion rates.
Some of the strategies are:
Testimonials reduce risk and provide social proof. Having satisfied customers express their positive experience, either through videos or reviews, will increase trust in your business. Every claim you make should be supported by evidence.
One study found that using customer testimonials resulted in a 62 percent increase in revenue per customer. It’s the recommendation that helps encourage people to buy your product or invest in your service. They know from customer testimonials that other people have tried it.
Use them on homepages, product landing pages as well as on your email opt-in landing page. You can ask for testimonials, or spot them on social media and use grateful email messages that you get. It’s best practice to ask the sender if they wouldn’t mind letting you use some of those words on your website.
A call-to-action (CTA) is a button or link that you add to your website in order to guide your visitor and tell them what to do next. In inbound marketing, they usually lead to a landing page where the visitor can fill out a form and become a lead.
You want your CTA to grab the attention of your visitors and really entice them to click.
Show your visitors an offer that is visually appealing and contains persuasive content as well. In order to ensure your calls-to-action generate leads, you also need to remember the buyer’s journey.
If the call-to-action you’re adding to your site doesn’t fulfil the need of your visitor at the specific point in their journey, it’s not going to resonate with them, and as a result they’re unlikely to move forward.
Here are some tips to have in mind when creating calls-to-action that will generate leads:
1. Make them Action-Oriented
2. Use Persuasive Text
3. Include Strong Visuals
4. Create a Sense of Urgency
5. Make them Easy to Find
Call to action examples:
1. Call Now
2. Order Now
3. Buy Now
5. Free Demo
6. Click Here to Sign up
7. Free download
8. Get Your Free Quote
9. See all Products
10. Click here to submit
11. More Info Here
The contact form is typically the gateway to allow people to submit their information to a company. It is also the gateway for the consumer to initiate a conversion with your company. You need to keep your contact form simple.
Keeping it simple will allow for minimal perceived risk to the end user. If it takes a long time to fill out a form it could be a potential risk. Visitors could also be questioning whether they are going to get a phone call or email as well as when they’ll get a response. A good contact form will allow a user to feel that there is no risk in submitting their information.
Only include the ‘must have’ fields on your form. You can add a few more fields into your contact form to help quality or send certain requests to the correct person. But your contact form should never exceed the length of your browser. In other words, keep it above the fold.
Tell people when, how, what to expect once they fill out the contact form. Will they get a call, an email, a package in the mail, what? This will also reduce the risk that a user may feel if they know how they’re going to be contacted and by when.
In conclusion, when you pair a simple contact form with a great call to action that is clear and defined, you’re well on your way to having a higher converting landing page. Don’t forget to test your call to actions. Since some people react differently to certain phrases, always test to see which one works best for your users.
Another approach you can take to increase the conversion rate is to create a sense of urgency. For product-based businesses show how the number of stock items is reducing each time a purchase is made. For service-based businesses include time sensitive offers. This will motivate the visitors to grab the offer before it’s expired.
Website design should reflect the vision & purpose of the company. Everything used from colours to layout and images should represent your brand. Keep things simple and aesthetic. Avoid using complicated navigation menus and make sure your message is clearly written and has an impact in the first few seconds someone enters your online business space.
If you would like one of our team members to review the layout and structure of your website – call 01708 578 251 today.
How is it September already? Not only have the summer holidays flown by, but we are now three quarters of the way through 2019... I don't know about you, but this year is flying by faster than any other.
As the children start a new academic year this week, it is also a chance for businesses to reflect on the year so far and prepare for that final 'push' of the year.
How far are you away from reaching your goals? What things would you like to do differently? What tasks do you do that don't make the most of your time? Could you stop doing them, or delegate them to someone else. Be critical. Make changes.
After all, 'we can't expect things to change, if we continue doing the same things' - Albert Einstein