5 Tips to Improve Your Brand Photos

Your brand photos are the face of your blog or business, they are what your audience will see first when visiting your website or social media, and in return they are what your audience will form their first impression from.

Therefore it’s safe to say your brand photos are super important!

If you take your own brand photos but aren’t quite satisfied with how they look, take note of these 5 tips to improve your brand photos.

5 Tips to Improve Your Brand Photos by Charuk Studios

 

#1: Invest in Quality Equipment

Investing in good equipment will dramatically increase the quality of your brand photographs.

I would recommend to invest in a DSLR camera. When I started photography I used a Nikon d3100, which is an entry level camera, since then I've upgraded to a Nikon d750 which is one of the high end camera models Nikon offers.

You don’t have to start with the most top of the line camera and 10 different lenses to take gorgeous photographs, instead start with a beginner model and invest in a quality lens. (Lenses make a BIG difference to the photo quality)

I would recommend the Sigma 35mm 1.4 (I use all the time and love it!) or a 50mm 1.4 which I still use on occasion.

If you want to know other equipment I recommend, read my blog post 5 Must Have Pieces of Photography Equipment for Business Owners.

 

#2: Edit Your Photos

Editing your photos gives them that extra punch! When a photo is properly exposed it looks a bit dark and flat, so to combat that I increase the brightness and contrast (this makes the whites 'whiter' and blacks 'blacker')

Also because my aesthetic is very colourful, I increase the saturation to make colours appear more vibrant, and I'll do a bit of sharpening to accentuate detail and texture.

However you decide to edit your photographs remember that consistency is important to ensure your brand photos look cohesive and polished!

#3: Capture an Interesting Composition

A unique composition will make a photo more interesting and instantly elevate your brand photography! 

To capture an interesting composition use the rule of thirds (imagine a 3x3 grid across your photo) and make some photos off center or change the angle you are shooting from (down low, above, straight on etc.)

Capture some photos that have a simple and minimalist composition, which is nice to look at and a visual rest for eyes, and mix in photos that are busier and full of detail and colour!

Take the photos below for example. They were shot at the same overhead angle but one photo is off centre and busier, while the other symmetrical and has a very simple composition.

 

#4: Include Yourself!

Incorporating people in your photos makes them more interesting, even if you want to focus on capturing products, architecture or a landscape. This is because viewers can envision themselves in the photo making it more aspirational. People connect with people after all!

So I highly suggest being in a few of your brand photos, even if you’re camera shy. I guarantee your audience wants to see more of you and what you are up to, they want to get to know the person behind the business.

Below is an example of a client’s brand photoshoot with and without the business owner in them. Both are pretty and nicely captured but the one with Maddy you connect with more!

Feeling a bit nervous having your photo taken? Read my post 4 Tips for Looking and Feeling Your Best in Photos!

 

#5: Practice, Practice, Practice

Last tip of course is to practice lots! The more photos you take the better you will get. It takes months, even years to refine your eye for photography and ability to use your camera. But taking photos is a skill that will be useful in many areas of your life and business, (you want to capture memorable photos of your kids, beautiful shots of your vacation and high quality photos for your business) so it's worth it to practice to take better photos each day!

Want to skip the photography learning curve? Check out the 10 things I Wish I Knew When I Started Photography.

 

Want to improve your photography even more? Download my Elevate Your Photos checklist for FREE below, and start taking better photos today!

 

3 Life Lessons I Learned Travelling Abroad

When I was travelling abroad not everything went smoothly (although it may have looked that way on Instagram) but my motto is if an experience isn't enjoyable, you can learn from it. And don't get me wrong, my trip to Europe was THE BEST experience ever, but there were hiccups we couldn't avoid. After the adventure my sister and I embarked on, I am grateful for the ups and the downs, because I learned several valuable life lessons that have shaped me going into 2018.

3 Life Lessons I Learned Travelling Abroad by Charuk Studios

Lesson 1: Live Minimally

When I was travelling for 4 months I could only bring one suitcase and one carry on, it was important for me to bring my laptop, camera and drone (because I was taking photos and videos of my travels obv!) I also brought basic toiletries, a small bad of makeup, a curling iron, 3 pairs of shoes and as much clothing as I could squeeze into my suitcase. So I really only brought the basics, and not much else.

Living with just the essentials was very new for me, but I realized I didn't need so many items to live my life. Having less actually made me happier and less stressed!

What I learned was to not waste money on material items thinking I need "things" to make me happy. Having less made me feel free and unattached to items, and now I'm more open to travelling or moving cities since I don't need so much stuff in my life.

Also now I can focus my time and money on what is important to me which is experiences, being surrounded by loved ones and pursuing my passions. 

 

Lesson 2: What Happiness Is

When I was planning my Europe trip I thought when I arrived I would feel euphoric, so so happy and that I "made it." But I realized, big extraordinary events are filled with very ordinary moments.

What I learned was that happiness doesn't come from glamorous milestones in our life, it comes from enjoying the small insignificant moments that sometimes go unnoticed.

Happiness is much more about enjoying the process and the journey, not the final destination. My logic is if you only enjoy the final destination you will be unhappy for 99% of the time you are working towards it! That makes no sense. 

Also a big realization for me was to stop searching for happiness in an external circumstance. I would never feel happy searching for happiness in a partner, a job, a vacation, a new city etc. Happiness comes from within. So I decided to take control by being more appreciative each day, and bring more joy into my life by making those ordinary moments fun. 

 

Lesson 3: Take More Risks

A lot of people I talk to, myself included, are nervous to make big changes in their life. When I'm faced with a tough decision or big change I think to myself, "what is the worse case scenario?"

Most of the time if your big change doesn't work out, you can just go back to how your life was. Don't like the new city you're in? You can move home! Want to start a business but afraid to fail? You can pick up a part time job! So the worst case is going back to how your life is, right now.

There were a few times travelling when we almost missed our flight, and my sister and I were super stressed about it! But when I asked myself what the worst case scenario was, I realized we would just buy another ticket (hopefully it never got to that point). But that wasn't that bad of an outcome, and things could be sooo much worse. (problems with the plane, stolen luggage, nooo thank you!!)

Now I firmly believe I shouldn't be afraid to make tough choices or take a risk based off what I could loose, because if what I want is achievable then I have everything to gain from taking a risk (and this applies to all areas of life!)

I hope you found these 3 life lessons helpful and applicable to your own life! If you have any questions or comments leave them down below, I'd love to hear from you!

My 2018 Vision Board & How to Create One

Happy new year everyone!! I'm excited for 2018 to arrive because after an incredible 2017 I am optimistic this year will be even better. I think I'm also really excited because I have goals mapped out and a plan in place. I'm ready to tackle everything head on, especially after creating my vision board.

I'm looking forward to having something as a visual reference to keep me on track and remind me to fill my life with even more joy and beauty each day. Keep reading to find out my goals for 2018 and see the vision board I created!

My 2018 Vision Board & How to Create One by Charuk Studios

My Goals & Vision for 2018

 

Life & Travel

After living in Toronto while I went to University, living and working in Montreal for a year, moving back home with my family in London, and then travelling Europe for 4 months, I'm ready for a change once again!

This year I plan to move back to Toronto, it's where I see growing my business and settling down for the time being. I've actually already started apartment hunting! 

Besides moving back to Toronto I also want to travel more! I want to visit LA, because it seems like the perfect city for me. I love bright colours, the ocean, lush flowers, flowy dresses and sunshine. And I love being surrounded by dreamers, like myself ;)

I'd also love to shoot elopements or brand videos in a few beautiful destinations. LA would be amazing, also Positano, Lake ComoParis during cherry blossom season, and somewhere tropical with palm trees... I have yet to decide where exactly!

I'm obsessed with anywhere along the Mediterranean coast, so if you are eloping or visiting there in 2018 send me an email and let's create some magic together!!

 

Health

I only had a bunch of fashion magazines around my house when I was creating my vision board, so I'm lacking in the health and fitness imagery. BUT I found a beautiful photo of fruit which I thought represented my goal to eat a big plate of fruits & veggies each day.

I started doing this often in 2017 because I love snacking when I work, and if I'm going to be snacking I should probably keep it as healthy as possible. So I'm hoping this becomes part of my everyday routine!

Again I couldn't find a photo for this goal but in 2018 I want to go to dance and boxing classes! These are two hobbies I used to do and absolutely loved, and this year I'm all about bringing more joy into my life so it makes sense to make my workouts fun too!

My 2018 vision board! 

My 2018 vision board! 

Business

Let's dive into business goals next. Basically this whole board represents how I want my life and portfolio to look haha! Which is full of colour :D

I want to work with brands and couples that love colour, flowers and storytelling just as much as I do. I'm open to working with brands in lifestyle, fashion, beauty and travel industries (I honestly can't narrow it down!)

My goal for this year is to work with 25 clients, and collaborate with 12 influencers. 3 videos per month will keep me quite busy!

Also a goal of mine, that makes me a bit nervous to even share, is to go on a sponsored trip (dream big right!?) I bought a drone in 2017 and have been working on creating travel vlogs from my Europe trip, so any travel companies that want a sweet video to use for their marketing strategy, hit me up! ;)

 

Relationships

In 2018 I want to have a more active social life, which also spills over into career goals. As I said above, I want to meet new people and collaborate once a month, I also want to attend cool events/new restaurants or bars in the city once a week with friends or on a date, and ultimately have fun and enjoy living in Toronto! (I mean I’m going on 25, NOT 75 lol)

Also I want to grow my tribe of girl boss friends! I love having women around me that strive to empower one another and aim to live life to the fullest. If this sounds like you, let's be friends, K?!

After writing this I am so pumped for 2018, I can feel that this year is going to be amazing!! Comment below and let me know what your goals are for this year :)

Also watch the video below to see how I put my vision board together. Cheers everyone to an amazing year ahead!

3 Days in Edinburgh + Vlog

A short stop on my 4 month trip to Europe was to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland! My sister and I only spent 3 days here, but we really enjoyed our short time in this historic city.

3 Days in Edinburgh by Charuk Studios

We secured a housesit through Trusted Housesitters and looked after the cutest cat and dog while the homeowners were away for the weekend. (This is one of the ways we saved money on our trip, which you can read more about here)

We really (and I mean really!!) lucked out with this housesit. It was located just blocks from downtown and right in the center of a UNESCO heritage site. The location was stunning!! The street was filled with old, beautiful walk ups and had a beautiful view of the Edinburgh Castle from the street. Breathtaking was an understatement!

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

During our visit we mainly wandered through all the gorgeous streets and parks, and took lots of photos of course ;) We walked through Princes Street Gardens below Edinburgh Castle, this was a quiet little oasis away from the bustling city, it was quite lovely and secluded!

We continued our walk and made our way to Circus Lane which I read online was one of Edinburgh's most picturesque streets. It really was so cute! And surprisingly quiet. (I find most pretty/photo worthy locations are packed with tourists so this was a pleasant surprise.) 

Then we ended the day by briefly going to the National Museum of Scotland. The museum is free to go into, so we thought hey why not!? But by this point we were already tired of walking and cut it short (so my conclusion is to plan a trip to the museum on a day with less walking and activities planned.)

Circus Lane

Circus Lane

Charuk-Edinburgh-7.jpg

The next day we when to Victoria Street, which is the most colourful street in Edinburgh (I love anything colourful so I had to go) and afterwards my sister and I came across a food fair which was an unexpected surprise (I didn’t get any photos but you can see it in the vlog!) I got fries topped with a delicious crab mixture, I don't really know what was in it, but it was delicious!

Later that day we climbed up Calton Hill to overlook the city. I decided to wear little black booties this day, which wasn’t the worst… but I also don’t recommend. My sister also started feeling sick while we were in Edinburgh so we decided to skip the hike up Arthur's Seat. I've heard it has even better views of the city so if you are planning a visit this would be a must-do activity!

Victoria Street

Victoria Street

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View from the top of Calton Hill

View from the top of Calton Hill

The history of this city was incredible, and so different from what I'm used to in Canada. I also found it quite cool that J.K. Rowling would sit in cafe's overlooking the castle while writing the Harry Potter series. I can totally see how this city sparked her creativity because I definitely left feeling inspired. Watch our vlog of our trip to Edinburgh below!

I would love to hear if you have been (or are considering going) to Edinburgh and what your favourite part of this city was?

If you are looking to improve your travel photos download my FREE Elevate Your Photos Checklist. Sign up to have the PDF delivered right to your inbox!

Adored Designs Brand Video and Photo Shoot

While I was travelling around Europe I had the opportunity to work with Alex from Adored Designs to create custom brand photos and a brand video for her web & graphic design business. I'm so excited to share what we created together because this is one of my favourite projects of 2017!

Adored Designs Brand Video and Photo Shoot by Charuk Studios

Alex and I first connected in the spring of 2017 through Instagram and we shortly after started a mastermind group with two other business owners to bounce ideas around and support each other with our goals.

I remember when I excitedly told all three of them I was coming to visit London, England at the end of the summer (read about my trip here!), and conveniently they were all based in or near London at the time. We planned to meet up in person which was so nice! Nothing beats hanging out face to face with your fellow biz besties :)

Adored Designs Brand Video and Photo Shoot by Charuk Studios

Alex had expressed interest during our mastermind meetings to invest in a brand video for her business one day. And by chance the timing worked out perfectly since I was already planning on travelling to England and we already had a great business relationship.

Even though I already knew so much about Alex's business and target audience, I sent her my brand questionnaire like I do with all my clients before we started planning her photo/video shoot. A few of Alex's answers really stuck out to me that shaped the creative direction.

Adored Designs Brand Video and Photo Shoot by Charuk Studios
Charuk-Alex-51.jpgAdored Designs Brand Video and Photo Shoot by Charuk Studios

Alex provides web and graphic design services for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands and has experience working with luxury brands such as Jimmy Choo and Karl Lagerfeld. (SO cool, right?!) This experience really sets her apart in her industry so we wanted to show she was not only a talented designer but up to date with current fashion trends.

We showcased this by having Alex flip through fashion magazines, design a beautiful mood board with the images and we even included clips of her designing a blogger's website and logo in the video. These scenes highlight Alex's expertise of designing for people in the fashion industry.

Another answer of hers was that she valued being seen as trustworthy and approachable by her clients. I would describe Alex as one of the sweetest people I've met, and super fun and bubbly! We wanted to highlight her personality, because her ideal client would instantly connect with these traits.

We kept her brand photos and video fun, fresh & feminine (not corporate looking at all). I made sure to capture Alex smiling and laughing lots, and even a few silly moments to keep the vibe lighthearted. We chose an upbeat song for her video that even further conveyed her brand tone.

We used a gorgeous loft in London as Alex's office (the pink chairs and bright interior were seriously perfect!) And since working with Alex feels like 'catching up with a girlfriend over coffee', we even shot at a cafe for part of her shoot! (how stunning is this pink & flowery cafe though!?)

Alex described her overall style as feminine, fun, inspiring, bright, with a touch of an editorial feel, so it was my goal to nail this with the creative direction so everything was on brand for her! Alex brought the perfect outfit and props  such as pink pens, a flower print blouse, and a marble notebook to name a few. These details really tied everything together.

I love the result, especially how the photos and video complement each other because I haven't done too many projects with both! It will be exciting to see how Alex's uses both mediums throughout her marketing for a cohesive look. Visit her website here and make sure to follow her on Instagram for beautiful design inspiration!

 

Interested in booking a project? Reach out through my contact page, I'd love to hear from you!