Personal Branding Headshot Shoot

Meet Rhiannon. She's a freelance writer and blogger based in Cardiff, South Wales. You can read her hilarious honest writing on her blog The Daily Boyle.

I've been doing quite a lot of headshot and personal branding shoots so far this year but I have to say this is one of my favourites. With such a variety of settings and amazing light, I was like a kid in a sweetshop.

What is personal branding?

If like me, you work for yourself and run your own business, then you ARE your brand. It's important to be able to portray yourself and your business to clients. It's vital for them to believe and trust in you - as a person and a brand.

A quick selfie might do the job in the short term but it's worth investing in some professional photography for the future. Personal branding shoots can include anything that helps to portray you and your business. Images can then be used across your website and social media platforms.

For Rhiannon's shoot - I wanted to show all the different sides of her. Yes, she's funny and friendly and down to earth but she's also a writer. Her writing covers all sorts of areas, some happy, sad, serious, funny and thoughtful. I wanted to capture all sides of her personality so that she can use the images for her blog as and when she needs them.

If you're interested in booking a personal branding shoot, then prices start at only £199. Bespoke packages can be created to suit your needs - each business is different and I'm happy to have a chat and create a package that suits each individual. Find out more on my pricing page and see more images on my headshots & commercial portfolio. Follow my very latest work on my Instagram account too!

 

personal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerheadshot of a womanpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerpersonal branding shoot with writerwoman reading a bookpersonal branding shoot with writerportrait of a writer


Kitchen Renovation - Before & After

I've recently completed my kitchen renovation and wanted to share the before and after images to help anyone else thinking of doing the same thing.

After living in our house with a dated kitchen for 10 years, we decided to try and give it a bit of a makeover. We planned to do most of the work ourselves, so we were a little worried that it would end up looking a bit rubbish. But, it didn't! It looks pretty fab. I know loads of people have similar kitchens, so before you chuck them out, think about changing a few key elements and save yourself a fortune. There's links at the end of the post to all the suppliers used for the kitchen renovation.

 

kitchen painted in farrow and ball paint

Here's what we did:

Replaced the floor.

Replaced the worktops, sink & taps.

Changed the light fittings.

Added a door for our new 'pantry'.

Glued tongue and groove over the old tiles.

Painted the cupboards/drawers and added new handles/knobs.

Removed some old cupboards.

Painted the walls and ceiling.

Bought barstools for the new breakfast bar.

List of suppliers at the end of the post.

 

PLANNING

It took a while for us to work out what sort of design we wanted for the kitchen renovation. I enlisted A LOT of help from friends (they are all rolling their eyes and nodding if they are reading this) for the look and feel of the kitchen. We opted for a "country kitchen" feel because it went well with the house and the existing design that we had.

We were on a very tight budget, so spent a lot of time researching prices and looking for online suppliers that would be cheaper than the high street DIY stores.

kitchen refurbishment

PAINT

We knew we were going to keep the walls Almond White (Dulux) as we have the colour throughout the house. For the cupboards we opted for the more expensive Farrow & Ball paints. We tried a few tester pots on the doors and eventually chose Pigeon. It's a sort of greeny grey colour and it looks different in different lights. We also bought the Farrow & Ball undercoat as advised but used a primer from Wickes too.

Of course, there's the option of matching a Farrow & Ball colour with a cheaper paint but we've done that elsewhere in the house and it just isn't the same finish. There wasn't a massive difference in price to choose the paint that we wanted, so we went for it.

I'm not going to lie, painting the cupboards and all the wood work was a monumental task. It took WEEKS and was very slow going. However, if we'd paid someone to do it for us, or bought new cupboard doors, it would have cost so much more. In hindsight, it was worth it, but there was a LOT of whinging (from me) and frustration (from me) about how long it was taking.

Each door and drawer front had to be removed and have the handles removed. Then it was cleaned, sanded and cleaned again. Only then did the painting begin. Each door/drawer front was painted with white primer (both sides - twice), painted with undercoat (both sides**) and painted with Pigeon (both sides - twice). We used brushes for the edges and a soft foam roller for the flat parts. Did we need so many layers - who knows?! We were worried about it looking bad, so we wanted to do the best possible job. **You may wonder why the undercoat is so dark - hangs head in shame - I ordered the wrong one. Moving swiftly on...

 

kitchen doors being painted

One of the biggest issues with painting the doors was that we just didn't have room for them all to dry. I used boxes and cardboard on the floor and anything else I could get my hands on to lay them out but eventually ran out of room. I painted until I ran out of drying space and then went back the next day to carry on. TIP - THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU CAN LET THINGS DRY AND MAKE PLENTY OF ROOM.

 

painted kitchen doors

Being total novice kitchen renovators we didn't think to mark the doors in any way so they could be put back in an orderly fashion. Oh no, we just stacked things willy-nilly around the place and so I had a fun afternoon of trying to work out which door went where (let's just say I wasn't successful the first few times). Picture on the left below is how NOT to hang doors. TIP - MAKE A NOTE OF WHERE EACH DOOR BELONGS.

 

painted kitchen

Obviously, the same attitude was taken with all the screws and fixings. We chucked everything in a plastic bag and by some miracle, we only ended up with a few things missing at the end. TIP - MAKE A NOTE OF WHICH SCREWS AND FIXINGS GO WITH WHICH BITS.

 

kitchen handles

Painting the walls was pretty straightforward and I painted them twice over 2 days. We had very dark beams on the ceiling and so it took a few coats to cover those and paint the ceiling. TIP - BE CAREFUL. CHEAP MASKING TAPE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. IT WILL BETRAY YOU.

FLOORING

After shopping around, we thought that we wouldn't be able to afford a new floor. We spoke to a few outlets on industrial estates and they all assured us that we'd need a screed to level the dodgy tiled floor. Add that to the cost of the floor and then whole thing was too much. Luckily, our lovely carpenter suggested a friend of his that owned his own flooring business. Steve is friendly and efficient and sorted a new floor with minimum fuss and totally within budget. His contact details are at the end of the post. TIP - USE STEVE.

kitchen floor before and after

LIGHTS

We wanted to move the lights slightly to have them hang directly over the breakfast bar. We chose some pendant lights from Next and then some plain bar lights from John Lewis. Both fittings cost less than £200 and our very lovely and clever friend Dave came to fit them for us. Don't worry, he got a nice bottle of rum and some vouchers for his troubles. TIP - KNOW A DAVE.

pendant light from Next

WORKTOPS

Resigned to our budget, we only expected to be able to afford a laminate worktop but after some research we realised that we could order some solid oak from Worktop Express and it wasn't going to cost too much more. We chose a sink and taps from there as well.

The worktops were fitted by local carpenter Gareth Jones, who's done a beautiful job.

kitchen worktop

TONGUE & GROOVE

The tongue and groove was a late decision. As you can see from the pictures we had a wall full of yellow tiles with ahem, interesting fruit designs dotted around the place. We assumed that it would be too expensive to have the tiles removed and replaced so we'd made peace with keeping them - even though we really didn't want to. Luckily, the carpenter came up with a brilliant solution - to glue tongue and groove over the top of them! He made new windowsills too and it really finishes the kitchen off. Without it, I think the kitchen would look unfinished.

kitchen refurb

SINK & TAPS

I really wanted an under mounted sink. I hated the sink we had. It was really hard to clean around the back of the taps and I liked the idea of sweeping mess straight into the sink. We had a quick look around at under mounted sinks and could have spent much more on one but we were just after something pretty plain and simple. In the end we opted for a plain stainless steel one from Worktop Express.  The taps also came from there as well. As you can see from the picture we had two different dodgy taps on the old sink. It's such a pleasure to use the new taps!

The draining grooves were added by the carpenter, Gareth, after the sink had been fitted. Being solid oak, the worktop needed a few coats of oil before we could use it. We're a bit paranoid about damaging the wood, so we've added extra oil around the parts that get wet regularly. It's something that we'll have to do every now and again.

kitchen sink

BITS & BOBS

I'm not a big fan of shopping at all. I don't really enjoy the process of choosing things and agonising over decisions. I'd much rather be reading a book or listening to music than trawling through websites. However, there was one bit of the whole experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and it only took about 15 minutes! We visited Bath a few weeks ago and I love mooching around the shop Anthropologie. There's so many pretty things in there - that I can't afford. I mostly just go around touching things and imagining being able to buy things. This time, I decided to treat myself! I bought two coasters (£8 each) and a knob (£6)! I absolutely love the coasters. They are my favourite purchase in a long time and go so well with the colours in the kitchen. Next time I'm in Bath, I'm going to buy another two!

kitchen accessories

SUPPLIERS

Laminate floor. Contact Steve from Hickman Flooring - Highly recommended

Solid oak worktop and breakfast bar -Worktop Express

Fitting by Gareth Jones.

Undermount Stainless Steel Sink - £140 - Worktop Express

Mixer Taps - £60 - Worktop Express

Pendant light - £90 - Next

Bar light - £80 - John Lewis

Bi-fold door - £65 - B&Q

Knob for bi-fold door - £6 - Anthropologie

Paint (incl undercoat) for cupboard doors/drawers/woodwork - £153 - Pigeon from Farrow & Ball

Paint for the walls and other woodwork - Almond white from Dulux.

All Handles and knobs - £70 - Amazon

Barstools (bought in the Sale) from Leekes

Coasters -£8 - Anthropologie

If you have any questions about the kitchen renovation - get in touch.


Commercial Photography Shoot, South Wales.

Commercial photography shoot, South Wales. I first photographed this wonderful group a couple of years ago. I was asked to go back again in August to do a commercial shoot for them to refresh their images for their new leaflets. With Music in Mind is a singing group for people aged 50 and over to get together, to socialise and have fun! And boy, do they have fun! I absolutely love going to the group and hearing all the singing, it's so uplifting and heartwarming. I'm such a softie, so hearing this lot belt out a ballad is just wonderful. They have groups in Cowbridge and Barry and two new groups starting this Autumn in Llantwit Major and St Athan!

There's a great atmosphere amongst the group, lots of chatting, tea drinking and we even had an impromptu poetry reading at this session too. You can see from the images how much fun they are having and the WMIM team are a lovely bunch as well - very welcoming and caring. If you're interested in joining a session, check out their website for more information.

If you're a local business and you're interested in a commercial photography shoot, South Wales, get in touch for more information. If you need some images for your marketing material - print, website, social media - then have a look at my commercial photography package. I offer commercial shoots, as well as personal branding and headshot photography. See more of my headshot work in my headshot portfolio. There's also a post about my commercial work with local businesses over on the blog too.

This session included a full set of digital images and a bespoke designed banner for their website too!

 

Gem x

Older lady singingWomen laughingTwo people welcoming a couple into a roomMan laughingMan laughingSinging groupWomen chattingWomen singingSmiling womanMan playing keyboardSinging groupSongbookGroup chatting Woman clappingTwo friends laughingWoman singingFriends holding songbooksSongbookWomen drinking teaMan in groupGroup of peopleWoman serving drinkswoman singingwomen singingMan and woman chattingsinging groupsongbooksinging groupwoman singingsongbook


South Wales Stage School Photo Shoot

"The images all look fantastic!  You have captured the children's energy, focus, fun, effort and joy so well.  And some real crackers in there - that I'm sure Head Office will ask me if they can use! " Helene Reynolds, Principal

Get your jazz hands ready! It's the kids from the South Wales Stage School - Stagecoach Performing Arts Bridgend & Cowbridge!

I was contacted by Stagecoach to take some group class photos and rehearsal images to celebrate their upcoming 30th Anniversary and couldn't wait to get in there! I visited the school over 5 days and got to see all their classes in action. It was SO much fun. I was really impressed by the whole ethos of the school. The teachers were brilliant and the kids were so focused and really enjoying themselves. It was hard not to join in with the dancing but you can't take photos when you're jigging about to show tunes so I had to control myself.

There's so much joy, focus, passion and power in these images. The children have an hour each of singing, drama and dance. I really wanted to portray what I saw in the classes and to show how much the kids enjoy it and how hard they are working. Each class was full of energy and it was a real pleasure to see all the dancing, singing and acting from each stage. So from stag jumps to singing - here they are!

Note for Stagecoach parents: A full set of all the images from the rehearsals are available for you to view in a password protected online gallery.  Printed class and rehearsal photos will be available to purchase, so please see the programme from the show to get more information or get in touch with me for the details.

Gem x

Children leaping in the airchild dancing at StagecoachChildren singing at StagecoachActing class at StagecoachChild acting at Stagecoachchild dancing at StagecoachSinging teacher at Stagecoachchildren dancing at StagecoachGirls singing at StagecoachStagecoach Principal Helene Reynoldschild dancing at StagecoachDancing and acting at StagecoachActing teaching at Stagecoachacting and singing at Stagecoachchildren dancing at Stagecoachacting class at Stagecoachacting class at stagecoachActing class at StagecoachBoy at StagecoachSinging lesson at Stagecoachchild dancing at StagecoachSinging teacher at Stagecoachchild dancing at Stagecoachsinging class at Stagecoachteens at acting class in Stagecoachchild dancing at Stagecoachchildren dancing at Stagecoachboys at acting class in Stagecoachgirl wearing glassesdance teacher at Stagecoachchild dancing at Stagecoachchildren acting at Stagecoachgirls acting at Stagecoachchild dancing at Stagecoachdance class at Stagecoachgroup of children singing at Stagecoachdance teacher at Stagecoachboys at acting class in Stagecoachchild dancing at Stagecoachacting class at stage school Stagecoachchildren's acting class at Stagecoachdance class at Stagecoachstage school dancestage school dance

Note for Stagecoach parents: A full set of all the images from the rehearsals are available for you to view in a password protected online gallery.  Printed class and rehearsal photos will be available to purchase, so please see the programme from the show to get more information or get in touch with me for the details.


Business Headshots with Helen

“ Gemma was so good at putting me at ease, I hate having my photo taken and yet she made the whole experience enjoyable.  I’m also really pleased with the photos, they are perfect and just what I was hoping for, no actually they’re better!” Helen

 

Tell us about your new business venture?

I’ve recently set up my own company, Heronsbridge Consulting, which works with organisations and smaller businesses to help them grow.  Basically when a business isn’t sure what it wants to do next or finds it difficult to prioritise, I help them develop strategies to grow and differentiate in competitive markets.  Together, we establish a plan that works for them, setting clear goals and targets.  We look at everything, from distribution to marketing, to business case development to customer targeting to brand positioning.  Being small, I can easily adapt and tailor what I do to meet the client’s needs.

My first engagement has been working with the Office of National Statistics on formulating their Digital Services and Technology Strategic 3 year plan.  I have really enjoyed working with them and working in a different industry has been really interesting.  I am also working with smaller business clients who are looking for ways to expand and make their business a success.

What were you doing before you started your business?

I’ve pretty much always worked in strategy and planning roles.  I worked as a Management Consultant in the City of London and that gave me the opportunity to travel across Europe and work for some fantastic organisations.

In 2007 I decided to return to Wales and I started to work for Principality Building Society.  I worked there for nine years across various roles, mainly in the fields of Project Management and Strategy.  My last role there was as Head of Customer Insight and Strategy, which I absolutely loved. However, after working there for so long I wanted a change and to work in a role where I could interact with many companies on developing their ambitions, rather than being tied to just the one.  There aren’t many consultancy firms of this nature in Wales and so I decided to set up on my own.

Why did you decide to start the business?

As I mentioned, I really started to miss the excitement of working with different companies on different ventures.  I’d enjoyed working at Principality, but having mainly established their strategy there was little more to be done that would be new and challenging for me.

There are so many great established organisations in Wales and also some very exciting new businesses being set up here, that I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to use my skills and expertise to help these companies grow and to stand out in an ever increasingly tough market.  I also like the challenge of being my own boss. It’s always been something that I had in my sights and by taking the plunge I hope that I show my children that it is worth taking the risk and putting in the hard work to achieve your dreams.

Is there anything you have learnt from being a mum that helps you in your work life?

Absolutely. I think since I have been a mum I am much more organised and probably a lot more patient. You need to be when you have three little ones to run about after.  I also have a motto of ‘Being Present’, it just means that I try to 100% focus on whatever it is that I am doing.  So when I’m at work I am completely focused on that and when I’m with the kids they have my undivided attention.  I also think being a mum has made me braver in terms of what I take on and set out to achieve, as it’s always at the back of my mind that I am a role model to them.

How do you juggle being a mother and working at the same time?

I am very lucky to have a strong support network.  My husband is very supportive and is also hands on with the kids, he even does the night shifts more than me as I am so rubbish without sleep.  My parents have always been a fantastic support to us and they have my three little ones two days a week when I am at work. On top of that they will also babysit, although I try not to ask them too often.  I really don’t know how we would manage without them.   I also have a great Nanny that helps out on other days. She first looked after my boys before they started school and is now back with us since we have had our number three.  

By working for myself I am lucky that I can be flexible when I need to, it just takes good diary management and a lot of organisation.  If anything I think my little ones benefit. They know I am always there for them whenever they need me but they also know they have a wider circle of people that love them and who they can also count on.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start their own business?

Go for it! Even if for some reason it doesn’t work out, you will never regret trying, but you will regret it if you don’t give it a go.  The other bit of advice I would give is to do your research and be clear on what you are trying to achieve.  Bounce ideas off people you know and trust to see whether your business idea makes sense. If you can’t explain what it is that you do, then it’s unlikely that your customers will understand you or buy into your business.  

Helen Sandford-Taylor, Director of Heronsbridge Consulting

Business Headshots by Gemma Griffiths PhotographyBusiness Headshots by Gemma Griffiths PhotographyBusiness Headshots by Gemma Griffiths PhotographyBusiness Headshots by Gemma Griffiths PhotographyBusiness Headshots by Gemma Griffiths Photography