2017 was filled with lot of memorable moments. 2017 marked one year since my wife and I moved to Houston. The city provided us with several experiences including attending Super Bowl events, surviving Hurricane Harvey, and watching the Astros win the World Series. There were many professional and personal moments that I enjoyed, but here are a few highlights.
Some of my favorite experiences of 2017:
-Photographing professional models for publication
-Indoor skydiving at iFly
-Attending Super Bowl Live
-Watching a good friend thrive at her book signing
-Visiting Disney World/Universal studios for the first time
-Seeing several of my friends get married/ become parents
-Seeing the joy on my aunt’s face because she retired
-Attending several concerts including Solange, Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper, & J. Cole
-Working with new and previous clients
-Attending and photographing the Houston Astros World Series Parade
-Meeting up with great Houston photographers
-Visiting family and friends in Omaha
-Photographing weddings with friends
-Photographing model and actor headshots for a Houston modeling agency
-Photographing the Economic Summit V for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. which included Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee & Stacey Plaskett, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr., Roland Martin, Dr. Menna Demessie, Melanie Lawson, Robert F. Smith, Linda Lorelle, John Minge’, Bruce Culpepper and many more.
-However, my absolute favorite experience of 2017 was watching my wife obtain her PhD. To witness the moment when her hard work paid off will always be a highlight in my life. Crossing the stage for her third time symbolized the end of her academic career, but the beginning of her professional career. One of my biggest hopes for 2018 is that she is able to grow and prosper both personally and professionally. She is 10000% the highlight of every year.
I’m writing this post to explain how important it is for business owners to have quality images of their products and services. Commercial photography can help showcase what your company has to offer. Poor images can be the sole reason for someone deciding to not purchase an item, and I don’t want that to be the case for you. I made contact with several of my past and current clients and decided to put together a short list of reasons why your business needs professional photos. My hope is that these 5 reasons help you realize the value of investing in professional photography to help display your vision, meet your sales goals, and elevate your company’s professional reputation.
So, what is commercial photography? It is simply taking photos for the purpose of promoting and selling products and services. There are several ways to use photographs for marketing, including website/social media content, brochures, billboards, printed advertisements etc.
Let’s be honest, these days, many people have some sort of camera. Many people may also even offer to take photos for your company for free or really cheap. However, you should steer clear of trusting anyone with your vision and the reputation of your business who may not understand the true value of commercial photography. “Free” doesn’t always mean “good.” Here are 5 Reasons Your Business Needs Professional Photos:
1. You will have a true representation of your brand. It is true that many companies use stock photos. Stock photos are professional photos that companies can buy online to use for promotion and advertising. Yes, you can use stock photos, but the questions is, “should you?” One issue with using stock images is that you do not get photos that will actually show someone using your products or engaging in the actual services you offer. Another issue is that other companies might use the exact same photos and this isn’t a good thing, especially if the other companies sell similar products and services, and if they are your competition. You and your company have a personality and stock photos may not be the best representation of yourself, your company, vision, or product. It’s important to have images that are a true reflection of what you do and show the personality of your company.
2. You will look more professional. I have worked with several upcoming small businesses that started off use images taken on their cell phone for promotion. Many small upcoming businesses actually use cell phone images to attempt sell something, and it doesn’t tend to go very well in many cases. Cell phone and low quality images are not beneficial for your brand. They are simply not good enough if your goal is to sell a product or service. Everything you post online represents your company. For example, people who sell clothing items should have images showing actual people in their clothing, and no, “selfies” in front of mirrors do not count. Quality photos will also help you stand out if you have images that show people wearing/using your products or engaging in the services you offer.
3. You will make more money. The money you invest on advertising will help bring more money into your business. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee, but people are more likely to buy something that looks good, makes them feel good, makes their life easier etc. Professional photos can help with this, because they will enhance your marketing. The better you are at marketing, the more people you attract, and the more money you ultimately make. Great photos can be a key factor in persuading someone to purchase what you have to offer.
4. You will have consistency throughout your advertising materials. It’s important to have quality photos to maintain a high level of consistency and professionalism throughout your company. Even photos taken from various people can have a negative impact the overall view of your company and products if the images do not have the same level of quality. It is important to let professionals take care of your photography needs to ensure high quality and consistency.
5. You will find marketing to be easier for you. Professional photos can eliminate the pressure you may feel to continuously generate content yourself. Photographing your products and services during an advertising campaign will leave you with a bunch of materials to use, eliminating the need for you to come up with marketing materials on your own.
Here are some examples of how some of my clients previously promoted their company compared to the images I was able to provide for them, which ultimately made marketing their business easier for them.
Photos for Chicks On Craft Jewelry
Photos for Hybrid Lifestyle
Photos for LuLaRoe Jasmine Marie
Photos for Menefee’s Boxing Club
Photos for My Thoughts Apparel
Photos for Enoch Pugh Designs
Photos for I Am Better Than Me Apparel
Bonus tips: 10 Signs to Tell You it is Time to Invest in Professional Photography
1. You aren’t selling as much as you’d like. 2. You are just starting out and your business is new. 3. You are adding new products or services to your company. 4. You are using stock photos. 5. You take the majority of your advertising photos on your cell phone. 6. Your photos do not represent your business or products effectively. 7. You look at the photos you currently have and you don’t think they look consistent. 8. You look at the photos you currently have and the quality doesn’t match your vision. 9. You are not satisfied with the quality of work from the “free” shoot you booked. 10. You struggle to decide what images to use for marketing your business.
About the Author:
Sherman McCain is a portrait, lifestyle, and commercial photographer. He is currently based in Houston, TX. His partial client list includes:
Chicks On Craft Jewelry Empower Ltd. Magazine Enoch Pugh Designs Gifted Gear Apparel A Hangry Girl’s Mantra Hybrid Lifestyle I Am Better Than Me Apparel Kenox Backpacks LuLaRoe Menefee’s Boxing Club My Thoughts Apparel Real Chop Clark Stacey Flowers: The Ambassador of Happiness WeAreWeMajor
I recently participated in an awesome meet up with various bloggers and photographers in the Houston area. The event was put together by Samantha with The Pink Envelope and Jonathon with Jonathon Ivy Productions. We had amazing featured vendors including Kelsey with Styled by Kelsey. She provided hairstyling and makeup for the bloggers. I also want to give a special shout out to Maggie with Bramble and Bee for allowing us to have the meet up at her floral studio and for creating the beautiful flower crowns we used for some of the photos.
Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time digging deeper to have a
better understanding of my work and figuring out my next steps. I’ve been thinking about what my work means,
where I see my photography going and what’s most important to me. I’ve come to realize that what inspires me is
changing. I now know that it’s
okay. It’s all part of my growth
process. But, a couple of weeks ago, I
was really confused about this. So, I
decided to reflect on why.
Here’s what helped:
No longer taking inspiration at face value and
understanding the “why” behind the things that inspire me
Having a better understanding of the gap between
where my work is and where I’d like it to go
A brutally honest reflection about my photos
including what I like, dislike and my areas of improvement
Realizing that creative “slumps” and feeling
uninspired are normal
Making a plan to put my ideas and goals into
In-depth conversations with family and friends
about the topics listed above
I can reflect all day, but if I actually don’t put things
into action, it doesn’t matter. I know
I’m not the only person that feels or has felt this way, but it’s nice to work
through it and start to be on the other side. Here’s a quick note of vulnerability
on this Wednesday. Here’s to enjoying the process. Happy Hump Day.
I’m Sherman, a portrait photographer based in Houston, TX. I wanted to take some time to introduce myself to you all.
I’m originally from Omaha, Nebraska. I moved to Houston about three months ago with my wife and our dog Luna. She’s really sweet and energetic, and we adopted her about two years ago (I’m talking about the dog of course 😂).
My wife’s finishing up her PhD, which is why we made the journey down to Houston. I’ll have to start calling her Doctor after next August. She’s dope and gets to add a bunch of letters after her name soon.
I’m a portrait photographer because I love people (well, most days). One reason I love taking photos is because it allows me to serve people by giving them something that represents themselves, their brand or their family. I’m really laid back, a good listener, and one of the biggest extroverted introverts you’ll meet. I love to spend time with my wife, read, binge watch TV and travel.
Here are some other things you might not know about me:
• I don’t have a middle name.
• I’ve been to a lot of concerts and attending shows is one of my favorite things to do.
• I plan to eventually get a black belt in some form of martial arts.
• I have a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and spent years as a mental health and substance use counselor.
We’ll be saying “see you later” to Nebraska in a couple of days. I’m excited for what’s to come. The past couple of weeks have been controlled chaos, but I honestly wouldn’t change a single thing. I left my full time job last Friday and it was weird waking up today with my own agenda. I loved it. I’ve been shooting constantly and I’m grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding as I take a few weeks to get their photos to them. The next few days are filled with packing and cleaning. I’m happy to finally be able to contribute @morocomc 😉 #SpeakUpSherm
“You gotta do something everyday that scares you. Challenge yourself to really break out of your comfort zone and get to a level that you can never imagine yourself on.” • Jordan Burroughs
I’m happy to announce that Morgan and I will be moving to Houston, Texas in a couple of months. Nebraska will always be home but it’s time to take a step outside of our comfort zones in order to grow. Morgan will be starting a position at the University of Houston as she finishes the last year of her doctoral program. I’ll be using this transition to take a leap and pursue photography more. I’m excited to see what opportunities are ahead for us. We’ve built such an incredible support system here and we will certainly miss all of our loved ones. Special people in our lives have contributed to who we are and we thank you for that.
To all my Nebraska folks, if you’d like to hang out before we leave, let me know. If you’d like to book a photo session with me, now is the time to do so. I’ve got some spots available this month and early next month, so let’s make it happen. #McCainLoveAdventure #MotivationalMonday (at Omaha, Nebraska)
I turned 26 today. I’m grateful to see another year. The past 365 days have been filled with several ups and downs, but each moment has helped me grow. My hope is to experience positive growth with each year. It’s easy to say, “I want to be a ‘better’ person,” but what does that really mean? I reflected today and was reassured that I want to more open, passionate, loving, understanding, helpful and inspiring. I also want to learn and experience what it means to be a good husband, continue being a good friend and get back to being a good leader. Cheers to another year.
Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
Fear can be so crippling. It often feels unfair that it has the ability to creep into our minds while poisoning ours thoughts, desires and dreams. It fosters doubt, shame and self-pity without any justification. It persuades us to become complacent, conventional and even stuck. It confuses us.
On some level, fear is a necessary part of human nature. It is necessary for survival and allows us to either take action or stay put in the presence of perceived danger (whether the threat is real or imagined), but fear can also distort creativity. It can force us to stay put without ever making any advancement toward the things we really want. It can also force us to run away from the very path that we should be on and the things that bring us ultimate joy.
We all have the incredible ability to quiet our fears by doing the very things it tries to prevent. The voice that says, “You can’t” is wrong. Really wrong. However, great things rarely “just appear” and accomplishments rarely “just happen.” There will be challenges along our roads to greatness, but we have to be willing to put the work in to get there. This often means making sacrifices, asking for help, collaborating, being flexible, having an open mind, recognizing opportunities, feeling confused, starting over, failing, getting back up, thinking out loud to yourself and much more.
“The heights by great men (I’d like to add women, children, people in general…) reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Whatever we want to accomplish, we can. I believe in that. We just have to ask for it, declare it and do something about it. Push beyond fear. “So many of us choose our paths out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it… You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love.”- Jim Carey
Your greatness is just beyond your fear. I promise.
A new friend challenged me to post more on my blog than my Instagram photos. I’ll admit, it’s easy to post a photo in one place and have it show up in three or four others without doing the work, but laziness never made anybody great. I’ll also admit that it’s refreshing to make this post. It’s different for me. Different means growth in my book. I’ve always wanted to post more of my thoughts, but it takes me forever to organize them and I always wonder if I accurately reflect what’s going on up there. I’ve set a new goal of actually writing blog posts more frequently, so I hope you stay along for the ride. We’ll see how it goes and discover everything together as it unfolds.