One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is the many clients that regularly return to update their images and media. Very often this is about updating their websites, a new look (hairstyles change!) or just because we all get a little older and we want our “Media” presence to represent us how we are now.
A great example of this is my brand photography and headshots for singer Josh Hassell – A Kent-based vocalist and songwriter whom I’ve been regularly photographing since 2012! – I guess I must be doing something right for him to keep coming back!
The best thing about it though is that I’ve been able to see his career and business as a professional singer & songwriter develop & grow over the years. I’ve got to understand his brand and audience too. Which plays a big part in planning a photography brief and shoot. It keeps us focussed on the purpose of the images (be that his website, general marketing, social media, album covers, banners, business cards and much more)so that it fits his needs and stays true to his values at that time.
Not only that, as a performing artist it means we can have a lot more fun pushing the creative side of the images too!
On our most recent photoshoot, I also took a bit of time to interview him about what drives him as a singer, but also his thoughts about the importance of great images for his portfolio.
Watch the full interview!
Working with me!
What’s your Background?
“My background, so I started singing when I was about 13, 14, got into singers such as Michael Buble, and then sort of more poppy growing up as well, like Daniel Powter, Ed Sheeran and George Ezra.
So I’d say my background is just learning songs and music as I was going through school, through to college. I learnt a bit of music in college as well, did a vocal degree. And now here I am, just doing gigs and continuing the music as best I can.”
What inspired you to get into singing?
“My dad was the main influence for me getting into music initially. When I was about 13, 14, he influenced me to do some more concerts because he believes in my voice. Mum as well, both my parents were very influential in that department. And then my dad bought me my first sort of speaker, amplifier and gig equipment as well, followed on from that. So then I did my first gig when I was about 17, and from there, just continued it. So I must thank him for all that because he’s the reason why I’m doing music.”
What do you enjoy the most about singing and writing music?
“What I enjoy most is writing down my raw emotions and feelings, whether it be a traumatic time or a happy time, I can write down whatever, and I don’t feel like I’m sort of judged with that. With original music I can write down how I’m feeling, get it out there, get it into a song, hopefully, people will like it, listening to it, and that’s what I love. People who are fans of what I’m actually going through and what I do, personally feel I love that, I love that sort of thing.”
What’s your biggest highlight since you started singing?
“Since I’ve started singing, I’d say my main highlight was working with Simon Brenner, who was a former member of the band Talk Talk who was quite famous in the 80s. So I worked with him for about a year back in 2014, I was in college then, and he asked me, just emailed me out of the blue to sing some of the songs that he’d been writing, ’cause he was getting back into music slowly himself. So I was working with him in some great studios up in London with some great musicians, great people. Enjoyed that experience. Made a music video, a song called “Byron Bay,” which is probably the biggest song we did. But yeah, really enjoyed that experience, would not have had it any other way, and I’m very grateful for how that happened. Even after it ended, I wasn’t too bitter about it, I was just thinking, I’m grateful it happened.”
What’s the future direction?
“I do want to go more into the song writing kind of direction, so I want to keep writing songs. I’m in an acoustic duo as well, we also write our stuff. So we want to keep going as well. ‘Cause I feel like, with gigs, I do love doing gigs and I love singing covers, but I do wanna get that experience of writing my sort of stuff. And I haven’t done a proper concert yet where I’ve just sung all my material and that’s what I’d love to do, I’ve always had a vision of that.”
Tell me about your brand/rebranding over the years?
“Working with Graham has helped me with that rebranding, because a lot of the photoshoots I’ve done with Graham, especially recently, have portrayed me as a more casual looking singer-songwriter. I’ve put some pictures up on my website and Facebook and stuff, and it does show that I’m more leaning to that direction and that’s what I want in the future.”
What would you say to anyone looking to hire a singer?
“Someone who would be looking for a singer, I’d suggest looking for maybe a versatile kind of performer, I mean, that’s what I pride myself on the fact that I can sing a lot of different styles from different kind of artists. I believe that’s crucial in entertainment, and getting the best experience you can from a singer. Someone who can do a bit of everything. So I think that comes into the rebranding of myself and why I love the pictures I’ve got with Graham and previous photoshoots because I’ve got a wide selection of different styles and looks that I can show people and therefore, say I’m very versatile and got a variety of songs.”
What did you learn working with Graham Baker Photography?
“Working with Graham was a great experience I think because the photoshoots that we’ve done if I think back to the first one, it sort of progressed in terms of style. Because the first one, I did like a very crooner cut kind of photoshoot. I was starting as swing jazz kind of wedding singer, restricting myself in away. And therefore, we did a photoshoot based on that when I was in a suit and tie.
But over the years, thanks to Graham’s advice as well, it’s influenced me in going into more acoustic kind of casual direction. And his photos have always come out very professional, I’ve been very happy with them. They’ve always been crucial in promoting myself and my events on Facebook, because I do events for my gigs and stuff, and I always use pictures from the previous shoots with Graham, ’cause I feel that they are the best way of getting my image out there. So I feel like, yes, the photoshoots have progressed over the years into more a direction that I want to go in.
The social media advice as well. Of promoting myself in the right way has been instrumental. Because obviously, it’s so important to use the little hashtags and certain little things on social media can get you well known, so I think that’s been very important as well.”
How do you use your images?
“I use them all the time. I’ve used pictures I’ve done with Graham for my videos on Facebook to promote my business. I’ve used them for events for my gigs on Facebook. So I think all the things I’ve promoted on Facebook, and Instagram and every other social media platform, are pictures I’ve done with Graham because I feel like they are the best way to get my image out there. I would not have chosen any other photographer, I’m really happy with the photos I’ve done before, and I still very am. So I keep using all the pictures that we’ve been using and I feel like that’s a big part of getting myself out there and rebranding myself.
So the latest set of images coupled with the ones we did before were very sort of casual looking. Very pleased with them, and I’m using them to promote most of my gigs at the moment. So even if I do have a gig where it’s a bit more dinner-dance kind of thing, I’m using a picture I got with Graham because I feel like the quality and the looks, the direction that he gives me in photoshoots and stuff is very important, very vital. He mentions ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of, and when I see the photograph when it’s done, I’m thinking, I’m really glad that I did that pose, because that picture, it makes the picture really in away. And I think a lot of people when they see that image, will click on my links or they’ll go to my videos, I think it can draw people in, such a great image.”
How important is good visual content?
“Very important, I feel visuals are probably one of, if not the most important thing about what I do in my business. Myself and Graham, we’ve got a whole library of different images, starting from when I was about 16, we did our first shoot. And now looking back, I can use a wide selection of different images to promote myself based on what kind of event or gig I’m going for. So I feel like it’s very important, it’s given me an edge over certain singers to have such a great image. It’ll draw people in, people will click my links and check out my stuff, which is very good. And it’s all down to the branding. And I feel my direction at the moment, obviously going into a more casual, acoustic singer-songwriter kind of vibe, I feel like Graham’s versatility with that direction has been very useful. He understands what I mean when I say I wanna go into that kind of direction and style. And he’s helped me along the way with my looks and with my poses, and with my styles of how I’d be in photographs.”
“Graham has been a pivotal part of that, I’ve been working with him for many years now, so I want to thank him for all his advice, direction and photographs that we’ve come up with over the years, it’s helped my branding image.”
I would highly recommend Graham to anyone wanting promotional images for their business!”
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