What a natty chappy: Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

Victor was a French poet, novelist and at the forefront of the Romantic Literary Movement. I spotted this photo of him on display on the Ferry over to France.

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo on display on the Ferry to France

It got me thinking, how did photographers direct their sitters when photography was new. Invented in 1835, Victor would have been 33 before he had his first opportunity to have his photograph taken.

In the photo above we can clearly see his hands. In art hands were the most difficult thing to get right and portrait painters would charge a lot more if people wanted their hands visible in their portrait. For some people this was a way of showing off their wealth with both of their hands visible. With photography hands were going to be easy to capture and get right so perhaps in the early days of photography showing of your hands was a nod back to the painters.

Over the decades you can see that Victor had a bit of fun with this. Wonder what his photographer was saying to him.

Victor Hugo

Very nice Victor, very intense. Can we try another pose?

Victor Hugo

OK, yes I can see what you are doing there, I like it and I think we have some nice looks. Can we try some without your hand on your head?

Victor Hugo

Come on Victor – that does count as ON your head. Shall we try again later?

Victor Hugo

Victor! Really?

Victor Hugo

Seriously Victor? Shall we just leave it there?

What are your views on showing your hands in your portrait image?

Do you like it or not?

What I learned from online dating

We all know that a pictures speak a thousand words and that you can get a good understanding about a person from the style of profile image they use. We all make an instant judgement about a person based on what we see, whether we are meeting them in a room or looking at their profile online. I certainly made instant decisions about a suitable date based on their profile pic. 5 years of online dating back in the 00s really honed my skills. After many failed first dates what I learned was that I needed to trust my instincts.


You can damage your reputation by using the wrong photo. Your chosen image shows a lot about you and your business. If you are a sole trader, you are your business: so show yourself off at your best; show your passion and show how much you love your business.


I have been searching around social media platforms looking at what people are using as a business profile pic and I have found some horrors.

It only takes a few seconds and a handful of poorly chosen pixels to really damage your career and business ambitions.

Here are my DOs and DON’Ts:

Do not use a photo of you doing your sporting hobby as your profile pic. Unless, of course, your business is about sport.

People doing sports





Do not show a lot of flesh. You are in a business environment. It is not appropriate. On your personal Facebook page – fine but not on a business platform. The same applies to showing of your spouse, your children, your pets, your car, your house or your motorbike.





No selfies are allowed. No duckface. And definitely no selfies in the mirror. The dating profiles with a bathroom mirror selfie were the first to be discarded. What they said to me was this person doesn’t even have a friend who is willing to take a nice photo of him!

And this image … 





It is so awful and so wrong on so many levels I do not even know where to start.


Avoid full body shots – head and shoulders is fine – remember how big the space your image is going sit in and think about what devices people are looking at it on. Most of the time the image is going to be quite small. So we need to see your lovely face. 

Remember it is about YOU and not about where you so be smart about your background. Try not to have a tree or a lamppost growing out of your head.

Look the part – dress according to your profession. But be yourself and be authentic.

Healthy looking is more important than looking smart.

Happy faces come across as more trustworthy.

Appear approachable. Lean towards the camera. This really works – and here’s why: when we first meet someone we lean across and shake hands and introduce ourselves – so leaning in looks approachable. But please, do not overdo it.

If your image looks pixelated do not use it. Try again. Get closer.


How can you make sure you remember all these things when getting your profile pic sorted? Well the easiest answer to this is to hire a professional photographer and they will make sure you get some great head shots.

I have some top tips on how to get the best out of your photo session – coming soon.

When you can’t work

Decided this morning that I should get to work on my website. I have all the skills, knowledge and ideas now all that’s missing is – time. I did my long commute to the office – the 8 steps across the landing – and switched on computer. Whilst computer was firing up I dug out all of my notes, sheets of information and the A4 notebook with all my ‘How to edit my Website’ instructions.

I spent a couple of minutes reminding myself how to get into the admin part of the website and started clicking. It’s then that I encountered a screen telling me that maintenance was occurring and I needed to wait.

‘OK.’ I thought and went off to make a cup of tea. I came back to find it still performing this maintenance so I decided to switch computer off and on again. At that point windows decided that it needed to do updates.

‘OK.’ I thought again I have not seen it do this for a while so I considered it may take some time. After an hour it was still only on 48% so I decided to go and make some lunch. It was at this point that the scaffolders arrived.

We are having the outside of the house painted and the painter will not tackle it without scaffolding – sensible man. The back of the house had been done on Friday but they had arrived to do the rest. After lunch I went back to office by which time the scaffolding was up to the first floor and RIGHT OUTSIDE THE OFFICE WINDOW.

The computer was sorted and raring to go but the racket from the scaffolders was giving me a headache. I tried working and ignoring. I tried putting some music on but i was competing against their music and of course I had the window open because it’s such a beautiful day. OK I thought this is not working I need to be somewhere quiet. What are my options?

I consulted the book of Face and guess what all sorts of suggestions, which I shall make use of at other times in the future, arrived. It was only when Lisa, who runs Clarkson Accountancy, said they had a spare desk in their office and would be working until around 6pm that I thought – perfect.

Your network of buddies is a great network and a wonderful place to be. I thank all those that made suggestions they were all great in their own way.

House has now been painted and looks bloody lovely.

Drone Flight

Little bit of fun in Amanda’s field amongst other places. There is something utterly elegant when you see a gentle considered pull-back – it’s just so cinematic.

Elegant Pull-Backs

Tamworth Connect

Tamworth Connect is a ladies only networking group that meets at the Fig and Olive, Middleton on the first Friday of each month 9.45am-12noon.

I do a bit of networking as I think this is the best way for me to generate business. This is a lovely group that has time on the agenda every month for business support where you can bring an issue you are having. Even though we are all different businesses we all have similar problems in the running of our business. The people I have met there have been good business connections as well as great businesses to refer people to. Along with that it has become a great group of friends. and who can complain if you are meeting at the Fig and Olive at the Coppice Garden Centre near Middleton – just divine.

If you fancy coming you need to be a woman running a business. Come and try us out and see what you think.