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Using Photos to Convey Your Message
Photos should be an important part of any organization's publicity program. Photos help to brand a news release and make it stand out from the crowd.
The checklist for any company planning a publicity effort must include an item for photos. The final decision in a given case may be to use a photo element in the publicity program, or it may be to NOT use photos but the issue should be discussed for every publicity effort. Below are some tips to make your photo usage successful.
Quality is Key - Hire a Photographer
The next step is to hire a good photographer. A good photographer may be costly but it is the best money you can spend. If the pictures are not shot correctly, the whole photo effort will be wasted. To determine the quality of the photographer, ask to see his or her online portfolio. This is a collection of their photographs. You might also ask to see pictures from their last several shoots. If you believe that the pictures are the kind of pictures that will tell your story, you have your photographer. If you are not pleased, consult another. Once you have the photographer lined up, spend time explaining just what you expect from the pictures, what story you are trying to tell and what message you want to deliver to readers and others who will see the photos. Too often, photographers are poorly assigned, uninformed and therefore make poor pictures.
Need a photographer? PR Newswire has a global network of photographers who can get you that perfect shot.
General Photo Tips
- Headshots: For personnel announcements, you should include a headshot of the executive. Headshots should be well lit and can be done on a solid background or as an ‘environmental headshot' where the person is shot in their office or outside. For environmental headshots, be sure to emphasize the person and not the surroundings.
- Event Photos: Photos taken at events should highlight the theme of the event including any persons speaking, a rally, group projects, etc. Avoid large staged group shots.
Additional Tips to Remember
- Keep a supply of portraits of company officials handy, but do not limit these to only headshots. Action portraits make more of a statement.
- Do not make 500 prints of your picture and send it out through the mail. Most photo editors at media outlets prefer to receive photos digitally from a distributor like PR Newswire.
- Forget black and white photos! Color pictures are used almost exclusively on the front pages of newspapers, always on TV and throughout magazines.
Just a few words about captions. Every photo and graphic needs a good caption. Captions should be concise and tell a story about the photo. Editors need to understand what's in the photo and why it is important. Give them some background information on your company and write the caption in newspaper style -- describe the who, what, why, when, where and how. In addition to helping editors, all this information will optimize photos for search engine pickup. You should also identify people in the photograph Left to Right. Include the hometowns of the people pictured, to increase interest in your photograph among papers that cover those hometowns. You will want to include as much information in the caption as possible, but try to keep it concise -- 80 words is the wire service standard.
Once you have a selection of photos you must decide how to distribute them to the media. That is where PR Newswire comes in because that is PR Newswire's business -- distribution of information to the proper media points. Your PR Newswire account executive can help you with distribution suggestions and walk with you through the simple, but effective, technological steps that will get your pictures to the right editors. To ensure that your photograph can be used by print media, you need to supply a high-resolution photo that looks great when printed in a newspaper or magazine. The standard requirements among the wire services and newspapers are a length of 9 inches on the longest side and 300 dots per inch resolution. If this all sounds like a foreign language to you don't worry PR Newswire's Photo Desk is here to help.
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