A famous saying by Joan Stewart goes thus “If you’re pitching stories about your company to the media, but photos are an afterthought, you could be missing fabulous opportunities for publicity”. Thus this goes a long way in emphasizing the importance of pictures in public relations and media practice in general. Some Journalists even go a long way in asserting that, a good photo can move your article from the back of a magazine to the front. Photos can be the deciding factor when you’re pitching a story idea. An editor who knows that you can provide photos, or that their own photographer can take photos of something interesting, might be encouraged to say “yes” to your story idea.
Although the importance of photo cannot be underestimated, how and when we use the photos is the most important. Thus here are few tips for using photos and graphics for public relations.
- Make sure you have good-quality, above-the-shoulders photos of all your experts who are likely to be interviewed by the media. Sometimes you see blur pictures in web pages and print and the entire story surrounding the photo becomes suddenly drab. Sharp, attractive and quality picture is a gimmick on its own and it goes a long way in attracting readers to the material. Furthermore, experts appreciate it when there pictures appear in portrait form rather than displaying like a passport.
- Consider asking your photographer to shoot “environmental portraits” of your experts. An architect, for example, might be shown holding several rolled up architect’s renderings under her arm. A construction executive can be shown holding a hard hat or other tools of his trade. Weekly newspapers that don’t have big photo staffs would probably welcome these photos.
- Have interior and exterior shots of your company available for the media. The interior shots can show people at work. There are various creative and innovative shots that would convey the right message rather than the usual clichés like “on the telephone” or “working at the computer” shots.
- Submit photos with news releases about routine announcements such as new hires, promotions, retirements, awards, etc. the media will apparently prefer releases accompanied with photos as back-up. This is will serve as evidence regarding the information submitted to the media and thus further beautifies the page, which the story is used.
- Pie charts, bar charts and other graphics can often help readers understand complicated issues such as budgets. Offer to supply information to media outlets so they can create their own graphics to accompany the article they’re writing about.
- If you’re sponsoring an event that doesn’t necessarily warrant a story, call the photo desk at your local newspaper and let photographers know what’s happening. There is no need to force a story out of an event that apparently doesn’t warrant any story. The photo-journalist will surely take the right shots with the correct caption for a proper photo-story.
- If a photographer from a newspaper or magazine takes photos at your company, never demand to see the negatives, or dictate what photo they should use with the article, or ask for free copies of prints. The negatives are the property of the media outlet, and the media maintain full control over their use. If you want prints, expect to pay for them.
- Avoid using big clunky photos at your website because they slow down the time it takes a page to load. The simple reason why some websites are very slow is because of the kind of awkwardly images uploaded on the site. The PR man has the responsibility of ensuring catchy but simple photos on its site, as a clunky picture can slow down the site and thus makes users lose interest.
- Never, ever ask a newspaper or magazine to take photos of a check-passing, ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting ceremony. The media hate these staged events. And don’t wimp out by uploading these cheesy-looking photos to your expensive website. Offer an architect’s rendering instead of a ground-breaking shot. In place of a check-passing photo, take a photo that illustrates what the money will be used for.