They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in any publication readers will tend to view the photo first before reading the text of a given article.
For a PR practitioner, photos are powerful, but tricky tools to convey your client’s message.
It requires more imagination and ingenuity, because you cannot use ‘a thousand words’ in the given space.
Gone are the days when we could stage pictures then have them automatically published. Photographers have now caught on, noticing that it is all just pose without much communication and they will tell you so. Editors in the newsroom will be reluctant to use them, because space is at a premium.
You see, like an article that has value, you want your pictures to complement that value. You want your pictures to simply tell a story even without going further to read the article besides it.
According to Elliot Erwitt, the whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words. And this is what most of the editors love, to tell a story in every content they publish.
So how to do we please an editor with our pictorials?
The ‘Who’ / stakeholder factor
When taking pictures for a news story or photo release, the ‘who’ in the picture is very important. The media is always interested in the major stakeholders especially those being quoted in the articles. Take the time to consult with the journalists. Make sure they are comfortable with the photos they have taken and if not, there is no harm in sharing some of your own.
Action, Action, Action!
Our editors love action pictures. They are tired of the staged photos, that doesn’t jump out at you. In fact in most cases, they will ignore your dull photo or merely place it at the bottom of the pile. The pictures we select and share should always have some action that speaks into the story we are trying to tell. Therefore, it is important to brief your photographer.
From experience, I have learnt editors do not like branded pictures. The assumption is that this it is an advert, in fact if given a choice they would gladly do without those pictures. On the other hand, we have the client who wants maximum visibility through branding. To ensure that both parties are catered for, strategically place your branding in spots that cannot be missed. This entails some advanced planning in reference to locations.
Unless it’s a photo release to appear in the pictorial pages of the print paper, you want to make the caption as brief as possible, but also informative to gain the editors attention. Ensure that the information in your caption is relevant but also informative to the audience.
There are probably more tips I might not have included but these may be some of the most vital.