Monday, November 26, 2007

Brass Tack #8 – Give them a well-composed photograph.

Andy Warhol was in the same mindset as many tabloid editors when he described his idea of a good picture as ‘one that's in focus and of a famous person’.

You’d be amazed what a difference a photograph can make to getting high visibility in the press. Editors give priority to stories that are accompanied by a strong and engaging photographic image. The trick is to keep it simple without lapsing into visual cliché.

Issue 14 of Behind The Spin included a few useful tips for PR photography. Borkowski PR image compiler, Mike Gilmore listed ‘an arresting image as one of his ‘seven routes into the press’ (the others were sex, celebrity, controversy, humour/the bizarre/human interest, a news link and animals!) and then discussed Tom, the Bacardi Breezer Cat as an example of a product image that has arrested. Indeed, this campaign opened up most of these other routes in to the press as well.

In the same issue, Leeds Met PR student, Joe Sharp discussed pictures of people as well as products and suggested alternatives to the usual handshake photos and smiley headshots that litter the less glamorous pages of the press. He advised portraits of ‘key media-friendly company people’ either ‘doing unexpected things’ with their products or ‘doing normal things’ in the community that emphasise their qualities as human beings.

Joe also offered a useful reminder to provide captions with photographs.

My own advice is to think about the composition of the photo. Should the image look posed or a captured moment in the life of your subject? If the image is of two or more people, how much space is there between them? What’s in the background and does this add to or detract from the message that the image is trying to convey?

Rather than compress a whole textbook of advice on how to take a good photograph, I’ll offer this link to Photo District News’s choice of 30 new and emerging photographers to look out for in 2007. Think about how their images work and let them be an inspiration!

Filed under:
media relations       press release       photograph      press photography       Behind The Spin      Borkowski PR     Mike Gilmore     
Tom the Bacardi Breezer cat      Leeds Metropolitian University      
Joe Sharp       Photo District News

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