If you want to get your news story featured a great photo is essential.
A strong photo captures the reader’s attention and draws them in. But did you realise that creating the perfect photo for your press release requires a different approach to other styles of branding photography.
Recently I caught up with Angela Belassie from PR The Write Way to find out more about what makes a great press photo.
Angela knows a thing or two about getting a story into the press. She’s worked with local press and freelanced with the nationals. Angela now helps small to medium sized businesses secure media attention, so they can reach a wider audience.
So here are ten simple tips to help you create better photos for the press.
It’s all about the people
Generally speaking, the press want photos of people showing their faces. There are a few exceptions, such as dealing with privacy or a sensitive topic, but on the whole you should include people connected to the story.
Photos of people silhouetted against a sunset may be artistic, but photos like this these tend to be unsuitable for news articles because the messaging is too subtle. Instead, photos of people facing the camera and with a facial expression to suit the mood of the article, be it sad or joyful are more appropriate.
Make it relevant and show a connection with your story
Keep the photo simple and makes sure the connection with your story is crystal clear. It’s important to consider the tone of your story too. If your story is upbeat and positive you’ll want to include images that reinforce that message.
Make sure it’s well lit
A properly lit photo is more dramatic and draws the eye to the important subject matter. Not only does this create a stronger emotional reaction it also helps the photo jump off the page.
Professional photographers will often light a scene for more impact. This allows them to control the light to make sure it’s appropriate for the tone of the story. If you don’t have lighting equipment search out a location with lots of natural light which generally gives more realistic colours and higher quality photos.
Provide portrait and landscape options
Giving a journalist more options to use a photo makes their life easier and in turn increases the chance of the photo being used. When you’re photographing a scene mix it up a little too. Turn your camera sideways so you capture portrait and landscape orientations and play around with angles.
Press photos are almost always shown in colour, so there’s no need to create black and white options. Concentrate on creating a dynamic colour photo that connects. It’s worthwhile considering branding colours too. Is there a logo, prop or a backdrop that uses your brand colours that can be added into the photo. Don’t force it though – use it if it feels appropriate.
Use current photos
If you have an important news story to share you need up to date and relevant photos. It might be tempting to grab an old photo from 5 years ago but a dated photo is easy to spot. So don’t scrimp on your photography, if you feel confident take a new photo yourself or use a professional photographer.
Don’t forget the background
It’s easy to focus on the foreground but don’t forget the details behind your main subject. Check the edge of the photo for anything that might be “off brand” or distracting. It’s helpful to search out a background that complements your story or a clean and simple background that reduces distractions altogether.
Make sure people are happy to have their photo taken and they understand it may be used in the press or for promotional purposes. If children are involved you must have written permission from their parents or guardian.
Consider the quality
Your photos need to be sharp and of a large enough file size – 1mb tends to be suitable in most cases. Some publications will have more demanding image requirements if the images are going to be used for print and web. If you’re not sure check with your photographer as they should be able to provide photos to match your requirements.
Finally…have some fun!
It’s not every day you create a press release and tell the world what you’ve been up to. Try and get your personality across and inject some energy into the photos. Authentic photos are far more likely to connect so be true to yourself and have some fun at the same time.