Do you have a photo that will put you on the front page?

Do you have a photo that will put you on the front page?It’s a question I often have to ask when putting together my weekly newspaper pages. I receive an interesting press release, but there’s no picture to go with it.

How many times have you started to read an article because the accompanying photo grabbed your attention?

Do the same with your press release to get people reading your news.

What types of photo are suitable?

I always say ones that are interesting. I used to lay out a monthly magazine which had a new appointments page. Sending a good photo usually ensured inclusion on the page. After all, no editor wants their publication to look shoddy.

A high quality, interesting photo is a gift to journalists.

If your press release is about a new appointment, include a photo of the person (yesterday I had to ask for a photo from a law firm announcing a new appointment).

If it is about a new product, many general publications will prefer a photo of it in use, while technical or industry magazines could just want a photo of the ‘thing’ on its own. Look to see the type of photo each publication features and take a variety of shots to suit them all.

Generally, photos with some action or suggested movement look more interesting than people standing around looking uncomfortable.

Arty photos using light and angles creatively can provide creative interest, although some publications could find them too ‘way out’. Again, consider what each publication is looking for.

Professional vs DIY photos

A good professional photographer should be able to come up with lots of ideas for good photos and use their knowledge of technique, lighting and equipment to come up with stunning shots.

If you can’t afford professional photography, take your own. While many mobile phones now take photos at a higher resolution than previously, use the best equipment you can. Carry a compact camera with you and take photos during the course of your day or, if you want, carry a digital SLR.

Capture your people at work to provide natural scenes or capture fleeting moments when lighting creates interesting atmospheres at different times of the day. You never know what opportunities will occur and these will give you a library of photos to use when you need them.

It will also enable you to capture surprise photos like the one on this page I took when the driver of a car coming towards me too fast lost control and  flipped it on to its roof (no one was hurt). You won’t always be able to use the photo in your business, but you never know. At least you won’t say: “I wish I had my camera with me.”

Combine words and pictures

They say a picture can tell a thousand words, but often it will need five hundred words to tell the whole story. This is what your press release does.

6 Comments

  • Amina

    1-Nov-13 at 11:41 pm Reply

    This is great information Robert! I’m in the process of formulating a press release and I’m grateful I read this post before finalizing it. I’ll add a picture and will make sure that it’s interesting enough to grab their attention! Thank you!

    • robertz

      2-Nov-13 at 12:58 pm Reply

      Glad it helped Amina

  • Suzan St Maur

    2-Nov-13 at 8:06 am Reply

    Excellent points there Robert. I’m amazed no-one was hurt in that RTC in your picture – the occupants of car were extremely lucky!

    Taking your own pictures also has the distinct advantage of avoiding the whole copyright issue you get when searching for images to use. This is particularly challenging if you’re a prolific blogger, as I am; we use images to help tell our stories in much the same way as you do with a press release.

    I do take my own pictures though, as well as using the Creative Commons image sites to find illustrative images that add impact (and often, humor) to my posts.

    Whether for blogging or for press releases, taking your own pictures is very useful and building up your own library is a valuable resource.

    Thanks for sharing this informative article!

    • robertz

      2-Nov-13 at 12:01 pm Reply

      Thanks, Suze. I didn’t think the car was going to stop and was amazed when it flipped. Four young people scrambled out with barely a scratch.

      Building up a library is a useful when you publish content on a daily basis.

  • Stephen Bray

    2-Nov-13 at 9:54 am Reply

    I’ve long carried a camera with me at all times. Henri Cartier-Bresson did so too, because he didn’t want to miss any opportunity to catch a ‘decisive moment’, even long after he had abandoned professional photography in favour of painting.

    But my motivation was because once, when I was employed by a newspaper in a general capacity, I drove past a 15th Century listed building. It was on fire. I was on the scene long before any other members of the press, indeed I came before many of the fire appliances who were to attend the blaze.

    But without a camera all I could report were words ;(

    • robertz

      2-Nov-13 at 11:58 am Reply

      Thanks, Stephen. I haven’t been in such a dramatic situation, but I have experienced occasions when I wished I had taken my camera with me. You never know what could happen and with social media you can get it out into the world immediately.

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