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.