Want positive publicity? Follow our expert tips on getting your photographs published in the press. By Penny Fray
The only shots you’ve taken of late are ones at passing colleagues – your tongue, after all, is more lethal than most bullets. But in business terms, a good photograph is worth more than a thousand sarcastic words.
Magazines, newspapers, trade publications and blogs will always consider using high-quality images that are supplied to them, especially if they’re accessorised with a decent story. The result? Easy, low-cost publicity.
They don’t have to be of Magnum quality (we’re not talking about ice cream here but the global agency famed for its award-winning photography) – but they do have to be relevant.
In this regard, it’s always worth studying the publication you’re targeting. After all, what works for a free sheet won’t necessarily appear in a glossy magazine. And there are always set platforms
that you can slot your snaps into. It’s all about replicating style
The best way to ensure that your photographs are of an acceptable quality is to learn the basics. After all, the biggest mistake people make is thinking that a decent camera will turn them into a decent photographer.
“There are a few fundamental rules you need to abide by like never taking a shot opposite strong light,” says Y photographer Jerzy Wierzbicki. “And try to use natural or ambient light rather than flash when photographing faces.”
According to the Oman-based professional, the error most SMEs in search of publicity make is to send in low-resolution images taken by smartphones. “Your photo needs to be high quality – 5MB or more – and in focus,” he says. “Also, when sending photographs to a publication, make sure they’re captioned. State who is shown on the photograph, listing people from left to right.”
If you’re emailing them, make sure you have the right recipient and the resolution doesn’t grind everything to a halt. Journalists and designers usually react badly to being delayed on deadline. Huge files should be sent through an online file sharing software like Dropbox or SendSpace or be downloadable from your website.
Corporate or group shots are the bane of all editors in that they’re usually boring. Remember, there are hundreds if not thousands of individuals and businesses competing for editorial space, so you need to stand out from the crowd. And that means being a little creative.
“A profile image should be a full length portrait and group shots, if possible, should be kept to minimum numbers,” adds Jerzy. “Make sure your subjects don’t stand squarely into the camera. Try experimenting with active rather than posed shots. Get your subjects to show some personality by catching them off guard. Also use a wide-angle lens for a more dynamic perspective.”
If you’re at an event, don’t assume you have to take endless people pictures.
“Capture the details,” says Jerzy. “Take a close up of the food, flowers and décor. You need to create a sense of ambience.”
Finally, be designer friendly. Keep the background of your images plain if possible and make sure there’s enough space for potential cropping.
Of course, if your story or subject matter is good enough, most publications will send out their own photographer, especially if there’s a high-profile celebrity involved. So, it’s worth phoning the editor or a publication’s picture desk well in advance to see whether they’ll cover the event. If not, ask them to recommend someone. As industry experts, they’ll know who’s good and who’s not in the region.
In the meantime, happy snapping.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:
“If you need to take a great portrait shot – go outside and use the late afternoon sunlight. The light is softer at this time and far more flattering on your face. It also means that you won’t need a lot of additional equipment like flash.” Jerzy Wierzbicki, photographer for Y magazine.
SPEED OF LIGHT
“Moving subjects are more difficult to capture, so you need to adjust your shutter speed accordingly, otherwise you’ll end up with a blurred image.” Abdul Wahid, photographer for Koooora magazine.