A picture speaks a thousand words… and a good press photo gets you several column inches
OK, so you’ve got a great press release ready to go, but before you hit send, have you checked if you’ve got a good photo to go with it? If not, this greatly hinders the amount of coverage you’ll get.
Why? Because the press love a good photo to illustrate the story, and they don’t have the time to fish for one. Without a usable photo, you’ll only get some column inches, which would be lost amongst the other black and white text. Plus, having a picture printed next to your story instantly makes it stand out from all the other articles on the page, website, or magazine.
The old adage is true, a picture does speak a thousand words, especially in the world of news. For example, a press release about a new senior manager, accompanied by a picture of said manager, brings a human face (quite literally) to a story.
A case study of a woman who has had a successful gastric bypass and lost lots of weight is much more relatable with before and after pictures of the lady in question. And a charity fashion show is brought to life with a picture of models on the catwalk showcasing the clothing. We could go on, but you get the drift.
So while content is king when it comes to PR, a good picture is pretty darn important too. Now that we’re clear on this, here are a few etiquette points to bear in mind when it comes to photos for the media…
Tips for taking good press photos (and sending them):
- Take photos on a proper digital camera. Your IPhone may be fine for Instagram, but the press need hi-res unfiltered shots.
- Only send photos that are printable – so don’t send grainy photos from a mobile, or download from Facebook (yes, that has been done before).
- Get the size right – too small and it’s not printable, too large and you’ll crash a journo’s inbox. As a general rule, your email file size should be under 1mb including the picture.
- Don’t expect a journalist to go to your website and copy pictures from there – that’s just rude.
- Try and include people in your press photos, as they’re much more interesting than buildings and products (unless of course you’re talking to the property, building and construction press).
- If you’re promoting a new product, consider having a picture of somebody demonstrating it, as that is more likely to be used by the consumer press than a shot of the product alone.
- For national publications, it’s worth asking them first if they want a picture before including in their release, as they usually prefer to capture their own photos.
- For charity donations, avoid the large cheque presentation pics so often associated with the national lottery. I’d old, it’s been done, and it’s not the most original.
So that’s a basic run through of why you should be including photos with your press release. For more PR tips, tools and expert comment straight to your inbox, subscribe to the HK Communications blog.