There’s almost nothing as frustrating as having a fantastic news story hampered by a poor quality photograph to accompany it (unless you’re just about to have your first cuppa of the day and you realise there’s no milk!).
Certain stories just cry out for a picture to help lend the human element and give more impact – just think of the classic sad or happy poses in your local paper.
Press releases are far more likely to be picked up and given a higher prominence on a news page or on the internet if they have a great picture to help tell the story.
Local newspapers like photographs featuring local people – they sell papers! But, with lots of job cuts in the media industry, it’s not as easy as it once was to get a photographer to attend an event.
What this does mean is that organisations that supply good quality, relevant images stand a better chance of being featured in their chosen publications.
And the key words here are good quality images.
Keep these 10 top tips in mind when submitting a photo for a better chance of success:
1. Look this way folks!
Let’s face it, no-one wants to see the side of someone’s head! Make sure that everyone pictured is looking directly at the camera. If there are several people all trying to take a picture at once, you’re not likely to achieve this.
2. Wakey, wakey!
Make sure everyone’s eyes are open. Take a few pictures at the same time to minimise the risk of someone looking like they’re having a nap in the picture.
3. Composition, composition, composition
Think about the space in your picture – don’t have too much open space, don’t cut people’s heads off, don’t cut people in half because they can’t all fit in the picture – but don’t stand too far away so they look like tiny specks in the distance.
4. Strike a pose
Make sure people are grouped together and posed in the shot – newspapers don’t tend to like ‘action shots’, taken at an event or in a room full of people.
5. Colour is key
Make sure all pictures are in colour, not black and white. Arty pictures often won’t get used in a news story.
6. Who’s who?
Make sure you list the names of who is in the picture. The easiest way to caption is from left to right, including full names and job titles or points of reference e.g. customers, staff or family members. It is very important to check correct name spellings, as people get upset if their five minutes of fame is ruined by the wrong details being supplied
7. Set the scene
The setting of your photo is important, so be mindful of what you are standing in front of, behind or underneath. Make sure there’s nothing that could inadvertently reflect badly on your organisation or subject matter. If the shot has to be taken indoors, make sure the background isn’t cluttered and messy. And try not to take a picture with the main source of light behind the people in the picture – it will cause the picture to be too dark.
8. Size matters
As a general rule, send the image as a high resolution jpeg. But beware – if the image size is too big, it may bounce. If the file size is too small, the image won’t reproduce at a high enough quality for print – although it may still be able to be used digitally.
9. Prop it up
Use relevant props to help illustrate the story and to make your image stand out. If someone has been given an award or certificate for long service in a cleaning job, take a picture of them holding a mop, duster, wearing rubber gloves etc, rather than standing there holding the certificate. It makes for a more interesting picture.
10. Have fun
As long as the subject matter allows it!