Creating media magic – the importance of appropriate photographs

One area I have discovered a lot of businesses will overlook is the way their company is visually represented in the print and online media. And I’m not talking about websites, design or logos – I’m referring to photographs.

It never fails to amaze me how much money companies will spend on improving their online presence, or various other aspects of their business, yet quality photographs of staff and products won’t get a second look.

Many regional newspapers, magazines and online sites will only have one or two photographers. These photographers are often freelance photographers (contract) who will only work at the media outlet part-time.

What this means when you are pitching to media is that the chances of a regional/small media outlet setting up a fresh photograph to go with your story, or product, is pretty slim. This doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just means you are competing with the thousand or so other stories which also need photographs. Editors need to fill space. They also need to meet a quota of stories and have appropriate photographs to go with them.

If you are on a deadline – your photographer is already booked out – and you have a choice between a story with a photo versus a story with no photo the chances are the story with the photo will win out every time.

Of course saying that, the larger media outlets will always want to own copyright and have their own pictures…

If a company does have images for media a lot of the time these images will be old or outdated. You know the ones – the fresh faced CEO who looks about forty but when you meet them in person they are really sixty and look nothing like their official media photograph?

There is nothing the media hates more than a (pr) company sending them pictures to accompany stories which represent their clients -or products – in a falsified manner. Media outlets don’t want old images or ones which look dodgy and outdated. It reflects on the quality of their publication. Media outlets want a variety of quality images which accurately portray whoever or whatever it is they are writing about.

They also don’t want to print the same thing as all of the other media outlets you’ve sent your story to.

It is crucial your brand aligns with images which accurately represent the business products and which fit the overall brand strategy. If you are going to push products, staff and employees of your business in the media its important to make sure they are presented in a way which fits in with the overall marketing strategy of your business. Social media also needs to be addressed in this regard but that is a whole other topic altogether.

Depending on the size of your business and what is being promoted in the media realistically you should be looking at indulging in professional photography shoots at least once a year. If you can’t hire someone it is still easy to update your media images. All it involves is finding an amateur photographer and allocating time and resources to make it happen.

The best part about professional media shoots is that your company will own all of the images afterwards – you can reuse these images in marketing material, or online, as you choose.

Quality photographs are an excellent business tool and will always help to enhance your media coverage.

Claire Kelly – Media Relations Manager, Ignite PR and Marketing