Category Archives: Public relations photography

The power of PUBLIC RELATIONS photography-10 tips for building your “image”

Photography is an important tool for creating and building individual and corporate identity that is often under utilized, and from my point of view as a professional photographer certainly under appreciated.  Photography has always been an effective public relations tool. My experience goes back thirty years to the days of setting up darkrooms in all kinds of locations and hustling wet prints to the nearest wire service office.  Today with our powerful digital photography capabilities and the infinite requirement the internet has for content its value as a PR device has never been so great.

I would argue that all enterprises and individual entrepreneurs should incorporate photography into their PR and marketing programs.  Listed below are ten suggested ideas and methods for utilizing public relations photography to build your “image” and enhance your personal brand.

  1. Prepare a set of high quality photographs in advance to anticipate a media request or public relations opportunity.  Having some shot “in the can” that illustrate your products, facilities and key personnel that are ready to send will help you capitalize on unexpected  publication offers.
  2. Business portraits and headshots are essential for any entrepreneur.  Having a professionally created portrait of your company personnel is necessary in building a personal connection via social media.  The business mantra that “people buy from who they know “is still true today and your portrait online is a powerful method to become “known”.  These shots are great for business notices and identifiers for blog postings and other marketing material.
  3. Headshots are great for some uses but having an environmental type portrait will work best with editorial outlets.  Images of the person in their work environment or in a setting that adds information about them are better illustrations for editors.  Environmental portraits provide context for the person and more readily transmit a narrative to the viewer.
  4. Make the investment in professional photography services. Digital cameras are common and seemingly in every device you can imagine, truly anyone can take a picture. The distinction for the purposes of your brand is that snapshots will not enhance your image.  Professionally conceived and created photography literally presents you in the best light.  Hire a pro to achieve professional results.
  5. Provide editors and media outlets a good variety of images to select from.  The more options they have in layout and design choices the greater the likelihood your images will be published.  A mix of portrait (vertical) and landscape (horizontal) orientated photos, shots with negative space for headlines and copy and unique points of view are all appreciated by editors, so give them what makes them happy!
  6. Follow submission guidelines carefully.  Sending an image correctly formatted and prepared according to the publications requirements is essential.  Send the photography and illustration incorrectly and you will not get published.  Using a pro photographer adept with photo editing tools and familiar with the process can be critical to avoiding submission problems.
  7. Use images that tell a story and specifically match up to the narrative you are providing with the press release content it is accompanying.  Your visual content is critical to convincing an editor of your value for publication. Photos get stories printed and most importantly read so send out complete packages.
  8. Make sure to correctly caption and keyword  your images to take advantage of the SEO potential photography has as online content.  Image file meta data is searchable text that can be enhanced to maximize your branding and messaging online. Once again using a pro photographer familiar with this process will justify the investment in will add power to your imagery.
  9. Make sure you fill the frame.  Avoid using photography that has a lot of vacant area that makes the subject smaller and distracts the viewer.  Well designed and composed photographs capture the viewer’s attention so take care to use the whole image area well.
  10. Take chances with your photography and show unusual viewpoints and scenes.  Often a story will get published simply because the photography is so attention grabbing.  The same visual impact that gets the editor’s attention works doubly on attracting the viewer to your messaging.

I provide photography for business , shot either on location or in my studio facility in Nashua, NH.  My experience with public relations assignments and live action coverage has ranged from tropical jungles to corporate boardrooms.   For more information about PR photography or any of my other photography services for business contact me at info@testoftimephoto.com

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Samantha Brown’s PEANUT BUTTER diplomacy

I have to confess to being slightly jaded about the occasional celebrity that I encounter with my camera. It has been my experience that the public persona is often distinctly different from the one I see behind the scenes.  Occasionally a public personality surprises me and pushes back on my cynical expectations.

I recently was providing photographic coverage of and public relations support for the New Hampshire  Tourism Council 2011 Governor’s Conference.  The keynote address of the gathering of travel and tourism professionals was television host Samantha Brown.  Brown, a New Hampshire native, has been the presenter on several TRAVEL CHANNEL series and great match for the conference program.

Samantha Brown at NH Travel Council 2011 Govenor's Conference

Television host Samantha Brown with her peanut butter

 

As I photographed her speaking from the stage I really got caught up in her talk.  Her transformation from actress and novice traveler to the very confident globetrotter she has become was delightful.  What I really appreciated about her speech was her openness to the power of the experience of travel, how who you encounter on the road matters most.  Her sincerity and enthusiasm for the experience is what rings true in her shows and makes her a great host.

For more than thirty years I have had what I consider a supreme privilege, the chance to travel to dozens of counties and to photograph people of many cultures.  As I listened to Samantha relay her evolution as a traveler she revealed that same sense of privilege.  She talked about her methods for visiting a culture and connecting before the cameras start rolling. Quiet walks into neighborhoods where people live are essential for the discovery process.  She also presented her essential travel supplies including the all important jar of peanut butter.

Peanut butter is a handy snack that travels well but as I learned it can be a powerful tool of diplomacy.  Brown often shares her stash with the locals, constructing sandwiches with local bread and jellies and revealing the primacy of the food in the American diet.  Although the flavor is not often well received, the gesture works magically as an ice breaker.   Good old PB & J can build bridges across the miles and cultural divides with the very human experience of a shared meal.  I vow to never travel again without the jar of brown goo and the insight of Samantha Brown. Count me as one of her fans.

 

 

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CAPTIONS MATTER

My objective when making images for my clients is to provide great photos that enhance their communications and public identity. A powerful tool to maximize that effect is the inclusion of a photo caption with all public relations photographs. Why are photo caption so important? Simply stated, photo captions are the most read body of type in any publication.

For the photography client they are one of the most effective communication tools for getting a message out. A high quality photographic image with a well written and accurate caption is the cornerstone of any successful media and publicity campaign. The photo attracts the viewer and the caption informs their impression.

Captions will help sell your story to editors and will increase your chances for publication. Use the caption to explain the content of the image and why it is significant. Follow newspaper standards for the information to include. The five W’s and H rule (who, what, why, when, where and how) with correct identification of the people and items shown is a good starting point. Some description about the subject with basic background information will inform the reader about your organization. Be concise and avoid sounding like a commercial, be informative and accurate.

Digital photographs with captions embedded in the image file have the added advantage of becoming search engine optimizing tools (SEO). The text content of a caption becomes searchable content along with tags and links. Unlike traditional print media which has a limited exposure to the public (daily newspaper, weekly magazine) your images posted on website have a long shelf life, existing long after publication in website archives and databases.

A primary service I specialize in is “real time” event photographic coverage combined with press photography distribution. Correct formatting of images to press standards and the inclusion of captions increases the PR impact and increases publication rates. The return on investment in press kit images, business portraits and headshots that I produce is apparent in the results. I have provided this service from remote jungles to  the hall of congress and it has proven to be as adaptable as it is effective.

To learn more about my photography services and capabilities email me at dan@insplainesight.com. Let me know what is on your mind and how I can be of assistance to you.

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