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  • Writer's pictureHannah @ Hawthorn House PR

Do you really need professional photography for PR?

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

If you’re a small - medium sized business who's decided to explore PR to boost your brand's awareness & reach new audiences, then you may be wondering: Do I really need to invest in professional photos? Followed by: What photos will they want from me?

Of course, what photography you'll need to send the media will depend whether you're a product or service based business but...

In my honest opinion, I'd highly recommend you invest in some decent photography if you want to be taken seriously by the media & increase your chances of coverage. In this blog, we’ll explore what images will increase your chances of coverage, why one size doesn’t fit all, & what you images you should ask your photographer for.

A picture can make or break a story

Let’s be honest, we are all guilty of judging a book by its cover and journalists are no different. Think about it: what makes you want to read a story? It’s often the gripping headline and a decent photo that grabs your attention & peaks your curiosity to read on.

The truth is, a picture can be the deciding factor why a journalist covers your story over someone else’s.

With already paper thin budgets, stretched thinner than ever before, newspapers & magazines often don't have the resources to send out their own photographers for every story they cover.

Now more than ever, businesses are being expected to step up to the plate & invest in decent photography - filling the void once covered by the media. And if you’re wondering whether this is just my opinion, also recently stated that ‘good photos can place your press release at the top of a journalists pile.’

Planning your photoshoot: How to make the most of the big day

Unfortunately, it’s not one size fits all but looking at the media you intend to target will almost certainly give you some inspiration for what you need from your photoshoot. When planning your photos I would almost certainly…

  • Find a photographer you like, who works in the style that you think will represent your brand & the type of media you want to appear in.

  • Ask them to produce high and low res images in Jpeg format.

  • Consider your photoshoot location & ensure it reflects your brand for lifestyle shots – natural light is best.

  • Have a list of images you want to capture – more on that later.

  • Ensure the photographer knows what you want. Most good branding photographers know the drill & if you’ve done your research you’ll have seen other examples of photo campaigns that you like that they’ve done.

What photos you need

If you’re a service-based business and you want to pitch your story to the press, apply to be a guest panellist at a conference, or offer your opinion on a news story, a decent set of founder images is an absolute must. Here’s what you’d need:

  1. A mixture of landscape and portrait photos – landscape would always be the preference as it’s easier to crop.

  2. Head and shoulder shots of you looking at the camera.

  3. Some action/lifestyle shots reflecting what you do – I see the media asking for this more and more.

  4. High and low res images in Jpeg format – high res is at least 1MB.

  5. It’s important to choose a location and outfit that reflects your brand. I was recently asked what should you wear on a branding shoot? For me, I always think of what would appeal to ideal customer, what looks good and what represents my brand.

Additional photos for product-based businesses

Sorry folks - you guys have a little extra work to do. It helps to have the shots listed above, but in addition to this, having some great product shots will stand you in good stead for the inclusion of the much loved "gift guides" section of newspapers, magazines & blogs, as well as review pieces.

I would recommend having a range of the above shots mentioned in the service-based business crib list, particularly if you’re positioning yourself to the media as an expert or sharing your story but you also need…

  1. Products shots on a white background so that it’s easy for them to be cut away.

  2. A few lifestyle shots of people using your product.

Decent photos are a non-negotiable

Too often photography is seen as an add on, a nice to have, a non-essential. But in reality, it could be the make or break of your story (and all your hard-earned PR work) if you want to convey a professional brand, and be included by the media who are the gate keepers of getting your brand seen and heard by new, untapped audiences eager to buy your service or products.

As tempting as it may be to submit the smokin' hot selfie, it’s not going to the cut the mustard if you’re planning on getting coverage in the print press and glossy mags…although I am seeing one or two journalists asking for “more casual” shots to add a bit of colour to your story. (So keep them on hand just in case!)

It really is worth a little investment and some serious thought about what you need before the shoot to save any disappointment and increase your chances of your story being snapped up.

If you would love to feature in the media to boost awareness of your brand, get in touch for your FREE 30 minute discovery call today.

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