PR Images: How to use photos to get your story covered
A photograph is a doorway to a story, inviting the reader in and suggesting what might be inside. While reading offers a fuller perspective, it can’t compete with a picture’s ability to provoke a powerful reaction. But as a B2B PR agency, we know it can be hard to find the right PR images to accompany their stories.
Images are important in PR because they can be the decider factor for an editor on whether to run a story or not. In fact, we spoke with a couple of journalists and editors to get some insider information on how you can use pictures to make your stories stand out.
Seeing is believing
A good photograph grabs the reader’s attention. Even the most compelling story risks getting passed over by an editor if it’s competing with exceptional images. Eye-catching pictures are more likely to get chosen for the front page.
Good photos also make a story more memorable. According to research, if we hear a piece of information, we stand only a 10% chance of recalling it three days later. But recall increases to 65% if the information in question is presented as an image. In other words, leading with a photo can dramatically increase the memorability of your article.
So, get better pictures. It may sound simple, but they can make all the difference: the better the picture, the better the media exposure.
In the eye of the beholder
While it’s impossible to quantify what exactly makes a photograph ‘good’, there are some general rules for choosing an image. A photo should pose a question, and the reader should find the answer in the caption. Curiosity hooks the viewer in and sets them on the path to reading your content.
Practically speaking, your PR images should always be available to journalists in high-resolution and multiple orientations. When commissioning a photographer, ensure that they take portrait (or ‘vertical’) and landscape (or ‘horizontal’) versions for each image. This is important in case your photo lands on the front cover of the magazine (where portrait is necessary) as well as if it’s in-line with the content. Web content tends to favour landscape orientation, so if you only get one shot, make it landscape.
Show and tell
Some journalists will take their own photos and larger outlets often send a staff photographer or a freelancer to capture an event. It’s worth allowing outlets to take pictures even if you’re supplying images, particularly if you’re unveiling something at an event.
Whether or not you’re behind the lens, it’s crucial to create a visually appealing scene. That means good lighting, a clear and well-considered background, and letting the photographers get close enough to get the perfect shot.
Variety is key
While many journalists would like to take their own photographs, it doesn’t always work out logistically. When you’re capturing images for a story, ensure that you have a variety of different, exciting shots.
Collecting a library of engaging images means that you can offer each media publication an exclusive photo, even if the story is the same. It also means that you can volunteer more images to each publication. Web outlets are partial to multiple images, as they don’t face the space restrictions imposed by print.
Get interesting photos, not just a standard headshot. If you’re photographing your CEO, don’t just have them stand against a blank wall. Position her where the action happens, whether that’s on an industrial site, speaking with staff, or inspecting a product.
Own the rights to photos
Photographs are subject to copyright laws, and understanding them is crucial. In the UK, the person who pushes the shutter button on the camera is the author of the photograph. However, if a company employs them, and they’re working at the time they take the image, their employer gets the copyright. If you bring in a third party to take your photographs, they’ll own the rights to the photos, so remember to have them reassign those rights to you.
Worth a thousand words
Photographs should never be an afterthought – they should be an integral part of your overall strategy. Make sure you have a photographer you trust who understands the story, and set the scene with adequate lighting. Choosing the right PR image can make or break your story, so be sure to give photos the thought they deserve.