It’s not uncommon for visuals to be scarce in public relations and corporate communications. Most professionals are strictly trained in “words.” However, the importance of images and video cannot be understated —and in 2019, this is truer than ever before, given how much better visual content performs on social media.
To that end, great photos accompanying press releases can help secure media coverage … but poorly-shot images or video can be just as bad as not including any visuals in the first place. Here are a few ways you can enhance the visual content of your PR strategy:
You may notice when looking over previously-snapped photos that the images have an orange, yellow, or blue look to them, despite the fact that the scene looked normal in color when it was being shot.
This is because different sources of light can produce different colors or “temperatures.” Fluorescent lighting gives off a blue light, for example, and tungsten produces a yellowish tinge.
White balancing, as the name suggests, balances the color temperature in a photo. The color casts are removed by adding the opposite color to an image to bring its temperature back to neutral.
Different cameras have different ways of adjusting the white balance — so, you’ll need to review your owner’s manual or check the manufacturer’s website to learn how to make changes.
Lighting is one of the biggest challenges in public-relations photography. Events often take place in dimly-lit settings that create harsh shadows in photos. However, the trick to good lighting isn’t so much about the location of the shoot. It’s about “capturing” the right amount of light in a photo, and that can, in part, be achieved by adjusting your camera’s ISO settings. Most pointand-shoot cameras even allow you to manually adjust this feature.
Higher ISO settings allow you to shoot quickly and capture more light. For example, if you’re shooting in a dark event hall and would like your images to be more brightly lit, select a higher ISO setting. ISO numbers typically range from 100 to 6400 in most newer cameras.
Capture the full scale of an event
Zoom lenses are an important tool in PR photography and videography. They shorten and widen the lens’ focal length which increases or decreases the magnification of the subject. With a quality zoom lens, you can get both close-ups and wide-angle shots, capturing the full scale of an event.
Zoom lenses do have limitations, though. With most point-and-shoot cameras, quality can be lost when you switch from optical zoom to digital zoom, resulting in highly-pixelated images. Most professional public-relations photographers will have the lenses to achieve the composition and depth of field your event requires.
Get in on the Action
Action shots are more interesting than posed photos. A photo capturing the moment an employee is surprised with an award is much more engaging than a photo of the employee posing with the award at the end of the event. To achieve great event photography, you must always be on your toes, ready to quickly snap a shot.
Know what the media wants
Spend time flipping through the paper or clicking through the media’s social-media pages and websites to get a basic idea of the types of photos they feature. You may notice that some outlets don’t use posed photography or images incorporating models. Also, try to avoid cliché, overused imagery (e.g., a grinning business owner shaking hands and handing off an oversized check).
Alongside your media release, include a link to a Dropbox with a variety of high-resolution images in a JPG format (in both portrait and landscape orientation). If you’re targeting print media, for example, you’ll never know the size of space into which your story is being fit. Know, too, that a 72 dpi (dots per inch) resolution will look clear on the web, but most print publications require a 300 dpi resolution.
You’re not an industry expert without a headshot
If a news outlet selects you to be interviewed as an industry expert or write a guest column for their publication, they will need you to provide a high-quality headshot. Help secure editors’, producers’ and reporters’ interest by providing a headshot alongside any media alert or release.
Whether you want your pitch shared online, in print or through a newscast, images and video add an engaging element that helps draw the attention your story deserves.
Molly Behnke is director of client services with Baer Performance Marketing.