Taking a photo for a press release: top tips from the professionals

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To celebrate World Photography Day on Sunday, Apprentice Marketing Assistant, Chelsea Debnam, tackles the topic of taking press-worthy photos.

 

When it comes to press release photos, there’s a lot more to consider than first meets the eye. There’s a lot of focus put on perfecting the written element of a press release, but a quality photo can make the difference between where it appears in the paper, how much coverage you get and online presence.

Some simple tactics

It sounds like we are stating the obvious here but you’d be surprised how many people make simple errors with their photographs. Don’t cut people’s heads off, take plenty of photos to ensure all your subjects have their eyes open and make sure your backdrop is appropriate.
During his 15 year career as a professional press photographer, Gregg Brown has snapped pictures of the Royal family, British Prime Ministers and A-List celebrities.

 

Here’s some tips from a man in the know:

1. Look at the whole picture

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Plan the composition of your photograph. Don’t be afraid to use the space in your shot. Try to steer clear from taking a group photo where everyone has been squeezed into the middle of the image. This creates lots of space around the outside of the frame and is a missed opportunity to be creative.

2. Picture perfect

Using natural light where possible might seem obvious, however we have seen plenty of images in our time where this has not been the case. Taking advantage of using natural light, more often than not, reduces the amount of photo editing required.
Gregg’s next pointer takes this one step further: “my second tip is to use natural light but also turn off all other light sources. People think they're using natural light but if they leave a tungsten light on, it will confuse the camera's white balance, making the pictures orange.”

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It’s the small things that count: pre-photo and post-photo pointers

We’re very lucky at Prominent to have an ex-national newspaper journalist and well-versed press officer in our team.
Here’s some quick-fire pointers from Editorial Director, Ellen Widdup and Marketing Manager, Abi Gagen:


Pre-photo
• Not got a snazzy camera? If you’re using a smartphone, make sure you have changed your settings to take photos in the highest resolution possible.
• Ask your subjects to remove their lanyards if they are wearing them. This is for both security purposes and because they can be distracting if they are brightly coloured.
• Think about your background. Make sure there is nothing confidential on show.


Post-photo
• When editing an image, don’t use filters, this includes turning an image black and white. Newspapers won’t use them. If you feel confident to, and you feel it’s necessary, do tweak the brightness, contrast and exposure.
• For pictures to come out well in print, make sure you’re supplying images that are preferably 300dpi and around 1MB in size. The dpi refers to the dots per inch and as a rule of thumb, the more dpi the less the image will pixelate.
• When you send the photo with your press release, you should name everyone in the image from left to right in your ‘Notes to Editors’ section at the end of the release.
• If you have a range of images you are proud of and you want to share them to the press, do not clog up their inboxes with megabytes and megabytes of images. Firstly, it is likely to bounce back and secondly, they can take forever to load. Why not create a media gallery on Flickr? This allows journalists to scroll through the images online and download the images they like without affecting the file size.

 

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