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Time called on newspaper photographers

February, 2014

The importance of submitting a strong photograph with a press release will increase if the actions of Johnston Press, a leading regional newspaper group, become widespread.

Staff photographers are to be phased out at Johnston Press titles in Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, leaving them heavily reliant on external suppliers.

Citizens cane photographers

Johnston will now rely on freelancers, and increasingly ‘citizen photographers’ armed with smartphones to capture images at events, whether good or bad, in their area.

Andy Rayfield, Account Manager at Maxim and former journalist and Senior Editor, said: “While newspapers are looking to save money and adopt new practices and technologies, there is also the important issue of quality to consider.

“Access to a high quality camera doesn’t guarantee a high quality photograph, it’s the person behind the camera who makes the difference.

“With picture desks under increased pressure and reliant on third parties to provide images for publication, investing in a professional photographer can significantly increase the prospects of your story being used in print and online.”

Digital first is death of picture desks

With many publishers now following a digital first approach, and using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, your submitted picture could end up going way beyond your immediate area.

If your budget can’t run to £150-£200 for a professional, here are a few tips on improving your chances of producing a photograph that’ll hit the spot for the Editor:

  • Make sure the content of the photo relates to the story
  • Use props to convey the story and create an interesting focus – but don't grip and grin from behind a large cheque
  • Don’t have too many people in the photo, more than three can often be too many
  • Make sure the person quoted in the release is in the photo
  • Don’t just line them up or stand them in front of the a pop-up stand with your logo on
  • Take off name badges, or Poppies, that might date the photograph
  • They can smile, it’s not a passport photo
  • Don’t have your subject squinting into the sun
  • Make sure the camera is set to produce high resolution 300dpi jpegs
  • Use the opportunity to take a few head and shoulder images of key personnel for future use.

And when you’ve got a photo, don’t embed it into the email, send it as an attachment – and importantly don’t forget the caption naming all the people in the image with their titles and the company they represent.

posted in: advice, digital, media relations, public relations, social media,

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