“I don’t trust words, I trust pictures.”
These famous words from French photographer Gilles Peress ring true for many situations, not least in the world of PR. In this industry, the value of a good photograph can really make or break a brand’s reputation, and it can strongly influence a customer’s initial perception of a company too. Photography is something that, as a PR agency, we place extremely high importance on, as it really is the gold dust in gaining press coverage for our clients.
But why? Let’s take brands out of the picture for a moment, and think about how we as individuals perceive media. When you’re sitting at home watching the evening news, who do you trust more? Is it the newsreader sitting at a desk that reads the story from an autocue, or is it when they run the video and photographic footage to back up the story, and you can really see what is happening with your own eyes? For me, it’s definitely the latter.
A current example of this is the war in Ukraine. When we see news stories reporting on the events of the war, it is the photographic evidence alongside the news piece that makes the story more real to us as a viewer. We can see for ourselves what is happening, through the lens of a photographer, which helps us to visualise the story and fully comprehend what is going on. This is the same with brands and businesses – good photography builds a customer’s trust.
Although in property PR we don’t necessarily work with huge breaking news stories, the photography rules for the mainstream media still apply, so it’s really important that we know what makes a good photo. Essentially, journalists are looking for ease, and the easier we make their lives by providing the correct assets, the more likely they are to feature our story. If a photo to accompany a press release isn’t up to scratch, they will save themselves time on chasing for a new photo and simply won’t use the story, eliminating the chance for a client to get press coverage.
If you want to know what makes a good photo to ensure your business has a better chance of being featured in the press, here’s what you need to remember:
Photos need to be of a high quality and resolution for the press to pick them up. For online publications, photos need to be at least 1MB in size, and print publications require photos of an even higher resolution at between 2MB and 3MB. Landscape photos are preferred for online publications.
The content of the photographs needs to directly link to the story you are pitching in and bring the story to life. For example, if we are pitching a brand new show home designed by a well-known interior designer to a journalist, we need to supply them with a number of professional interior images that show what we are describing.
If there is something to see on site, get good photography as soon as you can. Journalists prefer real images over CGIs as they like to see the product they are writing about, and so they are more likely to use real photos as opposed to computer generated ones. You can also use your new professional images on your own social media account to provide your customers with an insight into your product.
Brands need to come across as professional through the photography they provide. This means getting a professional photographer to take photos on a high quality camera to showcase your development, case study or event in the best light possible for journalists and your customers. Don’t fall into the trap of taking photos on your phone and thinking they will work – they will come out pixelated and grainy, and be of a resolution that is too small for the press to use, which will limit your chances of them using your story.
If you’d like to get further advice on how to tell your story through photography, contact our team on firstname.lastname@example.org.