Chapter 8: Publicity photos and graphics

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter eight explains that photos and graphics add interest and variety to stories. According the chapter pictures can also explain things better than words alone as well.

Photos that are used need to have high resolution and good contrast as well as sharp detail. This makes the photo reproduce better in publications. There are many different subject matters that could used for photos. New executives, a ground breaking or an award ceremony can all be seen as suitable subjects for photos. The standard grip and grin of people accepting an award can be a boring pose but it is good and not going out of style any time in the near future so it is a safe bet. On most occasions, there should not be more than 3-4 people in the photo because you want to keep faces identifiable for readers.

When taking photos it is important to minimize background or foreground so good composition that emphasize detail can be taken. It is also usually better to take action shots because people like to see something happening before their eyes, it makes them more interested.

Photos for publicity that will be sent to the media should be taken by professionals. It may cost more but it is worth it because you will get  usable better quality pictures. As a PR professional it is your job to figure out the purpose of the picture and its objective. When working with photographers the book suggests that you ask three questions before hiring. The questions include asking if they shoot digital, seeing examples of pictures they have taken similar to the photos you need, and questioning their contacts with the media and what they could do to help get the photos distributed.

Another important thing to remember when working with photographers is you need to make sure you have a written contract with them. This avoids misunderstandings and acknowledges copyright agreements and cost of materials. The photo session needs to be well organized by the PR professional. As a PR professional it is your job to make arrangements before the session such as having a list of the pictures you want taken, knowing who you need and where you need them, getting props organized, and making sure the location for photo session is available and orderly.

All photos need to be sent to the media with captions. These captions should not be obvious but should give the reader additional information that is not apparent by just looking at the photo. The captions should be 2-4 lines when sent with a news release.

There are such things as photo news releases that are often referred to as PNR’s. These are used when the PR practitioner decides to send out just a photo with a larger caption written in active tense to the media. There are no news releases used with PNR’s. Without having to worry about a news release a PR practitioner can get photos distributed to the media quicker.

The chapter also mentions that not just photos can be used to complement releases but charts, diagrams, models, maps, line drawings, and clip art can be used.

Photo news releases is something I found extremely interesting and useful in chapter eight. Before reading the chapter I was not aware that PNR’s were used. These are important because it is a quicker way for the professionals to get what they need into the media while it is still relevant and newsworthy. A lot of things are extremely time sensitive so I think PNR’s are a great way to get them started into the media and then with some given time provide more of a news release. I am glad that I am now aware of PNR’s and I think they will continue to be important.

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