If you’ve got a great story, it can end up being used in a national newspaper or a best-selling magazine. But what’s a great story without a great picture to match? Investing in some high-quality PR shots can make all the difference when it comes to getting top coverage.
By Graham Clifford
After an hour-long interview with the most exciting of entrepreneurs, I eagerly got down to writing.
The words flowed onto the page. When someone has a strong story to tell, you feel duty-bound to craft it as carefully as possible.
Once finished I sat back and admired my work, knowing this was exactly what my editor was looking for.
All I was waiting for now was the picture of my interviewee, the entrepreneur who spoke so exquisitely about his business, who impressed with his attention to every detail… well, almost.
When the picture arrived in my inbox the first thing I noticed was the small file size. ‘This can be fixed’ I thought.
But then when I opened the actual image my heart sank.
There was my entrepreneur standing in his sitting room looking like he’d just run a marathon – red cheeks, tossed hair and a suit and shirt combination that even the most colour-blind of folk would have identified as a mismatch.
In the mirror behind him, over the mantle-piece, I could see someone holding an iPhone and the back of his head. I later discovered it was Mrs Entrepreneur.
To his left were pictures of children, to his right a candle.
This was about as inappropriate a picture as you could imagine for such a business feature.
In the end I managed to convince him to change his clothes, comb his hair, apply some of his wife’s foundation make-up and stand in front of a white wall. Eventually we had something which resembled a professional shot — but it wasn’t ideal.
The end result? The story, which should have been a page lead, was tucked away in a corner beside an advert for a travel agency. And all because of the quality of the picture.
As someone who works with words and images daily, I totally understand they have equal importance when it comes to storytelling.
The right image will attract a reader to the words yet so many companies decide not to spend money on commercial photography. It’s baffling.
Over the years I’ve been sent pictures of businessmen and women, but mainly men for some reason, taken in their kitchens, bedrooms, and beside their cars.
There have been closed eyes, ones which look like the person in the shot has just been dragged out of bed and others where the contrast between light and darkness is so great all you can make out is a silhouette.
Your image, and that of your business or organisation, is vital if you’re to succeed and so professional photography should be at the heart of that profile.
So, hire a professional photographer, choose the right clothes, fix your hair, apply make-up (yes you too fellas) and dedicate adequate time to getting those shots taken.
In the end it could be the difference between a page lead and a cramped corner with the adverts on page 31!