PR photos are an important tool for creating and building individual and corporate identity that is often under utilized, and from my point of view as a professional photographer certainly under appreciated. Photography has always been an effective public relations tool. My experience goes back 10+ years to the days of setting up darkrooms in all kinds of locations and hustling wet prints to the nearest wire service office. Today with our powerful digital photography capabilities and the infinite requirement the internet has for content its value as a PR device has never been so great.
I would argue that all enterprises and individual entrepreneurs should incorporate photography into their PR and marketing programs. Listed below are ten suggested ideas and methods for utilizing public relations photography to build your “image” and enhance your personal brand.
Prepare a set of high quality photographs in advance to anticipate a media request or public relations opportunity. Having some shot “in the can” that illustrate your products, facilities and key personnel that are ready to send will help you capitalize on unexpected publication offers. I can’t count how many times I had clients call me needing a rush job because the Magazine or Newspaper deadline is in 2 days. Needless to say with out a lot of prep and thought you might not get your image across the way you thought, and you will have to live with it forever.
- Business portraits and Headshots are essential for any entrepreneur. Having a professionally created portrait of your company personnel is necessary in building a personal connection via social media. The business mantra that “people buy from who they know“ is still true today and your portrait online is a powerful method to become “known”. These shots are great for business notices and identifiers for blog postings and other marketing material.
- Headshots are great for some uses but having an environmental type portrait will work best with editorial outlets. Images of the person in their work environment or in a setting that adds information about them are better illustrations for editors. Environmental portraits provide context for the person and more readily transmit a narrative to the viewer.
- Make the investment in professional photography services. Digital cameras are common and seemingly in every device you can imagine, truly anyone can take a picture. The distinction for the purposes of your brand is that snapshots will not enhance your image. Professionally conceived and created photography literally presents you in the best light. Hire a pro to achieve professional results.
- Provide editors and media outlets a good variety of images to select from. The more options they have in layout and design choices the greater the likelihood your images will be published. A mix of portrait (vertical) and landscape (horizontal) orientated photos, shots with negative space for headlines and copy and unique points of view are all appreciated by editors, so give them what makes them happy!
- Follow submission guidelines carefully. Sending an image correctly formatted and prepared according to the publications requirements is essential. Send the photography and illustration incorrectly and you will not get published. Using a pro photographer adept with photo editing tools and familiar with the process can be critical to avoiding submission problems.
- Use images that tell a story and specifically match up to the narrative you are providing with the press release content it is accompanying. Your visual content is critical to convincing an editor of your value for publication. Photos get stories printed and most importantly read so send out complete packages.
- Make sure to correctly caption and keyword your images to take advantage of the SEO potential photography has as online content. Image file meta data is searchable text that can be enhanced to maximize your branding and messaging online. Once again using a pro photographer familiar with this process will justify the investment in will add power to your imagery.
- Cropping is Key, make sure you fill the frame. Avoid using photography that has a lot of vacant area especially over the head, that makes the subject smaller and distracts the viewer. Well designed and composed photographs.
- Take chances with your photography and show unusual viewpoints and scenes. Often a story will get published simply because the photography is so attention grabbing. The same visual impact that gets the editor’s attention works doubly on attracting the viewer to your messaging.
- just do it, chances are your first set of photographs might not come out exactly as you envisioned, it takes practice to convey the right attitude in your pictures. Practice makes perfect.
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Does your Image on your business card or website say friendly, successful, competent or inviting?
Your business headshot usually needs to convey confidence that you are an expert in your field. Whether you are a CEO, Lawyer, on the Board, Doctor or Executive — you want professional business portraits that put you in the best light.
Clients respond to visual aids like your Image just as to your resume. Is your picture old and outdated/black & white?
That speaks volume to a future client “is this person up to date with the new laws?” “do they have the edge on new marketing ideas?”
Photos can be a good substitute for a lack of face-to-face connection and combined with teleconferences, webinars or even personal phone calls it can have a great impact on your business.
Simple as they may seem at first glance, creating an effective corporate headshot requires a sophisticated photographer capable of understanding the branding of your business, and of translating that into a visual message.
Not only can you use your headshot for your Web site/Business card, it is excellent tool to have for use in trade magazines and other media and a valuable asset to add to your marketing budget regularly. Yes regularly keep this photo updated. Looking good, professional and up-to-date has never been as crucial as it is now. Headshots are becoming more important in the business world. Latest developments on the market suggest that many corporate employers nowadays are asking their potential employees to submit their Headshots when they are applying for a job.
A few tips on creating a great corporate image:
1. Take two or three changes of clothing so you can experiment with contrasting colors.
2. Communicate with your Photographer the Image you are trying to convey. What type business are you in? What is your corporate or business culture? Look at other photos of those in your company for samples to compare.
3. If you are in a creative field, let the photographer know what type of look you want to portray. Send samples of images you like ahead of time so you and your photographer are on the same page and you won’t have any surprises later.
4. Colors that work great on most people are mid tones like grays, blues, greens. Avoid harsh blacks or whites. Don’t wear loud stripes or checks. Avoid herringbone.
5. For women, stay natural with make-up ( no bright red lipstick), make sure you have powder handy for eliminate sheen. Men, make sure you shave not directly before your shoot, your skin still might be red and blotchy, give it enough time for your skin to relax.