Aug 11, 2011

Publicity photos can be an excellent and resourceful way to get your story noticed on a journalist’s never-ending pile of features. However, this great tool is often misused. Be sure to follow these guidelines and your publicity photo should be the golden ticket to get you exposure.

First and foremost, if you want a memorable photo it can’t be cliché or overused, because it will more than likely be overlooked. Let’s take a look at the most overused photos. I’m sure you can see why you’ll want to avoid these.

The Handshake

All right, we’ve all done it. Posed for or asked someone to pose while mid-handshake for the perfect publicity photo. But, in all honesty, it just looks awkward and really does nothing for your feature. (Unless, of course, your feature is on “new ways to shake hands.”)

The Ribbon Cutting

Grand openings are always exciting, but a bright red ribbon being cut by gold scissors for the 3,000th time is not. Find a new and interesting way to capture the exciting moment of a grand opening.

The Abnormally Large Check Pass

These large representations of monetary winnings or earnings given at awards are great visuals. However, we’ve seen a million fake checks being given to someone before. No one really knows how to stand or use the prop. You can’t even cash these things!

The Shovel Dig

You really aren’t going to carve out that land with one gold shovel are you? Think more creatively. Show blue-prints or maybe a rendered picture of what the space may look like after.

Now that we’ve covered what isn’t a good picture to use, let’s talk about formatting publicity photos. You’ve picked a creative angle that shows the subject well and doesn’t represent any of the aforementioned overused photos. Now what?

You need to make sure that you follow the standards of whichever outlet you are pitching. Newspapers and magazines have vastly different requirements for picture submissions. Make sure you are not only following industry trends with these, but also specific outlet requirements.

Always send multiple publicity photographs. That way, the journalist can choose which one he or she likes the most and works best for the layout of the publication. Also remember that these photographs should be high-resolution and high-quality. Don’t even try to send a pixelated, out of focus or overexposed photograph to a journalist.

Remember these few tips to help put your photo and story over the edge.


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