Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Taking photos the media can use

Many publications (especially newspapers) will want to use their own photographer to take shots for their pages.

However, sending print-ready pics with your media release is a good idea because there are times when a photographer just isn't available. 

So how can you take photos that a newspaper can use? Here are some tips:

Beware the background. Clean and uncluttered is best (unless you're going for a mega-crowd shot!). That is, you don't want your laundry in the background, or your breakfast dishes either.

Know your target publication. Learn what sort of photos they tend to run. Pay attention to what subjects they like, how the shots are composed, what elements make up the photos, etc. Imitate their style.

Newsflash. Your picture needs to tell your news story. It brings it to life. Send the shot that best reflects the main news angle you're pitching. Be crystal clear. Now is not the time to practice that  ethereal vintage post-processing you liked so much at that art gallery last weekend.

Don't be boring. A full-length shot of you, smack bang in the middle of the shot, staring at the camera, with lots of irrelevant space around you isn't going to cut it. Show your product. Use an interesting angle. Focus on the subject. Use interesting props.

Be versatile. That is, send in a couple of options. Publications print landscape and portrait photos, so provide both. Increase your chances.

Go digital. It's best to provide digital images. 2MB and at least 200dpi is best. But please check with the journalist first. You don't want to be the one responsible for bringing their email system crashing to its knees. Not good for business :) If in doubt, send low-res versions telling them that you can very easily provide print-ready shots the instant they ask for them.

Caption. Don't forget to caption your photo: name, place, date, and an interesting blurb if you can think of one.

Credit where credit's due. If someone else has taken the photo you want to send it, get their permission. And credit them.

Practice makes perfect. Keep shooting until you're happy :)


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