Internet Marketing & Public Relations for the Arts

lessons for promoting your arts organization on the web.

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The Advance Photo


How important is a good photo of your event? Let's do some math:

A 6x6 (3 col by 6 inches--the size of the above photo) advertisement in the Cincinnati Enquirer in the Sunday Paper is going to cost you $210 per square inch, or a total of $3,780.00 plus design expenses. View rates in PDF (2.2 MB)

A photo of that same size will cost you nothing, plus any design expenses.

In addition, almost TWICE as many people will pay more attention to the photo and caption then your ad.

So, let me ask again--how important is having a good photo of your event?

 What makes a good photo?
• Good photos do not "just happen" they are staged, lit well, costumed, and tweaked to perfection.
• The earlier you can set up your photo shoot the better--6 weeks before an event is perfect.
• Advance photos of people taken outside, or in rehearsal halls, always look bad--do not use them.
• Spend some money on your advance photo shoot.  Rent costumes, have scenery built, bring in a professional photographer with lighting equipment, just don't do it on the fly.

Have an image in mind
• Once you set up the location, the photographer, make-up, etc, you are in charge of the photo shoot. Not the director, not the performers, not the artist,  you. While they may offer advice, it is up to you to create the defining image that will bring in the most people.
• Speak with the artists before the shoot, and together try to come up with the image that best represents the show--that will guide you on performer choices, scenery, etc.

Tips for getting the Best Photo
• Don't have a lot of space in between the performers.  Reblock a scene if you have to.
• Faces, faces, faces.  Eyes sell the photo to the newspapers.
• Use lighting to create a mood.
• If the photo can tell a story--all the better.
• Action shots (a ballerina dancing, a musician playing) or so much more interesting then publicity photos (a dancer smiling at the camera, a musician holding their instrument, etc)
• Make sure the photo looks just as good in Black and White as in Color.