Internet Marketing & Public Relations for the Arts

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11 tips for Using Photos and Graphics


If you're pitching stories about your company to the media, but photos are an afterthought, you could be missing fabulous opportunities for publicity.

Journalists say a good photo can move your article from the back of a magazine to the front. Photos can be the deciding factor when you're pitching a story idea. An editor who knows that you can provide photos, or that their own photographer can take photos of something interesting, might be encouraged to say "yes" to your story idea.

Here are 11 tips for using photos and graphics for public relations.

1. Make sure you have good-quality, above-the-shoulders photos of all your experts who are likely to be interviewed by the media.

2. Consider asking your photographer to shoot "environmental portraits" of your experts. A set designer, for example, might be shown holding several rolled up renderings under her arm while looking at the set. An Executive Director can be shown holding a meeting, or touring a museum. Weekly newspapers that don't have big photo staffs would probably welcome these photos.

3. Have interior and exterior shots of your performing space available for the media. The interior shots can show people at work. Please, no cliche "on the telephone" or "working at the computer" shots. You are an arts group, show people building sets, making costumes, installing Arts pieces, hanging lights, etc.

4. Submit photos with news releases about routine announcements such as new hires, promotions, retirements, awards, etc.

5. Pie charts, bar charts and other graphics can often help readers understand complicated issues such as budgets. Offer to supply information to media outlets so they can create their own graphics to accompany the article they're writing about.

6. If you're sponsoring an event that doesn't necessarily warrant a story, call the photo desk at your local newspaper and let photographers know what's happening.

7. If a photographer from a newspaper or magazine takes photos at your company, never demand to see the negatives, or dictate what photo they should use with the article, or ask for free copies of prints. The negatives are the property of the media outlet, and the media maintain full control over their use. If you want prints, expect to pay for them.

8. Make sure all photos are scanned at print-quality 300 dots per inch and available for instant download at your website, preferably under a button called "Media Room" that can be accessed from the homepage.
9. Avoid using big clunky photos at your website because they slow down the time it takes a page to load.

10. Never, ever ask a newspaper or magazine to take photos of a check-passing, ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting ceremony. The media hate these staged events. And don't wimp out by uploading these cheesy-looking photos to your expensive website.

11. Offer a set design rendering instead of a ground-breaking shot. In place of a check-passing photo, take a photo that illustrates what the money will be used for.

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