Most of us PR professionals fancy ourselves as wordsmiths, but as many already know, we’re increasingly responsible for creating more than just the words in order to land a placement for a client. Photography skills are rapidly rising to the top of the list, thanks to a shifting news environment that requires the PR pro to have not only a news release or story pitch ready, but also photo and video to go with it.
Of course, the preferred option is to hire a professional photographer to document an event or get the perfect shot of a product, but that’s not always possible. If you’re responsible for getting the right photo for your client, read below on some of our top tips to make your images shine.
It can be nerve-wracking to step out in the middle of an event, but sometimes it’s needed to get a great shot for your client. If you’re shooting a product, try to get close and take detail shots; they’re sometimes the best images.
Play with Angles
Three-quarter shots (where your camera is pointing at about 45 degrees down) are standard for a lot of photography, but don’t be afraid to climb on a ladder (or chair!) or get down on the ground if needed. Go where your subject is, and take photos from all angles to ensure you’ve captured the perfect shot.
Pay Attention to the Background (and Foreground, too!)
Do all you can to remove distractions from the background and foreground of your shots, if possible. Be sure that what is in the background adds to the shot (to establish place, for instance). Make use of textures and colors in the background as long as they don’t compete for the viewer’s attention. If you’re using an SLR, try playing with the f/stop to change the depth of field to blur the background and put the focus on your subject. If you’re using an iPhone, try taking a photo in a portrait mode, even if the subject isn’t a person… it works well on sandwiches, too!
Get the Right Light
Without the right equipment, it’s difficult to get a good shot if the light is coming in from behind your subject. Try to turn it around if you can. Diffused bright, natural light is perfect for taking photographs, so don’t be afraid to move your subject if possible to find the right light.
Have the Right Tools for the Job
You don’t have to have an SLR with several interchangeable lenses to take a good shot (though if you do have those tools, use them!). Most phones today are capable of taking really great photos. Be sure you have things that can make the difference in a good and great shot. A tripod or other stabilizer is often the difference in a good shot and a beautiful, crisp shot. A simple reflector can make images beautiful by easily reflecting light from where it is to where you need it to be. A reflector doesn’t have to be anything fancy, either. A white sheet or tablecloth can do in a pinch, as can a piece of white poster board. We’ve even used aluminum foil in a pinch!
Edit Your Photos
Your computer has basic editing skills to put the finishing touches on your images. Most of us know how to crop an image, but look in the color controls to play around with the overall brightness (too dark or too light), contrast (too flat or too harsh) and saturation (washed out or too much color) in your image. Even your phone will allow you to play with these small corrections. Instagram also has these controls built into its editing feature, and goes further to allow you to tone down highlights or balance out shadows, too. Hootsuite has a great tutorial on best practices for editing photos from your phone.
A few simple tips and tools can add up to great shots for your clients and success for your PR efforts. Happy snapping!
About Scooter Media
Scooter Media is a full-service communications agency in greater Cincinnati specializing in public relations and social media.