Technical Marketing
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The power of the right picture to sell a story

David Brooks  02.11.2016

The right picture can often often considerably enhance a news story. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

For most b-2-b marketing people hiring a professional photographer to create an image to accompany every press release is often beyond the budget. Usually clients supply  a photograph to accompany a press release which has been taken by someone in the company and only occasionally a professionally taken photograph is available. With the quality available from digital cameras and iPhones, pictures often destined for publication on a  news web site there should be no problems in taking and providing a good picture. The pictures to go with the story are often the first thing I look at. And often I  am disappointed although my assessment is not as a professional photographer, but selecting a picture for its contribution to the news story.

There are some basic 'technical' issues that should be avoided in taking your own photos. The main concerns are when the subject is out of focus, the lighting is all wrong and obscures the subject, the image is crooked and especially when a load of junk is prominently displayed in the foreground. I  don't want to spend a lot of time trying to fix the picture and anyway some can't really be fixed. Basic errors can be avoided, most cameras have an automatic focus, so submitting fuzzy , out of focus pictures should not be happening. Generally avoid shooting against the light, or taking a picture where light sources dominate the field of view and the subject is somewhere in the shadows.

Then when taking pictures of completed projects for example, at least make sure that left over building materials are not in shot. It is surprising how often discarded plastic cups feature in the foreground of pictures. And what about people? Exhibition stands pose something of a dilemma. Should we show empty stands as one manager of a German company I worked with, cleared the stand of people, had it clean and shiny which kind of sent the wrong message that it attracted no traffic. Should people be posed on the stand, or photos taken of people talking, so you get the back of a lot of heads. What it does need to be is interesting.

Some other thing to think about are; is it relevant? Is it interesting? Is it appealing?

In some cases the mundane photo can be cropped to put the subject of the image centre stage, in other words, the eye is drawn to the subject the news story is covering.

Finally is it free to use, have royalties to be paid and have you got to make credits to the copyright holder?

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