Professional photographer John Linton, who will be hosting a Fresh Series workshop with picture desk editor Chris McNulty on 25th June in Glasgow, reflects on the importance of planning and getting your photo shoot right.
Imagine the scene – it’s the morning after your first major photo call, which was cobbled together on a shoestring budget at the last minute. You pick the papers up on the way to the office. Immediately you notice a puff piece with your client’s product mentioned on one masthead, and on opening all the nationals catch sight of your art directed shot printed on page three, full page, with you client’s logo spanning at least four columns wide. You smile….
Then of course, you wake up. There’s no need to explain that this is a fantasy. This just doesn’t happen; not because of any mistake you’ll have made but simply because a big advertorial with a teaser on the front page probably costs more than it’s actual worth to your client. The papers don’t give that sort of thing away for free.
Setting your Photo PR Objectives
Now let’s consider something more realistic. You pick up the morning papers. Eagerly, you start to leaf through the pile. You’re deflated and crushed after scanning the first one from cover to cover (including the sport, betting and telly pages) with no sign of even a paragraph. Off to a false start, you are mightily relieved once you’ve flicked through the rest. Most regionals and some nationals have used your shot further into the paper. The one with the smaller logo appears in a few, although at least one article crops it out. The product is mentioned in most of your shows either in the text or in the caption. One of them even runs with a pun related to your client’s business sector in the headline. Result.
What I think we’re getting at here is how to even your odds of getting that result. Coordinating well with the photographer is a major step in scoring PR points for your client’s brand.
Knowing what will kill those chances stone dead with a picture desk are key to this process.
At the talk we’ll discuss how to choose and brief the right photographer, where to be subtle (mainly with branding) and where to be bold (mainly with ideas) and how to put it all together in a package that creates a visual asset that your client can understand and should appreciate.
Our backgrounds in shooting PR campaigns and selecting shots on newspaper picture desks can hopefully help towards providing a starting point when organising your next PR photo shoot.
Photography for PRs:
John and Chris will be presenting a short seminar for the CIPR Scotland Fresh Series entitled “How to Write a Photography Brief” at the Blythswood Hotel at 6:30pm on Tuesday 25th June.
The seminar will discuss methods of getting the most from a photo opportunity.
- From choosing the best photographer for the job
- Writing a killer brief
- The top ten ways to making sure a shoot runs smoothly and gets to the desk on time
- The top ten mistakes that guarantee disaster.
This talk is an introduction for PR execs looking to help their clients have the best chance of getting a show in the papers without blowing their budget.
John Linton is a freelance editorial and PR photographer enjoying his tenth year in the industry. He is regularly commissioned by national newspapers and magazines, and has worked for organisations such as the SRU at the 6 Nations, Land Securities throughout the build of the Livingston Elements Centre and the Scottish Leather Group, providing varied coverage from royal visits through to environmental report shots. Currently, he works primarily for the Daily Mail, Scotsman, BAE alongside various companies including Aura PR, while also organizing group exhibitions and managing sales from his own archive.
Chris McNulty is a freelance photographer and picture editor. His work regularly features in a range of national newspapers and magazines and occasionally the front pages of international newspapers.
During his eleven-year career working for national newspapers he has been fortunate to experience most areas of photography within this evolving industry, from picture editing to photographing world events and covering the everyday cut and thrust of the business from photography to working as a freelance Picture Editor across a number of titles including the Daily Record, Sunday Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mail. This has involved illustrating a diverse basket of stories from breaking news to features and of course the lighter side of life using a wide range of skills experience, while building an extensive book of contacts.