Feb 082018
 
Photographers Near Me

Back in 2011 I wrote a Guest Post for Quest PR What Makes a Good PR Photo.  That blog disappeared into the ether  and the post with it. I have resurrected article and re posted it here. While times have changed I see no reason to change the advice I gave then. What makes a good PR photo for print media still makes a good PR photo for digital media.  I would argue that good strong PR images are even more essential now as they often appear much smaller on screen and are easily lost amongst thousands upon thousands of mediocre photographs all vying for the viewers attention.

What Makes A Good PR Photo

As a professional news and PR photographer I could be quite self serving and say “a good PR photographer” but I’m sure that’s not the bit you came to read!

So what does make a good PR photograph

  • – apart from the obvious that it needs to be in focus and correctly exposed?

For me the secret of a really good PR photograph is the same as makes any good news picture.

  • It needs to tell the story.
  • It must bring together the most important elements of a story into a single image and grab the viewers’ attention to make them interested enough to want to know more
  • It should encourage them to read the caption and accompanying article.
    Most PR stories seem to include three main important ingredients.


The Story

What or Why is the Picture is Being Taken?

Is the story photogenic – and if not, can it be made photogenic?

A staff photographer on a local paper was asked to photograph an old lady whose birdhouse had been stolen from her garden. There had been no break-in no property damage or vandalism. Some light-fingered individual had nipped through the gate and stolen her free standing birdhouse.

“How do I photograph her with a birdhouse that isn’t there?” he asked in disbelief.

The trick is finding another approach. Adding a lock to her garden gate? Holding armfuls of wild bird food she can no longer give to the birds?

The moral of the story… a good PR image is not the most obvious shot. The best PR picture will grab the viewer, stop them in their tracks and make them think.

Taking people out of their normal environment can also be a good technique. I once convinced three gents who work at a bank head office to pretend to play rugby in their business suits.

The People

News pictures with the most impact are usually tightly cropped and don’t contain too many people.

The ability to work with people is a key skill for good photography. Encouraging them to do things they may not normally do just for the sake of a photo (back to those pesky bankers!), making someone laugh and relax when nervous in front of a camera, spotting when a pose looks uncomfortable or unnatural and being able to fix it are all necessary skills to create good PR images.

Group shots are best avoided if possible, they can be uninspiring but there are always occasions where the story is the group. This means something creative is needed. Finding an interesting vantage point to shoot from or unusual place to arrange people will help. If it’s a large group, don’t think that sticking them in front of a great background will work often the shot ends up having the background cropped out. The location in which the group is photographed should relate to the story.

The Brand

Photographically, branding can be a tricky little devil and from a PR perspective it’s the whole point of the story. From a publications viewpoint branding is advertising – and advertising is income – not news.

There are a few techniques worth keeping in mind for branding. When included it should be, if at all possible, in a way that makes it difficult or even impossible to crop out, but it shouldn’t be too forced or the image may not be used. You also need to be able to identify the times when including branding is not appropriate or ruins the picture. If the right people are in the photograph, branding can always be included in the caption.

Style should likewise be considered. A photograph that’s right for the local newspaper may not fit in trade press or in regional or national publications. This applies equally for websites. Not all websites are the same, and what works on a client’s Facebook page is not necessarily what will look right on their blog or their business homepage.

A truly good PR photograph will do a number of things.

Grab the readers’ attention and hold it.
Illustrate the story by capturing all the elements in a single frame.
Connect the brand to the story without being forced or too contrived.
Match the style of the publication it is aimed at.

Paul David Drabble is a professional news, public relations and editorial photographer with over 15 years experience.

For more information see www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk and check out his blog on
www.blog.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk You can find Paul on Facebook, LinkedIn and @PaulDDrabble on Twitter and Instagram @pauldaviddrabble

This post lead on to a second shorter post about PR Photography which can be found here

How to Create a Good PR Photo People Actually Want To Publish

Dec 122017
 
Christmas Card Tree Decoration

Merry Christmas 2017 & Happy New Year. If you need a PR or news Photographer please do call 07831 853913

Christmas Tree 20 December 2016 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk (Paul David Drabble)

 

If you are looking for an image to borrow for your Personal Christmas card this year, or as a background screen to personalise your laptop please feel free to borrow this one. Just click Here and when asked for a password to download the image simply Enter “Merry Christmas 2017”
Dont worry the Copyright Paul David Drabble watermark will not be visible on the downloaded version.

Christmas Tree 20 December 2016 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk (Paul David Drabble)

If you wish to License the clean image below for commercial purposes or want a print for your wall then please click Here

Christmas Tree 20 December 2016 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk (Paul David Drabble)

Nov 072016
 

A Fantastic PR photography opportunity came my way last week. I was asked to photograph the press call at Chatsworth House to launch Christmas at Chatsworth. The Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara and The Nutcracker ballet dancers striking poses in the beautifully decorated rooms Chatsworth house dressed for The Nutcracker for the Christmas season, opening to the public on Saturday 5 November.

Attracting more than 100,000 visitors during the festive season, Christmas at Chatsworth is one of the must do events for families. With the house transformed into The Nutcracker, Christmas 2016 is set to be more magical than ever. The fairytale magic of the most famous of ballets will sweep everyone along into an enchanting winter wonderland at Chatsworth this festive season.

Christmas at Chatsworth

The Nutcracker sees the house transformed to present the festive tale complete with lavish costumes, beautiful decorations, wonderful stage sets and a few fantastic surprises in store sure to captivate all who visit.
Christmas at Chatsworth will transport everyone to a fairytale world populated by Nutcracker soldiers; elegant ballerinas and dancing snowflakes. All the cast will be on view – from the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy to the Nutcracker and Clara – to depict the story in a series of stunning tableau scenes throughout the house.

In the tale, a box of performing toys charms the children and adults alike, but it is the Nutcracker doll that enchants Clara the most. As the curtain rises on Christmas Eve, visitors will be able to share in Clara’s adventures as she is swept away by the Nutcracker Prince to a wonderful place where the magic really begins.

Along the way, the beautifully dressed rooms tell the story of The Nutcracker with all the classic scenes from Clara’s dream; from the waltz of the snowflakes to the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.


Christmas A Chatsworth book tickets here

Dancers from The Claire Dobinson School of Dancing based in Darley Dale, Matlock, Derbyshire, 

Apr 102016
 


The Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was in Sheffield on Saturday 9th April to addresses a rally held in Barkerspool. The protest against the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announcement that it will close BIS Sheffield, its biggest office outside London was also addressed by Sheffield Central Labour MP and PPS to Shadow Foreign Secretary, Paul Blomfield representatives from the PCs, UNITE, GMB, NUT unions and Sheffield City Councils Deputy Leader

Dec 222015
 


Santa Clause Saddles up beside the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow

Ricky McConnell (Santa Clause) 52, drew a crowd in Glasgow on Monday December 21 when dressed as Santa he Saddled up beside the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow. The statue which stands in Royal Exchange Square Glasgow usually sporting a traffic cone hat was where the publicity stunt was carried out to raise awareness for ‘Kids Have Rights 2’. According to media reports Ricky was given a fixed-penalty ticket for performing the same stunt in 2014 after firefighters had to be called in to help him down. Apparently he avoided a fixed penaty this year as the cherry picker hired to lift him into place was also used to get him down. Once safely back on solid ground Ricky was taken to one side by a uinformed officer from Police Scotland for a quiet word.

Sep 102015
 

Part of the London poppy display from the Tower of London massive art installatio,n marking 100 years since the start of the First World War. The Arch segment, also Know as “The Wave” has been installed on The Yorkshire Sculpture Parks Cascade Bridge. The installation was opened to the public for the first time on September 2015 and will remain in place until January 2016.


Jul 272015
 

I used the Fuji X-Pro1 60mm f2.4 at couple of 1940’s events over the last couple of weekends, Kelham Island Sheffield and East Park Hull. Probably the most challenging of things to shoot were the Spitfire/Hurricane Flypast at the Hull Veterans weekend. I intended to use my Nikon D700 with 80-200mm but was caught out after being told the flypast would be Sunday.  It actually happened very late on Saturday. I only had time to flick to AFC and shoot  fortunately the camera was set as described in my last post resulting in the aircraft images included below. The exposures were f11 1/350 or better all at ISO 400.


Kelham Island & Hull Veterans 1940’s – Images by Paul Drabble

Jul 152015
 

Fuji X-Pro1 and Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 Macro

Today I added the Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 macro lens to the Fuji X-Pro1 XF 18mm f2 & XF 27mm f2.8 in my kit bag. My understanding is the XF 60mm f2.4 is a tad on the slow side when it comes to focusing, especially if compared to the rather more expensive XF 56mm f1.2 but is there away to gain an edge if using the XF 60mm for anything other than Macro work?
I would say yes and the trick is understand the problem and plan ahead. Think what you want to achieve with the camera lens combination. One thing I want to try with the lens is some candid portraits and grab shots without getting too close to a subject. The problem that needs to be overcome with the Fuji is a combination of slow focusing lens and the fact the the Contrast Detection AF (CDAF) employed by the X-Pro1 cant predict where the subject is going to be. I should probably also point out that unlike a DSLRs which use Phase Detection AF (PDAF) you don’t press the shutter halfway down to start the continuous AF. The correct way to use AFC on the X-Pro1 is to aim the camera at the subject with the cross hairs on the bit you want sharp and squeeze the shutter release in a single movement until the camera fires. I figured a small enough aperture with a reasonable DOF would help the focusing but as with all cameras that results in a drop in shutter speed and the possibility of losing the sharpness to camera shake or subject movement. My first instinct was to wind the ISO up but that has two drawbacks first is a drop in image quality second is a danger of over exposure in bright light. Fortunately the X-Pro1 has the option to program an Auto ISO. You get to tell the camera the minimum & maximum ISO you want to use and the minimum shutter speed it should be trying to achieve. What it doesn’t do is stop the camera working if the shutter speed drops too low it just tries to get up there if it can.
After a little fiddling about I settled on a minimum ISO of 800 a maximum of 6400 and a minimum shutter speed of 1/250. With the aperture set to f5.6 and AF set to continuous I roped in some help from my partner and our dog. As you can see from the images I had her throw a dog toy towards me so he would run towards camera chasing it. Each of the four images below is from a different throw of the toy. There were five throws in all and the results are pretty consistent for a slow focusing macro lens. The first throw I failed miserably and got only grass throws 2, 3, 4, 5 resulted in the images below. They have been cropped but still I think they are pretty impressive. You can find the camera settings for each shot in the captions. I have included the Thistle, shot in Macro, and the dog portrait to give a feel for what can expected if you forget to change the setting back to your ‘usual’ ones for situations that are more sedate.


I have to admit It was a glorious sunny day and the results may not be so good in poor lighting conditions but I feel I may just have an edge that maximises my chance of the subject being in focus while minimising the chance of camera shake with a set of camera settings that alow the X-Pro1 and Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 Macro lens to be used quickly and without too much though of anything other than composition.

Jun 032015
 

Made by Cake Artist Rose Dummer and depicting the Yorkshire Man of steel (a planned 35m high landmark sculpture overlooking junction 34 of the M1 and Meadowhall in South Yorkshire) this impressive Double Death by Chocolate Man of Steel Cake was produced for Oak Furniture Land to mark the opening of their new store at the Foundry Retail Park in Rotherham. At an in store celebration breakfast on Wednesday 3rd June the Yorkshire Man of steel, with the chocolate heart, was donated to Rotherham Hospice. His next appearance will be during the Hospice Summer Gala at Phoenix Sports & Social Club on the 7th June, where he will help raise funds for the Hospice


Sep 062014
 

Sheffield Industrial Estate Fire – A major fire broke out on an industrial estate in Sheffield on Wednesday night 3rd Spetember. The fire started just after 9.30pm and a number of loud explosions were heard during the course of the night. The large large blaze at a single storey warehouse just off Station Road in Ecclesfield, close to South Yorkshire Police Sub Divisional HQ and Chapeltown Academy involved 2,000 tonnes of waste plastics. It destroyed the building and caused serious damage to a car paint spraying unit close by and was tackled by over 40 firefighters.


%d bloggers like this: