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 242011
 

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my Family Friends, Clients and followers a Very Merry Christmas. I hope Santa brings you all something nice tomorrow and below is an image from last year of our local Church viewed from our local park.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Apr 162011
 

Some of you may have noticed that I have an interest in most all things military, I also have an interest in the 1940’s, more specifically the second world war. This has led me to invest in a “new” camera, well new to me. Its actually a 38 year old Kiev range finder, a postwar Russian copy of the famed German Contax range finders which were introduced around 1933 and were once the main competitor for Leica.

I intended to buy one of these Russian Contax or Leica clones as a display piece but attempts to find a good looking non working display camera for under a fiver soon evolved into a little bit of a quest to find a reasonable working camera and preferably a Keiv. I wasn’t actually worried about the age of the camera but I did want it to work on 1940’s technology. Then thanks to eBay a Kiev 4, a Contax IIIa copy, arrived along with a very odd desire to put a roll of film through it.

I think I actually imagined I was going to stick a roll of film in this 1940s vintage piece of technology and instantly be able to use it just like my Nikon equipment. However to give you an idea of the differences between this camera and any modern digital SLR or compact I thought about writing a short list of what you don’t get with a Kiev but forget the list. If your camera has the word “auto, automatic, program, mode or electronic before one of its features take it as read the Kiev doesn’t have it. It does have a built in light meter but its not very reliable and you have to read it, work out the exposure settings then manually enter those settings on the camera. Its design requires the camera to be held in a specific way, known as the Contax hold, so the fingers of your right hand don’t block the range finder window and make focusing impossible.

To swap from my Nikon D700 to the all mechanical and manual Keiv for a couple of days was to say the least a culture shock. I am used to knowing my Nikons so well that I pick them up and work them, almost without thought, leaving me free to concentrate on creating images. With the Keiv I was forced into a much slower pre planned, less instant, pace of photography. Not just less instant in the sense you don’t get to see the result straight away but you suddenly realise you have to move the camera away from your eye to set the shutter speed and aperture then again to wind the film on. You are forced to think much more about the image you are about to shoot or want to shoot and makes the grab shot so much more valuable. It has also left me wondering how famed war photographer and Magnum founder member Robert Capa managed the images he did from a pair of Contax II cameras. Despite the totally different way of working forced on me when using the Kiev I think I may just be looking for a Zorki or Fed Leica copy now to sit alongside my Keiv or maybe Ill look for a Kiev clone of Capa’s Contax II.

Sep 122010
 

An excellent film about Brian Duffy one of the top 3 London photographers of the 60’s who made his name along side David Bailey and  Terence Donovan. Its a compelling look at a real photographer who worked in real photography and at a time before Photoshop. At the hight of his career he burned his negatives and walked away from photography not returning until his Son Chris found some of his work and inspired his dad back behind the camera.

Watch “Duffy The Man Who Shot the 60’s”

Visit Duffy’s website

Aug 092010
 

It now seems there are some possible doubts about whether the Ansel Adams glass negatives are actually by the great photographer or not. An 87 year old lady from Oakland California saw the story  on a TV news show and spotted that one of the images is almost identical to a photograph hanging on her wall. That particular photograph she believes was shot by her Uncle Earl, who was an amateur photographer living in the Fresno, California, area around the time experts say the glass negatives were made.

This turns the story into a real world example of  images becoming “Orphaned” (a situation where the creator of an image or images cant be identified) to some degree an extreme example of how orphaning can effect the perceived value of a photograph. If they are by Ansel Adams they’re worth an estimated $200 Million Dollars if they are by Uncle Earl they’re worth….. well your guess is as good as mine but you can bet good money  its significantly less than $200 million, yet they are still exactly the same photographs as they were when I posted on the 27th of July.

Full story at CNN

Jul 272010
 

While the devaluation of  images produced through modern digital photography is making it  harder and harder to earn a living as a professional photographer it seems people still value the work of  great photographers of the past.

Some old glass negatives by Ansel Adams, the legendary American photographer best known for producing stunning landscapes,  inventing the zone metering system and  founding the f64 club have  turned up in garage sale. They were thought to have been destroyed in a fire along with 5000 others back in 1937 their current estimated value $200 Million

I wonder just how many images of today’s nationally and internationally published will stand the test of time and be considered truly outstanding in 70 years time.

Full Story at CNN

May 012010
 

Welcome to my blog. It may seem strangely named but `tog is actually an abbreviation of photographer which occasionally gets bandied about in newsrooms up and down the country, while “owd” is the Yorkshire pronunciation of “old”. Not that I feel old but I was stuck for a title and “An owd ‘togs blog” just seemed to have a nice ring to it. So there you go….