In the world of communications, images are increasingly where it’s at as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat prove. Yet while a picture might paint a thousand words, in the world of PR the quality and relevance of the image are critical to success.
As PR practitioners words and images are our toolkit. Case histories and press releases generally require great supporting visuals if they are to communicate their message in the best possible way and generate the top-flight coverage clients demand. Yet so often clients regard imagery as an afterthought. Too often we find ourselves attempting to promote work where either we don’t have a visual to work with or the visual is truly amateur. While the iPhone might be revolutionary in so many ways it’s frequently responsible for some of the worst ‘professional’ photography that’s come our way and which we’ve had to reject.
It shouldn’t be this difficult. Take as an example the newly-launched, game-changing company with impressive PE backing who are after a spot in the national press. Why then, do they make false economies by supplying corporate shots that would be rejected outright by any self-respecting regional paper, let alone the national broadsheet business pages they are actually aiming at? Great photography has longevity and might actually secure the start-up its covered slot in the business pages. So businesses need to see it as an investment; and it’s not that we are looking at something that will break the bank. The cost difference between rubbish photography and an expert who knows how to play with light and properly optimise images – and importantly charm the subject(s) to capture them at their best – is small change in the long run.
More to the point, in our Facebook-obsessed age, most people curate their public image with great care. Why then do they allow corporate shots of them to be used time and again that wouldn’t be out of place in a police line-up or worse? Here at Velvet we’ve seen some truly, truly bad stuff – so bad that we’ve quietly refused to use some images in order to protect a client’s reputation!
Enabling technologies are in large part to blame. Digital has brought photography to the masses and along with it the illusion that because you have a screen in your camera you can be a professional photographer.
So we’d like to make a heartfelt plea – Mr/Mrs client – please start taking your visual reputation seriously and stop penny-pinching on rubbish photography. It will be worth it in the long term, we promise you.