Back in July, I offered insights on writing a press release that will land you media coverage (read the article here). This month, my blog is about photocalls as they tie in with press releases in terms of media relations campaigns and attracting coverage. Over the years, I have come across situations where people are holding fantastic, newsworthy events, where all of the “i’s” are dotted and “t’s” are crossed – but unfortunately they don’t book a press photographer, which means a potential media opportunity has been lost. In this article, I will outline some key tips for a winning photocall to gain media coverage for an event or announcement.
1. Book a (reputable) photographer
At AM O’Sullivan PR, we work with a number of press photographers and are always happy to recommend a suitable photographer for a client’s event or photocall. From a PR perspective, we book and brief the photographer, draft shot lists and captions, coordinate photography at the event and advise on media distribution.
As with a PR professional, a press photographer will have a relationship with media and knows about timing, editing, captions, embedding press releases and distribution. Picture desks have their own system and, don’t forget, similar to press releases, they receive hundreds of photographs every day. A press photographer will know how picture desks operate and they will have an established relationship with them. Therefore, it is vital to hire a press photographer if you want to have the best possible chance of gaining media coverage. You will also have full access to the photographs afterwards for your website, social media networks, in-house publications, ezines and for other communications purposes.
2. Identify key people for your photocall
Prepare key people, such as spokespersons, in advance of a photocall. Ideally, there should be a maximum of three or four people in each shot.
3. Timing and location
The most appropriate time to attract journalists for a photocall is between 10am and 12 noon. It is important to pre-plan the location of your shots. Generally, outdoor photographs work the best, but they are, of course, weather permitting. A plan B is always necessary and an indoor location that is bright and spacious would be the next best alternative to an outdoor shoot.
While branding is the cornerstone of a business, more often than not, it’s not recommended to use logos as backdrops at photocalls. These type of shots resonate with advertisements and it is unlikely that they will be used by media. A creative PR professional and press photographer would usually brainstorm and suggest props for photocalls. If your business produces a product then that product can be strategically incorporated into shots. If you are a service provider there are a number of props that can be used depending on your type of business.
When we send press releases and shots to the media for clients, we are competing with hundreds of others who are also trying to garner media coverage. Preparation, planning, timing and dealing with the right professionals can make all the difference in landing that shot.