Congratulations – you’ve finally gotten an editor interested in a story
about your business!
And wonder of wonders, she wants art!
This is usually when the panic sets in. A photo virtually guarantees
attention will be drawn to your story. Lots of people read newspapers
from cover to cover, but many more scan pages for points of interest.
They’ll scan a photo and caption without reading the full story.
Of course, now that photo will be one of you.
If you are blessed and fortunate, an editor will send a
photographer to your home or business. First, be grateful. They don’t do
this for everybody. Second, think about how to make the most of
1. You’re going to have your picture taken. Live with it. Don’t insist that a
photographer take only shots of your product, your business signage,
your office. For these few minutes, you are the center of attention, even
more than what you do or have to offer.
2. If the photographer and reporter arrive together, ask to have your
photo taken first, when you’re fresh.
3. Make sure you’ve touched up your look before the photographer
arrives. It’s impolite to make someone wait, and you may be keeping the
photographer from another assignment. It makes them cranky.
4. Dress appropriately and have someone check for loose strings,
flipped collars and the like before the photographer begins working.
5. Be patient and open to suggestion. A photographer is trying to make
you look good, because that makes the newspaper look good.
On your own
If a photographer isn’t assigned to cover your story, you can still save
the day by submitting photos. It’s a good idea to have a portrait of
yourself and photos of your product or service in action – with an
emphasis on the word “action.”
A good set of professional photographs can be worth their weight in
gold, used again and again. Of course, the cost can be prohibitive for
someone who’s just starting out in business.
Whether you have a traditional film or digital camera, you can take a few
photos to accompany press releases or news stories until your budget
allows more. Pay close attention to centering images, to lighting and
background. Recruit friends or family to pose while using your product
or service. Think “lively”.
Unless you have a reputation as a terrible photographer. Then, think
If all of your pictures are blurry, badly framed, too dark or too light, ask a
friend to come by with a camera, call around to find a local camera club.
Under no circumstances should you tackle this project.
Because the only thing worse than no photo is a bad photo.
Joni Hubred-Golden uses two decades of experience in journalism to
advise marketing clients. She’s packed her latest e-book, Worth Every
Penny (2006 Forum Communications) with templates, scripts, checklists
and scores of hot tips to help small business owners market themselves
on a shoestring. It’s available at http://forum-online.info/