Focus on photographers

(Posted on 22/03/18)

Focus on photographers

The importance of good imagery to accompany written words can make or break an article, press release or news item. Sometimes a picture can help to explain the story, or even illustrate it better than the words themselves. Ideally, a good photograph will complement the text, the two creating a dual impact that conveys the crux of the words, while adding visually to its telling. But there’s a reason ‘photographer’ is still a profession and it’s often easier to get it wrong than get it right.

Image is everything in our digitally-driven world. It’s often quicker to convey a message with an image and a caption, rather than a long in-depth article. Digital photography and the fact that we all have the ability to take snaps on our in-built phone cameras have made the professional photographer’s life a lot more difficult. We all take photographs all the time these days. From selfies to group shots and views, everyone is now a budding photographer. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 

Official openings, launch parties, award wins, gala balls, cheque handovers and fundraisers are all examples of stories that benefit from photographic evidence to back them up. A good picture can sometimes be the deal-breaker in the case of a press release being picked up for publication. Press calls will hopefully generate enough interest in their own right, which will lead to the attendance of journalists and official photographers. For reproduction in print, publications will be satisfied with an image file size of around 1MB, in the jpg format. Images should be cropped to ‘landscape’ rather than ‘portrait’ in most instances. For website use, image size can be a lot smaller.

Good imagery is also required for website copy, as to all intents and purposes this is advertising. Well-chosen images will convey a company’s or individual’s raison d'etre at first glance. It’s usually easier to get a picture right of an inanimate object – for example a structure or a view – than it is an individual or group shot. We know all from experience – how many of us will have tried to get a photograph of a child or pet, when they have a mind of their own and no intention of sitting still?

Professional photography is always best and noticeably so too. Photographers take much more care with aspects of taking pictures, such as the importance of framing, lighting and composition. For portrait photographs, a professional may use lighting or reflectors to kill the shadows, creating a more artificial image, but one that is much more ‘photogenic’. Focus and clarity are also crucial, and a photographer will be able to tell whether the pictures that have been taken will do the job required. Often an image may look okay through the little viewfinder or onscreen on the camera itself but fail when enlarged on a laptop or larger monitor.  

If you want to make the right impression or create something that will stand the test of time, it’s always best to have a professional behind the camera.