Photos: An Important Part of Your PR Program
A good photo makes the difference between getting media coverage or not. Make sure your event has a
“photo opportunity” – an interesting visual that tells the story, not just people talking at the podium. If
press photographers do not show up for your event, you can send your own photographs to newspapers,
but this must be done on the same day for daily newspapers, and within a day or two for weeklies.
Make sure everyone who is photographed signs a release
form. If the person is under 18 years of age, make sure a
parent or legal guardian signs the release form. Always keep
a supply of your own portraits or those of other important
affiliate members handy, but do not limit these to only
headshots. Action portraits make more of a statement and
add life to any photograph. The typical head-and-shoulder
poses that are taken by professional photographers are
ONLY acceptable as a last resort.
FCS teacher Leigh Ann Yurasits and her
For the print media, photo requirements may vary by
students created friendship bracelets to foster
patriotism in their community of Orange, VA. publication, be sure to ask about photo requirements ahead
of time. Keep in mind that the technology is changing
daily. Some are prepared to handle digital files, some work from slides, some like photos. Basic print
media photo requirements are listed below:
Forget black and white! Color photos are used almost exclusively on the front pages of
newspapers, always on TV and throughout magazines.
5x7 photos are preferred, but 4x6 photos may be acceptable; sides and negatives are also
Digital photos should be submitted as 8x10 with at least 200 dpi in a JPEG format and no larger
than 5 mega bytes.
Pointers When Shooting Your Own Photos
Before shooting, look at the subject while walking around the scene to find the best view. Try different
camera angles to keep out background clutter. The Kodak Web site provides some valuable tips for
taking great pictures in all kinds of situations.
Photos should be candids or action shots, showing people actively engaged. To avoid self-
conscious poses, engage subjects in conversation. Wait for them to respond and assume postures
that are more natural before squeezing the shutter. Try not to catch subjects eating, drinking, or
Limit the number of people in a picture to three; four at most.
Move in close, or zoom in, to make sure the image fills the frame, eliminating details that aren't
relevant to the story.
Captions and Cutlines
Write a brief caption or “cutline” for each photo sent out. Include the most important fact in the cutline
since the news release may not be printed, or readers may notice the photo and cutline but not the story.
Write the caption in newspaper style -- describe the who, what, why, when, where, and how.
Identify people in the photograph Left to Right.
Include the hometowns of the people pictured to increase interest in your photograph among papers
that cover those hometowns.
Describe to editors what is unique about this topic covered in the picture. Give them some
background information on your company. Of course, you want to include as much information in
the caption as possible, but try to keep it concise -- 80 words is the wire service standard.
Photocopy the cutline on the bottom portion of half sheets of plain, white paper. Affix the paper to the
back of the bottom edge of the photos with clear plastic tape. This will allow the captions to be read as
the photo is seen. Then fold the sheet up over the photo.
Sending in Your Photo and Press Release
Never use a paper clip on a photo, which can damage the photo finish. Never fold a photograph. And do
NOT make the mistake of writing in ballpoint pen or with a marker on the back of a photo because the ink
can offset onto other photos, ruining them. If you did this by mistake, cover it with scotch tape to protect
When you’re ready to send your photos, slide a sheet of cardboard (such as the back of a writing pad) or
very stiff paper stock (such as the double thickness of a file folder) into the envelope with the photo,
caption and your press release. The envelope should be large enough to hold the content securely,
without bending. Stamp or write PHOTOS DO NOT BEND on the front and back of each envelope that