Take this to the bank. A good freelance photographer can make all the difference between getting a press release published and having it disappear forever at the click of an editor's delete button.
Why? Because the photograph that accompanies a press release often determines whether the story gets published.
"A good freelancer is worth his/her weight in gold to a company. When we look at press releases the photograph is often the deciding factor whether we publish a story. We 're always looking for good pictures for the newspaper. That's where it starts. Sometimes a story which is not as strong may be chosen because there's a good picture. And once we have a good image in the library we may use it again for another story at a later date," I was told by the deputy business editor of a large newspaper.
And he's the guy that makes that decision. Keep it or delete it.
He fails to understand how time and again companies send in press releases accompanied by poor quality or unimaginative photographs.
“Please don't send me a picture of men in suits all lined up together, or someone sitting behind a computer in a boring office,” groans the editor.
He also complained about the poor quality of images sent in with press releases, “clearly taken by a company staff member who is 'into' photography,” and thinks they're a good photographer because they have an expensive DSLR.
Businesses are under pressure to cut budgets but they should think very carefully about where they make those cuts. Creating a press release in the first place is not cheap. It takes people's time, often the CEO is involved, approvals need to be gained internally and from clients and if a PR agency is involved then there's their fee to pay as well. Hopefully though the PR agency would have the sense to hire a good professional photographer. To have all that effort, time and money go down the drain because nobody thought about getting a decent photograph is an absolute waste. The company may as well not have bothered in the first place.
Photographs sell newspapers and magazines. Simple as that. If companies want to get their stories into magazines and newspapers then they have to provide high quality photography. The only way to do that is for the company to hire the most talented photographer they can find.
As the editor says, “A good freelance photographer is worth her weight in gold.”
I think we need to emphasise the value of good photography to the agencies and companies we work with. We have to educate them about the difference a good image can make. Many marketing departments and PR agencies are too focused on the words of a story or press release and under value the images.
If you would like any marketing advice feel free to drop me line.