Public Relations, Social Media, Marketing: Get the Picture

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? As part of a digital pressroom or website or simple brochure, copy and message are important, but often what gets noticed and remembered most are the images.

Corporate Photography, Haigwood Studios

Is Quality Stock?

Value-based stock houses like Shutterstock and iStock are nice, perfect for small and local businesses. They sell low, medium and high-resolution royalty-free images at low prices. I’ve recommended and used these for many of my Atlanta small business clients. If a generic house or car or hotel room is all you need, no need to shoot your own image.

Is your brand okay with generic images that anyone–including your competition–could use? What about your product? If you have a unique or custom product, or are showcasing your brand’s talent, design, installation, and craftsmanship, you need your own images.

The Pros Know

That is when you bring out a professional, who brings to the table staging, composition, skill, much better equipment and most importantly, a better eye for what works, what sells.

I may have the same racket as Roger Federer, but I can’t play like he can,” says John Haigwood of Haigwood Studios. The equipment matters, but the talent matters more.

John says he can do more with the same point and shoot camera that we use because he understands lighting and angles, composition and concept better to make those pictures stand out from the rest.

[stextbox id=”alert” float=”true” align=”right” width=”280″ color=”000000″ bcolor=”330066″ bgcolor=”f5f5f5″ image=”null”]Technical Mumbo Jumbo

There is a difference between print and web graphics.

  • PRINT (publishable) resolution. Most magazines, printers and service bureaus define print resolution as 300 or 350 DPI (dots per inch). That means the image was taken with a camera that has at least 7-8 megapixels.
  • WEB (screen) resolution. It is 72 DPI, files optimized for viewing on the screen.

[/stextbox]Photoshop, in all its fantabulous Adobe glory, has limits

  • Photoshop cannot add resolution or pixels. It cannot resize a tiny picture to a clean 8 by 10. Images pulled off most websites will not print cleanly. Legalities aside, standard web images do not have print resolution. Period.
  • Photoshop can resample an image (rearrange the pixels) to get the DPI to 300, if the file is big enough. This means that the picture you snapped with your iPhone is pretty much as good as it gets; and while it’s fine for web or YouTube videos, it is not something you’d print in a brochure or magazine.

I hardly use Photoshop,” says John Haigwood. “Almost everything you see in my portfolio was done in the studio with the camera, lenses, lighting.” He adds that tools like Photoshop are great for photographers and designers but have become a crutch for some in the industry.

Telling the Story

Telling a great story, in advertising, public relations or social media, often comes down to the picture. It wasn’t just reports of the Hudson River crash, but the pictures and videos shared in real time via Twitter and social media made the story explode.

Many online newsrooms make high and low-resolution images and videos ready for media download. And the right picture can make difference between an interesting article that gets a little PR coverage, and a story “going viral” that reshapes a brand’s image. I’ve gotten clients numerous media placements in key publications, and the professionally shot images were a big part of that.

While not a picture, a great chart or infographic is one of the best ways to communicate a lot of information in a small, easy-to-read space. I for one loves me some ChartPorn.

Devil’s in the Details. Get the Picture?

Want More? Keep Reading.

2 thoughts on “Public Relations, Social Media, Marketing: Get the Picture

  1. Thanks for the timely suggestions! I’m a part-time freelance writer and I just created a site a couple weeks ago. I like the layout, but I’m realizing that some areas are a bit drab…and I’ve been debating whether to add a few pictures to punch it up a bit. This feeds right into that thought process. Thanks.

    1. That’s one of the things I always remind clients: people read headlines, bullets, photo captions… after looking at the picture. Layouts for anything–brochures, newsletters, HTML e-blasts, blogs–need at least one graphic to help tell the story. Sometimes the image IS the story, and the best way to communicate an idea. Thanks for the comment.

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