In a previous post on working with the press I suggested having a set of high quality images ready to share with a journalist would make their life easier. Just as blogs and publications are endlessly hunting for stories, so they are also looking for the images to go with them. An interview subject who can present eye catching images to go with their words not only increases their chances of being published, their contribution will also take on more impact.
Do you have rights?
In most cases the photographer will own the rights to any photograph you appear in, so you cannot assume that just because the image appears on your website the photographer will be happy for it to appear in a print publication or on another blog.
When you commission a photoshoot you intend on using for promotional purposes make sure your contract allows you to let other sites and publications use them as well. This is important because if you don’t have that permission the photographer is within their rights to contact the publication and demand payment, which will harm your reputation.
Get the tone right.
Headshots are rarely used because they’re dull, while explicit shots carry too many problems with censorship and complaints to get through the editorial process. Your aim should be to capture images where you are the focus, the image that you wish to project is clear and which have a striking quality about them. Unless you are entirely confident in front of the camera, or happen to have a good photographer as a slave, it may be better to invest in a professional photoshoot.
High res images.
Low quality, small images might be fine for a website, but they rarely work well in print. Your images should be available in their original full size and you need to accept the editor may crop or adjust the images to suit the demands of their publication. Depending on the publication concerned you may be expected to supply unedited versions for their team to work on, or full edited versions ready for print. Have both sets ready and ask what’s preferred.
Test for black and white.
If you’re expecting your images to appear in a newspaper you must make sure they can be reproduced in black and white to a high standard. Often the images will need tweaking in photoshop to adjust contrast and balance settings. Again you should ask whether the publication expects print ready or the colour versions for them to adjust.
Avoid the “selfie”.
Although selfies have become a news item in their own right they tend to be used in very limited circumstances (celebrity gossip and to illustrate a “personal interest” story). Having invested time and energy in convincing a journalist you are a credible source of information for their story, including an amateurish selfie will devalue you.
The bottom line is if you intend on coming across to a journalist as a professional, credible source for this and future stories you need to mirror that into your photography. Invest in a photoshoot, create some strong images and make sure you’ve got permission to use them. Do this and you’ll find it more likely your image will appear and not some stock shot that doesn’t represent who you are.
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