Optimize Visibility with Quality Photos Including photographs can place your news release at the top of the pile.

By Rachel Meranus

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Photographs are becoming a fundamental part of public relations and other communication vehicles. With the internet serving as a global newsroom, adding professional photos will enhance your news and create visibility for your story. To take advantage of this opportunity, you should have several publication-ready photos at your disposal.

Want to enrich the appearance of your company's materials by adding eye-catching photos? Dan Hennes, director of photo services at PR Newswire, discusses what's needed to produce exceptional photographs to complement your news.

Entrepreneur.com: When should a company include photos with news?
Dan Hennes: A company should use a photo or graphic every time it distributes news, even if it simply includes a logo. This will create an association between the image or logo and the company.

In most situations, however, a logo isn't enough. For example, if your company announces the addition of a new executive, headshots of those involved in the personnel change should be included. If you release a new product, include a photo with your news story. Also try to add action shots or non-posed photos with a news release about an event.

What are the requirements for publication-ready photos and how can you increase the chances of reprints?
Hennes: Obviously, photos shot by professionals have the best chance of getting picked up. To ensure that your photograph is publication-ready, make sure the photographer supplies you with photos that are at least 300 dpi. The longest side of the photo should be 9 inches.

How do you prepare for a photo shoot?
Hennes: Keep these things in mind when planning for a successful photo shoot:

  • Find a qualified photographer. Local newspapers will usually recommend photographers that may be satisfactory. However, using an agency is often easier. Agencies will set up the photo shoot for you and will even negotiate rates and lay out details. This is probably the best way to find experienced photographers at any location around the world, especially if you haven't previously set a photo shoot.
  • The more information provided, the better the product will be. When contacting an agency or a photographer, provide him or her with every detail. Specify if you're looking for action shots or head shots, identify the most important subjects in the photo and communicate what the story is about.
  • Describe the setting of the shoot. Indicate whether you plan to have the photo shoot indoors or outdoors. Consider lighting and background beforehand. This will allow the photographer to prepare the lighting and backdrop for the shoot.
  • Compile a list of the key photos for the photographer. This way, the photographer will know which photos are most important and will ensure they're included in the finished product.

Are photo captions necessary and what should be included?
Hennes: A caption is needed when dealing with the internet. When posted on websites, captions can be optimized for search engines, which index the words associated with the photograph, drawing more readers to your company's story.

The caption should tell a concise story describing what's happening in the photo. It should include the company name, the products by name, important people in the photo and popular industry keywords. This will allow for greater search engine optimization.

What are the benefits of incorporating photography into corporate communications?
Hennes: With the emergence of multimedia and social media, more public relations professionals are distributing their company's news releases through the web every day. Simply using a catchy headline will no longer make your release stand out among others.

Differentiation is particularly important for smaller businesses looking to get noticed amid larger companies. The ultimate goal of incorporating photos in your communication is to encourage the media to pick up your story and attract the attention of consumers, both online and in print.

Rachel Meranus is vice president of communications at PR Newswire, an online press release distribution network based in New York. Get more information about PR Newswire and public relations with their PR Toolkit for small businesses.

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