What makes a good PR photo?

Written by Stefanie Hopkins

PR photo

A picture paints a thousand words – and this is very much the case with a good PR photo!

As a PR agency, words are naturally very important to us and we ensure that ours always tell a compelling story with impact and insight. But good photography can make the all difference between a small paragraph lost in the middle of a publication and a substantial story. In PR and communications, words and pictures should work hand-in-hand to create a compelling whole.

So what is the secret of a really good PR photograph? It needs to tell the story. It must bring together the most important elements of a story into a single image and grab the viewers’ attention to make them interested enough to want to know more. It should encourage them to read the caption and accompanying article.

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Quality Counts

Yes, smart phones have turned most of us into photographers but in planned PR photography, quality counts and just having a camera (or phone) doesn’t mean you’re David Bailey. To secure media coverage, photography by a professional is almost always worth the investment.

Use your imagination

A good PR photo is not always the most obvious shot. The best PR picture will grab the viewer, stop them in their tracks and make them think. Taking people out of their normal environment can also be a good technique – such as execs playing rugby in their business suits. But remember what works for different publications and mediums. A few quirky shots can be useful if they’re appropriate to the story but make sure you’ve got the basics covered too.

Attention to detail

We’ve all seen plenty of examples of corporate photography ‘howlers’ so make sure you look at the whole shot to weed out any unintentional pitfalls.

Get options

Make sure you get plenty of shots to suit different media outlets. This also gives you something extra to offer publications who want exclusives. Remember to get both landscape and portrait images to ensure you have something to fit every space.

Think targets

Research what kind of images will resonate with your target audiences. Then give them what they want!


Many businesses like to see their logo prominently displayed in the shot but remember it’s a PR story, not an advert. Including a brand identity in view can be a good way to anchor the image to your business but keep it low-key. Overdoing it can switch off editors and annoy readers.

Check the format

If you’re emailing photos, make sure they’re in an easily readable format (most editors work with jpegs) and don’t zip files. One of the most basic lessons of media relations is to make key information easily accessible – don’t give your recipients extra work to do or you’ll just annoy them.

Check the size

When you’re sending files that are too big, they could take too long to load (see the point above) or even bounce back. Too small and they won’t be usable. Think about where you’re sending the images and remember that print requires high definition whereas online media can be a lower resolution.

Brief your photographer beforehand

Talk to them, share ideas and make sure you both know what’s required before you start.

Now you have your PR photography ready,
Learn how to capture the media’s attention

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