We live in an age of visual information. Research shows that visuals are processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than text. The human eye can grasp the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second, registering 36,000 visual messages per hour. All of this provides a clear indication that human beings process visual information more efficiently than text; hence the expression ‘A Picture Paints a Thousand Words’. This statement is never truer for businesses looking to get the most from PR. Many believe that PR is primarily about press releases, text and words – which, to a degree, it is – however, the importance of images cannot be underestimated.
Consider, how many words it takes to describe an image. Which is easier? Take this example:
If you pick up any magazine or newspaper – what catches your eye? Most likely it’ll be those featuring images that grab your attention. This alone should help convey how essential high quality images are when attempting to achieve media coverage.
Amateur Vs Professional:
With smartphones now capable of taking pictures of a higher quality than before, it is easy to ignore the importance of using a professional photographer. Don’t make this mistake. If you can’t afford a professional shoot, it’s best to avoid a DIY approach altogether. Poor quality, mediocre images can result in reduced coverage or deter an editor from including what might be a fantastic feature altogether.
Invest in a professional photo shoot. Never underestimate what a good photographer can do for your brand. Be sure to check their portfolio and get recommendations before committing. Once you’ve selected a photographer provide them with a clear brief – define what type of images you’re after, where you intend to use them and develop creative ideas to really make them stand out from the crowd.
Cut-out – If you wish to be featured in shopping pages and compendiums, you’ll need cut-out images. These are images where the product appears on a plain white background.
Lifestyle – Lifestyle shots give your product context and will help convey the product’s unique selling points e.g. purpose, ingenuity, innovation
Portrait – Team member portraits are often overlooked yet they are of equal importance. Portrait images are more commonly used in conjunction with comment and case study linked editorial features
Embedded text and logos:
Good images, clear of text and logos rule!
NEVER provide media with images that incorporate embedded text and logos – this is a surefire way of loosing out on potential coverage. All they serve to do is create extra work for the art/picture editor and design team – work they neither need or want! Reserve images with embedded text and logos for your own website and social channels.
Using images to support stories:
Including images with your press release will help grab a journalist’s attention. The right images will also help to convey your story.
Newspapers and magazines can only use high-res images, so it’s essential that your images are no less than 300-dpi (dots per inch). Dots per inch, is a measure of the resolution of an image, but NOT its size. A picture can contain 300dpi but still only be 4cm wide! For online media, the resolution is commonly lower, the industry standard is 72-dpi. If you’ve invested in a professional photographer they’ll often provide you with both – ‘print-ready’ and ‘web-ready’.
If getting media coverage is your primary goal for your images, then we recommend JPEG’s in RGB.
RGB – Preferred
sRGB – Web-ready
CMYK – Reserve for print
JPEG – Universal compatibility. JPEG has been considered the standard since 1994
TIFF – Ideal for print. Very large files, not compatible with all systems
GIF, PNG – Web use only
Landscape Vs Portrait:
When it comes to your lifestyle images ensure you’ve a good selection of landscape (where width exceeds the height) and portrait (where the height exceeds the width) available. Media preference is largely determined by the page plan, sometimes a portrait lifestyle image will be more appropriate, other times a landscape lifestyle image will be preferred. The worst thing is being asked for one you don’t have and loosing out on a piece of coverage altogether.
Make your images work harder by placing them somewhere that media and influencers can find them easily. Somewhere like Ace Media’s Image Gallery. Find out more here.