When it comes to some quick promotion of your business, don’t overlook the good ol’ social photos.
Social photographs are a staple of the print and online media and surely one of the most unmissable sections of every newspaper. They’re a vibrant, light and easy way to maintain your business’s profile and – in many cases – reward clients, partners and staff by including them in the pictures.
Most photographers are well-versed on what makes a good social photograph.
However, not every client or organisation can afford an experienced photographer. You might have a staff member armed with a camera instead, a younger photographer seeking experience, or someone who’s a keen photographer in other realms but has little experience in ‘social photos’ per se.
As a PR consultant, I’m occasionally called on to help clients to brief photographers with less experience.
It’s not rocket science, as they say in the classics, but there is an art to a good social photo (one that is acceptable to the print media). You might be surprised by how many photography volunteers put up their hand to take snaps at your VIP party or product launch, who actually don’t have a clue what they’re doing …
So, here’s some quick tips:
Give your photographer a clear brief. You want the following:
- Groups of people (pairs, or groups of 3-5) close together and smiling
- Good lighting
- Check the background for photo bombers or anything awkward
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to turn side-on or adjust their chin angle (they’ll thank you for it later)
- Make sure you record names for captions. If there are no names, that’s no good for print or online media
You also want a photographer who is sociable and friendly; someone who’s not shy about approaching a group of people, interrupting conversations, getting them to pose (sometimes removing name badges or putting their wine glasses away) and spending time writing down their names correctly.
I’ve lost count of the times a client has engaged a “social photographer” (often a volunteer) who is too meek and mild for that role.
Take for example the older male photographer at a national conference dinner. He roamed the room taking photos from a distance and “didn’t want to interrupt” anyone for social photos although that’s exactly what he’d been engaged for. The hour he was spending at the event could result in zero images being suitable for publication. So, like any good PR consultant, I accompanied him to corral people together and take names for captions.
On most occasions, volunteer photographers are a joy to work with – and provided you chat with them early, you can quickly decide on whether they need someone by their side. It’s a collaboration which can pay dividends.