In a survey of 200 art editors conducted last week, three-quarters
claimed they had downgraded or spiked PR-generated stories because of
the poor quality of the images accompanying the copy
TRISH LESSLIE - CELEBRITY BODIES
'Yes. Beauty PROs tend to be imaginative and skilled at highlighting
what is unique about products to hit the market - be it the latest shade
of eyeshadow or a new treatment. Where we feel products are of interest
to our readers, we are quite prepared to shoot them ourselves if a
quality picture is not supplied by the company - but if they are, so
much the better. Whether we go with a press shot in our magazine or our
own studio shot would depend largely on where and how the image is to be
used. The design of every page is unique, so it would be impossible for
a PR company to arrange pictures to fit each magazine's style.'
STEPHEN BABB - PRSHOTS
'Yes. But while the industry invests plenty of money in this area, it is
being spent inefficiently. Client money is spent on preparing
photography and other visual assets, with little or no thought about how
to use these assets for maximum returns. To make the investment
worthwhile you have to give the media access. It's pointless having
expensively produced photos and graphics sitting in your filing cabinets
or on your network server where journalists can't get to them. The
internet is the definitive communication tool so let's start using it.
PROs must invest in web-based solutions for managing, controlling and
distributing images, or accept their stories may be dropped or relegated
as a result.'
CHRIS LEWIS - LEWIS PR
'If only it would! As we know, since we employ a full-time staff snapper
of our own, pictures can double the chances of a story being used.
There's even a difference between a good image and an excellent one.
Three things make an excellent picture: composition, lighting and
retouching. Everything used to depend on the first two of these, but now
good composition can also be enhanced significantly by retouching. This
can make eyes bluer, skin and teeth fresher and help secure page one
rather than page seven coverage.
There's no doubt a client's confidence is boosted with better
photography, especially at senior level. The job of PROs is to make
their client look good. That's what good photography does. Remember -
whatever the audience, people still eat with their eyes.'
REBECCA COOMBES - NURSING TIMES
'No. I've worked in trade press for eight years and it never ceases to
amaze me how rubbish most PR pictures are. It's not so much the
technical quality - in fact we often have to bin well-executed pictures
on the grounds that the subject is so awful. PR agencies and their
clients never learn that pictures of punters wielding cheques or of
lines of grey suits are boring. I suppose clients put agencies under
pressure to include company bigwigs in the pictures. In that case they
should be more ruthless - ask them if they want coverage or their egos
massaged? Given the field I work in, where most of the organisations
covered are public bodies, as a taxpayer I get a bit outraged that
public money (NHS publicity budgets) is wasted on such dross.'