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Public Relations Photography

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Photography is an essential element in public relations but commissioning professionals can be expensive. It is therefore vital to make sure that you provide a detailed brief and, if you are directly involved in some way, be properly prepared yourself.

  1. Write down a detailed brief. This should contain the location, expected site conditions, contacts with whom the photographer will need to co-ordinate, an itemised list of the shots required, the kind of photographic medium to use: digital (most likely), negative film, transparency and so on.
  2. Timing. Make sure your chosen photographer gets the brief in good time. They may wish to visit locations before the day of shoot to assess site conditions for themselves.
  3. Advise all parties to be prepared. Especially at locations where photography is to take place. If uniforms are involved, make sure staff have new ones.
  4. Check safety issues. If any employees are to appear in the pictures, then ensure they are wearing and/or using any mandatory safety equipment and procedures. Remember too, that the photographer may also need appropriate safety clearance, clothes and equipment.
  5. Now is a good time to clean thoroughly. Make sure any products or company signage that may appear in pictures are thoroughly clean. A camera lens in the hands of a professional will show the muck in detail.
  6. De-clutter. Tidy up unnecessary clutter and mess in areas where you expect the photographer to take good pictures. Remove calendars and any sensitive company information you definitely don’t want to appear.
  7. Fix those broken lights. Photographers will usually bring their own lighting. However, rows of missing light tubes never look good in pictures.
  8. Always use new product if you can. For tabletop photography of smaller products, make sure each product is in perfect condition, bag and label it for the photographer.
  9. Think about scale. Sometimes small components give no sense of scale once photographed. Therefore, ask the photographer to include a small coin, ruler or some other comparison of size in the picture.
  10. Be available on shoot day. Sometimes the best shots come from improvisation on the day. The photographer may need your quick authorisation to gain full co-operation of other staff members or gain access to more sensitive areas.
  1. Don’t ask an architectural photographer to take portraits. There are no hard and fast rules but most photographers have their speciality – food, fashion, buildings, people, site, small components, aerial and so on.
  2. Don’t expect staff to take professional pictures. Most of us can drive cars but we can never be racing drivers! Modern digital cameras help novices to take better pictures – but not professional pictures.
  3. Don’t expect perfect conditions. The sun may not shine when commissioning photography in winter – or summer come to think of it! If you can be flexible with timing, give the photographer chance to consult weather forecasts for the best possible conditions.
  4. Don’t be upset if a photographer tells you he can’t take pictures. Even though the sun is shining and all the conditions look perfect, there is usually a reason – wind! A professional uses a heavy tripod and slow shutter speeds to achieve pin-sharp pictures – wind wobble can be as big a problem as a dark rainy day.
  5. Don’t assume third parties will co-operate. If you need their permission for site or other forms of access for the photographer ask and get it in writing. Give the photographer a copy, so they can show it on-site.

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