Date: 03 May, 2017
If a picture paints a thousand words then how come the press aren’t downloading your brand's images? If that’s the question you’re asking yourself, then here’s the article that’s going to help you get more images downloaded, and get your brand into the media and onto search engines.
The short answer to the question of why the press and media aren’t picking up on your images is they’re more than likely to be the wrong sort of images, and they’re in the wrong place. With the rise of blogging and citizen journalism, and image-led sites like Instagram and Pinterest, images are being used more now than ever. However, brands are still finding it difficult to get their images recognised and used.
High-resolution means the difference between your brand images appearing as a 1/2 page image, a 1/4 page image or as a small image in the background
The first and most important point when providing images to the press is the images need to be high resolution, and the higher the resolution, the more likely they’re to be used. If you’re going to spend thousands of pounds or millions of pounds on developing a quality product then the least you could do is to spend some time and effort on making the images of the product look good. Just look at the most successful retailers, their sites are full of rich, high-quality images and it’s those images and the quality of those images that make the difference. Think of it this way. What would you rather do? Buy a shirt or dress that you can zoom into until you can see the stitching or buy a similar product that has an image that looks blurry and you need to squint at to see properly? It’s no contest the good quality image will always win.
It has to be high-resolution
The larger the image, the better. If you can provide an image that’s good enough quality to be used on it’s own on an A4 page the more likely, it’s going to be used. If you’re an art editor on a deadline with a blank page to fill, then a beautiful image that will fill a page is going to be the first option you choose. If there’s a brand with a better-looking image that looks nice, but someone needs to get back to the PR to get the full high-res image, and they’re out at lunch, or not back until the morning, then sorry that image isn’t getting a look-in. The same goes for web pages a good high-resolution image that can be cropped and treated in lots of different ways is always going to take preference to a low-res “web-ready” image. While not every blogger has access to Photoshop, even the most average blogger can call on any number of good cheap/free tools to manipulate images, and they’re all savvy enough to know that good images can make the difference. If you have time, you could provide an image with different resolutions, but believe me it’s the high-res image that’s going to be downloaded the most. Especially, as journalists are no longer at the mercy of email size limits, and can use services like WeTransfer to send as many images as they want to their art staff.
The next lesson to learn is that choice is great. Don’t just do one image of a product. Get your photography done from a few different angles and if it comes in different colours and styles (slim, long, baggy, etc) then take a picture of every different colour and styles.
Cut-out or model-shot or both?
If you have the money to do a model-shot or a life-style image, then do it. A good model-shot will boost your chances of getting your brand images delivered as a double-page spread or even a front cover. Magazines, particularly free magazines, outlet magazines and local papers, and blogs just don’t have the budgets to do photo shoots, but they all want to look good. So, if they can take a good model shot to brighten up a page, then they will. However, don’t just do model-shots, as the number of product-shot articles way outnumbers those that require model-shots. Model-shots and campaign images are also great for websites, they add colour, and they are a change from straight product shots.
Product shots should always be taken against a plain background as cut-outs. Leave the artistic flourishes to the magazine stylists/and the website owners. Ideally, a cut-out image should be just that, a cut-out, an image with an invisible background, that can be dragged and dropped onto a page or a double-page spread without the need to delete or change the colour of the background in PhotoShop.
Landscape or Portrait?
If it’s a cut-out shot, then ideally it should be portrait format, but as long as the image is cut-out correctly, it doesn’t really matter. If you’re not a professional art editor and you don’t have the right tools then cutting out images is not something you should attempt. If the image is high-res and on a white (or a plain light) background, then you can still upload the image and leave it to the experts who download the pictures. If you want to attempt it yourself, then you’ll need an image resolution package with either a magic wand, quick selection, lasso tool and a high-resolution image. The lower the resolution the image, the harder it is to cut-out an image and the messier it looks. Another good reason why high-resolution is best for images.
Model-shots and lifestyle shots should be shot in both portrait and landscape formats if possible. If you don’t have the time to shoot both, then shoot landscape. Landscape images can usually be cropped in to get a portrait image, but portrait images are never going to fit easily into a landscape sized hole either online or offline.
Keep it simple
There’s a theme appearing here. Can you tell what it is yet? Ease of use, simplicity, and flexibility are key when it comes to images. Stylists, designers, journalists, bloggers are ALL time-poor and largely cash-poor. They need quick solutions.
With offline media, they need something that fills a space, and they need it NOW, not tomorrow and not when you’re back from a meeting. They don’t want to ring you to ask for permission to download, and they don’t want to have to go back to get a high-res version of the image. When it comes to page-design and page layout, you can guarantee that the crunch times are nearly always after hours and tempers are fraying. The Art Editor needs a picture to fill a slot and they will put in anything they can. So, everything you can do to make it easier is going to be appreciated and rewarded with return visits.
Online media have the same values, they want good images and they want them NOW. Where NOW is often 2am when they’re creating five articles to filter out during the day, leaving them free to queue up for a front-row position and take all those catwalk exclusives. Make their life easy and they’re going to be happy. Make it hard for them and they will go elsewhere.
Lastly, make sure your images are in the right place for the press and media to find them. PRShots is a press portal that allows brands to post high-resolution images to a community of tens of thousands of journalists worldwide can access the images for free and is used by hundreds of brands including high-street and Internet brands such as Next, Marks & Spencer and Boohoo.
Marcus Austin – Is an Internet marketing expert and IT Director at PRShots and PressArea. He has 25 years’ experience in IT and Internet journalism and has also worked, advised and written for many leading businesses including the Guardian, MoreThan, Fujitsu, Sage, RBS/NatWest, PC World Business, Telstra, Virtus, BrightPearl, Kodak Alaris, SUSE, TeleCity, Santander and more.
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