The Importance of Real Photography in Traditional PR

L_R Matt Wheatcroft Bev Cook Elliot Cook

In the realm of traditional PR, or any PR for that matter –  imagery plays a crucial role in capturing audience attention and conveying the essence of a story.

Whether it’s a product launch, a corporate event, or a news article, the images accompanying the press release content can make or break its impact and be a deciding factor whether a media outlet will choose to use the story at all.

The recent story of the Princess of Wales manipulating a photo used within her own social media post to celebrate “Mothers Day” serves as a prime example of the importance of submitting real “unedited” photography as part of a press release.

The photo, taken by Prince William for Mother’s Day, was the first of the Princess of Wales to be released by Kensington Palace since her surgery in January 2024. Upon concerns of the authenticity of the photograph supplied, 5 major media outlets withdrew the photo of the Princess of Wales and her children and subsequently a “kill notification” was issued (an industry term used to make a retraction).

The Princess of Wales has since apologised “for any confusion” after she said she edited a Mother’s Day photograph of her and her children.

Most news organisations follow their own strict guidelines on the use of manipulated photographs, only using them when accompanied by an explanation that the image has been changed from the original.

The photo has led to discussions about how media outlets should use images or social media clips which are produced without any independent journalists being involved and the dangers of using imagery from personal social media accounts – even though they can be reshared publicly to millions. This also raises the thorny issue of copyright! 

Real photography offers a compelling alternative that can enhance the effectiveness of traditional PR efforts. By capturing genuine moments and real experiences, authentic imagery creates a stronger emotional connection with the audience. Whether it’s showcasing the craftsmanship behind a product, the passion of a team, or the impact of a community initiative, real photography has the power to tell a story in a way that resonates deeply with viewers.

Authentic imagery, not only avoids potential copyright issues, it also  lends credibility to PR campaigns by providing a transparent view of the subject matter. In an era where misinformation and fake news run rampant, audiences are increasingly sceptical of staged or manipulated visuals. By opting for real photography, PR professionals can build trust with their target audience, demonstrating a commitment to honesty and integrity.

Beyond its impact on audience perception, real photography also has practical advantages for PR campaigns. High-quality images can significantly enhance the visibility and shareability of content, increasing its reach and engagement across various platforms. Whether it’s through social media shares, news coverage, or website features, compelling visuals serve as powerful catalysts for amplifying PR efforts.

Our article on the top tips for using photography to get press coverage will give you an excellent idea of what journalists really want to be sent in terms of photography. Our article on how to write a press release should also help.

There is an art to structuring a press release in a way that will interest journalists. At SMC we know what stories will excite the media, are experts at writing copy and how to ensure they are published. However if a poor image is supplied that doesn’t quite cut the mustard, then don’t be surprised when a journalist ignores your story – or we ask you to take it again!

If you are looking for a company to help you gain more PR exposure, please feel free to get in touch.

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