What do you when a photographer comes to your event, shoots photos, and you’re disappointed with what ends up in the paper? That’s what a Publicity Hound wanted to know when she emailed me with this dilemma:
“What should one realistically expect when a photographer shows up to shoot a networking/luncheon/cocktail-party? My publicity chairperson is livid about how the local business journal covered our event.
“We asked if the photographer would take pictures of the chartering officers (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer). The photographer said only three people in a photo, otherwise it gets too crowded. OK, we grouped into 3’s.
The result? The newspaper treated it like a luncheon-type event. No photos of the officers. Just a photo of people eating and a crummy description of the organization, despite the fact that a press release was sent ahead of time.
“Should we state our displeasure on the coverage or let it be?” she asks.
The Publicity Hound says:
Let it be. Complaining will get you nowhere. More importantly, let this also be a valuable lesson to you to never expect photographers to take boring photos and turn them into prize-winning images.
Here’s what I would have done. Rather than invite the business journal photographer to the luncheon, I would have pitched a story about trends your group is seeing in your industry, preferably with statistics that tie into the trend. Then mention the chartering ceremony in the interview, and offer up a few ideas for photos that show people on the job, actually doing something. Not your officers, but members of the organization.
Regardless of whether that story is published, I’d submit head shots of the new officers to as many smaller publications as possible, such as the weekly newspapers where they live, along with a short article about their role in the group. As I state in my ebook “How to Use Photos & Graphics in Your Publicity Campaign,” weeklies love articles like this. In fact, why not go a step further and have each them write a how-to article loaded with tips for people in your industry?
Don’t forget women’s publications in your area, smaller business magazines, and smaller regional magazines.
Also, never boss around a photographer who is at your event. They don’t tell you how to do your job. So you shouldn’t tell them how to do theirs. (See my free article “How to work with newspaper photographers.”)
For too many people, publicity photos are an afterthought.