It appears that the white fluffy stuff is enough to bring the country to a standstill. Ok, so it’s the heaviest snowfall Britain has seen for nearly 20 years, but at the first sign of snow we lock ourselves away and wait out the storm doing the one thing we have all come to depend on – surf the internet!
According to the British Retail Consortium, during the cold snap online shopping was up 14.6% on a year ago, as shoppers turned to buying online when they were unable to reach shops due to the snow.
To those businesses that are unsure about the benefits of a website, the cost of it, the up keep of it etc, etc. this research shows that when the country comes to a halt customers can still have access to your products and services at any time of day or night – and it might be reassuring to think that when Mother Nature shows her powers the internet will keep the world moving.
Today we see the end of nearly a 200 year old establishment known and loved by many. Cadbury, a well established family business waves goodbye to Britain and heads to the US.
With so many British brands leaving the country it makes you ask “what is left in Britain, and where has the ‘Great’ in Great Britain gone?”
Corus (British Steel), ICI, Land Rover, Jaguar, Lotus, Manchester United Football Club and Abbey National are just a handful of companies that were once an important part of the UK economy that we can’t lay claim to anymore. What was once a world leader, Britain appears to be turning into ‘takeover Britain’, still, we can all look forward to Dairylea filled Creme Eggs this Easter.
Look at the front page of any newspaper and you’ll see a picture that tells a story. Newspapers will only consider the quirky, exclusive or impactful. Cute kids and celebrities always go down well and having a few people in the shot is usually a good move for events pictures. If a story isn’t strong enough by itself, a picture can make the difference in securing good coverage. Editors want to sell newspapers and a good picture story will help them do so.
Any press release that is sent out to newspapers following an event requires a photo to illustrate it. Without this, a newspaper is unlikely to run the story (unless the story is huge!). Media research shows that readers are much more likely to a) buy a newspaper and b) enjoy reading it, when the number of colour pictures increase and the amount of block text decreases. Therefore good quality, interesting photos are really just as important as a stand-alone press release to the editor of a newspaper.
A picture will draw a reader to actually look through the article and that is where the positive PR for an organisation comes into effect. Pictures can lead to great coverage for an organisation. Here are some examples of the type of photos that make the papers everyday:
Pictures of competition winners generally make the papers. Pictures of the winner being handed his/her trophy by a VIP always goes down well. The following details are required alongside this: Full Name, Age and Town. Without these details the photo isn’t worth much. It may be that the press will want to interview the winner if the win is an important one.
Children are always great ways to get coverage. If you are taking photos of children under the age of 16 you need written authorisation from a parent/guardian.
VIPs always make good news. Any shots of VIPs e.g. with a member of the public who has won something, or a VIP in action, generally gets published. This can be anyone from a local politician to the CEO of a large company to a soap star. Popular photos are ones of a VIP ‘getting his hands dirty’ or doing something you wouldn’t expect.
- Openings & Events
If a new building is opening there is the age-old cutting of the ribbon shot. This is quite ‘cheesy’ however some newspapers, especially local ones like them, especially if the person opening it is a local councillor or celebrity. It is great to get all the people involved in the project in the picture with the celebrity cutting the ribbon (this may need to be staged again and again until you get the right shot). Names and job title/company are required.
For events it is advisable for photos to give a good feel of the event. It needs to appear busy, so there should be plenty of people smiling and having fun. You want the event to appear busy, popular and fun.
- Action shots
Shots of people and children reacting to things in a positive or negative way are great. A child seeing a heron and pointing in the air, mouth open in amazement, makes a good shot. It is easy to put a nice caption with this. Other shots, such as a horse jumping mid-air would be good or a kid stroking a pony and laughing or having her first go at grooming. Again, name, age and town are needed for any person in a photograph.
- Telling a story
Newspapers love shots that really tell the story. These are photos that, with just the photos, we get the gist of what is going on. For example, with a school trip to the Natural History Museum: a good photo would be one of a child with his worksheet in front of a fossil. From this we can immediately see without looking at the heading that the article is about a school trip to a museum to learn about fossils. Hopefully the photo would be a little more interesting than this, but that is the gist of ‘telling a story’.
Putting things in context is important. A child with a bright Easter egg to illustrate an Easter event is much more appealing with just a picture of a child. The same goes for a child with a Santa hat, riding a horse, for example. This makes an ordinary story. The person needs to be doing something which illustrates what the event is about.
- The Quirky
This is anything that will catch the reader’s eye. It might be visually attractive or just very funny. For example, for the dog show Crufts, pictures of the smallest and largest dogs (Chihuahua and Great Dane) make for a humorous photo. The same could be done with a Shetland pony and a Shire horse. Anything which shows extremes will catch the eye. Another example is a 70 year old ice skater with her medal or a cute little pony that has won an important competition on its first outing. The story and the photo are something out of the ordinary and that is what makes good news.
- Heart Strings
Any picture which pulls on the heart strings will help strengthen a story. The ‘feel good’ element always makes a good story. This might be a rider that has come back from injury to win a competition or a child having her first horse ride. Any good news stories, especially with these added elements are always appealing to the press. The same goes for a cute child – if it makes the reader smile and get emotional, it’s a good press shot!
Things to avoid:
- Peoples’ backs in the photos…faces are much more interesting!
- People too far away from the camera – they just look like spots!
- Shots that don’t really say or do anything – think about the story the picture is (or should be) telling. The picture is there to make the reader want to read the article.
Things to try:
- For events, busy, happy shots are the way to go.
- If there is an opportunity to take a photo near a branding board, logo or site name of the organisation involved, do so.
- Remember to get the name, age and town of the person in the photo.
- Remember to get signed consent forms for under 16s
- Don’t be afraid to ‘set up’ a shot if you can imagine seeing something similar on the front page of a newspaper. Kids are usually surprisingly willing to do a bit of acting!
What information is needed to accompany the picture?
The most important thing is to get hold of is the full name, age (if child or elderly – carefully asked!) and town of anyone in the picture, otherwise the photo doesn’t mean anything. If it is a group of school children and the story does not relate to a particular child, just the school name, town and class name is fine. Name, age and town of team members or visitors featured in the photo are often useful as press releases can be sent to the newspaper covering where each child lives.