Selling Photographs, Public Relations Needs Them |

Public Relations needs photographs to function. What do they need them for? Everything they print, send out, or put on the web needs one or more photographs. Large companies will either have a PR department or use a PR firm which will hire the photographer.Small and mid size companies will hire freelance photographers or have somebody on the staff bring a camera in as needed. If you cannot consistently provide visibly better photographs than an amateur you need to practice until you can. When you can produce a portfolio of work that is perfectly composed, perfectly exposed, and in perfect focus you are ready to approach businesses.How do you find the small to mid sized companies that need better photographs? Tune in to the business press in your area. Every major metro area will have a business newspaper of some type. In addition, the daily paper will have a business section.You scan these looking for press release stories, either without a photograph or with a poor photograph. These are your target companies. Take your list and look at their web site. Are there any photographs? Are they amateur photographs, stock photos, or good, professional photographs. If the photos are professional, scratch the name off the list. Otherwise the company is a prospect.You visit the company location. You take pictures of the outside of the property. You take pictures of the entrance to the office or offices. You take pictures of the loading dock. You take pictures of any clean, attractive company trucks. You make sure that the company name is as prominent as possible in all pictures. You take both a vertical and a landscape view for each shot.Out of these photographs you select six or eight for your portfolio for this company. Remember, each photograph must be perfectly composed. perfectly exposed, and in perfect focus. Make and print a dummy of the press release with one of your photographs above.Now comes the part where I panic. It is the sales call. Should you call ahead? I don’t know, you have invested four to six hours on the photography, portfolio, and dummy press release which the would be client must see. You hate to see this go down the tube with a curt, “Not Interested.”Try a compromise. Make the call first and set an appointment a few days later. Then you go and take the pictures, do the portfolio, and prepare the dummy press release. This should give you the confidence to approach the sales call.Everything that I have said about the need for promotional photographs by business also applies to nonprofit organizations. If anything, their need is higher, due to their dependence on the public. Of course, this means they are more likely to use a PR firm.