Posts Tagged ‘photography tips’

National Lottery Love UK Campaign June 2007. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall

National Lottery Love UK Campaign June 2007. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall

On this day 3 years ago PA Hostpics was re-launched as PA Photocall and to celebrate this occasion I wanted to take at look at some of vast and varied projects we have been involved with…

I thought I might begin with perhaps PA Photocall’s most iconic image which was commissioned by The National Lottery for their Love UK campaign back in June 2007. English National Ballet’s Swan Lake ballerinas enjoyed a practice session on the Millennium Bridge as part of the new Love UK campaign to celebrate the £20 billion raised by Lottery players for good causes. English National Ballet and the Millennium Bridge had both benefitted from Lottery Funding.

Our seasoned PA Photocall photographer Geoff Caddick captured this beautiful image…

‘As a photographer I am obsessed with symmetry, this image just worked perfectly. You always envisage how you want the photograph to turn out but sometimes it doesn’t always happen that way, this image was everything I hoped it would be.’ Geoff Caddick

One image which highlights the importance of planning your photocall was this shot commissioned by BAA and British Airways to announce the opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.

BAA and British Airways announce Terminal 5 at Heathrow opening. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall March 2007

BAA and British Airways announce Terminal 5 at Heathrow opening. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall March 2007

The effectiveness of the image is that it gives the impression of a news picture from what is actually a PR set up. The photo was featured in several national newspapers including The Times, The Independent and The Evening Standard.

An image which is my personal favourite and a testament to not having to use branding in your picture to get your message across is that of ‘Ripley’s’ photocall with the worlds smallest road worthy car which we ran riot with in London’s Piccadilly Circus.

The world's smallest car, the Peel 50, which is soon to go on display at Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum of oddities, in Piccadilly Circus, London. Carl Court/PA Photocall

The world's smallest car, the Peel 50, which is soon to go on display at Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum of oddities, in Piccadilly Circus, London. Carl Court/PA Photocall

The Peel 50 was to be exhibited in ‘Ripley’s Believe it Not’ Museum in London and they wanted to capture a photograph to mark the occasion. PA Photocall photographer Carl Court followed the little car around as it unveiled to the public and caused quite a stir. The beauty of this image is the reactions of the people to the Peel 50 against the London back drop. The image not only got into the national papers and online but was also featured in the BBC programme ‘Have I Got News for you’.

As far as spectacular PR stunts go this year’s highlight was that of Eden TV’s launch back in January. A 16 foot high sculpture of an iceberg featuring a stranded female polar bear and her baby cub floated on the River Thames. The stunt was to mark the launch of Eden, a new digital TV channel devoted to natural history.

 

A 16 foot high sculpture of an iceberg featuring a stranded female polar bear and her baby cub on the River Thames outside the Houses of Parliament to mark the launch of Eden, a new digital TV channel devoted to natural history. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall

A 16 foot high sculpture of an iceberg featuring a stranded female polar bear and her baby cub on the River Thames outside the Houses of Parliament to mark the launch of Eden, a new digital TV channel devoted to natural history. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall

After 3 years much has changed and will continue to do so but the ability to be creative, fun and varied will always stay true in the world of PR photography. No one day is the same and each job gives us a new challenge, to that end long may it continue.

Post by Penny Joyner (Marketing Executive for PA Photocall)

I have been reading ‘the fat baby’ a collection of stories by acclaimed photographer Eugene Richards who has worked for Life, Time, Newsweek, and Esquire. He is a photojournalist in the truest sense of the word in that he writes how he feels and photographs what he sees putting them together into a story that makes you feel as if you were there. With Richards’s subject matter and style this is very rarely a comfortable feeling, his subjects ranging from mental institutions in Mexico, to conflict hospitals in Bosnia to drugs and gangs on the streets of America.

Richards get very close to his subject matter and his stories are intimate and intensely personal, this is what makes his photography so special. He gets so close to the situations that he is photographing that you have feeling that his subjects no longer know he is there. Strangely this intimacy with his subject allows his photographs to remain completely detached, snapshots of lives lived neither judged nor filtered by his lens. 

Eugene Richards is a photojournalist but this book does not contain any news photography, the assignments that he has compiled in this book cover some of the biggest events in world news but he never photographs the events themselves. However it is journalism, he is showing the truth of the lives that lie behind the sensation without cliché something that is very rare and very refreshing if hard to look at. 

Richards’s style has really inspired me to try and avoid the temptation to set up too much of the photography I do, to stand back from my subject and wait for a natural reaction. The candid rather than the contrived pictures are so often the best shots you get from an assignment. 

http://www.eugenerichards.com/

Post by David Parry (PA Photocall photographer)

Interesting piece in the current issue of PR Week about concerns we could be seeing the ‘Slow death of the embargo’.  The Wall Street Journal is believed to have introduced a new policy stipulating that they will only honour embargos on exclusive stories. It’s a change of direction that’s obviously brought on by the pressure to be first with breaking news amid increasing competition from other online media outlets especially bloggers who traditionally have been more cavalier with embargos.

Certain newspapers may feel that they can’t afford the niceties of sitting on embargoed stories when specialist blogs are prepared to ‘publish and be dammed’. News has moved on it’s no longer written up today printed tonight and read in papers tomorrow, it’s available instantly & constantly via multiple formats.

The walls have come down and the means of news production are now available to anyone. In that light embargos can seem antiquated, but they still have a place, they just need to be used with care and not as a ‘catch all’ control mechanism.

PR Week editor Danny Rogers talks about embargoes as being “a lazy means of dealing with the media.” The WSJ and the blogs have stirred things up & if that stops these ‘lazy’ embargoes it’s probably no bad thing.

So what could this it mean for photos? I always feel the best way to handle a press PR photo is to use embargoes as sparingly as possible. Basically, ‘take it, get it out, get it in!’ Getting your pictures in the press is always hard enough without making it harder for yourself by putting embargoes across the top of them unless they’re really necessary.

Obviously certain photos because of logistics or availability need to be be taken beforehand and held back. Journalists will understand that and personal relationships, trust and exclusives will always play a role in this business. But maybe the shake up in attitudes towards embargoes generally will make people look at picture embargoes a bit harder too. Using embargoes where they aren’t really appropriate, such as on pictures taken in public places or of stunts that are open knowledge may start to become a thing of the past.

In this climate when the media is crying out for good, free to use PR copy, it’s unnecessary to shackle every story & picture with an embargo. Nobody can really control the media, instead we just need to continue to work with it making content that the press will want to use now, not next week.

Post by Tim Kerr (Director & Picture Editor of PA Photocall)

People buy people, so it is important to reveal the human side of your enterprise, as very often the first image people see is the profile photo on your website, blog or social networking site. You need to communicate effectively with your chosen audience, ensuring you are sending the right message about your organisation. Be sure to personalise the connection you make, it helps your customer see you as a person instead of an abstract web site.

Sir Nicolas Serota, Director of the Tate Gallery stands in the archives beneath the Tate Britain in central London. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall

Sir Nicolas Serota, Director of the Tate Gallery stands in the archives beneath the Tate Britain in central London. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall

In the past companies have not been keen to invest heavily in photography for their corporation as they see it as an unnecessary expense compared to the overall promotion of the company, but consider this: Your company sites will be the first thing your potential customers will see, they are the windows to your company.

Here are a few points you may want to consider about your current business photography:

  • Has the image been taken in a relaxed, comfortable surrounding?
  • Is the light flattering?
  • Is the background distracting?
  • Is the image up to date?
  • Can you clearly see the individual?
  • Does it give the right impression and match your brand image?
  • Is it a quick snap shot taken by a colleague?
  • Does the individual look approachable and trustworthy?
  • Is the image engaging?
  • Would you connect to this person on a social networking site? 
  • Most importantly would you do business with this person?
Prime Minister Gordon Brown addresses the NESTA (National Endowment for Sciences, Technology and the Arts) 'The Innovation Edge' conference at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown addresses the NESTA (National Endowment for Sciences, Technology and the Arts) 'The Innovation Edge' conference at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

If the answer to any of these is “no” then perhaps you need to speak to a professional business portrait photographer. Investment in your business photography can set you apart from your competitors. There is still a lack of investment in images and graphics online stay one step ahead and put a human face to your company.

 Post by Penny Joyner (Marketing Executive for PA Photocall)

My ‘PR Picture Editor’s Knowledge’ post on this site the other week included among other things serious and not so serious;

“10. If you’re doing an aerial shot of people spelling out a brand name or symbol, you need at least twice as many people as you think you do.”

I stand behind that, but if you look at The Daily Telegraph, you can see the advice is hardly new. Arthur Mole and his colleague John Thomas were doing it over 90 years ago.

Arthur’s great nephew Joseph Mole, 70, says: “In the picture of the Statue of Liberty there are 18,000 men: 12,000 of them in the torch alone, but just 17 at the base. The men at the top of the picture are actually half a mile away from the men at the bottom” Picture: Caters News

Using at times up to 30,000 individuals, Mole and Thomas’s so called ‘living photographs’ were aerial shots of US soldiers forming giant symbols of America including Liberty Bell, Uncle Sam, The Statue of Liberty and even Woodrow Wilson. The images were used by the US government to boost public morale and support for US involvement in The First World War.

A collection of the photos been compiled by the Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago and is well worth a look if you’re pondering an a contemporary version.

Mole and Thomas: The living emblem of the United States Marines, formed by 100 officers and 9,000 enlisted men at the Marine Barracks, Paris Island, South Carolina Picture: Caters News

Apparently Arthur Mole would plan his designs by actually drawing an outline on his lens and then had troops mark out the image with flags. It could take a week to get all the outlines but only 30 minutes on the day to move the soldiers into position & get the shot.

I’m not so sure how photographers would take to drawing on their lenses today, but proof even then that the best PR pictures are always the best planned.

Post by Tim Kerr (Director & Picture Editor of PA Photocall)

Keira Knightley in front of the now infamous enhanced poster for King Arthur. Press Association Images

Keira Knightley in front of the now infamous enhanced poster for King Arthur. Press Association Images

After reading an article in today’s Independent about the Liberal Democrats’ call to put a curb on airbrushing in advertising it made me think of all the times that we, PA Photocall, get asked to’Photoshop in’ or ‘Photoshop out’, this, that and the other.

However, for newspaper pictures we draw the line at removing flabby waists, bruises and discoloured teeth.  There is an un-written rule when it comes to news pictures; ‘No doctoring’.  This is simply because once you manipulate the picture ­ removing things in background, adding logos, taking out wrinkles – it no longer represents the news scene as captured, but creates a biased fantasy. 

 

Newspapers rely on the integrity of their content and pictures are at the forefront of that. Glossy magazines might be able to have retouched cover stars but papers have to walk a tighter line.

This is something that is surprisingly not widely known outside the newsroom. Quite often, when a client has booked a ‘celeb’ to front a campaign ­ pictures of which are to be used for editorial purposes – it can quickly materialise that the ‘celeb’ is not so perfect after all. 

Post by Nicola Charalambous (Picture Editor of PA Photocall)

There’s an interesting Thought Leader Series supplement in last week’s PR Week on ‘Consumer PR’. Amid all the talk of PR’s response to the changing PR environment & multiple media platforms there was a good bread and butter question thrown at the contributors; ‘Has your attitude to the use of celebrities in campaigns changed over the past year?’

The general consensus was that celebrities remained very powerful promotional tools whatever the economic climate, but the connection with the client and the project needed to be right.

Speaking specifically from a photography point of view that’s something I’d agree with. Celebrities work in PR photos because they instantly give the picture something identifiable. Photographers and PR’s might sit around in client meetings and seminars mulling over the possible death of celebrity culture and how we’re all much more interested in growing vegetables, or knitting our own shoes or whatever. But then we’ll go for lunch & read Heat Magazine or talk about Peter & Katie like everyone else.

Diarmuid Gavin tend to tomato plants at Cooks Farm Allotment in south London for the launch of Morrisons' Let's Grow campaign which encourages children to grow their own fresh fruit and veg at school. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall

Diarmuid Gavin tend to tomato plants at Cooks Farm Allotment in south London for the launch of Morrisons' Let's Grow campaign which encourages children to grow their own fresh fruit and veg at school. Geoff Caddick/PA Photocall


It’s a fact in our world that we connect with celebrities. We associate them with certain lifestyles, with certain characteristics that we aspire to. Celebrities are in effect ‘brands’ themselves and the best PR photos come when the brand values of the celebrity and the brand value of the client fit. Then you have a picture that works, that catches a Picture Editor’s eye and stands up.

Melinda Messenger launches Ultimo's latest in-shop boutique within Debenhams at Westfield Shopping Centre, London.

Melinda Messenger launches Ultimo's latest in-shop boutique within Debenhams at Westfield Shopping Centre, London.

To often we’ll see PR photos where you can tell straight away the client just went for the cheapest Big Brother reject available and there’s no obvious link & the picture feels clunky because of it. Picture Editors like PR photos to be simple. A good celeb with a good connection intuitively does that. If you have to explain too hard why the celeb is being used it’s probably not going to work, so always look for the fit.

Post by Tim Kerr (Director & Picture Editor for PA Photocall)

‘Silly Season’ is upon us - the time of the year when everything slows down and the media world lowers the bar on what it considers news, Parliament are on holiday and real news seems thinner on the ground. This is a great chance to take full advantage and achieve press coverage for your brand or service whether in print or online.

There is no doubt that the press will still be covering stories on Michael Jackson’s death and the rapid increase in swine flu cases, but throughout the long summer months all the media will be looking to cover more wacky and to some extent frivolous stories than usual.

Last year during ‘Silly Season’ the story of abducted gnome Murphy who travelled around 12 countries in 7 months went across the headlines in The Independent, The Telegraph and the Mirror to name but a few.

Undated handout photo of Eve Stuart-Kelso's garden gnome Murphy in New Zealand, who was returned to her after a 7 month disappearance, accompanied by a photo album showing him in the 12 countries he visited with his abductor.

Undated handout photo of Eve Stuart-Kelso's garden gnome Murphy in New Zealand, who was returned to her after a 7 month disappearance, accompanied by a photo album showing him in the 12 countries he visited with his abductor.

From cows with local accents, to the bank holiday cheese chasers of Coopers Hill, there is no end to the wonderful and down right crazy stories that dominate the press at this time of year.

The ladies race gets underway during the annual cheese rolling race at Cooper's Hill, Gloucestershire.

The ladies race gets underway during the annual cheese rolling race at Cooper's Hill, Gloucestershire.

This does not mean we have to abandon the rules of respected journalism, more that you should look at your everyday activities from a light hearted point of view. Consider potential news worthy stories that may be a little on the quirky side for your clients or business, with the recession keeping us firmly grounded, the chance to make light of any situation will always be welcomed by editors, especially now.

Look to utilise popular and regularly occurring events for example the cricket, the hottest day of the year, music festivals with some relevance to your brand, as they will always be topics in demand from editors. Generic shots will always have their place in the news but if you can add a little creativity and a wacky slant then all the better.

There has never been a better time to communicate to your audience about your product or service. A simple quote or a by-lined article in a national newspaper doesn’t automatically translate into sales, but positive media coverage no matter what form it takes can strengthen the value and position of the brand or service. Effective media relations, not only attracts new clients but can reassure existing ones.

 Post by Penny Joyner (Marketing Executive for PA Photocall)

27.07.2009

Real Life Fashion

I have been following thesartorialist.blogspot.com, a fashion blog that comprises of shots of ‘everyday’ people, for well over a year now. ‘Blogger’ Scott Shuman started the blog about 2 years ago “simply to share photos of people that I saw on the streets of New York that I thought looked great”. His pictures aren’t just a collection of shots of lovely people wearing lovely clothes they are of people ranging from the very young (parental permission granted…) to the old, from the simple no-nonsense dresser to the elaborate and eccentric.

The site is regularly updated and now includes shots of people that he has encountered during his travels around the globe – whether they are shot outside the venue of a fashion show, on the street parking their bike or just sitting outside a café. Shuman is often struck by detail, such as a pair of shoes or a flash of colour.

I look forward to seeing his latest posts as there are no set criterion to the people that he chooses (or is permitted) to shoot, so there is always an element of surprise. Another great thing about this blog is that the shots aren’t necessarily about fashion but about style, people and cities.

Due to the success of the blog, which is often mentioned in several fashion publications and newspapers, Shuman has published a book – The Sartorialist, which is released in September.

 

Post by Nicola Charalambous (Picture Editor for PA Photocall)

I’ve been enjoying following AFP photographer Leon Neal’s ‘Tabascokid’ blog http://www.leonneal.com/blog/

His London photographer knowledge lists make for fantastic reading for a humorous insight into the life & struggles of press photographers in the capital.

For a photographer, he’s reasonably kind to picture editors. His belief that anyone on any picture desk “automatically has their sense of time/distance awareness removed” is probably fair comment..

It got me thinking about what a PR Picture Editors knowledge list might look like. So with apologies to Leon, in no particular order & for what it’s worth…

The PR Picture Editor’s Knowledge:

1. Keep it simple.

2. Picture Editors don’t care about the PR story, it’s all about the picture.

3. Photographers will always send their best shots in last.

4. In product shots, men holding things just doesn’t look right. Even if they have nice hands.

5. Big cheques are evil

6. The Irish Photocall staple of ‘M+M’s’ (Models and Ministers) is the PR photo equilivant of E=MC2.

7. Myleen Klass/Monkeys/Midgets

8. One good celeb = at least 1000 real people.

9. Tight, bright, landscape, portrait, then clever.

10. If you’re doing an aerial shot of people spelling out a brand name or symbol, you need at least twice as many people as you think you do.

11. The quickest way to find a Community Police Officer in central London is to hold an unlicensed photocall.

12. People outside London need pictures too. Don’t forget Scotland!

13. The more Z list the celeb the more trouble their agent will be with approving shots.

14. The more confidential something is meant to be the more people already know about it.

15. Stunts don’t necessarily make good photos and vice versa.

16. Captions: Who, What, Where, When, Why.

17. If you don’t understand the embargo details, no one else will.

18. No line ups, no handshakes, no town mayors.

19. If you can’t draw the picture idea on the back of a press release using matchstick men, it’ll probably be rubbish.

20. Remember it’s meant to be fun.

 

Post by Tim Kerr (Director & Picture Editor of PA Photocall)