EDF Energy News Photographer of the Year and friend of Energy PR, Paul Nicholls, shares his tips on what makes a great PR photo.

Plan in advance

By holding a brainstorm with your photographer beforehand, you’ll arrive at the shoot armed with ideas. List the top things the image has to achieve from the outset and keep coming back to this to make sure the image is ticking the boxes for your brand. That’s not to say you can’t snap away if a great idea comes to you while on site.
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Choose your subjects wisely

Perhaps unsurprisingly, photo desks have a soft spot for images of celebrities, cute animals and children. Including any combination of these subjects, when possible, is a great starting point for any winning photo story. Being British, we’re also fond of the weather, so a dramatic skyline often hits the mark.

Timing is key

The speed that you submit a photo can make a big difference to whether or not it’s used. You might have a great image, but if you don’t submit it on time, it won’t be picked up. Non-time sensitive photographs should be shared at around 10am. The absolute deadline for supplying photographs for the next day is then 2pm, as this is when most papers know what images they will be using in print the next day.

Keep it simple

A busy background with too much going on will detract away from the focus of an image. Choose a clean and simple background for the shoot – sky, grass or concrete all work well.

Build relationships with photo desks

…just as you would with any journalist. Talking to them will give you a better idea of what they feel is a strong image. If you have an idea, it’s wise to run it past them before picking up the camera.

Caption correctly

The caption doesn’t have to be overly complicated, simply label it with the 5 ‘Ws’ - Who, What, Why, When, Where.

Quality over quantity

Always send images over 300dpi around 2MB in JPG format. Picture desks receive thousands of photos every day, so don’t overload them with too much choice. Pick the best 1 or 2 and attach to the email.

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