Publicity with Pictures

Here are some more wise words from Jaime Murcia…

PQ What is it that Editors look for in photos?
Jaime The photo has to be connected to the subject matter of the story and give a strong sense of what the story is about.  A great photo will help bring the story to life and give the reader a visual representation of the words – and ideally, an emotional response too.

PQ Is a story without a photo dropped before one with a photo if space is tight?
Jaime Yes.  By and large, words will get cut before a photo, particulary if the publication has commissioned the shot.  It depends on the media of course, but rather than drop a story with a pic, the Editor might opt to cut the story right down and leave the photo in tact.

PQ To get a run in the media, what must a photo have?
Jaime First of all forget film – most media now is set-up to use digital photos, so don’t bother sending in transparencies with your news release, use digital files.

So on the technical side, there are some golden rules with digital photography.  Make sure that for magazines, your file is high resolution and is at least 300 dpi (that’s dot per inch, PQ) and for newspapers it should be around the 140 dpi mark.

If the file size is too small, they can’t stretch it and it won’t get used because it’ll be too soft.

The bottom line is, media needs to fill space constantly and if you give them the right stuff, they’ll use it.

PQ Does a good shot increase your chances of getting publicity?
Jaime I think it does – photos make a publication more appealing to readers.  If you’ve got a good little story and you send it in with a great photo, you’ll increase your chances like crazy.

And here’s a tip… when taking your ‘great’ photo consider it from an editorial point-of-view rather than a flat and boring approach.  Think about ways that you can add a twist to the picture that will add another dimension to its interest factor – boring is bad!

PQ What are your top tips for a business owner when taking a photo to submit to the media?
Jaime First tip is – think twice about taking the photo yourself!  If you’ve invested significant resources into bringing a product or service to market, then it makes sense to invest in a photographer who can take pictures that do justice to your investment.

Second tip is to think of a good ‘hook’ for your photo – don’t make it too cheesy, but get certainly get the creative juices flowing.

I’d also suggest that you make the photo strong and clean – don’t clutter it up with too much detail, it shouldn’t be too busy.

And lastly, send in a couple of options.  Perhaps you’ve taken similar shots but from different angles and with different lighting – send in these different interpretations because it increases your chances of one being suitable to the style of the publication.

PQ Ok, last question, can you show us some examples of your work?

Tammy van Wisse

Jaime This photo of Tammy van Wisse, the long distance swimmer is probably one of my all-time favourites – it was even runner-up in the Melbourne Press Club’s Quill Awards for Best Editorial Photograph.

This photo was taken in the middle of winter (I felt guilty asking her to get into the water) and I used artificial light to highlight the incredible sunset.  I wanted to give the feeling that she could have been alone anywhere in the middle of the ocean.

And I vividly remember this shoot too because I was busy trying not to get salt water on my $6,000 camera and not get electrocuted with the battery flash the assistant was holding in waist-deep water!

PQ Thanks so much Jaime for sharing your insights – it’s been wonderful.

Don’t forget to visit Jaime’s website for more examples of his work at

And if you need a great corporate portrait taken, then visit Jaime’s new site,

Publicity Queen  Yours in publicity


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