In the age of smartphones – do we really need professional PR photography?

by Chris Fairbairn

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

The tech in your pocket is improving all the time – so where should you draw the line and call in a professional?

12 Chris Hoy Olympians Parade PR photography

PHOTOGRAPHY is something anyone can do right? Just pick up a camera, smartphone, tablet or wind up disposable camera and you’re able to capture the perfect PR photography moment, right?

If you’re an Instagram addict, you’ll have no doubt noted that huge swathes of us are also now equipped with smartphones and talent capable of capturing majestic panoramas.

So can that confidence, combined with the tech capability in each of our pockets, easily extend to PR or commercial photography?

Can you truthfully do without the professional eye and the expensive SLR camera?

Evidence from the gatekeepers

Despite the increasing use of the digital environment, everyone keeps the habit of buying and reading the Sunday papers. Because of this we still understand the value of getting our clients mentioned in the Sunday national press.It is worth establishing just how important PR photography is in the telling of good business stories – and why you’d want to bother taking that snap (even with a phone) in the first place.

We recently carried out a survey of more than 120 frontline journalists – asking for their views on the importance of images for the media and their use in helping to tell a story.

Why did we go to such lengths you ask? Well since day one, we’ve passionately extolled the virtues of good PR photography to support stories, with anecdotal evidence and consistent success confirming our beliefs.

However we wanted to show and demonstrate real, hard evidence. So we carried out this extensive survey – with overwhelming data now backing up what we already believed.

Photography is considered absolutely vital to the art of storytelling in 2017. Got a press release about a great initiative? Better have a photo. Record profits? Better have a photo. Pretty much everything you do – if you want the media to take notice, requires photography.

Newspaper coverage is an essentail part of the public relations services delivered by award winning PR agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, ScotlandYou can read the full survey results here and discover what journalists really think about the power, impact and importance of photography



PR photography Musselburgh races, Ladies Day, 11th, June, 2016So we’ve outlined just how important PR photography is – we hope – beyond any reasonable doubt.

The next logical step is to assess whether or not you can do it on your phone. Surely anybody can take a photo using the array of modern devices available.

This may be true, and every week we use good enough images taken on phones, to support press releases.

Yet we know ourselves that these images simply don’t hold a candle to the real article, that snap by a trained eye, on a proper camera.

We’re lucky too – as we have also got the benefit of working with the Scottish Press Photographer of the Year, essentially the best press snapper in Scotland.

He didn’t just pick this camera up 3 years ago in the form of an iPhone. He picked it up over 40 years ago at the age of nine.

He’s been mastering the art since then – with stints working for studios and many other jobs – with photography being the one constant in his life.

PR photography has never offered so much potential value. The digital revolution, means the right shot can reach staggering audiences. Read the full post here

The benefits of using a trusted PR and press photographer

Experience shows, as time after time we’ve used professional snaps to deliver immense and far-reaching coverage, landing positive client stories on front pages and double page spreads in some of the country’s most respected news outlets.

PR photograpy for Bupa of care home couple celebrating 71st Valentine's Day togeetherWith the help of heart-warming pictures, we told the incredible love story of John and Edith, who met after Edith was rescued after a close run in with the Nazi’s – making front page news, primetime features and achieving more than 35 items of coverage

Just to be helpful and concise, we’ve listed a number of perks of using a specialist snapper:

  • An experienced eye for ‘what works for the Press’
  • A guaranteed, high-resolution shot, delivered in the correct format
  • Superior image quality with a high focus lens and optical zoom – compared to digital zoom on a smartphone
  • Experience organising and working with group shots – whether from the C-suite or primary school!
  • Trusted contacts at newspaper picture desks – on rare occasions, a stand-out image can make a quirky news story of its very own
  • Expertise in finding an interesting angle or shot that can transform the end result from boring and stale to engaging and lively
  • An overall professional look, befitting a successful business’s reputation

Get in touch for expert PR photography

We aren’t here to slam your iPhone’s photos and we’re sure they look great on Instagram too. There is also no doubting that smartphone technology has and is improving at a rate of knots – and each year that passes sees improvements in those cameras too.

Yet to date – and for the foreseeable future at least – there is simply no replacement for a professional, whose experience outweighs the tech.

If you want PR photography that is representative of your organisation, get in touch with our team on 0131 561 2244 – or by using the contact form below:

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Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Chris Fairbairn

Chris Fairbairn is an Account Director with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood PR. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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