20.02.20 / Posted by jirehconsult

Let’s start with a conversation that I regularly have with clients:

Me: Sir, for your coming event, do you need a photographer?

Client: Sorry, no budget. My staff can take the photos for us.

Me: Ok, Sir.


Then comes the post event conversation when the PR team requests for the selected photos to accompany the press release.

These are among the responses received:

“We will send you the photos but the company logo can’t be seen. Can you photoshop it in?”


“Sure! We have some great group shots; all 10 of them gave thumbs-up in the photos but we can’t see some of their faces as it was a bit dark.”


Providing good quality photos that are able to convey the brand, product, or event story is critical for the delivery of the correct or specific message. But it appears that nowadays, everyone can take photos. Thanks to the digital evolution, especially the birth of smartphones with all kinds of in-built post processing photography applications; many are even calling themselves photographers. There no longer seems to be a necessity for knowledge of photography such as understanding exposure, noise, composition, etc.

The question is not about whether can they take photos. It is more about whether they really understand the type of images required for a particular type of use. Each communiqué requires the right type of images – be they event shots, mugshots, or scene-setting shots – to add to the story.

A photo is about capturing the moment. Every photo has to be able to tell a story. In December 1921, Fred R. Barnard famously quoted “One Picture Is Worth Ten Thousand Words” when promoting the use of still images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars.

This saying is indeed true on many fronts. A good photographer’s eyes are like a photo frame which upon looking at the subjects, will instantly know the type of composition they want. A good composition will make the photo pleasing, and in the case of an event, the brand stands out as well.

There are also other factors involved to make a photo good. The correct standing position with correct lighting will make a person look good or in other words, slimmer and radiant (this will certainly make any boss happy!).

The importance of good photos to accompany a story cannot be over-emphasised. Editors and journalists receive hundreds if not, thousands of press releases, articles, and stories vying for attention. Good and usable images will certainly make their life easier if they decide to run a particular story. More so in today’s TL;DR world where most audience take in the story via images more than reading a long article. As such, if there is no good quality photos available or if the photos fail to standout by itself, the story maybe lost before it can even make it to the audience.

So this comes back to the question, do we need a good photo for a PR campaign and should a brand reserve some budget for proper photography? My answer is a resounding ‘YES!’ for some of these simple reasons:

  • To stand higher chances of obtaining coverage;
  • Able to deliver an effective and correct message visually to your target audience;
  • More impact. Especially in social media marketing, photos are essential compared to text related post as visually attractive images will receive more engagement;
  • Higher return of investment as good and high quality photos can be reused across all content platforms. Besides press releases or articles, the said photos can be used in the website, newsletter, brochure, corporate profile, annual reports and many more.

With this argument, we look forward to the day when brands engage the right type of photographer to take the right type of photos to elevate their communication.