PR Tactic: How to provide great images for a TV Story


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What is it?

You are working on a story idea that has garnered a lot of media interest – including television news and magazine programmes. This is how you pick the right images to go with the story.

Why do you do it?

It’s true a picture is worth a thousand words. Impactful TV pictures tell a great story and are so much more powerful in telling your story than any other mainstream media.

How do you do it?

Here are the factors that you need to consider:

  • Location: Where are you planning to do interviews?This will have a major bearing on the quality of your images. Too many events take place in nondescript hotels and office blocks. Do you have a product or even a factory? These would look good. Can you do your announcement in an unusual venue or colourful venue? What will the weather be like? Can you go outside? This will increase your options further.
  • Who will be in the TV pictures? There are some definite rules of thumb here. There can’t be too many or too few people. Gender balance is essential. It is important to work out the office politics well in advance of getting to meet the media. It’s a balancing act between picking those that represent the story and your brand best and what looks and feels correct.
  • Who will speak for you? Who are you putting on the camera as an official spokesperson? Make sure to put them through their paces in advance. Test them out in a number of different interview formats. Very short, then three minutes and 15 minutes. Make sure that you prepare at least three good sound bytes for the television footage. It is likely that your spokesperson will only get 15 seconds in a two and half minute TV package. These should be snappy, to the point and memorable. Practice using them – they work really well. Make sure that your spokesperson is comfortable using them
  • Can others support your argument? Can you prime others that will speak to the camera. These could be staff, customers, people in your industry or customers. Ask yourself – who could support this story and will they speak on camera? You should also work with these people on how to present themselves on camera.
  • What about props? Props are great, but no gimmicks. A large sign with your hashtag is so bad. Please don’t do this. Ask yourself – how can I bring some realistic colour to this picture? I once did an environmental story where we got a government Minister to put his two hands into green paint and put his hand print on a sheet of clear perspex. We shot through the perspex. It was a nice shot. My two favourites were taken from the same client 15 years apart. The client specialises in the manufacture of timber frame homes. One was taken at the Angel of the North statue in Gateshead and the other was at the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. In each photo the CEO wore a hard hat and a high visibility vest. Both images got great coverage.
  • Support imagery – If the story warrants it you should get your own extra images that might be of use to television journalists. Imagine drone footage of a new factory or building development. Make sure to use the right shooting format.
  • Social media – take some pictures of the media interviews for your social media. It adds a nice touch of credibility.