Flip through any magazine and see what catches your eye. Chances are it will be the largest, most compelling photographs. Editors and graphic designers rely on imagery to enrich the story. “A lot of our time each month is spent tracking down quality electronic images,” says Specialty Fabrics Review senior editor Galynn Nordstrom. “When people send us great images without even needing to be badgered, we tend to send them chocolate, or try to adopt them.”
So if you want free publicity, make sure you know what constitutes a publishable picture.
Resolution: Most everyone works in the digital realm these days, and digital cameras are easy to operate. But while the standard resolution for images on the Internet (for display on computer monitors) is 72 dpi, the standard for print is 300 dpi. Some cameras have low- and high-resolution settings. If you don’t know how to get a high-resolution image from your camera, take it to an expert and have her or him show you. If you can afford a professional photographer, hire one. Not everyone with a camera is a photographer.
Composition: Make sure the background is as uncluttered as possible. A shop floor may be functional but not particularly attractive. At the least, clean the area and remove as much unrelated material as possible. If you can move a product, find an appropriate background; simple is usually best, though creativity may be good for optional setups.
Lighting: If shooting outdoors, be aware of harsh shadows. If possible, take photographs during different times of the day. Morning and dusk shots often provide a flattering skyscape. If shooting indoors, you may need additional lighting or filters. Consider hiring a professional photographer (who will have the right equipment) to take “stock” images for you. Learn how to use the features of your own camera, and how to enhance digital images in a software program such as Adobe® PhotoShop®.
Relevance: Study magazines to determine the types of images used and how they relate to the topic. ‘Grip-and-grin’ or BOGSAT (bunch of guys sitting around a table) photos don’t get used much when photos with color, action and pertinent detail are available.