3 tips for eye-popping visuals

Anyone can snap a photo, which is why so many low-quality visuals make it online. Here are three tips for consistently shooting and sharing high-quality images.

Sixty-five percent of content marketers say photography and video are critical in their storytelling, according to the CMO Council.

That means visual content floods the Internet, and not all of it’s good. Here are three ways to make sure yours consistently stands out—on social or mainstream media:

1. Capture action and emotion. “Our corporate photos have been used by cash- and time-strapped media and even the White House’s Serve.gov website,” says Charlene Sarmiento, PR manager at Goodwill Industries.

What is Goodwill’s secret of success? “Media like photos that are horizontal (landscape),” Sarmiento says. “They prefer images that show action and emotion, with subjects who don’t look right at the camera.”

She recommends hiring a photographer to capture high-quality stock images of your organization. You can provide these images to the press and use them throughout your communications.

Register for PR Daily’s April 21 PR University webinar “Superior Visual Content Marketing: Image and Video Secrets of the NYT & Goodwill” to create visuals that drive traffic, shares and sales.

2. Don’t skimp on equipment. Cell-phone cameras suffice in a pinch, but Goodwill Industries uses a DSLR camera for high-end photography and for short videos. The best DSLR cameras run from $1,000 to $3,000.

Quality equipment includes microphones. “People will forgive bad video, but they won’t forgive bad audio,” Sarmiento says. “If you have a video camera, invest in a lavalier mic, especially if you record talking heads. They cost about $620 and are worth the investment.”

3. Streamline approvals . Excessive or bad editing can transmogrify a quality visual into a low-quality mess. This is especially true of video campaigns.

Sarmiento says the best way avoid this is to bring all reviewers and stakeholders together early to agree on goals and audiences. This will also help you streamline approvals.

“Set a positive, welcoming tone early,” she says. “Give people a safe space to share creative, innovative ideas. Free food never hurts!”

Another idea: Request that all edits or suggestions include a solution. “Don’t let someone simply say they don’t like the music,” Sarmiento says. “Encourage them to say ‘I don’t like the music. I’d like more upbeat music to match the tone of the narrator.'”

Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Goodwill Industries PR Manager Charlene Sarmiento and The New York Times Graphics Editor Graham Roberts will share more visual-content techniques in the April 21 PR University webinar, Superior Visual Content Marketing: Image and Video Secrets of the NYT & Goodwill.

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