When is it better to let someone else take the pictures?
You could be a vital part of the story. So don’t be too modest about being photographed. Don’t insist the photographer takes only shots of your project or product, your business, charity logo or whatever you have to offer.
For a few minutes, you may be the star, the centre of attention. So why not make the most of the opportunity?
If your news story is strong enough, or you’re just plain lucky, an editor may send a photographer to your home or business. If not, it may pay you to hire a professional photographer.
What to do when you’re being photographed
- Enjoy the occasion. Go with it. If the photographer and reporter arrive together, ask to have your photo taken first, while you’re still feeling fresh.
- Dress appropriately. Ask yourself what people would expect you to wear. Police, nurses, brownies and scouts usually wear uniforms, sports clubs have their distinctive team colours, and most businessmen wear suits. The late Chairman of Apple Inc, the computer genius Steve Jobs, always wore his own uniform – his trademark black t-shirt and jeans.
- Choose your colours carefully. Loud colours and garish patterns emphasise the clothes rather than the person. Neutral colours and autumnal shades such as greens, browns, orange or rust allow the eye to focus on the subject. Avoid too much black or white.
- Make sure you’ve spruced up before the photographer arrives. Do up your jacket, straighten your collar, comb your hair. Don’t dilly-dally. You may be keeping him from his next assignment.
- Your facial expression must fit the occasion. If it’s good news, smile. If the story is distressing, don’t.
- Remember banners, visual aids and other props may add to the picture. Holding an object connected to your story can emphasise the point you want to make. Release balloons, use outsize cheques for charity events, if you must.
- Let the photographer do the directing. Be patient and open to suggestion. He’s trying to make you look good, because that helps to sell his newspaper. He’ll probably try several shots before he gets the best one.
- But don’t be manipulated. If you want to give the impression of being at work outside with other people, don’t let the photographer picture you sitting in your office alongside a bookcase looking scholarly.
You may also find my article on news values of interest.