Monday, June 12, 2006

Back to the Beginning 

My daughter's Girl Scout troop needed a PR release and publicity photo recently for a project on which the troop is working. It is typical of small organizations that they have no resources for such things. So, it was fun to go back to the beginning of publicity work and do everything myself.

I write releases, of course, but I hadn't shot a publicity photo in years. There's a trick to doing it and making it interesting. I didn't achieve that, but I think I met most of the unwritten rules. It's important to have some of the girls in the photo, so their parents can see them. You must have more than one, or the "sniping factor" will begin. "How come my child was left out?" You should have them all in uniform, although one wasn't. All their faces should be clearly visible and evenly exposed. I took the photo in mottled light, but it would have been better in full shade. They should be doing something interesting. Ah, that was the trick. There wasn't anything interesting about collecting small toys and games for children, especially since they hadn't started yet. So, I posed them around the collection box holding out the small toys and games they were looking for. At least, it told the story of what was needed.

Was it a great publicity shot? Not in the least. It suffered from failure of the imagination, but I had 10 minutes to take it and three minutes of preplanning. As my old photography teacher would say, that's no excuse. It should have been better. On the other hand, with a night's rest and reflection, I still don't know what else I would have done.

The next trick was converting color to black and white for the newspaper. I'm not good at this. The whites aren't white enough and blacks too gray. Yet, publicity photos are supposed to submitted to a newspaper in middle tones of gray because newspaper presses tend to print in higher contrast. I just hope it works for the paper.

Could I go back to this kind of publicity if I had to? I guess I could, but I need work.


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