Rod Yates, editor of Rolling Stone Magazine said, “If they don’t have a photo that has at least some aesthetic qualities, we’re not going to run it very big.”
So what makes a feature-worthy press picture?
- The perfect combination of clarity and character – the reader has to be able to see you, as well as your unique brand and aesthetic. Yates said, “Out of focus/blurry shots/shots where the artists are entirely obscured is my number one peeve.”
- Professionalism – hiring a photographer can pay dividends. A half page ad costs anywhere between $500-$2000+. You can get a lot of bang for five hundred bucks on decent press shots that can be used over and over.
- Full colour – when was the last time you stopped scrolling Facebook for a black and white photo? There are exceptions to every rule, but stick with colour for stand out press shots.
- Format – nothing pisses off an editor quicker than a 75kb file. They are all but unusable online, and if it’s for print, you can forget it. Provide high resolution images with correct colour settings.
- Flexibility- can the editor crop it tight, use empty space to place headlines on, cut out an organic shape or use it in a horizontal or vertical format?
Tone Deaf editor, Brandon John said, “Last year’s winner for me was HABITS. Their matching bright orange hair popped against the stark white, and the pose and expressions just put it over the edge.”
“Some bands will show up time and time again in feature images because not only do we love their music, but also they have a great press shot.”
Brisbane-based Lachlan Douglas, somefx, said it’s important to be on the same page as your photographer.
“I need to hear how you want to represent yourselves – happy, introspective, serious, really serious, we want to eat you!
“We need to come up with a press shot that is original, eye catching, appeals to the right crowd, then helps you to stand out in that crowd.
“A good photographer will help you with this, but we both need to have a concept and a clear understanding of how the images will be used ahead of the shoot,” Douglas said.
A picture speaks a thousand words, and nowadays, it’s worth a thousand clicks too. As is the magazine cover to sales. An attention-grabbing picture is crucial to gain cut-through in our visually saturated landscape. And that, is what editors are looking for in your press shots.