Why photos are so important in news stories

Have you ever seen a news station post something exciting on Facebook (imagine “10m great white circles lone kayaker”) but there’s no picture?

Or imagine newspapers with nothing but text, wouldn’t they be boring?

As news consumers we often underestimate the importance of great photography, but luckily for us, journalists don’t – in fact they often won’t cover a story unless it’s accompanied by a strong photo to captivate their readers, that’s why as PR consultants we are always asking our clients for great photos that support their news story and provide that ‘little extra’.

Of course they can’t always use the picture – due to space restrictions usually, but it can also help them to understand the story, which can assist them to write about it.

Everybody knows the phrase ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ and although a little cliché, it really is the truth.

Images stimulate emotional responses, and make the reader feel more involved in the story.

Less hard-hitting news as well as the big stuff still requires strong photography to help convey to story to readers. If a client is announcing a new residential development for example, they need to show what it looks like to attract interest. Because you wouldn’t buy something without seeing it, would you?

While we’re not experts in photography, unless it’s the slightly tipsy selfie-type shot on the trusty iPhone (for some of us), we do know the basics of what works and what doesn’t…

Photos for the media – general rules

  • Many media outlets prefer to use their own photographer, as they know exactly what works for their newspaper. However, given many outlets are stretched for resources these days if you can supply your own high quality image all the better!
  • The type of story (human interest, business news, new product launch etc.) will dictate the content of the photo, which will be the main subject of the story.


  • If you are quoting someone in a media story, it always makes sense to supply a photo of them in context.
  • All photos submitted for print publication must be high-resolution. Photos of 1mb in size are ideal.
  • They must be captioned too, so the journo knows exactly what or who is in the photo.
  • The photo must be of a professional standard – no blurring, correct lighting and so forth.
  • When a photo of the story’s subject isn’t available, try to provide an artist’s impression or a photo of something highly relevant instead.

Indigo South View 4_HR_10meg

  • It’s also good to have a bank of headshots for key people within your business, which can be used for any comment or feature article opportunities that arise. These images can be used over and over again, making them a very worthwhile investment. Also by using the same headshot people are able to familiarise themselves with you, and over time will begin to recognise you and your active involvement in industry discussions, improving your credibility as an expert in your field.


Hola PR clients, if you would like to discuss how you could improve your company’s photo bank, get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise – we work with a number of pretty awesome photographers who we would happily recommend!



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