17. News Tools (vi): Organising a photocall
When considering a photocall it is important to be realistic. There are three questions that should be asked:
- Is the story news worthy? (ie time sensitive and relevant to the audience);
- Is the shot visually interesting (or can it be made visually interesting); and,
- Is it to take place in a location and at a time where photographers (or film crews) can easily gain access?
Providing the answer to the above questions is 'Yes', a photocall will give you another angle of approach to the media via the picture desks on larger titles or the newsdesk on smaller publications.
To organise a photocall you need to issue a photocall notice to the picture desks, followed up by telephone call to ensure receipt and to ascertain if the title is likely to attend. It may help to go through these practical steps, remembering that the newspaper will need advance notice if they are to schedule in a photographer's attendance:
- Let the media know at least a week in advance so they can log it into their news diary.
- For TV and Radio, issue a Forward Planning Notice to the Forward Planning Desk.
- For newspapers and magazines, issue a diary notice to the news desk.
- Issue a photo-call notice to the picture desk.
- Cover 'who', 'what', 'why', 'where' and 'when'.
- Telephone the day before to check that the event is in the News Diary.
- Ensure that you have spoken to any picture distribution agencies who supply shots to a range of media.
- Ensure that you have appropriate props and branding in place and permission to photograph at the location.
- Finally, there are no guarantees in the media, so book your own photographer so that pictures can be sent to those titles that expressed an interest but didn't attend.
What makes a good picture?
- strange outfits / costumes
- well known faces
What makes a poor picture?
- 'grip n' grins' - people holding awards, etc.
- people in suits in a work situation
- product shots