Let me paint you a picture: I was handling public relations for a big community event and the TV cameras arrived. Once the television cameramen set up, I asked if they needed anything. They were good. But as the event progressed, I kept checking in with them to see if they needed this or that. They didn’t.
It finally occurred to me that if they needed anything, they would ask me.
While public relations pros go the extra mile to help reporters, sometimes, we can be so helpful that it becomes hurtful.
I’ve seen it happen. When I was a reporter on a photo shoot for a feature story, a public relations rep kept telling the photographer what to shoot and how to shoot photos. The photographer kept his cool, but he was boiling mad on the inside. He later told me the rep was overbearing.
Memories of that and today’s situation, prompted me to share some tips on how to avoid being a public relations pest.
Remember: Stay in your lane of expertise. Going outside is when accidents can happen.
1) Stop asking a photographer if you can see their photos
If they take a photo of you or your client, don’t ask to see the photos. They are snapping enough photos to get a variety of shots to select the best ones. They know which ones should work for a layout or a blog. Trust their judgment.
2) Stop asking photographers if they’ll use Photoshop to make you look better
Guess what, newspaper photographers don’t use Photoshop. They shoot what they see. If you are 30 pounds overweight and you don’t like how you look in photos or you aren’t proud of what you are wearing, deal with it.
Photographers won’t “slim’’ you down or remove that extra chin because you don’t feel good about yourself. Be happy they are there to highlight you. And if you know ahead of time that they need your head shots, consider asking a photographer that YOU HIRE to shoot your head shots so you can control the situation. You can have your own glam team on site to cover any flaws you think you may have.
3) Don’t expect news organization photos to be free
News organizations have to make money. They can’t always give you “free” photos from your event or photo session. They have fees. Don’t be insulted if they ask you to pay for what appears online or in print.
Also, news photographers are not “your” photographers. So if you have a restaurant and they take all of these amazing photos for their publication, it’s not really cool to say, “Hey, I’d love to have a copy of those for my website.” Technically, the photos they are taking are the property of the publication. If you want professional photos of your product, hire a professional on your own time to shoot them.
4) Don’t stage photos
Let’s say you had an event and the photographer missed it. Well, don’t offer to “stage’’ the event so the photographer can shoot what they missed. Many print photographers and television crews don’t like to do this. Instead, think of something else they can shoot.
5) Don’t be late for an interview
If there’s ever a time you need to be on time, it’s when you are meeting with the media. They don’t like to be kept waiting. If your press conference is supposed to start at 2 p.m., don’t delay it until 2:30 p.m. because everyone is not there yet. Start on time.
If you are set to appear on television or radio for a live interview, arrive early. Not sure of where you are going, drive the route a day before you arrive so you won’t waste time looking for the location. That GPS is not always right.
If you work in the media, what has irritated you? If you work in public relations, what have you learned to avoid in annoying photojournalists? Please share.
Chanda Temple worked as a reporter for 20 years before becoming a public relations professional. She blogs about being better in business, careers and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple.