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How to Work with Newspaper Photographers

By Joan Stewart
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The next time a newspaper photographer takes your photo, remember the 8 things they hate:

1. Bossy people who demand that other people be included in the photo, so there won’t be hurt feelings. Never tell the photographer whom to photograph. This puts them on the spot. Usually, the photographer will oblige and take a few shots just to placate you, then make a mental note that you’re a real pain to deal with.

2. Know-it-all photo subjects, usually amateur photographers, who think they know the correct angles, lighting and backdrops. The photographer doesn’t tell you how to do your job. So you shouldn’t tell her how to shoot a photo.

3. Not giving the photographer enough time to take a photo. After he arrives, he might want to look around, consider several different backdrops, check and double-check equipment, make sure the lighting is adequate, and experiment by shooting you in several different settings. So don’t rush him.

4. Public relations people and staff members who act like bodyguards and refuse to let the photographer talk one-on-one with the photo subject. Photographers like one-on-one contact for several reasons. It makes the photo subject feel more at ease. It also helps the photographer discover something about the photo subject that they that might not have known.

5. Inconsiderate people who leave the photographer waiting for half an hour in the lobby. Call media outlets as soon as you know there will be a delay in case the photographer wants to reschedule. Every minute you make a photographer wait is one less minute they can spend helping you look good.

6. Demanding to see the negatives so you can choose the photo you want printed. Leave this decision to the photographer and photo editor.

7. Demanding that you get to keep the negatives. The negatives are the property of the media outlet. They are under no obligation whatsoever to give them to you, although some media outlets will sell you a print.

8. People who ask if the photographer can send them 10 reprints—for free. Don’t make this request of reporters or editors, either. Call the publication and order them yourself, and expect to pay.

Trat photographers the way you want to be treated. Help them make you look good, and the extra time you spend with them will be well worth it.

About the Author
Joan Stewart, a.k.a. The Publicity Hound, shows you how to use the media to establish your credibility, enhance your reputation, sell more products and services, promote a favorite cause or issue, and position yourself as an employer of choice. She publishes “The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week,” a free ezine on how to generate thousands of dollars in free publicity. Subscribe at ( and receive by email the free checklist “89 Reasons to Send a News Release.”


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