Shoot! Five tips for working with newspaper photographers

Good art is a crucial element in an effective news story. Lots of people read newspapers from cover to cover, but many more scan pages for points of interest. They’ll be drawn in by a photo and caption, then read the full story.

That's why you should consider yourself doubly blessed when a newspaper editor calls to set up an interview with a reporter and photographer. Newspapers strapped for resources make fewer and fewer of these appointments. You’ve been given a wonderful opportunity. How do you make the most of it?

Your biggest asset lies deep inside of you. Above all, remain calm. Rattled nerves make for stiff, uncomfortable looking images. It sounds way too simple, but please, just be yourself. Going for "a look" comes across as trying to hard. Ditch the heavy make-up, wear comfortable clothing. And this is not the time to try a new hair style.

Here are five more ways to relax and enjoy the ride:

1. You can’t lose those last 10 pounds or have your eyes done. Live with it. Don’t insist that a photographer take only shots of your product, your business signage, your office. In this case, you are the story, even more than a building or logo.

2. If the photographer and reporter arrive together, ask to have your photo taken first, when you’re fresh.

3. Make sure you’ve checked the mirror before the photographer arrives. It’s impolite to make someone wait, and you may be delaying another assignment. Which makes a photog cranky.

4. Be patient and open to suggestion. A photographer is trying to make you look good, because that makes the newspaper look good.

5. At the same time, don't be afraid to (respectfully) make suggestions that will help the photographer tell your story.


With 20 years of experience in community newspapers, Joni Hubred-Golden brings her experience with "old school" journalism into a new media world. Author of some 2,000 news and magazine articles, she is publisher of Michigan Women's Forum, a free electronic magazine devoted to informing and inspiring Michigan women. Ms. Hubred-Golden has also published a collection of essays, a PR guide for bootstrapping entrepreneurs and has spoken to scores of business people, educators and students on topics ...

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