Ever feel frustrated because you can’t find the perfect photo on the Internet to accompany your story or pitch? A recent article on FastCompany.com explored brands using Instagram images for more authentic marketing. The article forced me to consider the changing perspective of today’s photography and its application to PR. The days of staged photo shoots and plastic smiles in ads and pitches are over. While these images of perfection and contrived realities once made people open their wallets to try to emulate, now they make people question the authenticity, legitimacy and reliability of what they see. With the rise of visual social media like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Tumblr, our eyes have become partial to a more interactive and intimate style of photography.
The un-retouched landscapes, sunsets and plates of gourmet food that we see all across social media now have added value. Middle-man companies like Snapwire and Olapic are scouting out social photographers on Instagram to offer images to photo buyers with specific visual needs. But don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal. Photographers get small compensation and companies are sure to follow the terms and conditions of whatever social media platform they get images from.
PR professionals should consider taking advantage of this social photography trend for media and community relations. Just as social media helps us crowdsource for newsworthy information, it can also help us “photosource” for the best images to get our messages across.
photosource – v. – to scour through an immense amount of photos made available on social media to find the photos that will best suit your specific needs
Not only is photosourcing beneficial because of specialized photos, it also allows your audience to participate in the photo selection process. Whether done by promoting the use of a particular hashtag to collect all of your images in one place and then choosing your favorites, or by digging through posts yourself, photosourcing can mean getting the most appropriate photograph more quickly, easily and cheaply. Portray your most genuine brand image with these photosourcing tips:
- Follow the rules – Image copyrights are no joke. Check out the terms and conditions on social media sites like Instagram and get consent to use an image from the original photographer.
- Watch and learn – Several companies already use photosourcing for their marketing purposes. Madewell.com showcases how shoppers best style their tote bags on their #Totewell photo gallery. The chic, easy-going styles they showcase reinforce their cool brand image and show other shoppers the usability of their product.
- Ask for help – It’s okay to get assistance. With companies like Snapwire and Olapic out there specializing in finding the right photos for you, getting started is easy.
- Pick favorites – Already found an Instagrammer whose social photography you love? Stick with them! If they truly understand your vision and photo needs, working with them again is your best bet.
- Follow through – Make sure you maintain good relationships with photographers. Pay appropriately and refer them to where they can see the implementation of their photos. Professional or not, everyone likes to see their creativity on display.
Bye-bye boring stock photos, and hello diversity!
photosource pinnacle – n. – the intersection of copyright ownership, original creativity and real promotional needs