The Movement for the Abolition of War

How to Take a Good Photo

A picture tells a thousand words…

Photographs can help to get a story in the newspaper, but they need to be good quality. Here are a few tips on how to get your snaps spot on.

Working with photographers

Journalists and photographers tend to have less time these days to get out to events, but if your story is interesting enough they may attend.

  • Ring your local newspaper and follow up with an email with all the details of the event. Give them plenty of notice and follow up with a phone call a few days before your event.
  • If a photographer comes along, work with them and be helpful about setting up shots. You can also get some pointers from them about how to get a good photo yourself in future.
  • If you don’t get anyone along, make sure you have a camera, or even a phone on you, to get your own photos to send to the paper.

Getting permission

  • Make sure everyone in the photo knows that it will be sent to the press and ask their permission.
  • If there are children in the photo, get signed permission from their parents.

Taking your own photo: getting the right shot

  • Check out the background of your picture and make sure it looks good.
  • Get up close and personal. Photos of people or events are better when they are close and fill the shot.
  • Avoid ‘line-ups.’ Action shots are much more engaging and more likely to get used by the newspaper, so have some fun!
  • Give people something to do if they’re not already doing something to give the photo some life and a natural air.
  • Avoid photos of people eating or drinking.
  • Place a relevant banner in the background of the shot
  • Be aware of what’s around your subjects when you take your photo. Trees coming out of heads, other people walking in the background, a ‘rival’ logo should all be avoided.
  • Beware of reflections if the people in your photo wear glasses. Ask people to remove sunglasses and play around with the angle of the light so you don’t get too much glare.
  • Take both landscape and portrait shots to give news editors a choice.
  • Take several shots – and then choose the best one or two.
  • Don’t be afraid to move people to where you want them – be bossy!
  • Photos should be at least 1MB in size and a jpg format for newspapers. Lower res is better for websites / social media pages / electronic newsletters.