The Visual Impact and Importance of Photography in Public Relations

18. July 2018 16:06

By: Amanda Eden, Stoner Bunting Advertising

Human beings are inherently visual thinkers. We process images nearly 60,000 times faster than text, and our brains can identify pictures seen for as little as 13 milliseconds (according to an MIT research study). That’s fast…really, really fast.

While we don’t recommend creating 13 millisecond YouTube clips, we do counsel our clients on the importance of integrating visual content in all paid, earned and owned media (that’s advertising, PR and the stuff you own, like your website and collateral, for example). Did you know that 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual? That means you have an opportunity to create permanent memories that cement your position in the mind of your audience and help you stand out from the clutter.

A Harsh Reality
Interior Design Magazine Managing Editor Helene Oberman once told us, “In the publishing world, your products are only as good as your photography.” It may sound harsh, but it’s true. Editors receive thousands of product pitches and must weed out the few that present well enough for their publication. This is judged in equal parts by the story or innovation behind the product and the photography supporting the story.

The same can be said for social media, where manufacturers have an opportunity to connect directly with the A&D community, facility managers and other specifiers. Photography is content, and we all know: content is king.

If you want to be taken seriously by editors, publishers and social audiences, you must have stand-out images that jump off the page or screen.

IRE: Interesting, Relevant & Engaging
For Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat posts to be effective (and worth your time and creative energy), they need to be visually interesting, relevant to the audience and engaging. Engaging in this case means that your followers will actually like, comment on and share your original content.

Considering visual content is up to 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content, according to PRNews, the case for interesting, relevant and engaging images is stronger than ever.

When a simple photograph doesn’t do the trick, consider other types of visual content to garner interest. It’s easier than ever to create Infographics and visual data, and custom social media graphics that are engaging, easily processed and begging to be shared.


While Infographics often use text and numbers to tell a story, it’s important not to overdo it. Rather, let the design speak for itself. The simpler and more easily digestible the image is, the more shareable it will become. This helps boost engagement and increase your reach.

The right photography will close the deal and gain you coverage
Images should always be considered as part of your overarching pitch strategy. There are many times when interesting, relevant stories and content are pitched to publishers, only to be denied, or worse ignored, because of a lack of photography.

The same fate awaits paid, owned and earned content that is accompanied by low-res or amateur photos that were taken on a smartphone or tablet. These photos might work for social media, but for an editor looking for print material it’s a major misstep.

It’s no surprise that companies that obtain high-resolution photos of projects and hire professional photographers for their photo shoots tend to get more coverage in the industry press. Rich, detailed hi-resolution imagery also helps these manufacturers obtain cover stories and lead to a mutually beneficial relationship where media outlets can count on quality content from that source.

It’s time to make the commitment
As a full-service marketing agency that handles both advertising and public relations for clients, our role is to facilitate and strengthen relationships with the media and the brands we represent.

This is why we always stress the importance of photography to our clients and will not consider projects for case studies and pitching unless there is high-resolution photography available from the start. There are literally thousands of manufacturers clamoring for coverage, and photography carries enormous weight in the editorial decision-making process.

Finally, great photography and imagery helps us help you. In an era when everyone thinks they are a professional photographer or videographer (thanks iPhone!), it’s important to invest in the quality imagery that showcases products, projects, events, trade shows and other gatherings.

Want to know more?

Learn how to create visually impactful public relations initiatives that benefit your brand by attending the Closets Symposium at IWF Atlanta, Tuesday, August 21.

Stoner Bunting has been building relationships in the home and building products industry since 1984. Our insights into what excites audiences at every stage of the design and construction process – and our access to the people and publications that influence them – make your marketing smarter, so it works harder.


Comments are closed