press images owl
Harry Potter would send an owl. But he manages to deliver his press photos quickly and unerringly even without magical powers. Photo: Joe Green

How to distribute press photos hassle free and avoid annoying journalists

“I can’t download the picture, the picture is not big enough and I don’t want to register. Then we’ll just take another one.” 

There are a few do’s and don’t that you should take to heart to ensure that your press photos do not find their way into publications because of the technical implementation. Because journalists like one thing above all: uncomplicated. And they generally don’t like to be patronised. 

But of course you should not lose sight of your own goals. Because pictures with wrongly attributed persons or facts will bring you more trouble than profit. Basically, pictures should be correctly labelled. More on this at the end of this article. 

This is how you make it easy for the media to publish their press photos:

  1. According to a study of 150 journalists by the PR agency HBI Helga Bailey GmbH, delivery by email attachment is the most popular way. As a trained photo editor, however, I can tell you: Please don’t do it. Because this is where most “accidents” happen. Because image captions and images are very quickly separated from each other here. Full email boxes cause annoyance and long loading times on the mobile phone. When forwarding to photo editors, for example, more misunderstandings arise than clarity, details get lost. Writing journalists are often under stress and work differently than photo editors. It is better to send a link to a 
  2. Online gallery: Probably the best way to get the pictures out to the people. Here, the journalist can preview what they have to offer and then download it. No-go: Fill out a registration form and wait for the activation. You have to make a decision on this point: Do you want to be seen in the media or is the rather abstract risk of someone “unauthorised” downloading the pictures too high for you? You don’t have to put the link to the gallery publicly on your website, you can just share it via email., for example, is perfect for this. The important thing about the gallery is that the image texts are displayed for each photo. Picture names serve at most as a reference, but never as a write-here-quickly-all-the-names-of-the-persons-in.jpg.
  3. Only provide them in small resolution: “We’ve already made them smaller so that you don’t have to do that” sounds well-intentioned at first, but it is often the opposite of good. Because you can’t make a crop from photos that are too small. In order for the pictures to fit into the website format, the online ones also need some “meat” around the main motif. And for the print colleagues, too, it is more than annoying to have to ask for the large version again when the boss has finally decided on the photo at 5.30 pm. Best practice: Make the photo available only in a large resolution: Content management systems can inherently scale images properly and compress them so that they can be used appropriately. To do this: What does large mean and what does small mean? And what is actually 300dpi? A common professional photo camera with 24 megapixels produces photos with an edge length of 6000 by 4000 pixels (pixels), an article picture at measures 948 by 533 pixels. There is plenty of room to crop and adjust your beloved press photo so that it fits the format. And the amount of data is also enough to print a double page in Stern. The 300dpi is a measurement from the print world, which describes with how many dots per inch a medium is printed. It says nothing about how large a photo can be printed. Saying a picture has 300dpi is comparable to saying “My car uses 5 litres per 100 kilometres”. Without knowing how much the tank holds, a prediction about the range is relatively hopeless. The most important information about the photo is therefore the number of pixels. How many pixels are “used” to display it in the desired size depends on the medium (monitor, magazine print).
  4. This article is constantly being updated. Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please contact me! 
  5. How to properly caption press photos is here.
Patrick Lux

Patrick Lux

Moin, ich bin Patrick Lux, Fotograf aus Hamburg. Warum ich gerne Events fotografiere? Weil die Begegnung zwischen Menschen immer wieder spannend erlebe. Der Moment ist oft viel zu kurz ist, um die Bedeutung zu verstehen. Eventfotos sorgen dafür, dass Ihre Veranstaltung in den Köpfen bleibt.