As public relations professionals, you come to dread the cliché “grip and grin” photo opportunity which clients love. And why shouldn’t they?
After all, you may be submitting about 10 different releases about corporate giving a week to the media but it might be the client’s/company’s only opportunity for the entire year to demonstrate publicly that they contribute to the community and are, in fact, a good corporate citizen.
Usually, when these photo opportunities occur in the office setting the company representative is appropriately dressed because they are already in their business attire. However, when the setting is outside the office, the dress may be less than appropriate. Here are a few tips to ensure picture readiness.
Take the Shades Off
In Barbados, we wear our shades (sunglasses) all year long. They are the first things I reach for when I get into my car on mornings. However, if the assignment is outdoors do not be tempted, even if the sun is in your eyes, to wear them for a photo op. Wearing shades for a photo can make you look shifty, unprofessional and even aloof unless of course you are a rapper and then yes, the big gold chain and dark shades are an expected feature of your ‘costume.'
Do not Underdress
The occasion maybe just a kite flying competition, but very short pants are inappropriate if you are going to be representing your organisation. Remember that after the event your image might end up on the cover of the local newspaper so be sure that you dress suitably. Above all, your clothes should be sensible and well fitted. You do not want to be photographed with crushed badly fitting attire.
Do not Overdress
It would be equally inappropriate to turn up at the kite flying competition in business or formal attire although this is done on a number of occasions and accepted since being overdressed is preferred to the alternative. However, you appear more prepared and in tune with your audience when you match them in dress. U.S. politicians are good at this. They roll back their sleeves and take off their ties when they attend blue-collar events, and the tie and cuff links return for the white-collar events.
Wear Appropriate Shoes
We females love shoes. Picture this. You are presenting the prize to the winning polo team, and you know beforehand that you have to walk onto the polo field to the presentation stage. Why wear spike heels that will sink into the mud and grass? The still cameras may not capture this, but the video cameras that are recording and the audience are amusingly capturing your three-minute spectacle to reach the podium. Always wear sensible shoes.
Have your game face on. Look as if you are happy to be at the event and not that the company has forced you to give up quality time to be available to take a picture. The camera never lies so put yourself in a good headspace before you are photographed.
Be Prepared to Say A few Words
The question “do you want to say a few words,” scare most people, and the usual answer is “no I am just here to present.” This is your opportunity now, not just for a photo opportunity but also to get a great quote in the media about your company. Make sure that you turn up for all photo opportunities armed with your sound bite, which gives even more weight to your photo op. As a matter of fact, it may be the catalyst that ensures your photo gets into to the public domain by a journalist who quotes you at the event. Being prepared ensures, you get the best exposure for your company and yourself every time.