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Planning a Photo Op

Photo OpsPhoto ops provide you with an opportunity to get attention for your activities when there isn’t a big news story involved. Photo ops work best when they’re appealing for a quirky or sentimental reason. Photo ops of kids are often effective. Also, consider the unusual. A local school had a contest to raise money, and if the students were able to raise a certain amount, the principal promised he would kiss a pig. Of course they did raise enough money, and the photo of the principal and the pig made all the papers.

  • When planning a photo-op, make sure that you include a VISUALS section in your media advisory to describe exactly what will be available for media to cover. Include directions to the site and phone numbers that will be staffed.
  • Make sure your media list contains appropriate photo people to contact who can cover your event or arrange for coverage.
  • Start your calls a few days before the day of the event. Most people will want the information sent to them the day before. You might have to make calls the morning of the event as well to confirm that the photographer knows exactly where he or she needs to go.
  • Plan your photo-op with photos in mind. Have a library sign very visibly displayed. Clean up the clutter around the photo area unless it’s part of the concept. Ask participants to dress colorfully in case of color photos. Also, ask participants to avoid busy prints.

Excerpted from the American Library Association’s A Communications Handbook for Libraries, published in Summer of 2004. To see A Communications Handbook for Libraries in full, please visit: http://www.ala.org/ala/pio/availablepiomat/online_comm_handbook.pdf.

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  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov