CONSUMER NOTES BUSINESS PHOTOS NOT A SNAPSHOT IN THE DARK

Did you ever wish, after your picture was printed in the company newsletter, that you’d remembered to put a paper sack over your head when the photographer said, “Cheese”? And did you know that really bad publicity photos of top-level executives and up-and-coming entrepreneurs have been known to wind up as makeshift dart boards in the back rooms of some media organizations? There’s no excuse for this embarrassment, so we’ve compiled a few tips from the experts on how to invest $50 to $150 on a good publicity photo and how to use it to your advantage.

Photographers at Geddies of Dallas, Bob Mader and Gittings all agree that you should find a studio with a good reputation or look at publicity photos that you like and find out who took them. A good studio will not only be interested in a client’s work, lifestyle and photographic needs, but will keep complete records and copies of negatives in case a client needs reprints in a hurry. Also, be wary of a photographer who skimps on film, uses cheap-looking or cluttered backgrounds or rushes you.

Think about how your publicity photos will be used. Black-and-white glossies reprint best in newspapers and are the kind most often sent out to the media with company news releases. They cost less, but they won’t be the answer for every occasion. You may also need color prints for use in magazines or color slides for corporate slide presentations.

Because publicity photos are usually needed by people with limited time, a good photographer should be accommodating. Mader, whose clients include executives from hundreds of local companies, reserves early-morning time slots just for those customers. Gittings says it may take as long as two to three weeks to get an appointment. In an emergency, they’ll take you the same day. All three studios will go on location to a client’s office if he or she just can’t get away. Expect a charge of between $50 to $125.

Tips for Men:

●Men are advised to wear dark suits in blue, gray or black shades no matter what the season. Nothing looks worse than a seersucker suit staring out from the company newsletter in the dead of winter. Long-sleeved white or light-colored shirts are best. Ties need to be in a dark color with a small print, rather than wide stripes.

●Wear eyeglasses if you wear them more often than not. Geddies says they can photograph a client wearing glasses with no glare, but Mader and Gittings suggest having an optician temporarily remove the lenses.

● Men photograph best inthe morning because they arerested and clean-shaven.

● Make sure not to get a haircut the same day of the sitting.Wait about a week to avoid theshorn sheep look.

Tips for Women:

● Women are also advised towear dark suits in blue, gray orblack shades. But prim-looking,high-necked blouses with bowties are a no-no. Instead, suggests Mader, women should select a simple, V-neck blouse underneath a suit coat because it’smore flattering to the neckline.For a more feminine look, weara dress with simple lines and ina color not too close to yournatural skin tone. Jewelryshould be kept to a minimum.

● All the photographers saidwomen tend to wear too muchmakeup. If you don’t know howto apply your makeup, somestudios have makeup artists orstylists for advice.

● Don’t try a new hairstyle thesame day of the shoot. You’relikely to feel uncomfortable withit and it will show in your expression. Wait a week.

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