Stage Your PUBLICITY SHOT (Sep, 1948)



COMPETITION in the sale of publicity shots is keen and it takes more than just luck to sell an editor. The successful free-lance photographer knows that a good publicity shot must be built around a basic idea that will attract a great amount of attention. If not, his work will never see print. The basic idea may be to entertain, instruct or arouse curiosity, or its purpose may be to kindle a desire to possess something, to go somewhere or to do some particular thing.

There are many reasons for planning setup shots. Advanced planning enables you to create a picture in which the basic idea is presented forcefully and in such a manner that the picture completely tells a story or strongly conveys one thought.

In my work, I like to plan a picture first by making rough pencil sketches of the idea and then work out the details involved in shooting it. I study the location for best camera angles and the subject for best lighting. Most of all, I try to visualize the finished picture. Frequently, in planning a picture on paper, I try to add some detail or object to the foreground to give purpose and meaning to the composition.

In the typical photo of a person or a group of persons, there are eight factors to consider carefully in following through a basic idea. These are: (1) model or models, (2) clothes or costumes, (3) pose or action, (4) lighting, (5) center of interest or composition, (6) background, (7) props, (8) foreground. In some cases, one or more of the factors may be given less emphasis in order to focus attention strongly on other points of interest. The accompanying publicity shots show how the eight factors are put to work.

In some photos, all eight factors are combined to build up and convey the basic idea.

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