Want to make The Times’ front page? Use great pics!

Want to make The Times’ front page? Use great pics!

The A-level results roll around like clockwork every summer with the usual handwringing over whether teenagers are getting brighter or exams easier. The challenge for every journalist and photographer is to make this pot boiler diary story interesting. Usually the pix (pic/pix is journo slang for photos) accompanying this annual story are a variant on the following: delighted (pretty) girls hugging each other; a group of students (all heading to Oxbridge) clutching exam board paperwork or an old-fashioned triumph over adversity pic (I got five A-levels while battling a life-threatening illness). This is a fantastic example of how great photography can elevate a routine story into front page news. This imaginative photograph of teens doing a Usain Bolt style ‘streak of lightning’ celebration was a fresh and imaginative way to take a snap which summed up the A-level results at a glance. So much so that it ended up just below The Times’ masthead. Simply fantastic PR for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital school in Bristol, and another example of how press agency SWNS (who took the pic) sets the news agenda. Getting great pix is not as hard as it might seem at first. You don’t have to have as good an eye as Royal photographer Patrick Lichfield but there are some basic rules you need to follow. A decent headshot is a good start (we demonstrate how to bag one of those using a stepladder, helper and smartphone in our ‘How to do your own PR’ Masterclass). Over the years everyone at Mary Murtagh Media has worked on stories where a cracking pic has made an ordinary story...