From hero to published: 4 media tips on hero images

 

This week BowerBird co-founder and architectural photographer Nic Granleese gives us some media tips on choosing a hero image for your media kit. This post has a sister article on Nic’s personal blog that goes into the photography and technical side of hero shots here.

What is a hero shot?

You’ve probably heard of the term “Hero Shot” but what is it exactly? A hero shot is basically an image that will come to identify your project. As an example, think of Falling Water. The image that just popped into your head is the hero image. There’s thousands of other images of that building, but one image has come to identify it.

You don’t need to choose the hero shot.

I almost never choose the hero shot for a project. What I do instead is shortlist images that I think could be potential hero shots and include them in a media kit. I then let editors and writers choose the best image for their needs. This allows the best public image to float to the top without my personal biases. What occurs time after time is that one particular image becomes a favourite. The nice part about this approach is that you don’t have to agonise over the “right” image, it’s something that happens naturally.

Provide several variants of the same hero image

If you have a really amazing standout photo, chances are there will be several versions of it. There may be a landscape version, a portrait version, one with people, one without. My rule of thumb is to include variants that allow for a different use (landscape vs portrait for example), or tell a different story (people vs without people).

Variants that aren’t useful are images that are almost identical but with a slight change. For example two portrait images taken one metre apart. The format is the same and the content is the same, and no new information is gained by having the second image.

Editors may not always choose the hero shot

After a project has been out in the world for a year, a hero shot naturally floats to the top. After hundreds of blogs, several magazines, a TV show and lots of social media, one image will stand out as the popular favourite. Along that journey some editors will choose images you would never consider the hero shot. That’s absolutely normal. Different people will choose different images for their purposes. Overall though, one image will come to define a project.

Are you worried your images aren’t good enough?

If you’re worried your images aren’t publishable, you’re not alone. The good news is that often you’re being too hard on yourself and just need an objective set of eyes. If that’s you, feel free to send us an email here with some images. We’re happy to have a look and let you know our thoughts.

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