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What Photography and Creative Writing Have Taught Me About PR

November 19, 2019

 

Last week, I talked to a classmate about my love of music, writing and photography. She asked me if I thought there were any commonalities between my hobbies and my future career and, I’ll admit, her question caught me off guard; I had never been asked that before.

 

I paused for a moment, thought about it and said, “It’s all about storytelling. Photography and creative writing allow me to tell my own stories while PR is about storytelling for others.”

 

 

When You Give a Girl a Camera…

I had a love for photography ever since my dad gave me a bright pink digital camera, safety strap and all, when I was eight years old. Ever since, I snap pictures everywhere I go, sometimes much to the dismay of those with me.

 

Cries of “Wait!” and “This will only take one second!” have left my mouth much too many times to count when out and about with friends and family. When I see something eye-catching, I can’t help it. I simply have to pull out my camera and capture it.

 

Writing is another hobby I have loved for as long as I can remember. The diaries hidden under my bed as an elementary school kid turned into fictional stories scribbled into lined notebooks, which later transformed into the occasional stab at writing poems and song lyrics.

 

As I grew older and chose a career path, public relations seemed like the only profession that interested me. I didn’t know why at the time, but now I realize that it’s because it gives me the opportunity to do something I love: storytelling.

 

 

 

It’s All About Perspective

One of the first (and best) pieces of advice my dad gave me pertaining to photography is simple: “always look behind you.”

 

He explained that it is easy to only look ahead when taking pictures, but the best shot can very well be behind you – you’ll miss it if you don’t take the time to complete a 360 degree turn.

 

The same is true for PR messaging. It’s important to look at every possible angle and perspective when crafting messages. If we only focus in one direction, we will inadvertently exclude an essential piece of the puzzle, and our work will suffer for it.

 

What Kind of Shot Do You Want To Take?

The first question a photographer considers when taking a photo is “What kind of shot do I want this to be?”

 

Do I want it to be a close-up? A wide shot? Crystal Clear? A little blurred in some areas? These artistic choices can totally alter the way your work is interpreted by your audience.

 

In writing, this methodology is the same. Whose point of view are you writing from? What do they see? What are they neglecting to realize?

 

PR is all about providing information in different mediums and varying circumstances. Sure, the goal is always to provide the public with truthful information. However, there are instances in which certain elements of the story are omitted or highlighted to enhance the overarching theme of the piece to its intended audience.

 

How do I want people to feel after reading my message or looking at my photo? This is a question that must be answered to create work that resonates with people. Framing and focus are pivotal elements needed to accomplish this task.

 

A very recent example of effective storytelling is Sandy Hook’s “Back-To-School Essentials” advertisement. The message is intensely fear-based and jarring, but they pinpointed what picture they wanted to paint for this message and stuck with it. It has 3.1 million views on YouTube and has created quite a stir on social media.

 

Leave Them Wanting More

The best compliment any photographer, writer or PR professional can get is for their work to be in high demand. If people appreciate your work and want to see more, you’ve made a positive impact. As Forbes article “3 Reasons Why Storytelling Should Be A Priority For Marketers” says, “storytelling is a fundamental human experience that unites people and drives stronger, deeper connections.” Like art, PR gives us the chance to make those human connections.

Last week, I talked to a classmate about my love of music, writing and photography. She asked me if I thought there were any commonalities between my hobbies and my future career and, I’ll admit, her question caught me off guard; I had never been asked that before.

 

I paused for a moment, thought about it and said, “It’s all about storytelling. Photography and creative writing allow me to tell my own stories while PR is about storytelling for others.”

 

 

 

 

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