Ban the “Grip ‘N Grin” to Enhance Magazine Readership

Association publication editors have a tough job. Their bosses and their members want an engaging, attractive magazine that highlights issues of concern as well as members on all pages. Unfortunately, this means the obligatory posed pictures of people receiving plaques, members presenting checks to community organizations, and rows of employees standing in front of a sign.

Photographs that show activities versus a posed line-up of people are more interesting and catch readers’ attention so that they read the caption or article. Even the obligatory conference photos (when there is a return to in-person events) can be more interesting if candid pictures of people talking, participating in activities, or laughing replace the posed group photos. Lighting and different camera angles can all add to the appeal of conference photos.

Yes, there are times when these photos are inescapable, such as when members submit photos and news items, but when the editor or magazine staff has the option to direct photography at an event or take the photo themselves, here are a few tips from a humorous, but based-in-real-life article, “Nine Corporate Photos You Must Never Ever Take Again.”

  • Grip ‘N Grin – Nothing says reader engagement like an executive handing a certificate to a member. Options for presentation photographs include a shot of the person doing their job and use the caption to explain the award. If the recognition is for community service or a contribution to a nonprofit, show photos of the employees working at the charity – preparing meals, delivering supplies, or cleaning a park.
  • Execution at Dawn – Staff photos of everyone standing stiffly next to each other is no way to recognize achievements. Once again, go for candid photography of people working, or in a more casual photo sitting around the project they completed.
  • You Point/I Shoot – Remember that taking pictures of people doing their jobs should be candid, not posed with one person leaning over another person’s shoulder looking at paper on a table. To get a realistic photo, be prepared to hang around for a while and let people actually work. Take lots of photos so you get one incredibly good, very engaging picture.

Association editors can also take steps to improve the quality of photos they receive by including tips for members who submit photos. A simple list of tips that can be shared can be found here.

For more of the photos you should never take again, along with links to examples, read the full article.