6 Tips for Effective Photo Ops – Lessons from the Indian Auto Expo 2012


An elevated stage, bright choreography, a moving car, and a strong India and family connect made Hyundai’s Eon launch produce some great photo ops in October.

With our Press Passes in tow, we arrived at the Auto Expo 2012 brimming with excitement to see the latest cars on offer and to share images of these wonderful cars with our readers. The only problem was, amidst the jostle and ballyhoo, almost all our pictures of the Audi Q3 were half obstructed someone pointing a knobbly finger at Katrina Kaif; or completely blocked by a chubby girl who had managed to roll in from absolutely nowhere, just in time to scream “Faaahran” and ruin our shot of the new M-Class Benz. All this on the first Press day, reserved only for serious buyers and some top journalists. We can only imagine how difficult it must have been for other journalists and the public, in the days to come!

So in order to make sure no other press members face the difficulties we did, here are a few points for brands to keep in mind when setting the mood for some media-worthy pictures at a celebrity event in future:

  • Establish some elevated ground. Or carry a foldable stool if you have to. The idea is to make sure you have good-quality, above-the-crowd photos of all your celebrities and spokespersons, who are later likely to be interviewed by the media.
  • Consider an ‘environmental’ shot. Instead of having a celebrity simply stand besides the car for 30 minutes, perhaps a well-photographed moment when Peter Schwarzenbauer, one of the members of the board of management of Audi, gets into the driver’s seat of the Q3 as Katrina Kaif pokes her head out of the sun roof and waves.
  • An ‘in the moment’ crowd pleaser shot can always work wonders. Like the one of the extremely tall Mr. Ratan Tata, comfortably sitting in a Tata Nano, taken a few years ago, at the same Auto Expo.
  • Try and spontaneously involve a spectator in the shot. This makes it more realistic and exciting. The trick to spontaneous shot however, is to plan ahead. Yamaha could have invited an enthusiastic young fan, to sit behind John Abraham, after he unveiled their new scooter.
  • If it’s a photo event, make sure everything’s prepared. That includes a camera capable of producing a media-standard print quality of 300 dpi. You’d be surprised how many organisers go through all the effort of setting up, only to take pictures with a camera-phone or a holiday handycam.
  • Try and avoid taking boring photos of a check-passing, ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting ceremony. Such staged events are not exciting enough to be deemed eye catching.

Image Management’s Exclusive Photo-Op Tip for Car Manufacturers

As most of the public in attendance want to get pictures with the cars on offer, one unique way to organize and streamline such pictures could be to hire an in-house photographer who can take free pictures of fans with their favourite cars, conditional on them leaving their email address. These photos could be then edited as an optimized Facebook profile picture, including a “badge” of the brand’s logo, and sent back to the fans who can upload it onto their social media platforms. The idea is that this will not only help collate a target database of prospective buyers, but will create the possibility of a viral campaign that can spread images of happy fans and cars.

Are you starting to get the picture? A photo opportunity is a powerful PR tool – but only if you do it right.

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