I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you are in the business of providing performing arts events for the public–whether you’re a nonprofit or a for profit–there is no sense doing marketing and public relations without including photos! You really are selling a visual experience and the photos are a necessity for performing arts marketing.
Photos are so important in promoting performing arts events that finding a professional-quality photographer who can work with you and provide you with topnotch photos in a variety of format should be one of the main priorities for your organization. If you can’t pay for anything else, scrape up the money to pay for a photographer (of course, if you can find a volunteer willing to work with you pro bono, that’s even better.) You’ll need photos for your press packets and releases, your web site, your lobby displays, posters, postcards, brochures, and other marketing activities. So, find a photographer, pronto!
In putting together your photo collection–you’ll need both color and black and white. These can now be produced from one photo taken with a digital camera and a good computer software program. You should do promotional photos of every production you do, as well as have head shots done of all of your performers and artistic staff. You’ll also want to get photos taken during a production (or a dress rehearsal) for your library of visual images. If people are going to be tempted to shell down their pennies to come and see your performances, they need a taste of what they’ll experience.
You’ll need digital versions of your photos, as well as print copies. It is becoming increasingly typical for the media to request photos digitally via e-mail. So, make sure your photos are formatted appropriately and labeled clearly. This way you can send them out with a few clicks and attach them to e-mails, press releases, and other promotional notices.
Once you start amassing a fine collection of photo images, don’t let them go to waste. Use them in your marketing! Keep updating the photos on your company’s web site, use them in television advertising, print ads, brochures, and anywhere else you are promoting your organization’s productions. People have been trained to be incredibly visual when it comes to their entertainment. You won’t fill the seats without great photos of your dancers, musicians, actors, etc.!