Impactful images are an essential component of every news story, social media post, newsletter and website content. The right pictures can amplify the content and entice readers; pique the interest of your company’s target audience and journalists alike; and be a game-changer when it comes to securing media coverage – which is why poor-quality photos can do more harm than good.

The Caryl team is celebrating four decades of creating attention-getting marketing content for clients across a range of industries. Over the years, we have navigated numerous instances where well-meaning folks have provided less-than-press-worthy  images. “Photo fails” ranging from low resolution and clumsy composition to poor lighting have become more and more common now that smartphones have turned us all into photographers.

Here’s the positive of that: Every “fail” offers an opportunity to learn and educate others about the importance of ensuring the quality of every image when it comes to promoting businesses, products and events.

Whether creating images for newsletters, social media pages, websites or press releases, following these 10 tips will help ensure that every picture truly is worth a thousand words!

1. Image size is everything: Make sure your photos are large enough. The standard resolution for print as well as for digital desktop/tablet/mobile use is at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). According to, in general anything over 3.5 MB (megabytes) will likely meet that 300dpi threshold for high resolution. Photos with lower resolution may be grainy; a higher dpi will look sharper and clearer. (If you are unsure where the image may be used, opt for a higher dpi.) 

2. Format matters: File types and dimensions should adhere to the traditional or social media outlet’s criteria. JPEG and PNG are approved file types for most news outlets. Each social media platform has preferred dimensions, so it’s beneficial to resize or adapt images in advance of posting to avoid any awkward cropping.

3. Quality is key. Some basic dos and don’ts:

a. DO select a clear image. If the photo is dark or blurry, you run the risk of it getting passed over.
b. DON’T zoom in when taking smartphone photos – you are manually reducing the resolution. You can always crop in later.
c. DO position people so that the light is shining into their faces, not behind or overhead.
d. DO choose landscape layout over profile, especially for B2B purposes.

4. Take screenshots: One of the most common photo fails is taking a smartphone photo of an existing photo or computer screen. Want to share a photo of a Zoom webinar? Use the screenshot function on your computer.

5. Get great group photos: Meetings and events are always a challenge to photograph. Your best bet is a posed shot of presenters, team members and/or other relevant players. Whenever possible, gather folks in a location with decent lighting and make sure everyone is looking in one direction.

6. High-caliber headshots are a must. Whether you’re pitching a thought leadership piece, promoting event speakers or announcing a new hire, great headshots are a must. And no matter how laid-back your company’s brand image, you can’t afford NOT to hire a photographer to ensure professional results.

7. Avoid stock photos: An original photo that is relevant to your content is the marketing gold standard. If you must resort to stock photos, never pull them from Google Images or other company websites. Use only royalty-free photos that don’t require a fee.

8. Give credit where it’s due: Make sure you own or have rights to any images you use for editorial purposes. If you hire a photographer, get their permission to use the pictures.

9. Name each file: Before uploading or sharing images online, name each file using appropriate keywords. This will make it easy for the recipient to ID the photos, as well as help with image searchability and Google rankings.

10. Don’t forget these file-sharing hacks: An email with multiple images attached may be flagged as spam. When sending photos to media or via a smartphone, use file-sharing software like Dropbox or Google docs to avoid issues and preserve file quality. Or upload photos to the online newsroom on your company’s website if it has one, and include the link in your press release or email. If you do email or text an image, be sure to choose the largest possible file size.

From top-notch photographers to seasoned content creators, Caryl Communications has the resources and experience to help our clients create and share compelling stories – and achieve award-winning results! Connect with us at (201) 796-7788 or