Smartphone Proves to Be Powerful PR Asset

You know that whole business about sliced bread–as in, this or that development being the “best thing since” the aforementioned subdivided sandwich-centric food item?

This generation may want to revise that line and insert “smartphone cameras” in sliced bread’s clichéd place. For a few years, my HTC Evo has taken photographs with remarkable clarity. It has been a convenient tool that has augmented my public relations work very, very well.

In fact, a few months ago, the device’s brilliance was reaffirmed in a contest sponsored by the Oak Park Development Corp. The organization chose a photo that I took last November, of a fog-shrouded park near my home, as the best of all submissions among amateurs in one particular category.

Now, I realize that the competition may not have been fierce, but no matter how you slice it, it’s a pretty darn cool shot, especially from something that I formerly associated with being useful only to make and receive phone calls.

Then, this past Saturday night, my appreciation for the HTC went up another big notch. In preparation for a news release and media outreach on a contest to name the “Big Smile”  illuminated over the front door of Children’s Dentistry of Forest Park, I ventured out about 10:30 p.m. to capture some images of the eye-catching sight.

First, I took photos with a Canon Rebel camera. Then, figuring it couldn’t hurt to take a few quick snaps with the HTC, I pulled that out and seconds later was back in my car and headed home.

After uploading photos to my laptop–most from the Canon Rebel and only a few from the HTC–I couldn’t tell the difference in quality. Then I asked my wife to see if she could pick out which photo came from which device.

Photo taken with the HTC Evo.

She has an excellent eye, has taught me much about photography over the years and I thought that if anyone could see something that I overlooked, it would be her.

She guessed three times, incorrectly, before I identified the HTC-generated photo in one series of five photos.

Clearly, there are limitations to what smartphones can do, both online and in print. But especially when it’s the difference between getting no image and having one that is serviceable–or even better–then the convenience of taking a few photos and then having them available to augment a media campaign is compelling.


Checkmate: Page 1 Wednesday Journal Photo Mirrors My Recent TribLocal Contribution

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then two remarkably reminiscent photos ought to be worth at least a 250-word blog post.

An image from my impromptu photo shoot on Aug. 17.

Two weeks ago, as I loaded my kids into the family van outside my office near downtown Oak Park, I noticed two men playing chess on the trunk of a taxi. It was too cool of a visual to pass up, so I grabbed my camera, snapped a few photos and wrote a brief account, with three photos, of the scenario at TribLocal.

One of the three photos that I posted at TribLocal.

A week later, on page 7 of TribLocal’s Aug. 25 print edition for the Oak Park area, the vignette appeared.

Lo and behold, two days ago, the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest featured a strikingly similar photograph (below) on its front page—showing the same cabbie, Bobby Johnson, and a different rival chess player.

From the front page of the Aug. 31 Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest

Did my work spark the creative juices of Jason Geil, the Journal’s prolific and talented photographer? Or was it just coincidence? (Editor’s note, after this original blog post: It was indeed coincidence, according to Geil, who has since become a friend.)

In either event, when I saw Johnson (again) playing chess outside my office on Wednesday afternoon, I had the pleasure of giving him the TribLocal edition in which he appeared as well as tipping him off to the WJ coverage.

Now, it’s a matter of waiting to see if the national media starts swooping in on Johnson’s cab-trunk gamesmanship.


Related Posts:
Smartphone Proves to a Powerful PR Asset
How Photography Gives You a PR Boost, Part 1

Oak Park’s Own: Q & A With Stephen Green

Six weeks ago, in a prior Inside Edge PR post, I noted my interview with Stephen Green, the Chicago Cubs’ official photographer for more than 25 years.

Joe Kreml, of the village of Oak Park, recently wrapped up editing the Q & A and did an outstanding job. The segment, “Oak Park’s Own: Stephen Green,” ought to be of interest not only to sports fans, but anyone interested in the artistic process.

To see the 10-minute video from my session with Green, click on the video below.

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