Club Management Focus: Autumn 2015

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

During the recent reporting on the Judicial Review in the media, one thing which has stood out is the number of inappropriate photographs which have been used. We have seen pictures of poker, canasta, and various unidentifiable card games – but captioned as bridge – alongside pictures from the 50s and 60s, and even drawings of people in the Victorian era playing cards at formal dinner parties.

It has become apparent that where possible anyone submitting an article to a newspaper or website should look to provide a picture to accompany the story. Don’t give the picture editor at the outlet in question the chance to wrongly, or negatively, depict bridge.

The EBU has tried to address this issue with some of the national media, and also with the picture agencies from which the media source their pictures, to try to ensure an accurate depiction of bridge. Clubs and counties can do their bit too. We would encourage you all to think about how any photograph which is used to accompany any article which you submit represents bridge, and your club. This is your opportunity to ‘sell’ bridge, and your club, so don’t forget that a picture speaks a thousand words.

What do potential members, or potential players, want to see if they saw a picture of a bridge club? What do you want them to see if they saw a snapshot of your club?

In both cases the answer is likely to be:
A tidy, bright, inviting playing environment.
A mixed group of people – some older, some younger, a mixture of backgrounds
People playing bridge and enjoying themselves

So, keep this in mind when photos are being taken at your club. It might take only 30 seconds to construct a better photograph, and it may make a big difference.

  • Use the table which has the nicest backdrop – a window to a garden, perhaps
  • Tidy up the convention cards and remove the kit-kat wrapper from the table.
  • An homogenous group doesn’t suggest a club which has a diverse membership – so if that’s who is at the table you intend photographing, ask other people to sit at the table temporarily. Getting a junior player in the photograph would be particularly good as even if you are trying to attract an older audience the potential member will likely appreciate the youthful outlook that this person may bring to the club. If you don’t have a junior at your club then consider photographing those in their 40s – relative to the average age of bridge players they are still ‘young’ so this may have the same effect.
  • Ask everyone to smile. Whilst bridge does require concentration, it is also meant to be enjoyable, so a picture of people smiling better reflects what you would want potential players to think about the game, rather than everyone sporting their ‘thinking faces’.
  • Try to use picture of people playing bridge, in preference to one of someone receiving a prize or award. A picture of bridge in action helps introduce what the game involves if the reader is unfamiliar.

These principles also hold true if the paper has sent a photographer to the club. You can ‘construct’ a scene for them to photograph – it does not need to be an ‘organic’ ‘action shot’.

Hopefully small things like this will help improve how bridge is represented in the media.