One great photo is worth a thousand words. Good photos are critically important for nonprofits. When it’s time to promote your programs and ask people to volunteer, donate or just support your cause, compelling photos will help you attract attention. Many of us in the nonprofit world, however, cannot afford a professional photographer to capture the essence of our programs.
Here are a few tips that will help you deliver compelling photographs:
TIP #1: People, people, people. Although your new facility is beautiful and the new products you received from Good360 are a hit with those you serve, a photo of an inanimate object will never pull at somebody’s heartstrings. Get your clients in the photo, and be sure to have them sign a photo release form so that you can use them in your materials (Tip #10).
TIP #2: Get close! Don’t be shy—get close to your subject. Many good shots have been ruined by the fact that the photographer was too far away. The impact of a great “people photo” is lost if you can’t see the expressions and facial features of your subjects.
TIP #3: Be candid. Posed photos are fine for certain things—awards ceremonies, important visitors, etc. However, the best and most compelling photos are usually candid shots. These are the photos that are taken as your subjects do something other than be photographed. This is the best way to capture the true emotion and expressiveness of your subjects.
TIP #4: Use the right tools. Make sure you are shooting at a high resolution to ensure you can utilize the photos for all of your needs (low-resolution photos will NOT work for signs or printed marketing materials).
TIP #5: If you can, include your brand. Find a way to get your nonprofit’s brand included in your photos. Think about including signage in the background or volunteers with your logo front and center on their t-shirts.
TIP #6: Use your flash. Even outdoors, using your automatic flash can sometimes save your photo.
TIP #7: Be a picture director. Take some time to think about the setting and how you can utilize the things around your subjects to make the photo more interesting.
TIP #8: Take extra shots. World-class photographers take many, many photos before they get the perfect shot. Be sure to take multiple shots of the same things so that you can make choices later.
TIP #9: Be patient. Be willing to wait for the perfect moment to take photo. You’ll improve your chances of getting a wonderful photo that captures the essence of your program or event.
TIP #10: Get consent. Have your subjects sign the media release form. Remember, all minors must have a parent sign a consent form.
Melissa “Mel” Trumpower, Good360 USA’s Chief External Affairs Officer, studied journalism in college and then chose a career in nonprofits. She soon found that storytelling is critically important to nonprofit success. Good360 launched its GivingPlace360 online community earlier this year, enabling its nonprofit partners to spotlight their work, crowdfund to get the donated products they need, and create impact stories about how donations are making a difference.