Or How NOT to Photograph Your Volunteer of the Month

A Guest Post by Claire Meyerhoff

Photos are the most wonderful (and cheapo) item in our Nonprofit Marketing Bag-O-Tricks. You probably already have a digital camera, so bring it to work and start taking some happy snaps of the fine folks doing great work for your good cause. Then . . .

Send them to your board members . . . Put them in an e-newsletter . . . Get them up on your cool, newsy blog . . . Turn them into holiday cards and thank you cards!

So many ideas! And so effective!

But maybe you feel like your photography skills aren’t picture perfect.

Frankly, you look at your photos and think, ” . . . hmmm, I don’t know . . .”

You ask your photographer friend Annie to take a look at your Flickr page and give you some constructive criticism. She falls asleep for the first time in a month without Ambien.

Your photos are boring, and no wonder. They all look the same. That’s because when it’s time to take a photo of the volunteer of the month for the “Bizzy Bee Kids Club Gazette,” you find your volunteer, pose her next to the “Bizzy Bee” sign and snap a photo.

This is not only unimaginative composition, it’s poor journalism.

This photo is worth a thousand words. It’s a singular, sublimely simple way to tell a story, and you just missed your opportunity. And as Kivi and I firmly believe, a good story is a terrible thing to waste.

So next time you need that volunteer photo, put on your photojournalist cap and catch your volunteer in action. Melinda is a stellar volunteer known for sitting on the floor, playing “Don’t Break the Ice!” with the kindergartners. Then you need to get down on the floor, too, get as close as you can and capture the moment when the ice breaks and a little kindergartner gives Melinda a hug. When is a sign photo better than a hug photo? Hmmm . . . never.

And when you take that great photo, are you thinking about lighting? LIGHTING! Oh, no, that’s complicated! That’s technical!

Not really, if you know a few simple tricks.

I’m not a professional photographer but I’ve spent enough time around photos and images in my career as a journalist and newsletter editor. In our webinar on Tuesday, November 3, you’ll find out all you need to know about photos — the ones you take and the ones you buy (or get for free!).

We’ll talk about how to “rock the stock,” which means you CAN use stock photos, if you hone your visionary senses. How about that professional photographer friend of yours, Annie? During the webinar, we’ll talk about WHEN to ask Annie for pro-bono services and HOW to make it worth her while. We’ll talk about photos for blogs, photos for e-newsletters, photos, photos, photos!

Here at NonprofitMarketingGuide.com we believe in telling great stories, and having fun while you do it. Join us for the webinar on Tuesday, November 3, and you’ll also have a ringside seat for our bonus fun feature: “The First Annual Magic Keys Awards for WORST-ever Nonprofit Photos!”

Join us for Focusing on Photos: From Cool Composition to Rock the Stock on Tuesday, November 3. Registration is $35 or included with your All-Access Pass.

Published On: October 22, 2009|Categories: Nonprofit Content Marketing, Nonprofit Graphic Design|

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