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 kindergarteners. 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.

Read more tips and advice on nonprofit photography from Nonprofit Marketing Guide and our guest bloggers.

Published On: October 22, 2009|Categories: Video, Graphics, Photography and Other Visuals|