How to Connect to Your Audience Through Photos
People love photos. Nonprofits have the opportunity to instantly connect with their audience by posting photos to their website and facebook. Photos give you the chance to engage an individual and create an emotional connection with that person within milliseconds. Once the individual connects with the photo, it will then entice them to read the message that goes with it. However, not all photos are created equal. There is a reason that we recommend hiring a professional photographer for the important things- it will enhance your ability to engage your audience. Regardless, we also realize that nonprofits cannot always hire a professional photographer, especially considering how many events, fundraisers and projects a given nonprofit hosts throughout the year. So when you are given the challenge of playing photographer at your next fundraiser, keep these 4 simple tips in mind:
1) Take a Close Up of a Face
One of the most fundamental rules of good advertising is that people are attracted to faces. More specifically, people are attracted to eyes. Studies have shown that consumers will look longer at an advertisement that has a face in it than one that does not. Think about your facebook posts and website content as mini-advertisements meant to bring attention to your organization. You already know that your nonprofit does incredible work that changes the lives of people everyday, but you need to convince your audience of that as well. Show them the face of the person that you helped today.
One example of a nonprofit that does a phenomenal job with featuring faces (even if they are not human faces) is the Humane Society of Indianapolis. Below is an example of one of their recent posts.
Another example of a nonprofit that does a great job at featuring faces is the Indiana Blood Center. Giving blood is never a fun experience, but if you can see the face of the person you are giving blood to, you are able to personally connect with that individual.
2) Take Action Shots
Nonprofits always have a plethora of events happening, whether it be a community fundraiser, building a structure, hosting a 5K or a five course dinner. A great way for people to visualize what you do is to show them through action shots. For example, if you are a community development organization, show the rebuilding of your most recent project by taking a new photo during each stage. A great way to keep your audience interested is by building a story through your photos over time. If you are a service-based organization, do a follow up story with a person that you had helped previously and include a photo of them playing with their kids or engaging in their favorite hobby.
The Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market is a good example of utilizing photos to its advantage. Not only do they take pictures of produce at the market, but they also include shots of people buying their favorite products. When you see tomatoes like that, who wouldn’t want to shop at the farmer’s market?
3) Take a Close Up of an Interesting Object
Although connecting with your audience on a personal level is the most important things to remember, you also want to think about providing a diverse set of photos. Just like we were all taught to vary our sentences when writing a paper, the same concept is true for photography. A good rule of thumb is to take a broad shot of something and then pick out two or three details that you can zoom in a capture closer up.
Green Bean Delivery will make you pumped to receive your next produce bin when you see the fresh color of home grown green beans. In this case, Green Bean Delivery often uses photos from recipes that it is reposting to its facebook page. If you do not have a lot of photos of your own, link to outside articles that feature a great photo.
4) Think About Color
People are attracted to color! You want your photos to stand out from the mass of information out there and one great way to do that is by choosing photos with rich beautiful colors.
People for Urban Progress does very well at featuring color. From their bright yellow stadium chairs, to their hip 317 t-shirts, there is no lack of visual interest in their promotional pieces. The image below shows a lovely progression of red to orange in the stadium chair colors and certainly catches your eye when you see it.
Always remember that the more you pay attention to the photos you are taking and the more you practice, the better you will become. Be intentional when you are taking pictures and try something new. The advantage today is that we digital cameras, which gives you the freedom to get a little trigger happy. A good rule of thumb is to keep an extra SIM card on hand so that you are sure not to run out of space on your data card.
Now go grab your camera and get shooting!