The images you choose to publish on your nonprofit website or blog communicate a great deal about your organization. If you’re using high-quality, attention-grabbing images, you can pique the interest of your viewers, invite them to learn more, and communicate why it’s so important to donate to your cause. If your website images are flat, and include mostly posed group shots of people around your headquarters, readers may not stick around to engage with your content. Follow these do’s and don’ts of nonprofit website photography to be sure you’re drawing readers in to your website content.
Do: Publish Images that tell a story.
Make sure you’re using images that have a story behind them. If your volunteers are outside in the cold, providing hot drinks for the homeless, be sure you get a shot that shows just how cold it is, and just how much the drinks are appreciated by those receiving them. Don’t make the reader guess what’s going on in the image. Show them, by capturing action.
Don’t: Publish a lot of group shots without context.
When you’re walking around an event with a camera, you might be tempted to find a group of volunteers and ask them to smile. Instead, try photographing what they’re doing. Their first instinct may be to do just that. If so, take the group shot first, and then stick around to get some candid shots of what they’re doing.
Do: Capture moments.
You might also be temped to rush through an event, just to be sure you’ve captured shots of everything that’s going on, but being patient will pay off in the long run. Take your time, and linger a little longer with a group of people. Capturing the perfect facial expression or interaction to tell your story will be well worth the wait.
Don’t: Use stock photography.
Have you used stock nonprofit website photography in the past? Have you ever looked at a website or brochure and recognized a stock image you’ve also used elsewhere? People can usually tell when the image they’re looking at is a model posing for the camera. Be sure your nonprofit website photography is authentic, and accurately communicates your mission and vision.
Do: Use natural light.
Try to use as much natural light as possible. If you don’t have the luxury of hiring a professional photographer, you’ll be amazed at the improvement in the quality of your images just by using ambient light. Just be sure the light is always in front of your subject, and not behind.
Don’t: Use the on camera flash.
Unless the lighting is really, really low at an event, try not to use the on-camera flash. If you do need to use the flash, and you have access to a strobe, which you can bounce off the ceiling, your lighting results will appear much more natural.
Do: Take a variety of shots.
When you’re photographing an event, you want to be sure to get a variety of angles and distances from your subjects. For example, if you want to show that a large crowd showed up at an event, you’ll probably want to include a wide shot that captures the masses. But if you stand that far away for all your shots, your viewers won’t be able to tell what’s going on. Be sure to get a good variety of close up, mid-range, and wide shots to round out the story.
Don’t: Be afraid to get too close.
When you’re photographing an event, you’ll be surprised at how quickly people get accustomed to your presence. Once your subjects feel comfortable with the camera, don’t be afraid to get in close. Close-up images of a volunteer helping someone can speak volumes to people who are considering volunteering for your organization.
Be sure to put these nonprofit website photography tips into practice at your next event, and publish some engaging photos on your site.