Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

Your marketing or fundraising campaign needs just the right photo to make an impact. How do you know which one will work? Or which ones to even try?

Whether you’re choosing from stock photography or working with a photographer, the photo selection process is an important step in telling the story of your organization and impact.

Once you know the main goal of the campaign, you’re one step closer to picking a great image to enhance it.

Your campaign needs the right photo to make an impact. Click To Tweet

A good photo usually has these 4 things in common:

1. Good composition
The composition is the arrangement of all the elements in the picture. Background, foreground, shapes, proportion, etc. The photo should feel balanced.

2. Good exposure
Think areas of light and dark. A lot can be done in Adobe Photoshop to fix certain lighting issues, but not always. It’s always best to start with a good image.

3. Emotion
Does it make you feel happy, empathy, or powerless? Be careful about relying too much on “misery” to tell your story.

4. Captures a moment 
Photos that capture a moment in time can be a powerful storyteller. Maybe it’s something small that’s often overlooked, or even a really big moment that usually passes by quickly.

Once you’ve found photos that meet the 4 requirements (or at least 3) narrow down the options by asking yourself these:

  • How many do I need?
  • What size do I need?
  • How will these be used (social media, print, etc.)?
  • Will the text be placed on top, next to, or not at all?

It’s important to choose a few options to test before making the final selection. A good designer can make magic with even “not-so-great” photos, but it’s usually best to start with a variety of images. Lay them out and pick whichever works best for your needs. You could even A/B test two different photos in a campaign and compare results.

What have been your successes or failures when choosing the right photo? Let me know in the comments

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