All photos included in this article are from The Humanist Community of Ventura County.
1. Photos show your group’s personality
Ever read one of those job advice columns that reads, “hide your Facebook photos before you apply for your next job?” Well, for many (my best friends included) that’s some pretty sound advice. However, the reason you’re told to hide everything is because employers often size up candidates based on those photos. They use them to make snap judgments about us based on the activities we partake in or the people we spend our time with.
Well, if you’re in a group that attracts new people because of the activities you offer and the type of people that are there, then that’s exactly what you want new people seeing! A few good pictures of your group offer the viewer A TON of quick information. Why not use that to your benefit?
2. Photos help you convey your message
Nothing can express the personality and passion of your group as well as a photo. We all know the cliché, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but how often are we using that gem of advice?
Let’s take a poll – raise your hand if you, or someone you know, receives a regular newsletter from a local church or non-profit organization they work with? Okay, seems like most of America aged 30+ raised their hand…. Now, how many of those newsletters would DRASTICALLY improve with some beautiful high-quality color photos to complement all that writing? (Hint: The correct answer is ‘all of them.’) Just imagine your local paper without pictures for a moment…. Uh, I’m already falling asleep thinking about it.
3. Photos are conversation starters
Ever been to an event where lots of organizations are tabling? Consider for a moment how persuasive photos are at catching people’s attention and drawing them in. Now, imagine the comments or questions some of your photos could entice….
“Why are you all in front of a giant dinosaur?” “Wow, is that how big your group is?” “Are those Flying Spaghetti Monster cookies?” “How often does your group do hikes?” “HOLY COW YOU GOT GRETA CHRISTINA TO SPEAK!!! SHE’S MY IDOL!” Suddenly you’re talking about how awesome your group is and you didn’t even have to start the conversation!
4. Photos document your group’s history
If you’ve ever tried organizing a reunion, a yearbook, a wake, or a corporate history, you fully understand the importance of old photos. While often meaningless in the weeks that follow an event, your photos will gain new importance in just a few years’ time. Every group has a story to tell, and often your photos will become the best storytellers.
Future leaders WILL want to document your group’s history, and you’re doing them a disservice by leaving your cameras at home.
5. Photos are so easy to take
Own a cell phone made since 2006? Then just like my mother (who proudly sports a 2007 flip phone) you most likely are carrying a camera in your pocket or purse every day of the week. Now don’t get me wrong: there are HUGE differences between my mom’s flip phone, my best friend’s iPhone 5, and my Nikon DSLR, but let’s not let perfection get in the way of progress!
Cell phones are now the camera you never forget at home. They also give you incredible options for instantly sharing pictures (did somebody say Facebook?) and my guess is every member of your group knows how to use their camera phone. Use this to your advantage and encourage people to take a few photos at each event.
Pro Tip: If you have a smartphone there are many wonderful photo editing apps that can help make any photo look exciting or professional. Did I mention most of these apps are FREE!?
6. Photos are incredibly easy to share
Just over 9 months ago my local Humanist group helped organize a community service project with the California Lutheran University Secular Student Alliance and the Harvard Humanist Alumni. The event was a huge success, all thanks to the organizers, but we realized we had completely forgotten to take a group photo before half the volunteers had already left. However, determined to still document something, we organized who was left and took a quick photo anyways.
This photo, once posted online and then reposted by the Humanist Community at Harvard, helped our Facebook page reach over 400 people THAT DAY! By then tagging everyone in the photo, we more than doubled our page’s followers. By week’s end, that photo had been seen by over 1000 people. Through the simple act of ‘tagging’ and ‘sharing,’ we suddenly reached a national audience, in hours, all without intending to. That is the power of social media sharing.
Now it’s your turn. Go forth and snap more photos…then share them with the world!
(And share links to them in the comments below!)