All of us can understand the desire to look our best and make a great impression in any situation. There may be countless retakes necessary to capture the most flattering selfie and therefore the right moment. However, all of us also understand and appreciate when a real and raw moment is captured as well.
Everyone is tired of the touched up, air brushed photos of celebrities, so why do we use many of the same practices when it comes to offering photos with stories about senior living communities or posting photos on a community’s website?
Many resort to the same idealized stock photos that others in the industry use, rather than capturing the real moments and people who make up the community. That could be a major mistake.
People who are checking out retirement community options want to see the real deal, not a standard older adult smiling with a random caregiver wearing scrubs and a stethoscope or the same group of seniors laughing as they go for a walk. There is great value in featuring the community’s actual residents and staff members. Tons of photo opportunities happen throughout any given day. These moments simply need to be captured, particularly if a special event is taking place.
In fact for certain events, we suggest hiring a professional photographer. Often, lifestyles directors or other staff members can snap some basic photos of residents around campus for a story, but there are times when having some high-quality images to accompany a press release or add to the website or post on the Facebook page is absolutely necessary and worth significantly more than the cost of a professional photographer.
Remember to confirm your subjects’ permission or have a basic photo consent form available ahead of time so that everyone knows upfront that photos may be taken and where their images could appear.
Here are three helpful basic tips when taking your own photos:
1) Limit those in the shot to a half dozen or fewer. Having fewer people in a photo allow readers to see facial expressions and full names, titles and even organization names. Sometimes a larger group shot is all you can get, but a few happy participants are even better. When taking the “posed” close-ups, arrange your subjects so that they’re all smiling and looking directly into the camera. By the way, folks love to see their own faces and names come out in the paper, so be sure you capture names and their correct spellings (immediately after each shot for most accurate results).
2) Beware of the background. Litter or distracting aspects in a photo can ruin an otherwise gorgeous shot.
3) Shoot Photos to Usable File Size. Print media outlets prefer photos typically 1MB – 1.5MB in size or larger when possible. Large file sizes can be scaled down, but quality is often lost when trying to enlarge an extremely small JPG. It helps to use an actual camera rather than a smart device, so that may be a worthwhile investment for the community to have on-hand.
Check out marketing and sales strategist David Meerman Scott’s rant about photographs of real people being better than stock photos: HERE.