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Choosing the Right Photos

Context and Content

Words can help you tell your story, but photos let others live that story. This is why we emphasize finding and using the best photos possible for your adoption profile. Last week, we wrote about the importance of using the highest quality photos. This week, we'll talk about the content.

Context is Key

When trying to decide which photos to put in your adoption profile and which photos to leave out - I encourage everyone to put yourself in the shoes of the reader. If you were a birth mom, what sorts of photos would you want to see? Remember, choosing an adoptive family for her child is probably the toughest decision she'll ever have to make. So you need to put your best foot forward.

The first and most important thing we tell adoptive families is that these photos should be your BEST photos. They should be happy, fun and provide context to the story you are already telling with your written word. As a rule of thumb, 80% (or 4/5) of the photos on a page, should directly correlate with the text.

Example

The Meet Colin page talks about A) his love of rare books; B) his desire to coach a baseball team; C) a good sense of humor, and D) love for family.

That means this page, which usually has space for five photos, should at least include pictures of him being goofy, spending time with siblings/parents, playing or watching a baseball game, and a picture of him in a bookstore or reading a book. The last picture can be a portrait or another accent photo to complete the page.

Tips from Our Profile Coaches

After finding photos that will provide good context to your writing, there are a couple of things that you should consider. Below are some do's and don'ts from our Profile Coaches.

Do

  • Use photos where you are active. Riding bikes, gardening, making dinner, working on your classic car, knitting/crocheting.. etc. 
  • Show some personality. You're allowed to be goofy. Make a funny face or show off that whimsical Halloween costume from last year!
  • When choosing a cover photo, you need to make sure that you're making eye contact and you look nice and presentable! This is your first introduction, make a good impression. You should also try to find a photo that's file size is above 1MB. 
  • When choosing house photos, remember that this isn't a real estate pamphlet. No one wants to look at a picture of an empty living room. Maybe try to get one where the dog is being cute, or you're cuddled up on the couch or by the fire. This allows for a birth mom to envision a child in the picture. Also, show us pictures of you in the community. We'd love to see you at the Farmer's Market, at the local theater, or at a sporting event! 
  • Try your best to be present in every photo, it just seems odd when there's a picture of family members, but not the adoptive parents. Same goes for the kids. If you already have children, make sure that you're in most of the photos. This is a profile about you, not your children. 
Don't
  • We do not want any photos of you: Scantily clad, drinking alcohol, or smoking cigarettes. G-Rated only, please. 
  • No (or very few) sunglasses. People like to see your eyes, it helps them connect with you better. 
  • No (or very few) selfies. I know, it's 2017 - but when you see a whole profile of selfies, it just seems like you weren't trying to do you best. 
  • For family photos, don't feel the need to include EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of your extended family. Instead opt for a fun family picture. This could be from Thanksgiving, Christmas or even a Family reunion. Everyone doesn't need to be present, but the photo should be unique - and about your family. Even if you don't talk about these traditions, this photo could help tell your story even more, especially if you use captions.
  • You're more than welcome to use professional photos, but make sure they don't all look the same! Switch it up. When you change locations, change your clothes. Get creative! If all the photos look the same, the reader will think you didn't put enough effort into the project. 

Hopefully, this post will help you find and choose the best photos for your adoption profile! If you still have more questions, don't hesitate to send your profile coach an email. Both Kim and Colin are more than happy to help!
 

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