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Interview with Mark Hurt 

Director of Print and Graphics @ Parentfinder

· Photo Tips

We are excited that you are beginning your adoption journey and can’t wait to help you with your profile. However, we realize that putting together a profile can seem like a daunting task. A lot of people get stumped at trying to be creative and unique.

So, we thought we would ask the Director of Print and Graphics, Mark Hurt, if he had any tips for creating the best adoption profile possible.

Okay, Mark - Now I know you quite well, but others not so much. Can you give our readers a bit of background on you.

Well, I was born and raised here in Indianapolis and have worked in printing and design my entire life. It actually runs in the family! My dad owned one of the biggest print shops in the country and so my brother and myself were sort-of raised around big printers and proofs. I came to CAIRS in 2016 at the urging of our Sales Director, Greg Phelps, who was a co-worker of mine many years ago. Since then, I’ve really enjoyed my time working here and have loved helping build families. It’s the kind of job that you can go home at night knowing that you truly made a difference.

What are some examples of great profiles?

A good way to construct a profile is to design it like a children’s book. Great profiles need to be well written while having photos that match what is being said in the story. Keep the stories “down to earth,” with anecdotes about first dates or little things that happen around the house. Stories that are over the top do not seem genuine and can ruin a couple’s image.

Also, if you’re going to have a bulleted list of any kind, have it at the bottom of the section so that it doesn’t take away from your story.

Those are all great points - I love the children’s book idea, I never thought of it like that! Now, any advice on which photos to choose? What works best?

I have to say, happy photos that you take yourself work way better than ones you have taken with a professional photographer. The photos you take yourself give off of a more believable image. Professional photos provide great images, they can seem staged and disingenuous - so it is important to use those sparingly. Limit them to three or four throughout the book.

So Mark, do you choose the theme for families? And if so, how do you do that? What factors into that decision?

Normally, I do not pick themes for parents. Parents usually pick those themselves and for obvious reason. A parent's profile should reflect their personality and what they want to show about themselves. Now, I will say if I am not given a theme, I tend to stick with a crisp standard template with color borders and light backgrounds. They just feel modern and clean and they’re easy to read.

How can people make your job easier? I know you put in a lot of hours!

First and foremost, above everything else, it’s most important to upload high quality images and the right amount of them. Uploading bad photos or not enough photos can slow down the process and requires me to stop working on your profile to reach out to you.

That being said, please do not upload over twenty photos in a section and ask me to choose the best. I am more than happy to help you, but that number is just way too high. If you want me to choose between a variety of photos, please keep it below 10. Overall, a good rule of thumb is to use four to six photos per section.

So, be responsible with photos. That’s the bottom line. Now, didn’t you tell me something about changes earlier?

Oh, right. When we are working on the proof and editing the book together try your best to be explicit with your changes. This allows me to know exactly what you’re talking about.

Here’s an example of a change that is straightforward and explicit.

Page 2, bottom left photo, change the caption to “My Friends and Family Mean Everything to me!”

And here’s an example of what NOT to send

"On that one page with the picture of me and my friends can you change the caption so it reads ...MEAN everything to me? I don’t like how it looks."

Right, right. Be explicit. Well Mark, I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to talk with us today and give our parents some tips on creating the best profile possible.

I appreciate the blog! Please everyone, if you ever need any help with profiles don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

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