Have you documented your humanism in action? Three tips for improving your team’s visual record of events


By Elizabeth Minutello, Beyond Belief Network intern

Ethics in Action

Ethics in Action organizing a library

Beyond Belief Network (BBN) depends on receiving BBN team event reports. It allows us to keep track of our teams’ hard work and show examples of compassionate humanism across the country. The most valuable element of these reports are the photographs! A photograph documents the event, who participated, and many more details, and it gives an overview to the viewer so much more quickly than text can.

Here are some tips for improving your team’s event photography.

Humanist Community of Ventura County
Hard at work in the HCVC community garden

1. Get a photographer. Besides the event organizer, the photographer is the most important volunteer you can have on your team. You don’t have to assign an expert to take the pictures (and an expert might want to take a break from taking pictures anyway).

Pictures aren’t just important to BBN as we promote our teams and the network in national media—they’re also a key way that teams can motivate their members and track their own history. Evan Clark of Humanist Community of Ventura County has additional reasons why you should have a photographer at every event in this blog post for Harvard Humanists, and Humanist Community of Ventura County has consistently amazing pictures of their events.

SSA U Michigan

SSA U Michigan

SSA U Michigan’s park cleanup photos show both the people and the work being done.

2. Learn how to take good pictures. If your photographer isn’t an expert, they might want to take a look at a basic photo guide (such as this one we put together) so they don’t make mistakes that make your photos unusable.

Some things to watch out for are light sources behind the subject of the photo rather than the photographer, objects in the foreground obscuring the picture (e.g., someone else’s head, signs, plants, etc.), and grainy or blurry pictures from too little light or low shutter speed. This picture from Humanist Community of Ventura County shows what action shots look like when done well.

3. Take a variety of pictures. Get a posed shot of the entire group, but don’t stop there. Get a shot of one or two individuals at the task. Even though they don’t show the entire group, they are better at showcasing the activity. Take one or two of the group from far away. Take a close up of a detail or two (e.g., a meal being served, trash collected, weeds pulled, etc.).

Don’t forget about before and after pictures for cleanups, meals, or sorting events or a final picture of the money or goods collected for a supply drive or fundraiser. We liked the overview that SSA U Michigan provided with two shots of a park cleanup. The action shot shows the rest of the group in the background, which is a great touch:

BBN looks forward to hearing and seeing more about all our BBN teams throughout 2014. Together, let’s show how a year of humanism in action can create a positive impact on our communities!