Impact through imagery: why is professional photography so important for charities?

We live in a world that’s saturated with information. News stories vie for our attention at every opportunity whilst businesses overload us with content through multiple platforms. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that professional photography is a hugely powerful medium for getting a message across quickly and effectively. With our busy lives charging full steam ahead, it’s difficult to consume written content. Words take time to read and digest. Images, on the other hand, have an immediate impact. They take considerably less time and energy to process – just a split-second.  

For charities, there’s no doubting the immense power that photography can have. Let’s take a closer look at why professional photography is so important for charities … 

It helps to tell a story 

Visual storytelling is one of the most potent ways of getting an organisation’s message across. Just a single image can help communicate a message to the audience, and quickly. Photographs complement written content within marketing collateral – words and images working in harmony to create a lasting impact. Charities can use imagery to quickly and simply inform and educate people of their work, without bombarding them with mountains of text. Images can also provide more context to the audience, helping them gain a better understanding of a charity’s mission. 

It increases emotional engagement  

As consumers of a vast amount of content, we’ve become experts at spotting the same over-polished stock images popping up on various sites and platforms time and time again. By relying on stock images to tell their story, charities run the risk of their message falling flat. These over-used images don’t have the same evocative impact of unique professional photographs. They are less likely to elicit an emotional reaction, and therefore less likely to be remembered and acted upon by the audience. 

The use of ‘real-life’ images, on the other hand, can be hugely emotive. Professional photos of real people who benefit from a charity’s work will elicit an emotional reaction from an audience. This is important for encouraging people to support fundraising appeals or to become regular donors. In fact, research suggests that the emotional intensity of images can stimulate donations. Photographs that elicit people’s sympathy are more likely to spur donations, demonstrating the notable impact that imagery can have.  

Research also suggests that people donate more when they receive information about a specific individual they can relate to, rather than a social group. For instance, the public are more likely to empathise and engage with a photograph that portrays how an individual became homeless, rather than a stereotypical image of a homeless person. Yet another example to demonstrate the importance of visual storytelling through professional photography for charities.  

It humanises charities 

Humans connect to, relate to and trust other humans. So, it figures that humanising a brand is an important part of gaining consumers’ trust. Showing the faces behind a company can make it much more relatable, memorable and trustworthy. For a charity, placing staff portrait photographs across its website and marketing collateral is a key way of engendering trust with an audience. It’s a personal touch that instantly sparks a connection. As well as professional staff headshots, posting photos of staff and volunteers preparing for fundraising events or celebrating donation milestones is a great way to humanise a charity and build trust.  

And it’s not just photographs of staff that have this humanising effect. Professional lifestyle photography of the charity’s service users can be hugely impactful. In just a split-second, the audience can see exactly how their support can help. Photos like this facilitate a connection that cannot so easily be forged with just words.  

It conveys an organisation’s values 

No matter the size, mission or following of a charity, professional photographs are a useful tool for communicating its core values. A photographer who has an understanding of a charity and its ethos will be able to capture this in their images, helping to convey the spirit of a charity to the wider community. Professional photographs used by charities act as ambassadors for the work they do. High-quality professional photos reflect positively on organisations, carrying connotations of trust and reputability. This is important for generating new support and strengthening relationships with existing donors. 

A clear range of benefits  

For charitable organisations, it’s clear that their message can resonate much more profoundly with their audiences through the use of professional photography. There are tangible benefits to be had if charities can harness the power of photography and use it to their advantage. Not only do professional photographs tell a much more persuasive, emotive story than words alone, but they create an immediate impact. In a world experiencing a constant information overload, this has never been more important.  

Our professional photography services  

We provide professional photography services for a diverse range of clients, including charities of all sizes. To find out more about the photography services we offer, and to see some examples of some recent projects, take a look on our website. And if you’ve got any questions about how professional photography can help your charity, please do get in touch