A Photographic Story

Change your lens, Change your story
Summer is a good time to think about better ways to use photography during the 2019-20 school year. As always, the key to communicating is understanding how the recipients of your messaging respond to your photography – be it homegrown or professionally produced. Here are two helpful suggestions from our friend and colleague Judah Harris.

#1 Happy Faces – a Lot of Them, and Not Enough of… People like to see themselves in pictures (usually) – and so will their family and friends. This was true even before the Selfie epidemic hit us. But don’t rely solely on the smiling-for-the-camera shots or photos of large groups to raise your school’s profile. Separate these types of pictures from more serious photography that actually documents your mission! Lots of faces prove that you have a crowd and imply that everyone is having a great time. But if that’s all of what we see most frequently in your marketing photography, we lose the details. What are the students actually experiencing? Keep in mind that photography that gets close and involved, is gripping and emotional. Viewers pay attention when they grasp a story they can relate to. They want to learn more. You captivate your students – now captivate your viewers!

#2 Don’t Leave It to the Audience – Present the Photos as You Want Them to Be Seen. Curate your photos. Take your best and most informative photographs and share them proudly with your audience. You can use individual shots (or a few) and attach a short story or explanation, or you can assemble 30-60 images that tell a fuller story (i.e., preparing for a siddur celebration or mock trial), sequence them, and offer them as a photo essay, a visual presentation that can be viewed full-screen. This will grab not seconds of attention, but full minutes of viewer immersion. That’s gold in this day and age. Edit and categorize your website galleries carefully and use nicely-designed banners and graphics on the landing pages to promote your photo essay. Tout the photo essay to your email list and on social media. You can also post images selectively on Facebook as newly-created albums to provide a photo essay experience, or use a slideshow hosting program (I’ve used Slideshare for many of mine – see example, the Education Photo Essay.)

Judah S. Harris is a photographer, filmmaker, speaker and writer. He has produced visual content for numerous educational programs in the US and Israel, and is also a noted photo educator. Judah’s narrative photography has been featured on the covers of more than 40 works of literary fiction, in advertising all over the world, and on the pages of publications ranging from The New York Times to Jewish Action and Mishpacha.

Have questions? Should you have any questions about assessing present materials, implementing a marketing plan, crafting compelling stories, utilizing data-driven research to present your case, or any of my cost-effective day school services, please feel free to send me an email or call me at 516.569.8070.

Enjoy the rest of the summer – and share something nice with us in the fall!
Kol tuv,

Candace Plotsker-Herman