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7 Tips to Take a Good Photograph


Tips to Take a Good Photograph (and Video, too!)

Youthlinc photographers and videographers have a critical job. We need their photos and videos to tell the story of the international part of the Youthlinc Service Year experience on our website, social media, and all our publications. Each year, thousands of photos and video footage comes back from our international sites.Some photos or video take your breath away; others aren’t worth looking twice at.

Follow these 7 tips to ensure that your photos and video are the best they can be.
This photo captures a magical moment!


  • Think less 5-year-old birthday party, and more Reality TV. While we all need photos of beautiful children smiling altogether, the most profound photos are those of people working, interacting, expressing emotion. These photos tell a story, capture the soul – not just the face – of people. Whether you are taking posed or ‘in context’ photo, get in close. Don’t take photos of the backs of people’s heads. Get folks’ attention before shooting a posed photo.


  • Think is this visually interesting? Professional photographers shoot photos at interesting angles. They move around the people til they get the ‘right’ angle. They are aware of what else is in the shot – another reason to get in close if the background is less than appealing or distracting. Be aware of natural or indoor lighting and the effect it will have on your photograph. Best photos have the sun behind the photographer, or at least not casting weird shadows.

  • Take multiple photos of a good shot. Sometimes it takes a lot of photos to capture that perfect moment.Delete the ones that are less than perfect afterwards.

  • Make sure your photos represent the whole community and team. Take photos that represent the whole community you’re serving—the men and the women, old and young, healthy and sick. Also, be sure to capture photographs of all the service activities your team is engaged in: education, community health, microenterprise, construction, vocational training, cultural exchanges and dialogues. This helps people remember a more holistic and rounded experience.

  • More people. Less landscape. The places you are going are fascinating and even stunning, no doubt about it. But the people are what will change your life. So avoid taking too many photos of all the trees, sunsets, bugs, farm animals, strange toilets, etc. Focus on the people.

  • The Golden and Back-it-up Rule. Every night, go through your photos and footage. Delete the not-so-impressive stuff: photos where you can’t make out what is going on, everyone’s backs are towards you, or folks expressions were not the best. Save your best work and back it up if possible on a flash or hard drive, or someone’s computer (preferably your Team Leader’s).

  • Make sure to share, especially with the Youthlinc office. Your team depends on you to share photos and video. Put them on DVDs, or in a Dropbox folder. Don’t just put them on Facebook. Those images are compressed and unusable to us. Whatever you do, you must share your photos with the Youthlinc office, or we will harass you and your loved ones until you do. We use this material for our website, blogs and newsletters. Contact for details.


Your photos help tell the Youthlinc story that words could not possibly express.


Youthlinc is a Utah-based 501c-3 nonprofit dedicated to creating lifetime humanitarians through local and international service. Learn more about our programs by visiting our website:

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