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The power of photos in storytelling

Updated: May 25, 2021

As you may know, I am a lover of stories. Something you may not know is that another really important thing to me are my photos. One of my hobbies is scrapbooking. It’s a way of creatively documenting my photos and stories to preserve the memories and also play with a load of stickers and stationery at the same time.

White background, two selfie photos of me (white brunette woman) Decorated with pink and turquoise embellishments including a camera and sentiment that reads "she believed she could so she did"
A recent scrapbook page

And as we all know, a photo is a very powerful way of telling a story. So much can be conveyed about a moment in that one snapshot.

As my consulting company grows, and I share more and more content with awesome fundraisers, I wanted some photos that could help me tell my story. The story of who I am as a fundraiser and the story of how I can work with you on your fundraising. Because hopefully the more you know about me, the more that can help you decide if we’d be a good fit to work together.

When it comes to your fundraising, you need photos to be able to tell the stories of the amazing work your charity does.

It was really important to me to work with a photographer that matched my style, but also understood our sector. I was delighted to find Susannah Fields, and after some initial emails and a phone call I knew I wanted to work with her – she totally got my style, my job and I knew she’d do a fab job of capturing my stories.

During the day, she took the time to understand what I wanted, as well as any concerns. I think my exact comment was “I know it’s a camera not a magic wand but can you try and minimise my chins and tummy?”

She totally understood and was brilliant at giving me direction so I could get photos I was happy with. Her creativity and ideas made sure I was relaxed and most importantly – had a lot of fun!

Whilst we took photos, we also chatted about all things charity sector, and Susannah shared her top tips for finding a photographer to work with, whether for a brand shoot like mine – or more importantly – for your next fundraising event or campaign.

Top tips for working with a photographer

1) Choosing your photographer “There are a few things that should take absolute priority - firstly, have you seen their work and do you like it? Do they have a good reputation (it's easy to check this out on LinkedIn - look for recommendations) and when you get in touch with them, do you like the way they correspond to you and listen to your desires and concerns?”

Blonde woman in yellow rain coat, jeans and white shoes. Appears to be floating in the air, holding a rainbow umbrella. Stood in the woods, in front of a homemade den of sticks and logs.
Copyright: Susannah Fields

2) Consider your budget

“Photography prices do vary. On average, you are looking at around £400 - £600 for a small shoot and £700 - £1000 for a larger shoot - depending on what's involved. If you really are super tight on budget consider waiting until you can afford it, ask the photographer if there are any budget options or payment plans or do your own photoshoot for now.”

3) If you decide to take your own “The best thing you can do it use your phone and a gorilla tripod to support your phone for selfies from a distance or to make sure your phone is steady. Shoot with the light in front of you, preferably not too bright sunlight and if doing a selfie, use a mirror just behind the phone so you can see yourself."

4) Ready to book a photographer? “If you have any ideas in mind, share them. Send a bunch of links to photos and styles you like - even if it means sending links to another photographer, a decent pro won't mind at all, in fact they'll be grateful for the insight into your wishes.”

5) What sort of photos do you want? “When thinking about the images you want, I also encourage my clients to think about the message they are trying to get across. For example, if you want to use your images on your website, you might want a shot of you on the phone for your contact page, a natural portrait for your about me page and some group shots on a page all about fundraising.”

You can check out Susannah’s amazing charity reel here. A few of my personal favourites include:

Inside of a church taken from a height. Softly lit. Small choir performs at the front. Christmas tree in the corner.
Copyright: Susannah Fields

I know Susannah also recently did a brand shoot for a charity CEO so there are a lot of ways she could work with you and your charity.

Most of all, as we start to think about our “in person” events again, we’re all going to need some updated photos. Plus having a photographer at your event can be a great way of offering lovely stewardship for your supporters. If you’re starting to plan your in person or hybrid events for later this year my top tip is - get a pro photographer.

Please do have a look at Susannah’s website, follow her on Instagram and keep your eyes peeled for some of my photos taken by her coming soon.

*** A quick note: This post is not an affiliate, sponsored or anything like that. I’m a big believer in shouting loudly about awesome people doing awesome things. If I work with someone brilliant and I think you’d love working with them too – I’ll recommend them. Just a little way of spreading the love, and hopefully helping you find someone great to work with too.

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