How to Choose Photos

There’s no better way to make your adoption profile letter come alive and give it impact than using photos.

And yet all too often, they’re treated as an afterthought, something to throw in after everything else is done.

What you may not realize is that your pictures are the first thing that prospective birth parents see when they come across your profile. And, if you don’t pay attention to them, they could be the last things they see as well.

Photos grab people’s attention and draw them in. They convey emotion and create stories in a way that words can’t. Every photo in your profile should do one of three things:

  • Make a statement on its own
  • Enhance your words
  • Break up your letter and make it easier to read

But don’t just choose anything. To create a good impression, you need to pay attention to their quality. Be sure that everything you put into your profile looks crisp and is well-composed. They don’t have to be professional-looking or require a professional to take them. If you have a family member or a friend who’s a shutterbug, an afternoon shoot at the local park will more than do the job.

Here are some other tips to consider when choosing your photos.

Simpler is better. Make sure that each photo is self-contained and that its meaning is immediately evident.

Aim for impact. If you want to make a statement, a few larger pictures are better than lots of small ones. Variety is good. Mix your pics up in terms of size and subject matter. After all, you never know what images your reader will relate to.

Tie your pictures back to your profile. Use your photos to illustrate the main points or themes of your letter. For instance, if your profile talks about your weekly pick-up basketball game, make sure to include a shot of you in action.

Close-ups are best. Prospective birthparents need to know that they can trust you. Trouble is, they don’t have a lot to go on. Many will make their decision based on nothing more than what you look like. So try to have as many close-ups as possible. Nothing says “trustworthy” better than a shot of you smiling at the camera.

Keep the focus on you. The only time some couples take photos is when they’re on vacation. Which means your pictures may have a lot of breathtaking backgrounds and monuments in them but not much else. Remember, it’s what’s in the foreground–you!–-that counts the most.

The more recent, the better. It’s tempting to include pictures when you were younger and slimmer. But that’s not who are you today. And if you’re worried about looking old or overweight, nothing will emphasize it more than showing pictures of you back in your prime.

Avoid wedding photos. Wedding shots are all alike. So unless your wedding is unusual or says something special about you, don’t put it in. Ditto for pictures with sunglasses. Your eyes are the windows into your soul. Make sure prospective parents can see them.

Go for casual shots. Avoid anything that looks stiff, staged or stuffy. Choose poses that makes you look down-to-earth, easy-going and approachable. In other words, the kind of people a prospective birth parent would want to get to know better.

Make ypur pics child centered. Since your profile is designed to show off your credentials as potential parents, be sure to include lots of pictures of you with children. Nothing showcases your inner child better than shots of you getting down on all fours with your nephews or being silly at the park.

Include your family. Everyone loves flipping through family albums, and prospective birthparents are no different. Milestones – birthday, anniversaries, special occasions of any kind – are photo ops that tend to bring out the best in us, so don’t forget to include them.

Don’t forget your furry friends. Just about everyone loves animals. So if you’ve got them, flaunt them!

Home, sweet home. Prospective birth mothers want to know their child will be growing up in a good home. So what better way to show that than by sharing pictures of you relaxing in your home.

Show variety and versatility. If you’re like most couples, one of you is the designated photographer and the other one is the model. Make sure your profiles has pics of both of you-–and in different settings and poses.

Your life is full of interesting moments. Your adoption profile should reflect that. One way to do it is through photos. Pictures capture us at our best and can create deep and lasting emotional connections.

Need help choosing photos for your adoption letter? Our writing service for prospective adoptive parents can help you make a difference.

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[Image: Flickr user muffet]




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