When it comes to putting together a adoptive parent profile, hopeful parents spend hours composing their letter, making sure that every word is just right. But by comparison, they devote next to no time on their photos, often picking out the first ones they can find.
Big mistake. Your photos aren’t just an important part of your message to expectant parents. They could be the most important element as to whether or not you get picked.
Photos don’t merely illustrate your adoptive parent profile. They’re the first things that expectant parents see. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some tips on how to make the photos in your profile priceless.
Make them relevant
The images you choose to illustrate your words are important. But not all images are created equally. Especially when you’re talking about something as important and as targeted as your adoptive parent profile. Choose your pictures judiciously. Above all, make sure they tie back to the central themes of your letter, that they cast you in a positive light, and that they have emotional resonance. And don’t forget who your audience is. Be sure to choose photos (child- and home-related) that will resonate with an expectant mother. Not just ones that bring back happy memories for you.
Family and parenting shots are best
Remember the goal of your adoptive parent profile letter: it’s meant to help you find a match with an expectant mother by showing how you could provide her child with a loving home. And there’s no better way to illustrate that than by showing you engaged in activities that reflect that, particularly if they take place in your home. Nothing says you’re ready to parent more than a shot of you on all floors playing with your niece or goofing around in the backyard with your friends’ children.
Larger photos are better than small ones
Your adoptive parent profile is designed to make you stand out. One way to do that by choosing big photos. Smaller photos are fine, too. But if you really want to leave your mark, a few larger photos will make a bigger impact than many smaller ones. Just make sure that you optimize them for the web and that you pay attention to the quality and the cropping.
Make them real
Your adoptive parent profile should depict you as a real person, someone who is down-to-earth and easy to talk to — the kind of person you would want to sit down and have a coffee with, not someone who will judge you. Your photos are a great way to show that, provided you know which ones to choose. Discard any formal shots that look canned or staged. Instead, choose ones that are casual, warm and welcoming.
Focus on the foreground
In order to trust you, expectant parents need to get a good look at you. Make sure you don’t let them down. Wherever possible, your photos should be close-ups and medium shots of you, not wide shots. The backdrop to your latest mountain climbing trek or Mexico trip may be breath-taking, but that’s not what expectant parents are interested in. Leave your travel photos for another album. In your adoptive parent profile, stick to shots in which you’re looking at the camera and your face, especially your eyes, are visible to expectant parents.
Tell A Story
Every picture tells a story, and the photos in your adoptive parent profile are no exception. In going through your collection, try to find pictures that tell a story, evoke an emotion and don’t require a lot of explanation. If the meaning of your photo isn’t immediately evident in a glance or requires more than a short caption to set it up, move on to another one.
Adoption is a serious matter. But your photos are a chance to let your hair down, have a bit of fun and let your personality shine through. Photos can be great conversation-starters and help you break the ice with expectant parents.
One couple we worked with once found a match because they included a photo of themselves holding theater tickets. Turns out the expectant parents were also interested in theater, which created an instant connection. One thing led to another and eventually they became family. And it all started with that photo of a theater ticket.
Adoption matches happen for all kinds of reasons. When you’re starting out, you never know what it is about your adoptive parent profile that will create that initial spark and help you click with an expectant mother. Photos are a great way to draw readers into your letter, capture your personality, and create narratives and emotions that can’t be put into words.
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