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Take pictures at EVERY event that you host for your group. Do not worry about the quality, just do your best. Why? Pictures of people at your events will attract more Members (for free), get more opens when you send out a newsletter, attract more viewers on Facebook, and so much more. In most cases, pictures will cost nothing more than your time.
Sure, owning a fancy camera may result in better pictures, but not everyone can afford the newest DSLR. If all you have is a smart phone, start there. If you have a budget for a cheap point and shoot, buy one. If it's not in your budget, don't worry. Pictures will help you gain more Members. More Members mean more profit from dues, events and sponsors which means at some point you can invest in a more professional camera.
Make sure you designate a photographer at each event. You can be the photographer, you can give your event host the responsibility, or you can hire an amateur (often on the cheap).
Do not share the photos until you watermark them. See this blog on how to create quick and easy watermarks.
Share the Photos
After your event, share the images in multiple places so you can drive traffic back to your website.
- Post the pictures to an album on your website or better yet create a slider. If you have a NING network check out JenSocial's slider, http://www.jencreative.co/ning-slider/
- Post one picture in your newsletter and link it back to the album or slider.
- Post one picture on your Facebook page and link it back to the album or slider.
- Submit a few pictures and a press release to the newspaper.
Use pictures in your marketing materials. If you ran a dinner party in June and you have another coming up in July, be your own graphic designer and use the pictures you took in June to promote the July event!
What to Photograph
Focus on taking pictures of people. For social groups I always prefer group shots, so pull 3-5 people together and have them smile for the camera. If you have extra time, take some candid shots and also take pictures of other things such as the venue, your welcome sign, your door host, a drink being poured, the dog that someone brought on the hike, etc.
Pictures will help you gain more Members for FREE. Everyone loves pictures which is why they get so many views and likes on Facebook and why people will open your newsletter. So do not worry about the quality if you do not have a budget for a camera or a photographer, instead focus on the quantity of pictures at every event.
I , Laura Occhipinti, founded New Jersey Young Professionals in 2004. I have 5,000+ dues paying Members on my Ning website and 11,000 Young Professionals on my mailing list. You can download a copy of My Favorite Tools (Hint: The BEST ones are FREE).