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Maximizing the impact of your photos and social media posts for the September week of action

Posted by Erin Bechtol

by Carl Gibson

The historic Pace e Bene/Campaign Nonviolence week of nonviolent direct action is almost here! We have well over 2,000 actions planned in all 50 states and in multiple countries all over the world, and I’ll be posting photos of your actions to all of our accounts. But in order for us to really break through and grab the attention of the entire world, we’ll need to utilize some best practices for photo-taking and posting to social media. Below are a few guidelines for each.



1. Designate someone as the official event photographer. Make sure they have a decent smartphone camera, or a high-quality digital camera. This person should also have knowledge of how to upload photos to a dropbox account, or post them to social media.

2. Fill the frame. This can’t be overstated. Every action shot should be completely filled with people, with as little empty space as possible. The more empty space in a photo, the weaker the action looks. Even if an action has just 3 people, filling the frame still maximizes the impact of the action.

3. Shoot faces. No backs of heads, no side profiles, faces are a must for each photo. Back of head shots are a lot more common than you would think, and nobody wants to look at or share a photo of the back of someone’s head. Tell protesters to not block their faces or others’ faces with their signs. Signs are important, but faces are even more important.

4. Shoot in proper light. If it’s too dark, or if it’s too bright, faces will get washed out in the shot, and the photo will have minimal impact. Even if it’s hot out, move out of the shade and into the sun for the best photo, even if just for a moment.

5. Smile! Chant! Be animated! This is very important. Static shots of stone-faced people are no bueno.

6. Use the hashtags #momentoftruth and #themomentoftruth for each photo posted to social media, so I can find them easily and share them to our main accounts for maximum impact. Try to stick to one or two hashtags for Twitter. If it’s Instagram, however, use as many hashtags as you like.



1. Post your photos immediately! No matter how good your photo is, your photo becomes less powerful the longer you wait to post it. It’s extremely important that you post photos to Twitter and Instagram right after you take them so people can see what’s happening right now.

2. Use relevant hashtags! When we have a unified approach to using specific hashtags around our actions, we have a better chance of trending nationally on Twitter — this can mean that all the media professionals who check out the trending topics to see what to cover could see your actions. Some good general hashtags to use are #nonviolence, #peace, #weekofaction, and #cnv (for Campaign Nonviolence). If you’re going to our Washington, DC convergence, use the hashtag #MomentofTruth!

3. Like and share content from the Pace e Bene and Campaign Nonviolence accounts on Facebook and Twitter (@paceebeneorg and @campaignNV)! And if you’re on Instagram, like posts from the @campaignnv account! This will help our content (and your action photos) reach more people.

4. Search relevant hashtags to retweet other actions! This can be done by simply typing any of the hashtags mentioned above in the “search” bar on Twitter and Instagram. When we all work together to amplify each others’ actions, we have that much more of a chance to trend and take over the national narrative!

The effects of our historic week of action will reverberate for years if we can maximize our impact with great photos and a strong social media presence. Let’s make sure the whole world hears our message of peace and nonviolence!

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