Photo-Op Optimization

“Soon everyone will be endorsed for everything on LinkedIn. The Mayans predicted it.” — Chris Forbes

Chris Forbes

This past week, I had the joy of sharing lunch with Chris Forbes, a frustrated stand-up comic, indie film marketer and social media guru. He’s also the co-author of Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits. Currently, Chris is involved in three film projects: a biography of Southern Baptist missionary Lottie Moon, a documentary on the May 20, 2013, tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma, and a new film in a series of foreign language Bible films produced by GRC Productions. Herein lays our connection. Chris is in charge of promoting the film in the US, and I’ve been involved creating fundraising materials to finance production.

Since Chris is a former SBC missionary to Spain, we spent most of our time chatting about my recent trip to Europe. It turns out that one of his daughters was born in Cadiz, one of my favorite discoveries in Spain.

Much of Chris’s work focuses on social media, so I thought I’d share some tips from a blog he recently posted on optimizing photographs in social media. Actually, these same principles apply whenever you take a photo.

Get Closer. Most pictures are taken from too far away. This makes the subjects in a picture too small for viewers to appreciate. Before you take a picture, get closer to your subject. After that, take two more steps closer. Now you’re ready to take a picture!

Compose Your Shots. Even smart phones come with the option to display a grid to help you line up your shot. (Look under “options” on your phone’s camera for this setting.) The grid is based on the “Rule of Thirds.” It’s all photographer alchemy. In short, just place the most important part of your picture, your center of interest, at one of the four places where the lines cross. A person who is the center of interest should look or appear to be moving toward the center of the picture. Why? There is no “why,” only “do.”

Take Lots of Photos. Go forth and multiply your shots. Pictures are cheap and easy to take, so don’t be stingy with the clicks! This gives you many pictures to choose from and increases the likelihood that one of them will be good. The difference between a good photographer and a bad one? A good photographer only shows you the good pictures he or she takes.

Think Before You Post. Pick only the best ones to post. Don’t post a picture you wouldn’t want to see on the evening news. Think about the implications of your photographs before you post them.

To check out more about Chris, visit him at