Human Interest Story Tips

CARE USA’s 29th annual human interest story contest collected more than 400 stories, videos and photos from 43 countries where CARE works.

How to photograph a story


Imagine painting a picture - what are you trying to communicate?

Who are you photographing?

Where are they from?

What is their situation?



Think about all these factors when you’re setting up your shot:

Backdrop: Which site is most relevant to your story – a field, a hut, a shop, a health clinic?

Emotion: Is your subject happy, sad, overwhelmed?

Lighting: Shadows or sunny?

Action: Is your subject working at home, in a shop, on a farm?

Other people: Include family, field workers, fellow VSLA members, etc.?



TIP 1: Take LOTS of photos!

The more photos you take, the more creative you can be. And your subject will become more comfortable, too.


TIP 2: Compose your photograph carefully.

The primary subject should be the main feature of the photograph. Try getting closer! If you think you’re close enough, take that picture and then take two or three steps closer and try again.


TIP 3: Capture the subject in action.

Avoid shooting stiff, posed photos where the subject is standing still – or photos of people sitting in conferences or meetings. Try to get people relaxed, and engaged in their work, not posing for photos.


TIP 4: Pay attention to lighting.

Use natural, outdoor light if possible. Early morning and late afternoon offer the best light. If you must take a photograph indoors or in the shade, be sure you’re close enough to the subject for the flash to work (usually 6 to 12 feet, or 2 to 3 meters).


TIP 5: Experiment with angles.

Change the angle you take the picture from. Stand on a chair to get above the scene, or kneel on the ground and shoot upward at the subject. Have fun and get creative!


HIS 1: Write a Story

Tips: Write a Story

Use details and emotion to show the impact of a CARE program.

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2018 Human Interest Story contest

HIS 3: Create a Video

Tips: Create a Video

In moving images, show how CARE transforms lives and communities.

Learn More

2018 Human Interest Story contest