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Taking Great Action Photos - And Sharing Them

In an increasingly frenetic traditional media space, it’s sometimes hard to get reporters on the scene to highlight all of our work and make sure our message gets across to the corporations we’re demanding change from. That’s where social media comes in - all of your hard work to create these actions can be amplified and turned into great pressure on companies with just a minimal amount of smart and strategic preparation.

In this toolkit, we’ll talk about how to make your action really pop and to amplify your message online.


BIG PICTURE PURPOSE: To keep up the momentum that we’ve been building to turn up the heat on Pepsico, Quaker, and demand an end to Conflict Palm Oil.

During the week of action, we’re going to do so by jamming Quaker displays around the country. These events may attract press. Whether or not reporters show, however, you can amplify your message by showing activists engaging directly with brands and potential customers on social media.  

Be on the lookout for opportunities to show people power in action.


Capture quality content

Photos are critical for demonstrating the actions that people are taking to put the pressure on—they make the movement all the more real.  Luckily, events such as these are great for getting action shots.  Make it as easy as possible for photographers to get the best images. Here are a few ways to make sure that’s happening:


1. Signs

The quickest and easiest way to visually improve your event is to make signs. Just be sure the content of the signage fits messaging on Quaker.

Encourage the people who join your jam to join the conversation online with a big sign that contains the following:

● Event hashtags, such as #ChangeQuaker

● @RAN handle

● Twitter handles for @PepsiCo and @Quaker



2. Lighting

In low light conditions, lighting can often be problematic for photos of your event; if you anticipate this as an issue, ensure that you have a camera available that performs well in low light.  If you don’t have a steady hand, bring a tripod to help prevent blurring.


3. Placement

At events like these—especially if there is a smaller number of people—the arrangement of people will control whether your photos appear appealing or distant. Strive for the former by bringing folks closer together. They should stand almost shoulder-to-shoulder to help make your photos appear more active and engaging.



4.  Framing

As with placement (above), try to minimize empty space in a photo, as it can mean the difference between a shot that’s action-packed and one with dead energy.  Spice up your photo by using interesting angles; instead of focusing only on what a photographer would see from the front, give some attention to how the event will look from the side.  Use this insight to help you in setting up your event.



Other photo tips

1. Ask one of your team members or friends to be the official photographer. You know the old adage, “If there aren’t photos of it, it might as well have not happened”? Make sure someone is telling the story of your event. Ask at least one friend or team member who has a great camera—or a camera phone with a high quality image capability—to be the official photographer for your event, and arrange with them beforehand how they will get you the photos they take.

2. Take lots of photos. Snap lots of pictures to ensure that there is a good selection to pick from later.  

3. Avoid hair shots. Avoid back-of-the-head images as much as possible. What’s interesting is people’s reaction.


PRO TIP: Use the rule of thirds

Imagine a tic-tac-toe box overlaid on top of your photo. Aim to have the main elements of your image fall where the lines intersect—like in the photo above—as that’s where people’s eyes naturally fall.   


Suggested photographs to capture

❏ Supporters making signs ahead of the event

❏ A photo of supporters in front of the grocery store

❏ Supporters greeting each other

❏ Supporters handing out leaflets outside the stores

❏ Press taking footage of event

❏ Photos of the shelf display (if possible)

❏ Tight group shot with signs


PRO TIP: If there’s one thing to take away from this guidance, it’s to zoom in on individuals with your camera. Visibility is not about amplifying the magnitude of your event, but rather the experience.  Don’t be afraid to get in close—filling your frame with your subjects will convey the action, which has a much greater impact.


Sharing on Social Media!

Now what do you do with your photos?  They do no good for grassroots organizing by sitting on your camera or phone.  Put them online—paired with appropriate descriptive text—via a hugely powerful tool for increasing the reach of your message: Twitter. The same tips below apply for Facebook as well, but we recommend using Twitter for its bigger reach. Posts shared on Facebook typically stay isolated to your group of friends - on Twitter, the posts go everywhere, and that scares PepsiCo’s marketing team, big time.


1. Tone.  

This is important: We have to be a bit respectful of PepsiCo and Quaker. Instead of attacking them or threatening a boycott, give them the opportunity for redemption by asking them to do better. No one responds well to insults.


2. Hashtags.  

Add relevant hashtags to make sure your voice is heard in the right conversations. For this day of action, the main one is #ChangeQuaker


3. Handles.  

Since we’re trying to show how the pressure is building, be strategic about calling the right people’s attention to your content. How can you make your photos most effective? Who would care the most?

Suggestions of Twitter handles to add:

● Targets - @PepsiCo, @Quaker

● Participants - people who are there with you

● @RAN - show that you’re part of a movement


Inspiration for tweets

We’re banding together with people across the world who are demanding change from PepsiCo. Show that you’re part of this movement by asking for PepsiCo to do better, challenging the “wholesome” marketing of Quaker, and by including information like your city, state, and the people who are out there with you working for change.

The tweets below are just suggestions, so feel free use these as inspiration and write your own. Make sure to use the hashtag #ChangeQuaker in order to join the conversation online.


Sample tweets

I'm with @_____, calling on @PepsiCo to #ChangeQuaker and cut Conflict #PalmOil! (picture)

With @____ and @____ at Target in St. Louis to #ChangeQuaker! @PepsiCo, you can do better - cut Conflict Palm Oil! (picture)

One more (Mom, Dad, Activist) calling on @PepsiCo to cut Conflict #PalmOil. #ChangeQuaker - destruction isn't wholesome! (picture)


Thanks for your hard work, and good luck!

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