The photos we use tell a powerful story about who we are. For this reason, we must be thoughtful in our use of photographs.

Tone of Hope, Wonder, and Pride:

Just as with our language, the tone of our photos should evoke hope, wonder, and pride in our audience. This means we lead with photos that show an aspirational identity: parents, children, and community partners succeeding, happy, and joyful, but still authentic. We don’t show sad children or families, hoping to pull on the heartstrings of our audience. This often does the opposite and turns our audience away, as people are wired to avoid uncomfortable emotions.


Whenever possible, we will use photos representative of the communities we serve. This means real Montana kids and real Montana families. We will avoid stock photos that ring hollow and feel manufactured.


We will seek a systems focus with the photographs we use. We know that when people attribute a problem to an individual, they seek solutions that place responsibility on the individual. When people see a problem as systemic, they seek systemic solutions. This means that photographs, whenever possible, should highlight systems as opposed to individuals. It can be difficult to capture compelling systemic photographs of things like classrooms, businesses, childcare facilities, doctor’s offices, etc., but when we can visually identify systemic failures, successes, or opportunities, we should.

When placing our logo, or text, on a photo make sure to place it in a visually quiet space, as demonstrated here:


For larger segments of text, or when unable to find a quiet visual space, add a banner or color bar, using our brand colors, to create an appropriate space:

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James Buscher