6 Tips to Take Your Animal Activism Photos to the Next Level

PETA activists take to the streets to hand out vegan goodies and hold up thought-provoking signs that open passersby’s eyes to the cruelty of animal exploitation. But how do we spread the animal rights message around the world instead of just around the block? By showing compelling photos of our Action Team’s efforts! Follow these six tips to take your animal activism to the next level via high-quality photos that can reach even more people.

1. Tell the Whole Story

What animal advocates are doing in the photos is only half the story. Capture people’s expressions to clearly show what’s happening in the shot. For example, this person was happy to receive a free vegan roast. Photos that show animal rights advocates engaging with people in a positive and powerful way convey their passion and the public’s genuine reactions, which helps foster empathy and support.

A PETA demonstrator wearing a 'free vegan roast' sandwich sign talks to a passerby

2. Capture Authenticity and Emotion

Genuine moments resonate with viewers and help convey the cause’s sincerity and urgency. Look for candid expressions, spontaneous actions, and real interactions—and ask volunteers to remove their sunglasses so they can make eye contact and be more relatable.

A PETA demonstrator stands in front of a Whole Foods holding a coconut

3. Opt for Visual Variety

Mix things up with both landscape and portrait shots. Landscape (horizontal view) photos give you those wide views that are perfect for storytelling or capturing a scene. Portrait (vertical view) photos are great for zooming in on people or specific details—and they look great on mobile, too. For variety, take some close-ups and wide-angle shots that make your subjects more engaging and fun to look at.

A demonstrator hands out vegan starter guides to passerbys

A demonstrator holding a sign in front of a starbucks

4. Shoot in Optimal Lighting

Lighting can dramatically enhance the image’s visual impact and clarity and draw more attention to the subject. Good lighting ensures that the emotions, expressions, and interactions captured are vivid and engaging, making the photo more compelling in conveying the activism’s message. Make sure that the subject doesn’t have hard shadows cast on them.

PETA action team members tabling

5. Establish Location

Take photos that give context—such as an entrance monument, a marquee sign, or a business logo—and clearly show the company or institution being confronted for its abuse of animals. Capture poster or banner slogans that portray the campaign’s message.

Two demonstrators standing with signs in front of an H&M

6. Use Clean and Organized Framing

Ensure that each element in your photo serves a purpose and contributes to the overall message. Cluttered or distracting backgrounds can take away from the focal point, so aim for compositions that are both impactful and visually balanced. Emphasize the focal point by using the zoom to eliminate excess sky, ground, or blank space. PETA’s campaign objective must be clear from the posters, leaflets, stickers, or signage in the photo.

A 'cage free' sticker inside of an egg carton

Ready to Start Snapping Activism Photos? Join the Action Team!

Join PETA’s Action Team to learn about protests, events, and volunteer opportunities in your area. You’ll also get tips and ideas to help you advocate for animals.

Join Now
A PETA demonstrator holds up a sign reading "VCA: Don't Use Blood from Suffering Dogs and Cats"
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