Popping on here quickly to address a question I get asked a lot, do we really need professional photos in order to have a good adoption profile?! The answer is no, you don’t need professional photos taken specifically for your adoption profile, but you do need high quality photos. Those don’t have to come through professional photos, but generally professional photos will ensure high quality photos to use in a profile. At a minimum, you’re going to need photos taken with a good digital camera, or at least a relatively new phone, to take photos of 2 MB or higher.

I don’t think all, or even most, of your photos within your profile should be professional, unless your professional photographer takes very candid, lifestyle-like photos of you, and captures you showing yourself in an authentic way. An expectant family is likely looking at anywhere from 3 – 15 adoption profiles when they are considering families for their child and they can tend to all look the same. Having unique photos, or photos that really show who you are, are much more likely to get noticed and stand out from the rest of the hopeful adoptive parents. So if you plan on using professional photos to create your adoption profile, make sure they don’t all look staged or posed, and instead capture you in everyday life.

I personally don’t think posed photos are necessarily the best photos to use in your book. Instead, photos of you laughing and doing things you love to do are much more memorable and eye-catching than a posed photo. You want to make sure that it is easy to connect with you in the photos – so that means photos taken up close, without sunglasses, goggles or hats, which all can obscure your face. We typically recommend that our Purl families ask a friend or family member with a good camera to spend a few hours with them taking photos of them as a couple together, and individually, in different outfits. It helps to have them take posed and candid photos, as well as photos of your home, community, and your pets.

I always encourage families to have active photos of themselves doing the things they like to do every day, really telling their story through their photos. That might be playing a board game, cooking, grilling, playing the guitar or hiking. Given the amount of profiles an expectant family receives, and the fact that many families prepare profiles of 20 pages or more, most likely your profile text is not going to be read in its entirety until an expectant mother has already chosen you due to some connection or commonality she had with you through a photo. That’s why we at Purl instead recommend a profile of 8-16 pages, with more photos, captions, and key fun facts about you, rather than lengthy text.

The cover photo is the most important photo in the adoption profile. We have included a few Purl family profiles here that have great cover photos. You’ll notice that not all of them are staged or posed professional photos, instead they show the couple (or family) looking like they are having fun — photos where the couple (or family) looks loving, fun and like they actually like each other! Not all of these photos were professional, nor were they all profile books designed by a professional graphic designer. But these profiles are successful because the photos catch the reader’s eye, and make the reader want to learn more about them!

You’ll notice this last one we included is clearly not even a professional photo, but instead was just a candid shot (likely taken by one of their children with their phones). This Purl family actually didn’t have many professional photos in their profile at all, but were still chosen within a month or so of going active with Purl, and only on their second presentation to an expectant family. Their family’s personality came through easily in their book through their candid photos (that were still high quality)! So you don’t have to take expensive photos to have a great profile, just authentic photos of you taken with a good camera.

Do you need help with your profile? We have other blog posts with tips on creating your family profile here:

If you have been waiting a long time and have already presented to a lot of adoption opportunities unsuccessfully, we recommend you consider whether the profile could be the problem. We offer profile design and profile review even for families working with other adoption professionals. Check out our pricing on our Profiles page, and contact us to learn more!

More Featured Families