Say “cheese” and celebrate National Photography Month in April! You most likely have a digital camera that you already utilize to capture moments at your community. If not, now is a great time to ask your administrator to purchase one for your facility. Whether you’re an amateur or hobbyist photographer, make the month picture perfect with the ideas below.

MUSIC – You’ll have to wait until closer to the end of the month to complete this activity, but it will be well worth the wait, and your marketing team will certainly appreciate the final product. Throughout the month, as you and your facility focuses on photography, digitally collect photos you and your group members take and compile them into a folder on your computer. Towards the end of the month, use a computer program to create a photo slideshow, paired with music, and showcase the photos you collected all month long. There are many free programs available on the internet to assist you in this activity, or you may already have a free program on your computer that will do this for you. Get everyone involved by inviting a panel to review and select photos for the slideshow, as well as a favorite song to play in the background. Share the final product with your marketing team; what a great way to showcase your activity program to the community!

COGNITIVE – Teach your group members more about photography this month by watching photography tutorials online. There are many free tutorials available on YouTube. Select a few to watch throughout the month. After watching the tutorial, give group members a chance to implement what they learned by allowing them to use your facility’s digital camera. Of course, you’ll be supervising them so you can assist them with their photography skills. Be sure to download their photos, keeping the best shots, and use them in your photo slideshow.

FOOD – Combine photography and food this month by creating a Photo Menu that your dining team can use. Throughout the month, ask your dining team for a sample plate of the meal served. Then, either before or after the meal, have your photography club take photos of that plate. Practice using different angles and lighting. Then, review and critique each photo with the photography club and select the winning shot. At the end of the month, compile the best shots and label the meal. Submit to your dining team so that they can incorporate a photo of the meal with their menus. Or, create a separate document to display in your dining room of all the photos, and residents can leaf through while waiting to be served.

CRAFTS – Turn your favorite photos into picture coasters with this fun craft. You’ll need 4” by 4” square, white tiles (found at your local hardware store); photos printed on regular white paper with a laser printer; Mod Podge; scissors; and a paint brush or sponge. Start by trimming your photo down to a 4” by 4” square, leaving little to no white space around the edges. Remove any dust on the square tile with a damp towel or sponge. Brush a light coat of Mod Podge on both the tile and the front of the photo. Place the photo onto the tile (image side down) taking care to line up the edges of the photo with the edges of the tile. Press firmly, and if desired, use card stock to gently smooth out any bubbles. Let it dry completely. Once dry, wet a paper towel with cold water and begin to gently rub off the photo paper. Continue, rewetting the paper towel as it dries out, until the white paper is completely rubbed off and you’re left with the image on the tile. Complete with a final light coat of Mod Podge, allowing the Mod Podge to dry completely. Feature the tiles in the Photography Exhibit you host later this month.

CELEBRATION – Celebrate National Photography Month all month long with a 30-day photo challenge. It is intended to be a general photo challenge that progresses from relatively simple photographic subjects to more abstract ones, and is great for those new to photography. Create your own challenge by listing 30 different photos for your group to capture throughout the month. Ideas include self portrait, favorite foods, flowers, pets, family, music, in your closet, memories, and something new. Do a quick internet search for a 30-day photo challenge for more ideas. Incorporate what works for your community. Then, at the end of the month, plan a party to showcase and celebrate the photos taken by your group.

FAMILY – In honor of Mother’s Day, create a Mother’s Day Photo Booth to add to your Mother’s Day event. Start by making a large frame from a large cardboard box – think big! You want to be able to fit a family (two to six people), shoulders and above, within the frame. Paint the frame and use twine to hang the frame from the ceiling, if you have ceiling rafters. Another option is to have your subjects hold the frame while having their photo taken. Prepare fun props for family and residents to wear or hold, such as hats, boas, and funny glasses. Many craft stores sell photo booth prop packages you could purchase as well. During your Mother’s Day event, be sure to guide families to the photo booth for a memory that will last a lifetime.

SPIRITUAL – The saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Encourage group members to capture and express their spirituality through photography and pictures this month. If participants have a spiritual relic that brings meaning to their lives, offer to photograph them with this relic. For example, perhaps someone has a family Bible or rosary. Place the Bible or rosary in between their hands and take a photo capturing the image of just their hands with the Bible or rosary. Then, spend time as a group sharing about that special religious relic and talk about why it’s important to them and what it means to them. Give participants time and space to answer questions, or encourage them to reflect internally about why these religious relics are important. You could play soft music in the background. Another option is to print adult coloring pages of religious symbols and instruct residents to color.

INTERGENERATIONAL – Invite your local high school or community college photography class or club to come to your facility and share their work this month. Print photos your community members have taken and allow them to share their work with the students. Both groups can critique each others’ works of photography. Then, arrange with the instructor an afternoon or evening Photography Exhibit where students display their photography projects at your community. Feature your community photos as well. Open the event to your greater community and serve refreshments, such as punch and cookies.

GIVING BACK – In honor of Memorial Day, gather your group to write encouraging notes to soldiers stationed overseas. Supply participants with note cards and pens and assist those who can no longer write. “A Million Thanks” is an organization that collects letters for active and veteran military men and women. Visit their website at to see if there’s a drop-off location near you. They also provide sample letters as well as instructions on what to include and not include on their website.

SENSORY KIT – Put together a photography sensory kit for your residents to explore all month long. Instead of the traditional plastic shoe box, look for a gently used camera bag at your local resale shop. While you’re there, look around for a gently used camera as well. Other items to include are National Geographic magazines (which feature phenomenal photos), a mini tripod, and photo props (such as hats, boas, or funny glasses). While exploring the sensory bag with your residents, encourage them to take mock photos with the camera. Try on the different props and be their model, or reverse roles and let them choose props while you take their photo. Discuss the different images and places you see in the magazines, and allow them to explore the different pockets and fabric of the camera bag.


  1. Which U.S. company developed the camera that could develop its own pictures in about a minute? Polaroid
  2. Finish the phrase: “Smile, you’re on __________.” Candid Camera
  3. What do photographers use tripods for? To hold the camera
  4. What is the eye of the camera called? Lens
  5. What does the zoom lens do? Make the photograph subject larger or smaller
  6. Why would a photographer ask you to “watch the birdie”? So you would focus your eyes on a specific spot when your picture is being taken
  7. Where do photographers go to turn their camera film into pictures? A darkroom
  8. Finish the phrase: A picture is worth a _________________. Thousand words
  9. What common phrase do photographers use to get an entire group to smile while taking a group picture? “Say cheese!”
  10. What was the name of George Eastman’s company that specialized in photographic film for cameras? Kodak
  11. What was the Brownie camera? The first low-cost, point-and-shoot, hand-held camera (It was made by Eastman Kodak to sell to consumers, especially children.)



“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever…it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” ~ Aaron Siskind


“Picture Perfect Month” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2017 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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