Need Finding

Photo collection

A collection of photos made by a group of stakeholders that relates to a chosen theme(s). The images are collected daily for the duration of a week. The photos with captions allow you to look through the eyes of your target group: seeing the underlying beliefs, values and norms that play an important role in daily life.

Format MethodTimeframe 1 weekGroup Size AllFacilitation Level LowRequired Materials Online tool, Camera


  • Start by selecting 1-3 themes for the pictures. The theme should be related to your design challenge or vision. It is best when they are not too specific or give too much direction. For example: 1)Learning is a better theme than school, 2) Fun is a better theme than playing, 3) Opportunities or success are better themes than role models. 
  • Define a channel to share the pictures and be in contact with the group of participants (Whatsapp Group or Facebook group). The participants should be at least 4. The more, the better!
  • Give instructions to the participants to take and share pictures: 1) Each participant will take and share one or two pictures related to the theme(s) every day for 7 days. If 7 days is too intense (for example because the participants have other research activities to join) you can reduce the amount of days to 4 or 5; 2) Each participant adds a description when sharing each picture, explaining why they think it relates to the theme. Any picture is good: there is no right or wrong picture. rnKeep the participants motivated to share everyday by posting questions, compliments and reminders.
  • By the end of the week, review all the photos and start looking for insights and patterns. Are there sub-topics that emerged frequently? Are there major differences and can these differences be related to certain characteristics of the participants (e.g. gender, age, location)? This analysis is best done by printing the pictures, but it can also be done by placing them on a document next to each other. 


Creating a visual story from the perspective of your users to empathise with them. The images you have collected give you both a good overview of the context in which you are working, but it will also allow you to better understand the perspective of your target group. Use these pictures to inform your insights during the research phase.


If possible, do the analyses of the images with the participants. Start by reflecting on the process: was there something they learned? Did they notice they started to look at their environment differently?
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