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More information on using photographs in Be My Parent

How to profile children for adoption and fostering with the best photo possible!

Although the quality of photo needed depends on whether you refer a child to the Be My Parent website or newspaper, all the other information below applies to both services.

Digital photographs
Hard-copy photographs
If you cannot supply a photograph
What is an appropriate photo?

Also see our guide to using photographs

Digital photographs

To get the best results
How to send your digital photographs

To get the best results

Pictures taken with digital cameras do not always come out well. One difficulty is that the picture you see in the camera or on a computer screen does not necessarily reproduce as you see it when professionally printed.

Put very simply, photographs are made up of a number of dots or pixels: the more pixels you have, the better the picture, and the higher the resolution, the more pixels you have.

Low-resolution photographs may look fine on screen, but are not of a high enough quality for printing. You may find the photograph is pixillated, i.e. made up of visible little blocks, or has unrealistic colours and patchy skin tones. A low-resolution computer file may also not contain enough ‘information’ to enable us to enlarge the image. This means the final result may be extremely poor, or much smaller than usual.


  • Always use the highest resolution setting when taking pictures (this means you are able to take fewer pictures, but larger ones and of a far higher quality)
  • Only use a good-quality camera (ideally, a minimum of 4 megapixels)
  • Avoid blurred, small, obscured faces, unclear backgrounds and inappropriate clothes
  • The photo should be recent – less than six months old for children up to five years, and less than 12 months old for children of five years and above.
  • Siblings should, ideally, be photographed together if being featured together.

How to send your digital photographs

By email
By uploading it on to Be My Parent online

By email

Email us your digital photo, clearly stating the child’s name and date of birth. Keep an eye on your inbox/outbox to make sure that the email has not ‘bounced back’ (i.e. has not delivered), which can happen if the photograph is a particularly large file size.

If this happens, do not print off the digital photo and send it by post or fax – this will severely reduce the quality!

Instead, transfer the digital photo on to a disk/CD and post it to us.

By uploading it on to Be My Parent online

Agencies can upload photos directly to our database if the profile is not yet live on our website. Log in to Be My Parent online with your email address and assigned password. Contact us if your agency is not yet set up to use the system, and contact your agency superuser if you have forgotten your password.

Click here for guidance on how to upload photographs through our online referral system.

You will need to upload the photo as a JPEG (set as 'RGB', not 'CMYK'). Please also check the file size of the photo.

If the child's profile is already live, then please contact us, and we will make this change for you.

Hard-copy photographs

By ‘hard copy’ we mean high-quality, printed, glossy photographs, either taken with a digital or non-digital camera. These will need to be posted to us, so we can scan them.

We will return all hard-copy photographs once we have uploaded them on to our system.

To get the best results
Professional photographers

To get the best results

Use a professional photographer. If your agency wants to save on costs, think about whether you can get hold of and use a recent school photo, which will have been taken by professional photographers. We can remove school logos from the photo.

Avoid blurred, small, obscured faces, unclear backgrounds and inappropriate clothes.

Siblings should, ideally, be photographed together if being featured together.

Professional photographers

The press office of your agency or local authority should be able to give you details of reliable, affordable, professional photographers in your area.

Professional photographs are copyrighted to the photographer, unless an arrangement has been made to assign the rights to your agency. Please ensure that you have permission to publish the photograph in Be My Parent for one or more issues. We will assume you have obtained permission.

If you cannot supply a photograph

Some older children may be extremely reluctant to have their photograph published in Be My Parent. For other children, there may be legal considerations. In these exceptional circumstances, you could replace the child’s photograph with either a drawing, an image of something significant to the child, a poem or quotes (from the child, carer, teacher, etc).

We can also help find you a suitable representative image, ideally with links to the profile - e.g. an image of a football for a little boy who enjoys the sport. We will then forward you a small selection, from which you can choose the final image.

Feel free to contact us to discuss any of the above.

Please note that the same referral fee will apply, irrespective of whether a photograph is used.

What is an appropriate photo?

Be My Parent may query photographs that are:

  • unclear/blurred/too dark
  • too old
  • too small
  • black and white
  • out of focus.

And where:

  • A child is wearing scanty or inappropriate clothing, e.g. in the bath or in only a nappy
  • A child’s face is not fully visible
  • There is a cluttered background
  • There are identifiable features, e.g. a street sign in the background or the child is posing with other people.

If we think a photograph is unsuitable or inappropriate, we will ask you to supply another photo. If this is not possible, we will discuss other options with you.

Last updated: 26 May 10

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