Photovoice is a participatory action research method that uses photography to give community members the opportunity to express themselves and their experiences.

 Through this process, participants learn about themselves, their community and the world around them.

The history of Photovoice has its roots in South Africa during Apartheid where it was used as a tool for social change by helping people understand what life was like under apartheid rule through photography.

After apartheid ended in 1994 there were many changes made within communities including economic development programs which led to increased poverty levels across South Africa due to unemployment rates increasing from 25% in 1991 up until 2008 where they reached 50%.

 Because of this increase there were more deaths caused by HIV/AIDS related illnesses than any other cause during this period with over half being women who were infected through sexual intercourse (World Health Organization).

The Photovoice Process

The Photovoice process is a multi-stage method for conducting research and developing solutions to community problems.

It involves the following steps:

  • Selecting participants (who will take photos?)
  • Developing a theme (what do you want them to photograph?)
  • Collecting photos (how do you get them?)
  • Analyzing photos (what can we learn from these pictures?)
  • Sharing findings with participants and other stakeholders.

Photovoice Examples

Photovoice is a method of participatory research that uses photographs as a way for people to communicate their perceptions, experiences and needs.

It can be used in a variety of settings, from community development to health promotion to social change.

Photovoice has been used in education settings as well to help students learn about themselves and others through photography.

Tools for Photovoice

Photovoice is a powerful tool for community engagement and storytelling.

It can be used by organizations, groups, or individuals to share their stories in an authentic way that connects with others.

As you’re planning your photovoice project, there are several tools you will need to consider:

Digital cameras – This should be obvious!

You’ll need a camera capable of taking high-quality photos (with resolution at least 3 megapixels), ideally one that allows for manual settings like shutter speed and aperture setting so that participants can have more control over their images.

If possible, try out different types of cameras with different lenses before purchasing anything new so that everyone has access to the best equipment possible.


Online photo storage – Photovitchers often want easy access to their photographs after they’ve taken them;

therefore it’s helpful if there’s an online repository where users can upload their images without having any technical knowledge about computers or smartphones.

Editing software – Some people prefer using desktop editing software while others use mobile apps such as Instagram;

either way works well as long as participants feel comfortable using whatever medium they choose.

Community engagement platforms – These allow users from all over the world (or just locally) participate remotely by posting comments on each other’s photos via social media sites like Facebook or Twitter

Ethical Considerations for Photovoice

Informed Consent

Photovoice is a participatory research method that involves the collection of photographic images, which are used to represent personal experiences.

In order for participants to feel comfortable in sharing their stories, they must be informed about what will happen with the photos taken during the photovoice process.

This includes whether or not their images will be published or shared with other individuals outside of the research team.

If you decide that you do want to use some of your participants’ photos in your final project, then they should also know how they will be attributed (e.g., by name or anonymously).


Photovoice can be an empowering process for participants because it allows them to share their experiences without fear of judgment or stigma associated with mental illness or substance use disorders

Data Analysis in Photovoice

Now that you have collected your data, it’s time to begin analyzing it.

The first step in this process is coding the photographs.

Coding involves assigning a word or phrase that represents the meaning of each photograph.

You can use whatever system works best for you; however, there are some common categories used by researchers:

Next comes analyzing your data–or looking at how each photograph relates to one another and what they tell us about our topic area (in this case, mental health).

This part is where we take our coded words from above and start making connections between them so we can see how everything fits together as a whole picture of mental health issues among college students today.

Finally comes visualizing our findings through graphs, charts or tables which make them easier for others (including ourselves) to understand


Outcome Evaluation in Photovoice

When you’re building a Photovoice project, it’s important to understand how you can measure the outcomes.

While there are several ways to do this, we’ll focus on three main categories:

participant engagement, impact on community and policy.

Participant Engagement

Participant engagement is an important metric because it helps us understand what participants got out of their experience with the project.

If they didn’t feel like they learned anything or had any kind of personal transformation as a result of participating in your project, then it might be time to rethink how you approach Photovoice projects in general.

Participants may also be able to provide insight into what worked well during their sessions that could inform future iterations of this type of work (or other types).

Best Practices for Photovoice

Defining the Goals

Assessing ResourcesEngaging


Reflecting on Findings

Photovoice – Wrap Up

In conclusion, the Photovoice method is a powerful tool for empowering individuals and communities.

It can be used to address a variety of issues that affect people’s lives, including health care, education, domestic violence and other forms of abuse.

The goal is not only to document these problems but also provide solutions through community-led action research projects.

The limitations of this method include its reliance on technology (iPhones) and language barriers among participants who may not speak English fluently or at all (if they are non-English speakers).

Additionally, there is no guarantee that your photos will be shared online with others; it depends entirely on whether you want them out there or not!