How to Submit an Exposure Story

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Introduction to Exposure

Exposure is an online storytelling platform that allows users to showcase compelling visual narratives. USAID posts the organization’s most compelling photo essays on Exposure as a way to showcase our work and grow a community of followers - other Exposure storytellers and the general public.

Visit the USAID’s Exposure page to review previous multimedia stories and find inspiration for future submissions.

What kinds of stories are we looking for?

  • Stories that show broad-scale sustainable development projects, (no one-offs, and nothing that is not being or cannot be scaled). [While you should zoom in on an individual beneficiary to highlight our work, the greater project must impact more than this small group of people.]
  • Stories that highlight new, cutting-edge development innovations; and/or 
  • Stories that highlight the USAID Forward reform agenda in action (empowering local groups, science, technology and innovation).
  • All stories should point to results.

What makes strong Exposure content?

  • Professional quality photos
    Although sophisticated camera equipment isn’t required to take great photos, images submitted to Exposure should exhibit high technical and artistic quality.
    • For more information, see USAID’s Shot Guide
    • Interesting vantage points
    • Creative angles
    • Well lit
    • High-resolution files
  • A collection of images with a clear focus
    Some examples of the stories you might present include:
    • A photo essay about an individual or family benefiting from a specific program, project or partnership in your country
    • Images that take viewers on a journey through a program
    • Photos that illustrate impact - before and after or growth
    • Images that are memorable and evoke an emotional reaction - smiles, shared human experiences or moments that invite a viewer to share in a tradition or ritual
  • Edited video clips
    In addition to photos, video clips or short films can be included in your Exposure story.

Writing tips and guidance

  1. Submit a story draft
    • Prepare the following items for your story
      • A collection of 8 to 24 photos and video clips
        • photos should be high-resolution files of 300 dpi
        • video clips should match the style and quality of submitted photos
        • assemble a complete visual story – could be a set of strong portraits or a set of images from multiple angles and vantage points
      • A google document with written content for your story.
        To create your document, copy and paste from the attached narrative template. Your document will include the following:
        • Story Title
          Example: I see myself in these girls
        • Subtitle/Summary
          Example: Community-based education centers give women and girls a second chance at education.
        • 150-450 written narrative to accompany photos
          • Use clear, non-technical language
          • Include facts and figures to show program impact
          • Provide colorful details to put your story in context for readers
          • Connect your story to USAID programs and initiatives
          • Subheads are recommended to break up text and make stories easier to read

            Example of a narrative segment with details and facts: Love, passion and dedication! [SUBHEAD]

            During the winter season, the harsh weather and heavy snowfall make accessing the centres especially difficult.

            But Golsom is undeterred. A graduate of Kabul University, she is the only woman in a team of three community-based monitors and is responsible for ensuring that 20 of the 50 accelerated learning centres in her district run smoothly. “

            I love the children of my country and I care about them,” says Golsom, who started working with the provincial department of education in Daikundi six years ago. "I like visiting classes in remote areas and I support the teachers by showing them how they can best prepare for their classes."  

        • Photo attribution credit
          Example: USAID
        • Social media hashtags
          Example: #LetGirlsLearn
        • Links to social media pages 
          (Country Facebook page, bureau website, etc.)
          Example: Learn more about USAID Afghanistan Follow USAID Afghanistan on Facebook @USAIDAfghan, @USAID
    • Share your draft story folder to
  2. Clearances and Editing 
    After you submit your Exposure story draft, it will need to undergo editing and review before it is published online.

    You should expect the process to take from several days to several weeks for review depending on the extent of editing and the sensitivity of your content.

Written Narrative Template

Copy and paste below text into your narrative template in Google Documents



By USAID Publications



(150-450 words with subheads)



(Optional section of less than 100 words about the program and partners featured)



(Example: Photos by: USAID)





[LINE 1] Learn more about (fill in details)

[LINE 2]     Follow USAID (fill in) on Facebook

[LINE 3]    @Twitter1, @Twitter2, @Twitter3


Issuing Country 
Monday, May 8, 2017 - 11:30am

Last updated: May 09, 2017