Case Studies

HRSA Photo Library
Delivering Exceptional Imagery and Value

The Challenge

Impact Marketing + Communications serves as a primary marketing and communications contractor for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) HIV/AIDS Bureau. Our relationship with HRSA has spanned two decades, and we’ve been privileged to support them in their mission to improve the lives of people living with, affected by, or at risk for HIV/AIDS. A few of our projects for HRSA include the HRSA CAREAction newsletter series, CyberSPNS Bulletins, the Integrating HIV Innovative Practices (IHIP) project, and the stunning multimedia A Living History website commemorating the history and contributions of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

Our approach for all HRSA projects has been to amplify their messaging with beautiful design and powerful, targeted images. Because of the nature of HIV/AIDS disease, which affects so many different populations and is compounded by a range of socioeconomic and systemic issues, the topics that we cover in our HRSA work are extremely wide-ranging: from stigma and substance use to oral health and electronic medical records. In the past, we found that existing photographs for various topics were often difficult to find or had previously been used in other publications, running the risk that readers already associated selected images with a different message. Using stock photographs also can result in a significant financial burden, which can range from $50 to $600 per photo (not including the cost of photo research). Those issues were limiting HRSA’s ability to make use of evocative imagery in a significant number of publications. Our challenge at Impact Marketing + Communications was to find an cost-effective way to make HRSA’s publications stand out in the marketplace, while visually reinforcing the stories we were telling.

Our Solution

Impact proposed creating a photo library to be used exclusively for HRSA deliverables, ensuring that the images were not only unique to these publications but also engaged readers in both the clinical and human interest aspects of the stories. Preliminary cost-benefit analysis made clear that this approach would result in considerable cost savings. When we traveled to create HRSA’s biannual progress reports, we enlisted our photographer to work alongside the writers and capture pictures of real Ryan White providers and patients in their offices, homes, and neighborhoods. Savings were maximized by turning video shoots into multimedia shoots. This enabled us to use one shoot to acquire visual content for multiple projects at no additional cost to HRSA.


The photo library currently contains 3,500 images taken at 29 sites across the country and covering over 50 population-specific topics, ranging from maternal and child health to treatment adherence education. These photographs are more powerful and effective than any stock photos could be as readers are able to view the actual people being discussed alongside their stories. HRSA will continue to benefit from this photo library as the pictures can be used in numerous materials, both in print and online, thereby reinforcing messaging while still providing cost savings.

“The Contractor is always looking for ways to minimize cost and often finds cost-savings for the federal government in their projects […] storing usable data for future projects at their own cost. The government benefit is continued reduced costs on this contract.”

— CPARS Evaluation, HRSA Contract Period 2011-2012

Related Expertise

Strategy + Management

Related Services

Project Management

Related Industries + Issues

Health care
Public health