Deal 10: A hot topic, at a hot price!
Last month, Christina Dickerson did a list of 5 ways to use photography to reach your community. I didn’t even realise it until I was finishing my own list of 5 ways! So in addition, I submit to you 5 more ways you can use your talents to give back to your community.
1.) Most obviously – you can take photos for friends and family which they will cherish and burn them a CD, no strings attached. If you’re a professional, or even a prosumer, you’ll know by now that at every party, for every wedding or occasion, you’ll be asked if you’ll be bringing your camera. Which is code for “we didn’t hire a wedding photographer because we thought you could take a few pix.” I try to keep my professional and personal life separate. When I first started in photography, I was at every event with my camera, emailing photos to my friends before the day was out and I think I had a hand in creating the expectation. When my life became more and more defined by my status as ‘the photographer’, I had to make a conscious effort to not bring my camera to every party or event. “What, no camera?” “No, I’m not working tonight” *wink wink* This has given me the opportunity to give friends the gift of my photography at times when I feel inspired to do so, not because it is expected.
2.) Offer to take photos where you see the need. Walking around London, I see it all the time – couples trying to cram their face together and stretch their arm to take a photo of themselves with Big Ben in the background or a family of five minus Dad who is taking the photo. I wouldn’t hand my camera over to just anyone, but I often just breeze by and ask if they want me to take their photo. I don’t act pompous and announce, “I’m a photographer, let a real professional handle this” but sometimes if it seems right or they hesitate, I’d just say, “I’m a photographer” and once in a blue moon, I’ll even give them a quick tip. “See this setting with the head? That’s great for taking pictures of people”. Something like that. Why let a family have a photo without Dad if you could take five seconds and snap it for them?
3.) This next one is hard to talk about but really should be mentioned. Infant bereavement photography has been such a gift to many grieving parents the world over. One such group where you can volunteer your services is called Now I Lay me Down to Sleep and they get called into hospitals at a moment’s notice to help a family who is experiencing the loss of a newborn baby. The hospitals take photographs, but they can be horrific. NILMDTS strives to take tender, loving images which sometimes even includes retouching to give parents beautiful momentos of their baby with no signs of trauma or illness. Please visit NILMDTS’s testimonials page to see how this type of volunteering has changed lives.Click here to see photos taken by NILMDTS for my friend when her baby boy, Chase, passed away.
4. ) Teach someone. Teaching someone else about photography is so rewarding. Find a local home education group and offer to do a little workshop to teach the kids about photography or go into a school. If you have the resources or know how to write really convincing letters, you can get funds and donations for a cluster of cameras that can be used. Give the kids a camera and lend it for a weekend. It could be a simple as unlocking an interest or potential they never knew was there. Children aren’t often allowed to even handle a camera, much less take pictures of their very own.
5.) Help Portrait – is a worldwide movement all about gifting less-fortunate people with professional photography. How? 1. Find someone in need. 2. Take their portrait. 3. Print their portrait 4. Deliver their portrait to them. Simple as that. It’s not about advertising, not about notoriety. Just about using your talents to give people something they may have never had in their entire lives – a portrait. Even though this was pushed to take place on 12.12.09, many photographers have been doing it year-round and will continue to do so. I think they’re making it an annual event.
So as the Help-Portrait site says: Get off the couch, put down your laptop, pick up your camera and help change the world. What will you do today?
March 30, 2011 08:30 am
I take free pictures with a group a friends who dress up like clowns and visit sick kids in public hospitals. The foundation is called "Dr. Perinola", check their website: http://www.doctorperinola.es.tl/Galeria-fotografica.htm
March 9, 2011 07:20 am
kazim seni seviyoruz
April 8, 2010 11:46 am
Another idea for donating time and talent in photography is Soulumination. Their website is: http://soulumination.org/home.html
From the website, the vision statement says:
Soulumination, founded by Lynette Huffman Johnson, celebrates the lives of children and parents facing life threatening conditions by providing professional photographs--free of charge--of these special individuals and their families. The life-affirming photographs of Soulumination are an enduring, positive record of the child's brief life, and provide a loving legacy for the children of parents lost to terminal illness.
I would love to help with NILMDTS or Soulumination or any of the like projects, *if* I could. But, that *if* would be a ways down the road when I get to be a better photographer (if I could ever compare myself to the people who do such awesome work). I work with children/young adults who have various special needs. They are truly wonderful people.
January 26, 2010 07:22 pm
Infant Bereavement -
I am a Photographer based in the UK who has had experience with working with ' Life Limited ' children. I read the blog article about NILMDTS and looked at some Photographs taken by other Photographers. I was truly moved by the sequence of images which so showed such deep emotion so beautifully and with such sensitivity. If you didn't stop and look then please do.
I am now off to look at how I can get involved in the UK.
January 25, 2010 08:24 am
This is some really good advice.
While a staff photographer at newspapers, I found it very balancing to give my time to local charities. The reasoning being that running around "taking" photos for the newspaper of everything from kids in the park to deadly accidents, I found it to be positive to give back to the community. It was not only rewarding for my soul, but it gave community members a better understanding of you I am.
January 25, 2010 07:23 am
I participated in Help Portrait here in Salt Lake City. Actually the organizer of it and we did 2 organizations and over 100 people. It was pretty amazing. I'd say that photography can change the world - although one person at a time. :)
January 20, 2010 04:04 am
What a wonderful article. I work in a long term care facility. There is a few of us at work who do photography of our residents, put them in frames and leave them in their rooms or at their place setting in the diningroom. When the families come in to visit they see the portraits that we have taken of their loved ones, and it just makes their heats feel so good. Often they have request extra prints so other family members can have one as well. This is a heart gift from us to our residents and their families.
I have also taken photos for others on holidays and they are very greatful to have a photo of themselves together. And I also like others have the reputation of "don't bring your camera...Donna will have hers" and that's ok with me. Thanks for a great article.
January 17, 2010 11:09 am
I fall into the first category. My wife and I are usually the only ones with a dslr at family gatherings such as birthdays, christenings, baby showers etc and we often get requests from friends attending for a copy of our photos which we happily agree to burn to a disc and mail to them.
We are often the only dslr users other than the professional at any weddings we attend and the happy couple and friends can get a fair selection of quite good quality shots long before the real thing is completed by the professional. We shoot with a 40d, 24-70L, 50 1.8, 580ex11 etc and shoot in raw and so have probably progressed to an advance amateur level of photography.
Besides warm fuzzies, it is a great way to have the ultimate backup of our photos as they are spread far and wide in our friends houses.
January 17, 2010 07:47 am
What a wonderful topic to start out the New Year.
I encourage anyone who has thought about volunteering to do infant bereavement photography to please act on that impulse. You will be giving an immeasurable gift.
Eight years ago I lost a baby boy to a still birth. I have not been able to look at the photograph, but I know exactly where it is and take comfort in knowing it is there for me to see, someday.
January 17, 2010 06:51 am
Hi, thanks so much for the article/ I do some fundraising and
enjoy it/ so far has been with local Humane Society /
I'd love to participate with the Help-Portrait and have
found several locations within an hr. or so of my
home with members ! Thanks
January 16, 2010 10:09 am
These are some of the neatest ideas I've seen. I'm not a professional photographer, but getting closer! Thank you.
January 16, 2010 06:23 am
I have never heard of MILMDTS before. The pictures brought tears to my eyes. What a incredibly wonderful act to do at such a painful time in someones life.
January 16, 2010 05:36 am
NILMDTS is a tremendous organization. On Feb. 16, 2009 we lost our newborn grandson and received beautiful pictures taken with the entire family and each family member. the photographer (a woman) was absolutely tremendous and did terrific work
January 16, 2010 05:23 am
My family and I went to the California State Fair last year. An elderly couple was resting nearby. The wife asked her husband if he could take a picture of her. My regret was not offering to take a picture of the couple with their camera.
January 16, 2010 05:20 am
I remember going to the California State Fair last year. An elderly couple was resting near my family. The wife asked the husband if he could take a picture of her. My regret was not asking the couple if they wanted their picture taken together with me using their camera.
January 16, 2010 01:21 am
Nice to see the NILMDTS site covers the UK too, this would be something difficult but rewarding. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
January 15, 2010 07:34 pm
A few years ago, my wife and I lost our baby daughter. After 3 days in labour, my wife gave birth to a beautiful little girls, but unfortunately she did not make it. I took some photographs, but as a grieving father I found it very difficult at the time. Now, a few years on, they are among the most precious photo's I have (along with my other daughters of course).
Before seeing this post, I have not even considered this as an avenue of help; perhaps I've been blinded. However, if anyone has the compassion to do this, the latent pleasure you can provide is unmeasurable.
I wish I could do it, but I can't. I have a broken heart that has not repaired.
January 15, 2010 04:15 am
Animal Shelters often need photos of the adoptable critters. they always need help.
January 14, 2010 03:17 am
Thanks so much for posting this article. Every time I hold my camera (I am new at it though), I always think about how I can help others.
Have a good day!
January 12, 2010 05:16 am
I volunteered for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I am waiting for their approval. It will be very emotional but so rewarding.
January 12, 2010 03:29 am
I offer to take pictures for people all of the time. Being the "photographer" in my family, I'm in so few vacation pictures, so I know how it feels! Probably the favorite picture I have of my husband and me was taken by a stranger on the rim of the Grand Canyon, and I returned the favor for the photographer.
I truly commend those that take photos for NILMDTS and can only image the small bit of comfort it gives to the parents . . . I know I am not strong enough to do it, though.
January 11, 2010 01:45 am
I participated in Help Portrait and loved it. My HP was doing portraits of homeless men in a program to get them back into "normal" society. It has now become a monthly thing for me. Yesterday while out shooting I saw one of the men I had taken a portrait of. He saw me and made a beeline toward me to thank me for the picture. Most people carrying around a DSLR and a bag full of lenses would be pretty scared if a homeless man practically ran them down on the street. Me, it made my day.
January 10, 2010 06:36 am
I am teaching my elementary students about photography this year and we are going to culminate with some kind of photography based service project to the local Ronald McDonald House. I'm thinking something along the lines of them taking photographs of things that embody hope and other uplifting ideas. Maybe we'll create a book?
I'm not imagining we will go and photograph patients and their families. Does anyone have some good ideas for a photo based project for the Ronald McDonald House and their patients, that fifth graders could handle?
January 10, 2010 12:34 am
Thank you so much for posting this.
January 9, 2010 06:34 am
I'm far from a professional but I am the sort of person who always has a point-and-shoot or DSLR with them. I occasionally offer to take people's photos at an event where it looks like they are wishing that they'd brought a camera and then I email the pics to them, i.e. kids meeting a mascot, people landing at the end of a hot air balloon ride.
January 9, 2010 03:41 am
Loved the suggestions. Another way to help your community is to take your camera to the local animal shelter. They need really good photos to post online to help the animals look great for adoption. I also go to animal events and take pictures for the rescue groups.
January 9, 2010 03:37 am
I guess I am not as people oriented as most - I tend to avoid taking pictures of people, in most instances, but...
I take photographs to document historical sites. I belong to both the Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society and the Bannack Association, (Bannack is a 'preserved' ghost town that was the first territorial capitol of Montana). I travel to a variety of historical sites on a repeated basis and am able to document how preservation efforts work or how un-preserved sites deteriorate and how fast. I have been able to document marked deterioration of a number of sites over the last five years. Unfortunately, politics and private land ownership issues won't let us preserve as many of these sites as we would like.
I document habitat for ungulates and water fowl. These I give to organizations like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Ducks Unlimited. Grizzly and black bear habitat and animal images go to the appropriate conservation organizations.
And I take family photos. [At Christmas, I showed up with all my gear. My sister showed up with two disposable cameras. I guess that's not assuming anything.] Then burn CDs for everyone.
January 9, 2010 02:27 am
Smiled at your #2 - 'where you see the need'. I've done that for years! Someone's always left out of the picture when a group travels together. I've done it - in 'sign' language - for people who don't understand English. Last summer at Mohonk Mountain House, I offered to one Asian group - which took me up on it - and a couple came over to my table and asked if I would take theirs also. LOVE it - the surprise and delight on their faces is (almost) better than payment! (No, of course I don't charge - just making the point that one couldn't make this their major focus, as warm-fuzzies don't pay the bills!)
January 8, 2010 10:59 pm
I really like the idea of #2. I see this sort of thing happening all the time when my wife and I are running around in downtown Charleston, SC. Since I usually have my camera with me that may make them a little more receptive to the idea of hading over their camera to a stranger that offers to take their picture.
#3 - what a wonderful gift but I couldn't do it. I was balling like a baby (no pun intended) just watching the recruiting video. I did a search of my local area and we do have several photographers participating.
January 8, 2010 01:54 pm
Another cause near and dear to my heart is Operation Love Reunited which helps deploying military families capture their time together before or after deployment. Believe me when I tell you this can be a priceless gift. http://www.oplove.org/
January 8, 2010 11:37 am
great ;post! i watch that smilebox slideshow and it so sad. :''(
January 8, 2010 10:31 am
Great ideas! :)
I used to help with the photography at a rehab centre during christmas and chinese new year celebrations. I have committed myself to two assignments due in the coming weeks - helping to photograph a company function and a friend's food business.
January 8, 2010 08:43 am
Thank you for this post.
My feelings are that if a topic reaches your from 2 or more totally independent sources - then consider this a "message" to pay very special attention to.
I believe that my angels are wanting me to take some notice. ( OK so it's just my bag )
This is the third time I have heard about NILMDTS in as many weeks. So I am going to take this onboard. I am going to contact someone about it ... I have many doubts as I feel that I may not be emotionally strong enough to handle the responsibility. That said - I WANT to offer love and support if at all possible.
So, thank you ( again ) for gently steering me onto a path ( perhaps ) - that might just make a bit of a difference.
January 8, 2010 08:32 am
Just wanted to give an update concerning the Help-Portrait piece you touched on. Help-Portrait is schedule to happen again on 4 Dec 2010. I participated in the Baltimore, Maryland event and found it to be very rewarding not only for the folks that came in for a photo but also for me as a photographer. Just giving back was amazing.
January 8, 2010 07:50 am
Thanks for the great ideas...i recently asked my friends and their families to volunteer to get their family photos done...A friend asked me to do her wedding photos in the summer of '10...I said yes...I love taking landscape and lightbox photos...not so on people...So to practice up till the wedding i am doing photo shoot for my friends and family for free...Starting to like it a bit more each time....The other thing that I do is working in a photo lab where i live...when ever the is a photo for a service..I'll print them in what ever size they need that can be done in lab and not charge them...in the small town of 10,000 we do a lot of this kind of printing which is sad..but how can one charge some one in their darkest hrs...
January 8, 2010 07:07 am
Another way you can help is by doing adoption photography, either of waiting children for an organization like Wednesday's Child (http://wednesdayschild.adopt.org/), or of recent adoptive families through Celebrating Adoption (http://www.celebratingadoption.org/).
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