If you are a photographer, you can use nothing but your skills to make a difference and make this world a better place. Isn’t that wonderful? If you’d like to give back to the community by using your photography, it may be a bit confusing at first. You may not know where to start. But Denae & Andrew will help you get started. In this video, they share 11 ideas for doing charity with photography.
A great thing about photography charity work is that you practice and build up your portfolio, and help others in the process. It’s not just about building up your skills, but also gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a difference. It’s a truly wonderful feeling. So, if you’d like to contribute with your photography to making this world a better place, here are Denae & Andrew’s ideas:
- The Heart Gallery: this organization is dedicated to helping children in the foster care system find their forever homes. They want to capture and show the individuality and dignity of children living in foster care, advocate for their permanency, raise public awareness about their needs, and obtain support to help meet those needs. The Heart Gallery wants to facilitate and utilize the power of photography in this process and you can contribute by taking portraits of children in foster care.
Of course, it can also be another local organization in your area, but taking portraits of children in foster care could make a difference for them. Plus, they will love being under the spotlight and have their photos taken. It will be a really fun experience for them, and very rewarding for you.
- Now I lay me down to sleep: this organization provides photography for terminal newborns. This is a very heavy task and I think it’s not for everyone. It’s definitely not for oversensitive and over-emotional people (like me). But if you are capable of dealing with yours and other people’s strong emotions, this is a beautiful and powerful way to give a gift of photography to someone who needs it.
- You can donate a portrait package to a charity event or an auction. It can be any charity event or auction in your area, and you’ll give professional portraits to someone who has most likely never had them
- Root for Kids: this is a non-profit organization that provides help for different groups of vulnerable children. They sometimes organize auction events for these kids, and you can take photos there. Or, you can offer portraits for them and their families as mentioned in the example above.
- Flashes of Hope: this is another non-profit organization dedicated to creating powerful, uplifting portraits of children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. As a photographer, you can sign up and donate photoshoots and lots of love.
Those of you based in Australia can join Karen Alsop’s “The heArt Project.” If you’re elsewhere in the world, you can always get in touch with your local non-profits who help children with life-threatening illnesses. I’m sure they would love to collaborate with photographers and have the children’s photos taken.
- 100Cameras: this organization will help you give photography workshops for children in low-income areas. These workshops will empower them and help them to share their stories and document their lives. The photos from the workshops are later sold and the proceeds are used to provide help for these children.
- Animal shelters: good photos are the key to animal adoption. So, if you’d like to help these little furballs find their homes, you can donate photo shoots to a local animal shelter. In case you’re not too familiar with this genre, here are some tips for taking amazing photos of shelter animals.
- Helping the elderly: elderly people in retirement homes often feel lonely and forgotten. You can contact local retirement homes and organize photography workshops for the residents, or provide photoshoots for them.
- Mental health and depression awareness: photography is therapeutic, as Andrew puts it. Many photographers have used it to cope with anxiety, depression or trauma, and photographer David Dixon is one of us. But he also uses his photography to help others through a series of YouTube videos titled Focus on Mental Health.
I believe there are different ways of helping others cope with mental health issues with photography. You can share the story of how it helped you, hoping to reach those who are suffering, inspire them to start making art, and make them feel that they’re not alone. That’s what I did in one of my articles. You can find other people with stories to share, and help them share their stories like David Dixon did. Or perhaps you can reach out to charities helping those with mental health issues, and together with them, organize photography workshops for those people.
- Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride: this is a fundraiser aimed at men’s mental health and prostate cancer awareness. Andrew says it’s a very “photogenic event” you can photograph and spread awareness of these important issues. Similarly, you can join Movember. The aim of this movement is to raise awareness and funds for men’s health – specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. You don’t have to grow a mustache, but you can photograph men who do, share the photos, and raise awareness of the issues mentioned above.
- Serve those who serve us: last but not least, Denae gives you an idea of photographing firemen, police officers, teachers and other people who serve us. You can provide photoshoots for them and thank them for their service.
Denae & Andrew have shared these ideas as a part of their photo Do Good With Your Camera contest. The purpose of the contest is to motivate all of us to take our photo gear and go out and do some good with it. The contest is open until 10 December 2019, so there’s still plenty of time to use some of the ideas above and send your submissions. But even after it’s done, I hope that you will still use your photography to make a change and help others.