Support a Charity

By Roger (12 June 2016)

We make a very conscious effort to limit our blogs to photographic topics. Occasionally, we bend our rules to discuss topics about which we are passionate and still connect them to photography.

Both Mark and I support several charitable organizations and supporting your favorite charity is always a good thing. Of course, they request money for their operations, but they also need other types of support – including photography services.

The range of charities you can choose to support are as varied as the type of photography support they need. They need photo restorations, archival work, recording of events, and almost any type of photo work you can think of. There are even several photography-specific charitable organizations, if you prefer those. You can find a charity to match your area of interest, with very little effort. Give them some help.

Like many families, we have had several close family members afflicted with cancer, so, those charities are high on our list. This weekend, several of our family members participated in a Relay for Life walk. My wife's school sponsored a tent for the walkers, and I shot a few photographs for them. Besides the emotional Survivor's Lap, the organizers set up personal luminaires that honored those who were still fighting cancer; those who were survivors; and those who lost their fight. The luminaires lined the walking path and spelled out HOPE on the bleachers.

The Survivor's Lap

Personalizing the luminaire

Since I'm talking charity, another charity I have worked with (although I'm overdue for more support) is St. Mary's Home, link, in Norfolk, Va. Please give them a look and a donation. St. Mary's is a long-term pediatric residential care facility dedicated, exclusively, to children with severe physical and intellectual disabilities. It is one of only approximately 100 facilities of its kind, nationwide. The kids there can always use your support.

St. Mary's Fun Run

So go support a charity of your choosing. You can give them money, but your time and services may be even more helpful. They can use your photos as part of their advertising or publicity for their sponsors. You'll get a warm fuzzy and good karma for helping a worthy cause.

Lend A Hand

By Roger (12 June 2014)

Mark and I helped out, this week, with the L-3 Cup, a charity golf tournament for Wounded Warriors. It's hard for a couple of retired military guys to refuse this charity, so we took the day off from work to hang out at the beautiful Piedmont Club and ride around in our golf carts – yes, we both had our own. Fortunately, they wanted us to use cameras, not golf clubs, since neither of us plays golf.

These kinds of events are pretty easy to photograph, since your primary responsibility is to get a photo of each team, the award ceremony, and some basic happy snaps of what happened during the day. We are capable of that. The sun was directly overhead, so the partly cloudy skies helped alleviate some of the harsh light out on the course.

"Get photos of every team."

"Get photos of every team."

Everyone expects you will get the basic shots, so your challenge is to provide them something that they wouldn't get with their camera phones. For golfers, the first thing that came to mind was the tee shot. Since this action happens so quickly, it would be blind luck to catch it on a camera phone. We both took the standard full-length shots, and then shifted a close-up shot. It doesn't have to be art, but you want to give them more than they requested.

"Fore!"

"Fore!"

The close-up shot was more challenging to get.

The close-up shot was more challenging to get.

You need some stock-type photos to help them set the mood when they create their slide show or brochures. Think about what the group will want for the wrap up. You'll want photos of the trophies, registration, people having a good time, and scenes that remind them of the day.  Not only will this provide a better result for your client, but it's good practice for you.

Out and about

Out and about

Ready to go to work

Ready to go to work

I always try to throw in some humorous shots. With every team posing for photos, someone is bound to goof off. You certainly want to keep them in a good mood, so don't scowl at them for slowing you down. Take the photo. It'll make them happy, and everyone can chuckle at the wrap up party. Remember, your attitude towards your subjects will be reflected back in your photos.  Happy and smiling is always better.

Happy folks make for better donations for charity.

Happy folks make for better donations for charity.

Every event in northern Virginia starts with a traffic jam.

Every event in northern Virginia starts with a traffic jam.

Of course, not all events are as easy as the open spaces of a golf course. You'll find it easier to be successful if you plan according to the client's schedule and shot list; look for ways to go beyond what is expected and add photos that they couldn't get (that's why they asked you); and get into the mood of the event. You can have fun and help a worthy cause.

We are strong believers in donating time and money to your favorite charities, and I've blogged about supporting the Wounded Warriors before when I went to The Intrepid Center, in San Antonio, a couple of years ago (here). Have you donated time and money to a worthy charitable group lately?

You always photograph the venue hosting the event

You always photograph the venue hosting the event

Giving Back

As photographers we have lots of opportunities to help others in our communities.   Tonight’s blog will showcase a few of those places where you can donate two of the most valuable gifts you have—your time and talent. There are places to volunteer to shoot portraits of military families to send to their loved ones deployed overseas.

http://www.pmdaportraitsoflove.com/families.php

Each year thousands of animals are dumped off at shelters and, if no homes are found, are euthanized.  Many animal shelters have been hit hard by the economy and are struggling to get by.  The photos they post of their guests are grainy and unlikely to draw in a new owner.  There are now shelters getting photographers to donate their time and produce studio portraits of the animals allowing them to be adopted more quickly. 

http://animaltracks.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/30/10271873-professional-portraits-reveal-shelter-animals-true-selves#

My own personal project has been Operation Photo Rescue. http://www.operationphotorescue.org/

This non-profit group goes in where disasters have struck to try and salvage the damaged pictures.  Few of these images are great photographs, but each of them is a precious memory.  I really enjoy restoring old pictures.  It is time consuming and challenging trying to undo the ravages of water, mold, scratches, etc.  As a volunteer, you download scanned images and do your best.  The restored photos are then uploaded back to the website, printed, and returned to their owners.  http://www.operationphotorescue.org/forum/gallery/888_06_05_08_8_20_18.jpg

Last year I didn’t get to help much, but this year I will do better. Get out and give back.