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Make a Difference with Photography

Updated on September 14, 2014
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

There are many ways that one can make a difference in the lives of others and photography is no different.

There are many worthwhile projects involving photography that can be used towards the betterment of others and also help the photographer gain recognition and achieve personal growth, perhaps lead to outside sales.

Lets take for example a non profit organization dedicated to helping the homeless or veterans, children issues, the elderly and so on.

By contacting any of these organizations and explaining your purpose many will assist you in realizing such a feat. Your goal should be on recording the lives of those which are served by the organization.

Everything from their daily routine, to the struggles and vicissitudes that each member undergoes every single day. Suppose that you decide to undertake a photographic study of war veterans. Your start should be focused on where they reside, which will probably be at a veterans shelter or group home.

The next step will be to spend some time talking to and photographing the daily routine of each member; where they sleep, eat, hang around, work if they do so, visits to family members or other members like themselves, visits to treatment centers, even the less glamorous habits which may accompany these individuals.

The main goal of the entire project is not only to fully document the lives of these individuals but to assist them in benefiting from the photographic project.

This is mostly done by producing and organizing exhibits at various fine art or contemporary galleries where the images are shown and sold. The media can play a very important part in the project by covering the event and reporting about it which also produces a reliable source of communication and dissemination to a vastly larger audience than just those who view the images first hand.

Your main intention is not to profit from the images initially, most of the profits with the exception of some basic expenses, that are as a direct result from the gallery viewing, sales and any donations that come as a result of publicity should go directly to the individuals and or to the organization, sort of a fundraising event.

Your benefit and hard work as a photographer will be rewarded because you are sure to gain recognition not only in the professional photography circuit but in the social arena as well. This is turn can lead to other fundraisers, private bookings, more publicity as the media are always interested in covering all angles of any event, especially if this is considered a worthy cause.

An example of a non profit cause which helps veterans can be found by following this link to www.Peacetags.com. Their efforts have produced as much as $50,000 for worthwhile veteran causes through their organization.

There are some basic circumstances and ground rules that must be followed and respected such as not photographing anyone who does not wish to be photographed.

Always photograph with the full permission of the participants and the organization they are involved with. Always be very upfront with all persons involved in the project.

The purpose and expected result of the project should be fully explained and everyone should feel at ease and be allowed to participate and provide input as well as feedback throughout the project.

Careful bookkeeping must be maintained so that all funds are accounted for and are redirected as promised. Lack of basic bookkeeping and accounting practices can lead to bad feelings and misunderstandings which can quickly turn a worthy project into a headache.

Be very proactive when dealing with possible venues. Many are willing to donate space and time in return for free publicity.

Seek the aid of local media and be professional in your dealings with them. Allow them all of the necessary resources and accessibility that is needed for them to be able to cover the event to its full potential.

Many non profit and general publications may be willing to publish your images and more so if they are accompanied by a short story since it makes their job easier. But do ask for their submission guidelines before sending them anything.

Once the activity has reached its climax, then it is worth considering gathering all images and any stories and submitting them to a book publisher or consider doing a self publishing project.

CC BY 2.0
CC BY 2.0 | Source

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez

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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image
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      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      You know it took me a while to realize that it was you. I like the new look

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

      Wonderful ideas Luis, getting on board with nonprofits.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image
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      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Cardisa; Thank you..you know you're so clever that I don't know how to interpret your last point....lol

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      A charity project is very good! I just told my fiance this morning that I will be doing a photography project and I need his help, I'll probably throw in a little charity in there too.