Friday, April 23, 2010

Photo Charities

We are a true believer in supporting charities, good causes, good people and the less fortunate. One of the most obvious and easiest ways to contribute is to give money. With the economy being the way that it is, that is quite difficult for most people to do. The next best thing is to give your time. This is something that most of us can do. We have found the following photography related charities, and hope that you will 1) take the time to read about them, 2) forward this on to your photographer friends and, 3) go sign up and get involved!

Flashes of Hope
"Flashes of Hope is a nonprofit organization that changes the way children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses see themselves through the gift of photography and raises money for pediatric cancer research." Website:  http://www.flashesofhope.org/

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
"Introduces remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring their child's legacy."  Website: http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/


Think Pink Photography
"Think Pink Photography is a charitable organization, comprised of a network of professional photographers, serving two main purposes – celebrating life and supporting the cause. We celebrate life through complimentary portrait sessions for breast cancer patients, and we support the cause by partnering with the Eric R. Beverly Family Foundation." Website: http://thinkpinkphotography.org/


Operation: Love Reunited
"The Operation captures the moments of love between a US Military member and their family before or during a deployment, and at the reunion." Website:  http://www.oplove.org/


Pictures of Hope Foundation
"The Pictures of Hope Foundation is a charitable organization comprised of professional photographers from all over the United States and Canada that provides complimentary, documentary-style photography services to families with a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)." Website: http://www.picturesofhopefoundation.org/


Celebrating Adoption
"We are a group of photographers who want to share the joy of adoption by celebrating with newly adoptive parents." Website: http://www.celebratingadoption.org/


The American Child Photographers Charity Guild
"A non-profit, volunteer based organization of child photographers across the nation who have networked together to provide families of desperately ill children complimentary portrait sessions." Website: http://www.acpcg.org/


In addition to presenting you with a little overview of the charities themselves, we asked a few photographers who are currently involved with one or more of the above charities to explain a little about why they volunteer their time and services.

"As photographers, we all know how hard it is to come by extra money. Making monetary donations is often difficult because our cost of doing business is tied to technology; every spare dollar we have goes to software, computers, or digital equipment enhancements. The reality: what we have the ability to offer goes well beyond the value of the money we have to spare. We have the ability to create images that capture the personality of a individual, capture a memory, or the images that convey a message -any of these can be used for the good of organizations that rely on donations. 
 
My studio supports Flashes of Hope, and we have been shooting for this organization for five years. We donate our time and skill to give families struggling through the torment of childhood cancer what is all too often the last portrait they have of their child and their family. We do it because it feels good to share our abilities. We do it because we should.

I always suggest to photographers that they should think about some charitable cause that may have meaning to them and their personal lives: starvation, breast cancer, mental illness, childhood diseases, or any other topic that holds a deeper meaning for them. Chances are there is an organization out there that relies on donations to research, support, or reach out for their cause. They should reach out to that organization and become useful. If nothing else, at the end of the day - no matter how good or bad business has been - it is a way they can truly feel good about their self and their business."

- Patrick Williams, PWP Studio: http://pwpstudio.com/


" I eagerly await my opportunity to help someone with a gift that I have been given. I think it's important to not only embrace the gifts that you are given, but to give back with those same gifts. To give back to those who could really use a wonderful portrait of a chapter in their lives, to mark a break through, strength, love and all the other emotions that encompass that situation. To also give back to a community that will help build your company up and make it strong, I think it is the least we can do to say thank you to these wonderful and beautiful people.

One of the two photography charities that I have personally decided to devote my time to is Think Pink Photography, which offers photography sessions to those strong women who are going through and have overcome breast cancer, a cancer that has affected my family personally. I think that there would be nothing better then giving a woman who is struggling with this cancer a different viewpoint of her situation; a view that she is beautiful, strong and worth the fight. Every woman wants to feel and look beautiful no matter what, and I want to be able to capture that for these beautiful and strong women who are faced with breast cancer.

The second charity that I decided to work with is called Operation Love reunited, which is a charity for those soldiers out there that are fighting for our freedom everyday and their families. To take a portrait of a strong solider and his/her family that they are able to keep with them and take along with them where ever they may find themselves. To give them hope that they will once again be back home with their family, and to give the family the same strength and hope. These are the people who are fighting and giving their lives for our freedom, and this is my way of saying thank you."

- Jillian McGrath: http://www.jillianmcgrath.com

* UPDATE: There are more charities we have written about since this article and can all be found at Help Portrait and Hearts Apart.