Combining Volunteerism and Photography.
This is an idea / project I have really wanted to get the ball rolling on for a long time. I assumed it would be years before I could actually do it, because I just DO NOT have the money to buy all the gear I need (lighting, backdrops, etc.) to actually DO it. But, that has hopefully changed.
You all know that Ryan and I have moved from North Carolina to the Washington DC area. Since moving I’ve started working for a small portrait studio owned by a local woman who has been in business almost 15 years. She is so generous with all of her equipment, even her studio space letting those who work for her use it to learn more about photography. In the 1 week I have been working for her I have learned SO much… I have also decided to pursue my project. I haven’t brought this to her YET because I really want to lay it all out and work out the logistics before I ask to borrow the gear (Also, I imagine working for her long enough to actually get to know me would help. Ha!)
Right now my job consists of traveling to private (therefore very expensive) Schools and Daycares in the area. Setting up a small set with back drops, toys and props, and having mini-photo shoots with each child. It is school photography with a very creative little twist and it is tons of fun.
I want to do this for children whose family cannot afford the luxury of school portraits.
I believe photography is so important.. I know that it is expensive, and I know a lot of families cannot afford to spend money on portraits of their children. So even if they get their yearbook photos made every year… it doesn’t mean they actually order prints.
My idea is to reach out to a local Boys and Girls Club, maybe a YMCA, or other community center (I am still learning my way around the area.) working with the director to plan a “Picture Day”. Coming in, setting up, photographing each child and then sending home an 8x10 portrait and maybe a smaller size (depending on the budget.) for the families free of charge. Just because it is nice to have printed photographs of your family to hang on to through the years.
I have to break this project up into 3 parts. At least to get started.
1.) Contact a community center, explain my intentions, see if I need any type of paperwork / background check to work with the children. Maybe volunteer with the center a few weekends so I can get to know the children!
2.) Talk to my current boss. Convince her to let me borrow her lighting and backdrop equipment we take to the schools. See if she will let me print the photographs at her studio. Reassure her that this is MY project and it will cost her absolutely nothing except the good faith I will not ruin her gear.
3.) Launch a kickstarter (or similar) campaign to raise money to cover the cost of printing the photographs, and a few costs associated with printing fliers for the community center to send home with the children with information regarding the picture day! Any excess will be donated to the center after the project is finished.
So. This is my idea. I have been wanting to do this for MONTHS. I finally see a way to make it happen sooner, rather than later!
If you’re in the DC metro area, and you think you might want to help out message me your email address and I can keep in touch with you!