It has always been a goal of mine to volunteer, help others & give back as much as possible to my community. When I started owning my own photography business it became even easier to give back than it was before. Having your own photography business allows you so much freedom to be creative in your efforts to help through non-profit work. I started implementing ways to help others each month on my own but in addition to that other opportunities presented themself to me (without me having to hunt them down) all the time.
What I started to realize is that even if you go into it expecting nothing in return purely out of the kindness of your heart, “giving back” is just about the most creative form of advertising there is. It’s virtually free (aside from your time or products if you choose to go that route), it makes a positive difference in the world, & leaves you with a sense of accomplishment when it’s over.
It feels good to give back.
Even though you don’t do it for credit or to get anything out of it, your business receives exposure, your name gets out there, you establish relationships, & can network with other small businesses/people.
The people who you help or met you through the cause you helped begin to have your back. They remember your name, might pass it on to their friends or even hire you for their personal photos. Helping others often opens doors that would not otherwise be opened. That’s why giving your time & talent can also end up being a creative (and often unexpected) marketing tool for your business.
As long as you give your time & talent for the right reason & don’t expect anything in return then you will never be disappointed. If you receive some advertising & exposure because of it then it’s an extra added bonus! In my experience, it has always ended up having a positive impact on my business….if not by gaining clients or work, by gaining friends & networking.
5 Creative Advertising for your Photography Business
To give you some ideas on ways to get started, here are some situations in which I utilized creative advertising as a photographer in the form of “giving back” –
1. Christmas Giveaway
I started a Christmas Give-Away each December where I accepted nominations of families in need….families with special situations that would not have pictures if it weren’t for the give away. I choose one or more families & give them a session plus the digital images so they can have them forever. This seems to be a pretty popular one among photographers.
I chose to volunteer my time to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation because it is something near & dear to my heart. For a couple years I volunteered to take pictures at the event. This past year they hired me to do it.
3. Private Special Needs School Pictures
I took pictures of the entire student body at a local private special needs school, edited the images & had 8X10s printed of each child. There is a gap between the yearly cost to run the school & the amount of tuition the students pay, so they have to find ways to raise funds through out the year to close the gap. They sold the 8X10s at the yearly gala to help raise funds to close that gap.
4. Donating Sessions to Local Organizations
I am constantly giving sessions or minisessions to local organizations to help raise money at their fundraising events/auctions. Some of the organizations include: the Childrens Fund, Boy Scouts of America, Yellowstone Academy.
5. Local Animal Shelters
Photograph pets at a local animal shelter. There is a higher rate of adoption for dogs that are well-photographed!
This is just a small list to help get you started. If you are interested in doing this & don’t know where to start, you can always start by calling local school, daycares, churches, etc. & ask if they could use any support.
Let your area of expertise guide you in which direction you go. If you perfer photographing women over children, try contacting a women’s shelter or a hospital. There are opportunities all around us – more than we realize!
For more examples of ways you can use your time & talent to make a difference in your community check out this post on the Clickin’ Moms Giving Back With Photography.
How do you give back with your photography business??