Author: 
Dean Holland, Take Better Photos
Male Afghan refugee smiling

Photos change hearts. They say what words and numbers can’t. A single good photo can bring your funders and stakeholders to the best moments of your project, and change their viewpoint forever.

But good photography can be hard to find. So we’ve started a free initiative to bring together groups who want photography with amateur and professional photographers who want to help and to get more experience.

Charities, community groups, artists and good causes can post their photography needs on the site, and hundreds of keen photographers across Queensland get to see it, and can choose to volunteer. No money involved anywhere.

What could you get photos of?

You could use photo-opportunities.com for:

  • Case-studies of your clients’ journeys through your project or service, showing its impact from their point of view
  • Marketing images for a social enterprise or crowd-funding campaign
  • Photos that show the personality of your team for your website or reports
  • Photo that change how people see your clients and participants
  • Events

Photos of major events always spring to mind first, but we find that long-term projects are more fertile ground to get photos that have impact, especially with amateur photographers. The daily work of your projects might not feel photogenic, but it’s where most of the emotion and impact live. Cameras exist to share this with others.

How to work with amateur photographers

Working with an amateur photographer takes a little extra time and investment compared to working with a professional. And there will be some chance that a single shoot won’t come off. So here are some tips to maximise success with amateur photographers:

  • Attract the right photographers by describing why the photos will be valuable for your cause.
  • Ask them to show you relevant photos they’ve taken. Being good at landscapes doesn’t make them good at photographing people and vice versa.
  • Help them to not apply if their equipment can’t do it. If it’s an event, describe the light: candles, fluorescent lights and sunshine can need different equipment to shoot successfully. Make it clear if you expect any extensive Photoshopping (e.g. adding a person to a picture).
  • Show them similar photos to what you want, and make a short list of the types of pictures you’re after.
  • Talk to them. Do they have the people skills to work with your participants?
  • Have a clear deadline for the photos, and give them frank feedback on the pictures - often your feedback will be the most valuable part of the whole experience to them.

Cameras can do more than just photocopy what a scene looks like… they can share someone else’s point of view. Instantly. Even across language and cultural barriers. How could you use this to further your cause?

Visit photo-opportunities.com to list your opportunity or find out more.

About Dean Holland

This resource was contributed by Dean Holland of Take Better Photos, a Brisbane-based company of photographers and photography trainers who specialise in work with social projects.

Dean started photo-opportunities.com to bring together groups who want photography with amateur and professional photographers who want to help and to get more experience

The accompanying image is from a project to change the way people see male Afghan refugees. The photographer handed over the camera and helped them to capture each other from their own point of view. It was so successful that the photos spawned a local exhibition.

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