5 Ways To Use Photography To Help Your Community :: Digital Photo Secrets

5 Ways To Use Photography To Help Your Community

by David Peterson 14 comments

There’s nothing quite like helping others just for the fun of it. With Thanksgiving upon us, and as the Christmas season approaches, we all want to do a little extra to make others feel special. You may not realize it, but your photography skills are very valuable to those who either don’t have the equipment or just don’t know how to get the best images possible. Here are 5 ways to help them out.

Take Photos Of Your Friends And Family

This is the easiest thing you can do, especially when you’re quite good at photography. The next time you’re with your family, do them a favor and snap a few photos they can use. You don’t have to do it all the time, but they will always appreciate it. Sometimes it’s fun to surprise them with pictures you took from an event that happened a long time ago.

The key to the fun is to keep it a surprise. As soon as you’re expected to be the family photographer, it isn’t nearly as fun anymore. Take pictures when you feel like it, and only give them because you want to do it.

Help A Friend Who Is Building A Business

If one of your friends is an entrepreneur, go ahead and do some pro-bono photography work. This will set your friend’s business apart from all of the other business that use stock photography for their website, brochures, and other marketing materials. If your friend sells a product, take a few nice pictures and give them away. When the business takes off, your friend will never forget what you’ve done.

Don’t just limit yourself to business images. Even if a friend of your is simply trying to sell something on Ebay, a nice picture can make all the difference. It only takes a few seconds.

Take Photos When You See Tourists

Whenever you’re near a landmark and you see a family or a couple that could use your help, don’t wait for them to ask you. Go up to them and ask them if they want you to take their picture. It’s a really simple gesture that really goes a long way. If it were your family, you would want everyone in the shot too.

It helps when you don’t have a big head about it. Don’t tell anyone that you’re really into photography. Just snap the picture and let them enjoy it.

Take Photos Of Community Events And Share Them With Others

Maybe your kids play soccer or they’re involved in a church program. The next time there’s a big game or a event, become the photographer and give everyone copies of your pictures. This is not only a great way to share your skills, it can become a nice way to market your photography services. You never know who will see the pictures.

I usually talk to parents as I’m taking the pictures. I have them leave their email addresses with me, and then I create a Flickr group with the images. Facebook is really good for this as well.

Teach Your Friends Your Photography Skills

If you’ve got a friend who’s just getting into photography, take some time to teach him or her the finer points of the art. Oftentimes, this involves having a few casual chats about camera settings while critiquing some work. It’s even more fun when you organize photo walks at sunrise and sunset. They’ll benefit from your knowledge, and you’ll get a new shooting buddy.

I like to help my community with photography workshops (and this blog). Find a popular gathering place (your recreation center, library, or local coffee shop), and post a few messages on the corkboard. It can really fun to get everyone involved. Plus, if you’re starting to build your own photography business, you might just find some new employees within your group. You never know with these things. One act of kindness and friendship can open many doors.

I know there are many more ways to help your community with your photography. That’s why I want to hear your take on it. Have you done something exceptional for your community with your photography skills? Send me an email. I’m excited to hear about it!

Most people think this post is Interesting. What do you think?


  1. Lisa Chase says:

    Hi David I wanted to link to your site on my blog for teaching photography. I teach high school students and thought they might find some of your articles of interest. I would put a direct link to your site. Please let me know if you are OK with this.

  2. Jeanette says:

    David, sharing my photo's with friends and family is what I enjoy about
    photography. I've had two friends to lose loved one's, one in a car accident
    the other to menigitis, by the grace of God I had some photo's that I was able to use to make a gift to show my love and sympathy to the families. One was a collage of the father doing the things he loved doing,
    the shots really captured his personality and zest for life, these were taken
    at a church camp. The other was a photo of the father's garden (his last garden before he died) which he enjoyed working in and sharing the fruits of his labour with friends,family, neighbours and loved one's. I had a poem which I placed on the photo that really suited the father and spoke of the families love and lost. It was printed and framed with a nice border. The wife of the man loved it and cried with thankfulness, she replied..I know exactly where I will put it. :o) I also take photo's at weddings and baby showers as my gift to the bride/family. One baby shower I gave a voucher entitling the mother to a newborn shoot.
    I really enjoy your site and learn lots from it and share it with other up and coming photographers, so many thanks..keep those tips and inspirations coming! Jeanette Wellington, New Zealand

  3. Tom Clark says:

    Favorite season to photograph? All of them!

  4. Kathy Wesserling says:

    OOps - I should have scrolled down a little farther - I had already shared that project.

  5. Kathy Wesserling says:

    A couple of years ago, our church organized a photo workshop for 8-12 year olds and another for the teenagers. We borrowed (and had donated) cameras so each kid had one. After a short introduction to composition, we headed out to a local park and to Eastern Market in Detroit. I did the editing; my online fellow competitors picked the top 3 from each age (out of the top 10 favorites each kid selected.) We had those 3 from each kid displayed at an Art Exhibit with ribbons for the top vote-getters. It sparked a continuing interest in photography for a few of the kids.

  6. Jess says:

    I love to do community work. I have done several events for animal control, prostate /breast cancer awareness and women's shelters. I offer pictures to the staff at the events, the women at the shelter for many times they had to leave behind everything.. Also all event photos are given to the "entity" in charge to use for promotional purposes... Nothing better than helping ones neighbors or a good cause... Makes me happy :)

  7. Sandra Willis says:

    Hi David,
    I really enjoy you very helpful articles and have applied many to my hobby. I started with a Box Brownie when I was about 14 and it served me very well until I lost it overboard on a very busy fishing trip!
    I have been fortunate enough to travel a wee bit and one of the things I readily do I offer to take photos of when there are two or more folk in a group. The plus is the often the offer is reciprocated and we get chatting. It's such a pleasant way to connect with people from al over , even if there are some language 'challlenges'!
    Love your stuff.

  8. Tom Clark says:

    I have been a volunteer photographer for the city of Fayetteville AR since I retired from the University of Arkansas a little over a year ago. It is very rewarding to be able to do the photography and I have been rewarded with a personal photography gallery on the second floor of city hall and having my photos going into the permanent city archive. This work is very much related to people such as the recent shoot of Lights of the Ozarks on the town square with 100's of eager faces waiting to be photographed.
    My Facebook page (above) has become a album repository of shoots to share with others. My volunteer works has spread to other non-profits such as the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and the Ozark Literary Council. It's is a hoot that I hope to continue far into the future!

  9. sue says:

    Local animal shelters & rescues need good pictures of their homeless animals to post online to help them get adopted.

  10. nonye agu says:

    U are a blessing to this generation mr.peterson,that's exactly what I have in mind.I wanna teach some idle guys in in my vicinity to help them earn a living and get busy.thanks.

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About David Peterson
David Peterson is the creator of Digital Photo Secrets, and the Photography Dash and loves teaching photography to fellow photographers all around the world. You can follow him on Twitter at @dphotosecrets or on Google+.