Once your photographic skills reach a respectable level–and by that I mean you can take an in focus picture with the flash off without a telephone pole in the background sticking out of someone’s head–you have an opportunity to help people in your community in ways you’ve probably never considered.
Almost every organization you’re a member of could use a volunteer photographer. Websites and newsletters have an insatiable appetite for fresh photography and you could supply it as a form of community service.
The next time you receive an e-mail newsletter or mailing from your school or church or special interest group notice the quality of the photography. If there’s not an amateur looking snapshot in the document they need to consider themselves lucky. But more than likely, that headshot your elementary school principal is using is five years old and ten pounds underweight and is begging to be replaced. You can do that. People you admire and care about will appreciate you for that.
Hiring photographers is expensive and a hassle. It’s not that the school principal doesn’t want a new photograph, it’s just that she hasn’t gotten around to getting a new one. You could shoot one at the next parent-teacher night and email it to the school office. Just say something like, “This is a photograph of what’s-her-name I shot last week. I thought you might find it useful. She doesn’t look ten pounds overweight to me.” Suggest if they ever need a photographer to photograph an event you would be happy to donate your time. Take this approach with several of the organizations in your life and I guarantee nothing but good will come of it.
Picking a few good photographs from a photo shoot and doing some basic editing and then putting them on a DVD is a great way to help that organization deal with hassle factor of digital photography. You could make duplicates of the pictures, one sized for print and one sized for the Internet. Generally speaking, a picture for print should be about 5 MB and a picture for the web should be on 1-2 MB. Put your name in the name of the photo as a photo credit (along with the name of the subject, of course) to make it simple for anyone who wants to give you credit.
If you end up having a little headshot photo session with someone have them bring a change of clothes. Then you can give them two versions and that one headshot won’t become old and tired so quickly. Another good idea is to shoot some with smiles and some fairly serious versions. Then the organizations won’t be faced with having a big grinning portrait of its leader next to the news that they just fired the entire staff.