Being a photographer with a focus on nonprofits and NGOs, I have been asked multiple times if I’d be willing to photograph for free. Well, no. I am running a business and need to pay bill just like you do. But on occasion, I have been known to trade services and/or do pro bono work for something I am very passionate about.
When it comes to pro bono work, I’ll only take on 1-2 per year and with certain requirements and restrictions of the type of work, country and duration of the project. Plus it has to be something that goes along with my convictions and such. I am not interested in unethical storytelling and using people, so I am very careful as to the type of assignments I will take.
Since moving back from overseas, I have been trying to figure out where I was going to settle when it came to churches. There was the church I grew up in, but I wasn’t sure if that is where I wanted to hang my hat. I started seeking out other churches to see where I wanted to land. There was one I really liked, but it was a 45 minute drive. I didn’t want to do that. But as I was doing that, I started to appreciate the church I grew up in and not feel like I had to go there because of growing up there and my family still going there, but wanted to.
With that, I wanted to wait some time before I dug in and got involved with ministry things at the church. But then I saw it…the church was looking to expand its photography team and add new people. It was time and so I jumped in with both feet. This is the one place where I will volunteer my time without many conditions. It’s been exhausting, but also very rewarding. I wasn’t sure if they were going to like my style of photography, but they did. And at this point, I wasn’t as good in low light situations, but it’s given me the opportunity to work on that to the point that I feel more comfortable in low light situations now. I also didn’t want to be in front of people, or be intrusive (one of the reason’s I haven’t been as eager to capture weddings), but I have learned to get over it…wearing back really helps with that! It’s been a time of stretching and learning, which is always great. One should always aspire to be a continual learner in every area of life.
I am glad I decided to take the step and get involved and use my talent to help those who stood with me while I was overseas, prayed for and encouraged me for so many years.
Here are some of my favorite shots to date: