5 Reasons for Joining a Nonprofit Photography Workshop
Find out how you can make an impact through a nonprofit photography workshop
A nonprofit photography workshop is an opportunity to use your photography for a good cause. No matter what level you’re at as a photographer, you can make an impact with your skills during a photography volunteer program. Guided by a professional photographer, you’ll raise awareness of important causes, teach photography skills to those who can most benefit from it, and you’ll sharpen your own photographic abilities in the process. If you love photography and want to give back, joining a nonprofit photography workshop might be the inspiring experience you’re looking for. – Text by Wantong Liu, images by Sarah Isaacs
1. Make an impact
We believe photography is a powerful tool to create awareness about important issues, and help make a positive impact. If you join a nonprofit photography workshop or photography volunteer program, you’ll get to use your skills for good. This can happen in different ways; some programs allow photographers to document nonprofits and donate their images. The nonprofits can then use the visuals for their communications and fundraising purposes; and you, as a photographer, could chose to use any platforms you have to tell the same story, and encourage people to contribute to the cause you documented. These causes can range from humanitarian programs to wildlife conservation or environmental projects.
During a Wildlife Photography and Conservation Volunteer Project in Kruger, for instance, you can donate the wildlife images you take to a database that offers free access to conservation charities in the area. This makes the experience not just an exciting one, but also a valuable one.
Another way of contributing to worthwhile causes during photography volunteer projects is by helping teach photography skills to people who can put these skills to good use. For instance, during this upcoming Photography Volunteer Project in Cape Town, you’ll be part of The Heart of a Woman Project, which equips women in townships with mobile photography and social media skills, so that they can effectively tell the story of the social impact programs they’re running in their communities.
During a nonprofit photography workshop, you’ll be guided by a professional photographer, and you’ll be part of an existing and sustainable effort. This ensures that anyone can join and make an impact, regardless of your photography skills or experience in the nonprofit field.
2. Sharpen your photography skills
There is no better way to perfect your photography skill than practicing. During a nonprofit photography workshop you are able to take on a project-oriented approach, which will keep you focused and in a great mindset to make the most of your skills. Besides, you’ll be guided by a professional photographer, and there’s always time and focus on sharpening your own skills. (Plus, it’s important to take your time and also explore the area you’re visiting – and there’s no better way of doing that than through your lens!)
3. Learn about the potential impact photography can make
Joining a photography volunteer project will give you a good understanding of the potential (and limitation) of photography as a tool for making an impact. You’re likely to learn about the best and ethical ways to approach NGO photography, and you might get a wider understanding of the role visual media play in the development space.
4. Build a portfolio
A photography volunteer project will likely offer photographic opportunities that are fairly unique, as you won’t be wondering on the standard touristy path. Instead, you’ll immerse yourself in communities, meet people and learn about their work, explore cause-driven projects in-depth, or focus on very specific wildlife species or environmental issues. It’s a unique way of experiencing a foreign environment and capturing it in an honest and original way. Your images won’t just contribute to important causes, they’ll also make for an interesting addition to your portfolio.
5. Meet like-minded people
You’ll be joining a group of like-minded people; people who share your passion of photography, your believe in certain causes, and your mission of making an impact. Joining a nonprofit photography workshop, and sharing this inspiring experience with a small group of other adventurous travellers, is a great way of meeting people you are likely to connect with.