As the end of the year approaches, it’s a great time to consider giving back by volunteering. Sure, donating money to causes you care about is an option. But volunteering can be more fulfilling than writing a check—especially since many photographers are still financially recovering from the impacts of the pandemic. If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities for wedding photographers, you’ve come to the right place.
Top 5 Volunteer Opportunities for Wedding Photographers
From offering portraits to utilizing your other hobbies, here are our top five volunteer opportunities for wedding photographers.
1. Offer Portrait Sessions In Hospitals and Nursing Homes
Reach out to local hospitals and nursing homes in your area to see if they would be interested in offering portrait sessions to their patients and residents. Folks with terminal illnesses will likely leap at the opportunity to turn their focus on something fun. On top of that, their families will appreciate having beautiful images of them to hold on to forever.
If you’re not sure where to start, look for children’s hospitals first. Portrait images are especially touching for families of children with cancer and terminal illnesses.
2. Snap Pet Portraits At a Shelter
This is similar to offering portrait sessions in hospitals and nursing homes. By offering professional portraits at local animal shelters you can help these furry friends find their forever homes. Help them put their best foot forward on adoption day with a shining portrait!
When you’re reaching out to pet shelters in your area, ask if you can stay to play with the animals after you’re done. Puppy playtime after a puppy photoshoot is a win-win in our book.
3. Donate Your Old Gear
After you’ve recently updated your favorite photography gear, it can be tempting to make quick cash by selling your old gear. While reselling is a great option for your business finances, donating that gear might feel more rewarding.
Start by checking out local community centers and schools around you that teach photography to see if they’d be interested in your old gear. If they don’t have programs to teach photography, you can also look at organizations like Photo Start that distribute camera equipment to children around the world. Just imagine all of the places your old equipment can travel to.
If you’re having a hard time parting with the money that you’d make from reselling your equipment, keep in mind that many countries like the United States offer tax deductions for donations to nonprofits. Check your local tax codes and if your donation qualifies for a deduction, be sure to ask for a donation receipt.
4. Schedule A Discounted Engagement Session
Look through your inquiries for couples who would benefit—and be grateful for—a free or discounted engagement session. Don’t go crazy and fill your calendar with these just for the sake of volunteer service, though. Instead, focus on booking one of these clients. Be careful not to get sucked into giving your services away for free or discounting too frequently.
Similar to the hospital and nursing home portraits, try to find a couple that will treasure these images. Many couples might not have other opportunities to be photographed by a professional. If you aren’t sure of any couples in your inquiries that fit this criteria, ask around!
5. Community Event Photography
Find community events like farmers’ markets to shoot. This will help events get great images for their social media feeds and you’ll get to stay locally engaged while expanding your portfolio. Your options aren’t limited to farmers’ markets, however. A quick online search for “community events near me” will pull up plenty of options for you to check out from behind your camera lens.
These five volunteer opportunities for wedding photographers shouldn’t limit where you spend time. You can also look into using your other hobbies with companies like Volunteer Match to help you find the best options for you—anywhere in the world!
Now that you have volunteer opportunities for wedding photographers covered, it’s time to upgrade your workload! Start by looking for other ways to step away from your day-to-day and protect your creativity. Sometimes taking a break is easier said than done, but our guide to coming back from burnout will help.