Organize a charity photo shoot

Here is an idea that might provide publicity for any photographer and help others at the same time: Organize a charity photo shoot for a local animal welfare organization. You would get your name out, people would get photos of their pets and you would also help a charity at the same time.

So far I have done it twice. Both times we managed to raise around 400 euros + second time they got post cards to sell, which will hopefully provide them some money too.

The first shoot

img_4492 The first photo shoot was organized together with a dog owners club at my workplace. We had two photographers (2nd photographer was Henna Viinamäki) who sold 15 minute time slots to take photos of pets and people. We were shooting for 3 hours, so both got 9 clients (with 5min break between the shoots). We promised 3 photos for each client at fixed price.

Christmas cards

The shoot was organized before Christmas. We had some fake gifts available, so people could get pet themed Christmas cards.

img_4682 img_4460 img_4424

I am not a pro shooter, so it was a huge learning experience for me, but I think many pros would too have busy time with lively pets and only 15 minutes to produce 3 nice shots…

img_4600 For me the best thing was that I could take a picture of a boy and his old dog together. The dog didn’t have much time left and the family wanted the boy to have some memory of the dog. Just that one image alone made it all worthwhile.

More images:

The second shoot

Hesy photo shoot 2010 - 18 The second shoot was organized directly with the animal welfare organization. Henna was again shooting also. They posted advertisement about the shoot and again we managed to sell all the time slots. This time they also made post cards out of some of the images (pet owners could choose the images).

This was already easier shoot, but I think I have to try once more because I now have some ideas of how to keep the pets more relaxed… (When dogs get excited they keep their mouth open and tongue hanging out to cool down. Keeping them relaxed is the key for, well, relaxed photos)

More images:

I didn’t try these ideas, but you could maximize the publicity by letting a local news paper know about the shoot or instead of fixed prices auction the time slots.

I would like to thank my co-workers, Henna and Helsinki area animal welfare organization (HESY) for organizing the photo shoots and all the people who had their families and pets photographed. It was fun and I hope to have time to do it again :-)

Posted in Photography
2 comments on “Organize a charity photo shoot
  1. Andrea says:

    Really nice photos, and a great idea to raise money for a good cause. Thanks for sharing them. As an aspiring pet photographer, I’d love to know some details about your lighting setup and other helpful tips.

  2. Juha says:

    Thanks for the comment! The pet shoots have been great learning experiences… One major thing I will do differently in the future is keeping the situation as calm as possible. Just sitting there and talking quietly with pet owners for couple of minutes. This might allow the pets to relax and be calm enough to be positioned more easily (and they might not have their tongue hanging out all the time…).

    Light colored fur is pretty translucent, so direction and softness of light is not that important (it’s going to scatter in every direction anyway), but it’s good to have the lights at least 2-3 meters away to get larger area with even exposure (especially if you are using manual exposure).

    Eyes of course would benefit from a nice big highlight, but you could use secondary light just for that.

    Dark fur has strong directional reflection component and to make most of that bigger light source (or bounce) is needed behind and to the side.

    I have my backgrounds mostly replaced in post as the big white fabric I use looks quite ugly. For pro work my method is probably too slow, but getting the pets and background perfect in one shot is not easy :-) (Some pets have been calm enough to be positioned on colored paper and then everything is “easy”…)

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