Six months ago, if you had told me I’d be volunteering to do a full-day photo shoot and a half day of editing for free, I’d have laughed and called you crazy.
Things are different now. Call me a soft touch, but I’ve become a believer in pro bono karma.
A Really Low Bid
Near the end of last year, I received an e-mail asking for a bid to shoot photos for a prospective client’s marketing program. The prospect expected the shoot would require a full day.
I decided to look up the organization’s Web site to find out more before submitting an estimate. I learned it was a Kansas City women’s shelter called Hope House.
I sat and thought about what to do. A few minutes later, I informed Hope House that I would shoot the project for free.
Hope House is Missouri’s largest domestic violence shelter. It provides programs and services that include outreach therapy, court advocacy, a safe visitation center, on-call women’s advocates who work with area police departments, social workers and prevention programs in area schools.
After I took the assignment, I sat down with the folks at Hope House to learn more about what they do, and the 10,000 abuse victims they help every year. It was tough to hear some of the stories.
We set up the shots for the assignment, but were careful to make them as realistic as possible. We shot scenarios of a sexual assault victim meeting with a nurse, a homeless person receiving an AIDS test, human trafficking in the forms of prostitution and child labor, and some shots inside a chapel. I’ve included a few of the images within this post. (You can view more on my blog.)
Giving Your Talent
Ultimately, I chose to do the job not only to give to a local charity, but because I specifically liked the idea of contributing my professional skills to a worthy cause.
I probably could have gotten away with bidding my day rate, or giving them a modest price break. But it felt good to donate not only my time and energy — but also my talents — to the shelter.
And karma has already begun to pay me back. I recently booked a paying gig that grew out of my Hope House experience.