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Thread started 02 Dec 2011 (Friday) 14:58
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Thinking of offering free photoshoots to military families...

 
RDKirk
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Dec 06, 2011 05:55 |  #31

It's not his responsibility to ensure that someone else can earn a living. If a photographer can't earn a living because he's taking photos of military families, then that photographer isn't much of a photographer.

My point is that there are entire communities around military bases, and while they all, too, appreciate what the military does for the country, they also make a living selling milk, eggs, shoes, PlayStations, beer, et cetera, to military people.

Deploying is what soldiers do. There are plenty of charity opportunities among soldiers, and if you spend time among them, you discover the charity opportunities--linking up with organizations like the USO or some of the welfare organizations on post/base can show them to you. But deploying is what they do.


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ssim
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Dec 06, 2011 13:52 as a reply to  @ post 13502173 |  #32

There is no doubt that signing up with the military is a life altering decision and we owe them a ton of gratitude. Deciding on whether one wishes to provide free or nearly free photographic services to enlisted personnel should really boil down to how it fits in with the photographer's business plan or initiatives. Yes the pay is horrible but as has been mentioned they get lots of other benefits that offsets that. There are not many jobs that you sign up for has a high percentage chance of coming out of it maimed or killed but that is a decision that they make. My nephew signed up with the Canadian Forces and was deployed to Afghanistan for 2 tours. He saw things that most of us are grateful that we never have to. We all get patriotic when talking about our military forces.

The reality is that they do get some things that most of don't have the option of receiving. A free education in a trade that once they start to use it in the private sector they are paid well, very well in fact in some cases. What does it cost to become to a doctor on your own, lots I know that much. One of the persons that was taking Tae Kwon Do along with my wife and kids signed on with the Canadian military and was paid while becoming a doctor. Our taxes go to support all of these kinds of programs so when it comes time to decide whether they should get free photography services from me I tend to lean towards giving a discount. I also look to see that the taxes that I pay is already giving them significant amounts of benefits.

I don't believe that there is a right or wrong answer to this question. It is a personal choice that each service provider should answer for themselves.


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Mike ­ R
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Dec 06, 2011 18:01 |  #33

Find a charity that YOU believe in and support it. Really doesn't matter what we think.


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cdifoto
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Dec 07, 2011 05:23 |  #34

Mike R wrote in post #13505226 (external link)
Find a charity that YOU believe in and support it. Really doesn't matter what we think.

The military is not a charity.


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Eric
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Dec 07, 2011 08:44 |  #35

I agree with a lot of what has been said, on both sides of the isle.

Firstly, I want to recognize those who lost their lives and who served on this day 70 years ago.

As a former military member and avid supporter of the troops, I too have thought about doing this. Its a simple service for those who sacrifice so much for our freedom. I would be hesitant to opening it up to anyone in uniform, there are A LOT of military families out there, not all are less fortunate.

I know NC has an even bigger population of military than many other areas, maybe if you know of a group that is getting deployed offer to them only. Or leave it as a word of mouth thing, but keep in mind the military is a pretty tight knit community so that word may spread quickly.

Either way its a very thoughtful thing you are doing for that one family, and ultimately the decision is yours to make. No one can talk badly about your for helping the military. On a side note, you may want to look into the USO, they are a very organized group do so much for the military, maybe you could tag along to some of their events and offer the free sessions only at certain times so its not such a free-for-all.

Hoep this helps.....

Thanks for the support!


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RDKirk
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Dec 07, 2011 09:58 as a reply to  @ Eric's post |  #36

On a side note, you may want to look into the USO, they are a very organized group do so much for the military, maybe you could tag along to some of their events and offer the free sessions only at certain times so its not such a free-for-all.

Yes, I suggested the USO earlier, and there will also be groups on post/base with an ear to who needs help (such as the Wives Club, and there is probably a helping-hand group). But the USO will definitely be aware of unit deployments and have contacts for them.


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kazleberry
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Dec 07, 2011 20:52 |  #37

Eric wrote in post #13507928 (external link)
but keep in mind the military is a pretty tight knit community so that word may spread quickly.

This.
I know that in my area, we have an "army wives of [this area]" facebook group which is used quite a lot for "such and such offers defence (military) discount" etc. Word spreads quickly!




  
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Mike ­ R
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Dec 07, 2011 22:28 |  #38

cdifoto wrote in post #13507476 (external link)
The military is not a charity.

My comment was meant that people should not ask a forum what they should support. That it must be something you believe in. My charity of choice is the Make A Wish Foundation and some may think it's a waste.

You're right, the military isn't a charity.
I posted this link earlier but here it is again. http://oplove.org/phot​og.html (external link) Photos must be sent to the military person deployed and NOT given to the spouse.


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bekhiann
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Dec 29, 2011 13:23 |  #39

I just shot my friends return from Iraq at the airport. I'm not a pro- and I chose to bring my camera with the intent of documenting her return and the welcome home party, therefore would never dream of charging. She and I are friends with a husband-wife pro photography team, and the wife brought her camera along as well, we both got wonderful shots. Homecomings are wonderful events. In fact my husband is returning from korea next week and I know I want photos no matter how sloshy eyed and tired (the flight lands at 1040 pm) the kids and I look.
My thought would be if you would like to do this, do it. The families will appreciate it more than you could know. Some of these service members are gone repeatedly with only short periods in between to see there families. You can't know the sacrifice unless you have been there. My husband and I are both in the service and we are comfortable, if I wanted to hire someone to be at the airport I could. But there are younger families out there, barely making ends meet, going on these rotations over and over, their kids don't understand what is going on, those pictures could be worth a million bucks to them.
I would suggest trying to get in contact with an agency like the USO or base family support squadron something like that. They could put you in touch with those families who really couldn't afford it.
Thanks for supporting the troops!




  
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cdifoto
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Dec 29, 2011 13:48 |  #40

bekhiann wrote in post #13615905 (external link)
I just shot my friends return from Iraq at the airport. I'm not a pro- and I chose to bring my camera with the intent of documenting her return and the welcome home party, therefore would never dream of charging. She and I are friends with a husband-wife pro photography team, and the wife brought her camera along as well, we both got wonderful shots. Homecomings are wonderful events. In fact my husband is returning from korea next week and I know I want photos no matter how sloshy eyed and tired (the flight lands at 1040 pm) the kids and I look.
My thought would be if you would like to do this, do it. The families will appreciate it more than you could know. Some of these service members are gone repeatedly with only short periods in between to see there families. You can't know the sacrifice unless you have been there. My husband and I are both in the service and we are comfortable, if I wanted to hire someone to be at the airport I could. But there are younger families out there, barely making ends meet, going on these rotations over and over, their kids don't understand what is going on, those pictures could be worth a million bucks to them.
I would suggest trying to get in contact with an agency like the USO or base family support squadron something like that. They could put you in touch with those families who really couldn't afford it.
Thanks for supporting the troops!

If I had a friend or family member coming home then I would happily document it with my professional equipment to the best of my ability. I do the same for Christmas and birthdays when I feel up to it.

That's a whole different scenario than making it a policy that my business gives away free coverage to any and all returning or deploying military members, free portraiture to all military members, and/or free wedding services to all military members.


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RDKirk
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Dec 29, 2011 15:44 as a reply to  @ cdifoto's post |  #41

That's a whole different scenario than making it a policy that my business gives away free coverage to any and all returning or deploying military members,

Indeed. Deploying is what the military does (we try to avoid fighting wars on our own soil). So that would be virtually all of them--multiple times each.


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GadgetRick
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Dec 30, 2011 06:42 as a reply to  @ RDKirk's post |  #42

Ex-Navy here.

Anyway I understand what you're trying to do but I have to ask why do you feel they should get your service for FREE? I live in Jacksonville, FL (home to 2 Navy bases and other military in the area). I don't see every store giving stuff to the military for free. They give discounts but not for free.

It's noble what you're offering but you also have bills to pay (I'm guessing). It makes no sense to give EVERY military person shipping out this for free. Next thing will be the other people not shipping out asking for your services and expecting them for free.

If you think it will build your paying business in military circles, I assure you it most certainly will NOT. You'll be forever known as the photographer who gives military people sessions for free.

If you think they'll purchase prints...forget about it. They'll take your digital files and print them at Walgreens. Much cheaper than ordering prints through a photographer--if they get prints at all. Most people just want to post pics on FB and email them these days.

Nobody is debating whether we should be appreciative of people who served/are serving. However, I don't know anyone in the military who expects to get things for free just because they're in the military (not saying those people aren't out there). So, if they're not expecting your service for free, why give it to them for free? Just give them a nice discount and be done with it.

Sorry, it just doesn't make sense to give everyone a free session just because they're in the military.




  
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BreitlingFan
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Dec 30, 2011 08:42 |  #43
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GadgetRick wrote in post #13619500 (external link)
So, if they're not expecting your service for free, why give it to them for free?

There's your answer.

I don't understand why people are trying to talk the OP out of this. The OP obviously feels strongly about it. It's wonderful to see someone who's so obviously appreciative of our military. Ain't nothin' wrong with that.

I don't think the OP has asked anyone here to assist in this endeavor...


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umphotography
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Dec 30, 2011 09:01 as a reply to  @ BreitlingFan's post |  #44

I think its an AWESOME idea. Kudos to the OP for this. If it were not for these guys in the service, we might all be speaking a different language right now and our way of life would be drastically different than we are all used too..........I think this is brilliant.


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BaghdadFred
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Dec 30, 2011 10:23 |  #45

OP Nice idea. I have actually been the exact same thing only in reverse. I am taking portraits and recording holiday shout outs for Service Members who are deployed in Iraq so they can send the photos back to their family home. And yes indeed there are still plenty of service members and Americans here.

Photography is part of my job/duties here so I don't charge anyone. I've had a lot of people greatly appreciative and wanting to pay me. Of course I can't and won't accept money for doing this but it certainly get me a lot of kudos, coins and letters of appreciation from the brass.


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Thinking of offering free photoshoots to military families...
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