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

 
mannetti21
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Dec 02, 2011 14:58 |  #1

Long story short, I met a patient today whose son is leaving for Afghanistan on Monday. The patient has very limited life expectancy and will likely never see his son again. He was upset that he doesn't have any "good" recent pics together. I offered to come in tomorrow morning, take them into the hospital courtyard, and capture some memories.

I moved to NC, which seems to be home to many military folks. Im thinking of offering free photoshoots to military families before a loved one gets shipped overseas. I was simply going to give them the digital images and not get into prints. My main reason for doing this is simply to thank these people and their families for their sacrafice. I also see this as an opportunity to gain experience and continue building a portfolio as I would like to someday get paid to do this.

Does anyone foresee any issues arising by advertising or performing this service? I figured I wouldn't have to stress too much about results as it would be done at no cost. Thoughts, suggestions?



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david ­ lacey
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Dec 02, 2011 15:04 |  #2

I would not hesitate to do free/personal work if it was something I wanted to do for whatever reason. Why not limit it to a few and see how it goes so if the passion starts to fade you can lay off for a while. They would get memorable pictures and you would enjoy it and have more for your portfolio, sounds like win win to me.




  
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Chris
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Dec 02, 2011 15:05 |  #3

Sounds like a nice thing to do for military families.


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Eiro
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Dec 02, 2011 15:18 |  #4

Yeah give it a shot ! See what results out of it. Small and simple.


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BlurredImage
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Dec 02, 2011 16:06 |  #5

Really nice thing to do. I just hope it doesn't get taken advantage of for your sake.




  
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RDKirk
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Dec 02, 2011 16:16 as a reply to  @ Eiro's post |  #6

Remember that there are professional photographers in all those areas who are trying to make a living. One characteristic of all military members (and I was one for 26 years myself), is that they all have jobs and are receiving regular paychecks; they are not indigent...and going overseas is just part of the job (I spent fully half of my service time overseas).

As with all charity work, it's usually a better idea to identify lcases of special need, such as that you've already mentioned, so that the value of the charity to the recipient remains high, rather than turning into an entitlement.

When I did work for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, although it's true everyone wants shots of their newborns, that charity is limited to babies who are terminal.


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bcd01
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Dec 02, 2011 16:20 |  #7

It is very generous of you and I can only encourage you keep up this positive endeavor. Thanks for consideration to the US Military.


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BreitlingFan
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Dec 02, 2011 16:25 |  #8
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RDKirk wrote in post #13486149 (external link)
Remember that there are professional photographers in all those areas who are trying to make a living. One characteristic of all military members (and I was one for 26 years myself), is that they all have jobs and are receiving a paycheck; they are not indigent.

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.

I'm also retired military. I'm of the mindset that there simply isn't enough that we can do for our men and women in uniform. Yes, they get a paycheck, but it's hardly a lot of money. When I retired ten years ago, my take home pay was about $3,000.00 a month. That included all my housing allowances, etc.

That's hardly a lot of money. A Staff Sargeant with six years in has a base pay of $2,840.00, or $34,080.00 a year.

The sacrifices these kids make are far away above and beyond what Joe Six-Pack could bear. I say go for it. The good will and kharma will come back on you ten-fold...


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mannetti21
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Dec 02, 2011 16:26 |  #9

RDKirk wrote in post #13486149 (external link)
Remember that there are professional photographers in all those areas who are trying to make a living. One characteristic of all military members (and I was one for 26 years myself), is that they all have jobs and are receiving regular paychecks; they are not indigent...and going overseas is just part of the job (I spent fully half of my service time overseas).

As with all charity work, it's usually a better idea to identify lcases of special need, such as that you've already mentioned, so that the value of the charity to the recipient remains high, rather than turning into an entitlement.

When I did work for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, although it's true everyone wants shots of their newborns, that charity is limited to babies who are terminal.

I fully understand what you're saying, but is there really a big market for pre-deployment sessions??? IDK, maybe there is.

Regardless, I was thinking more along the lines of "send me an email and let me know why you deserve/need/want etc., a free photoshoot " then choosing for myself.



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Brandon72
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Dec 02, 2011 18:00 as a reply to  @ mannetti21's post |  #10

Have you heard http://help-portrait.com/? (external link) It was founded by Jeremy Cowart and might be a useful resource for you. This way you can do it with other photographers and have the backing of an organization that has a code of ethics involving the practices of the photographers and is truly non-profit. And this makes it easier to go through other resources, for example hospitals or shelters that may be able to get you in touch with those who are truly in need of your services and would not have access to portraits otherwise. Just an idea. I think it's a very kind thing to do and something every photographer should offer at some point to whatever extent they are capable. :)




  
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Mike ­ R
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Dec 02, 2011 21:49 |  #11

Consider joining this org. http://oplove.org/phot​og.html (external link)
Check out their entire website.


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FlyingPhotog
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Dec 02, 2011 22:01 |  #12

I would say do this with zero hesitation.

However, if you're a hospital employee, I would caution you to check with hospital management about shooting on hospital property. Due to liability concerns (real or imagined), it may be prohibited.


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RDKirk
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Dec 02, 2011 23:10 |  #13

BreitlingFan wrote in post #13486195 (external link)
I'm also retired military. I'm of the mindset that there simply isn't enough that we can do for our men and women in uniform. Yes, they get a paycheck, but it's hardly a lot of money. When I retired ten years ago, my take home pay was about $3,000.00 a month. That included all my housing allowances, etc.

That's hardly a lot of money. A Staff Sargeant with six years in has a base pay of $2,840.00, or $34,080.00 a year.

What you didn't mention, however, is that "total military compensation" nearly doubles that. Take the value of free family healthcare, which is worth hundreds of dollars a month. My kids' birth cost me a total of $35 each out of my pocket.

The goofy thing is that as an E-8 in Hawaii...I actually qualified for welfare because they counted only my "base" pay...but none of the allowances or benefits.

The military keeps its people long on benefits but fairly short on pocket cash. Many don't spend that pocket cash wisely, many others maximize the benefits, minimize debt, and leave the military with nice nest eggs.

There are lots of financial disadvantages to being in the military (for instance, it's incredibly difficult to be a two-income household unless both are in the military), but military people do have money to pay for photography.

There are hardship cases deserving of charity, but that doesn't include everyone in the military. Look for the people who have been socked in the jaw by real misfortune...there are enough of them.


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kazleberry
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Dec 03, 2011 17:34 |  #14

As an army wife myself, I don't really see this as necessary. Perhaps if you were to organise a "portrait day" where the enlisted men and women could come, in uniform, and get some nice pictures with their family, that would be nice (and relevant).

However in my experience, defence force families are always asking for more, expecting more, wanting everything handed to them because of what their spouse does for a living. I know plenty of army wives that constantly take everything and use their status as a "get stuff free" card.

Before a deployment, yes that would be a lovely gift. In uniform, it's something that most people just wouldnt get. But offering free professional photography for them just because? I wouldn't go there.

Now, that being said, I am an Australian army wife and I know we do also have shorter deployments, higher pay, and a much lower mortality rate. So I dont feel that we deserve any more than what the goverment already gives us.




  
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cdifoto
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Dec 03, 2011 19:26 |  #15

I've considered this and decided not do. While it's a good public relations move it's not a good financial one. There are a lot of families out there with at least one relative who's military and you might end up shooting more free than paid.

While I appreciate what military members do, we have to remember that they did sign up voluntarily and they do get a paycheck with a boatload of benefits...they may have even received a nice sign on bonus.


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