Why I use my creative skills to help others

Why I use my creative skills to help others

When I retired from a demanding working life I was determined to give more energy to those things that I enjoyed and had not been able to give enough time to previously. Family, friends, enjoying outdoor activities and (in particular!) photography.


I started photographing things that I found interesting and challenging, including kitesurfing and local community events, and started using images in photography competitions. After about a year it became apparent to me that there were many local organisations that were interested in the photographs I took and often wanted to use them. I sold some photographs but also realised that many local clubs, charities and community groups had limited funds and support. Many wanted good quality images to support their activities but could not fund photography to professional standards. So the images they used were not always showing their activities in the best way to promote interest and support from wider audiences.


I decided that this could be my way of “giving back” to community groups, charities and to supporting small local businesses who were trying to establish themselves. I made approaches to several local organisations where their activities interested me from a photographic perspective with a view to working with them to our mutual benefit. They would get better photographic support and I would get photographic opportunities I would otherwise not have (and be able to use material for competition purposes).

I realised that many local clubs, charities and community groups had limited funds and support


My experience over the last five years has been:


  • Organisations are sometimes sceptical.
  • It takes time to establish trust with groups and you have to work hard at this.
  • You need to make it very clear right from the start what is expected from each group and from the photographer.
  • Sometimes voluntary organisations or individuals within them are difficult to deal with – have patience and persevere.
  • Be prepared to offer photographic prints etc at cost to support organisations and events but make it clear that additional services such as provision of photographic prints and high quality digital files for use by others, including personal use, will attract a commercial price, which you should agree beforehand.
  • Be prepared to walk away if agreed working arrangements are not met or your images are used without your consent.
  • Photographic assignments have sometimes been very challenging and I have emerged more experienced and capable as a photographer.
  • Be careful in dealing with large organisations where individuals within it may make promises that the larger organisation cannot (or will not) subsequently honour easily.
  • Be prepared to “do a deal”. For example, supporting a local theatre group in exchange for tickets to the show or the use of images for t-shirt printing in exchange for a few t-shirts.


This approach has allowed me to make many new friends and I’ve enjoyed some fantastic photographic experiences!


(This article was kindly contributed by an experienced Creator - you know who you are! Thank you.)


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