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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Using your photography skills for good

If you're searching for things to photograph, just not inspired by anything why don't you think about helping somebody out who could really use it?

I have a general rule about donating my photography. I only do it for groups whose cause I passionately believe in, and everybody else working on the project has to be doing it for free as well.

A lot of charities have budgets and can afford to pay for quality photography. Indeed if they don't pay for the best they don't get fantastic images which help them bring in much-needed donations. But there are small, local charities run by volunteers who need all the help they can get. And seeing as I'm not a particular expert on tropical frog diseases I figured a great way to help out would be to donate some time to go in and photograph sick frogs.

This shot is one of the only ones I have that doesn't show yucky diseases (well visually yucky anyway). This images shows a normal, healthy frog on the right versus the small, yellow frog on the left which has an unknown infliction which causes it to go this colour and impeded its growth.

It was taken at the office of the Frog Decline Reversal Project which very conveniently happens to be just down the road from my house. I'd read about them over the years and knew they did great work and so I gave them a call to see how I could help. Turns out they don't really need pretty pictures of frogs for advertising but they do need someone with a knowledge of off-camera flash techniques to highlight symptoms of the diseases they've been discovering.

So now I go in every few weeks and photograph new cases for them, which all contributes to them being able to share their knowledge with scientists all around the world and help cure the frogs. Pretty pictures? Not by a long shot. Make me feel good to be able to help someone? Without a doubt.

So if you're feeling a bit lost with your photography and not really sure what to point your camera at then why not consider helping somebody who could really use it. You'll hone your skills and generate some good karma all at the same time.

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