Why Non-Profits Need Photography

The Giving Lens is an awesome organization that teams up with NGOs around the globe to provide all kinds of cool photography services, whether it's documenting what the NGO is doing or offering photo education to kids as a creative outlet. The Giving Lens is the vision of Professional Photographer and Photo Educator, Colby Brown who wanted to blend photo education and helping to make the world a better place by giving back to local communities.

The Giving Lens is planning a trip to Tanzania in July, and there's an open spot! Be sure to contact them ASAP if you'd like to get involved and put your photography skills to good use in an awesome cause.

There’s a long list of modern needs for the average Non-Profit. Gone are the days of mail-out newsletters and pamphlets. These days, with the onset of =social media, smartphones, and instant updates, many NGOs—often operating with limited resources—are struggling to just keep up.

There’s loads that an NGO needs nowadays: a website, social media accounts (facebook, google+, twitter, tumblr, pinterest, reddit, instagram, and new ones everyday), a blog, some sort of staff to keep all of this going every hour of every day. In the midst of all this, we, as viewers, tend to give new websites or fan pages about three seconds to prove their worth to us. It’s not our fault—we’re bombarded everyday with new requests, piles of links, and LOLCatz.

One of the biggest reasons we move along quickly is when there isn’t enough visual stimulation to hold our interest. We’re a visual society now, and we can tell an even slightly dated website from a "cutting edge" one in the bat of an eye.

Which brings us to just one of many ways that we at The Giving Lens are able to step in and help some NGOs out: Media. Compelling, timeless, meaningful images that tell a whole story at 1/1000th of a second. But how do we do this?

The Giving Lens is an organization that leads international teams around the world on travel photography workshops with a twist: we partner with an incredible Non-Profit doing amazing work in-country and volunteer our photography and our skills to further their efforts. This ranges from photo education to documentation to intimate portraiture to much much more. The possibilities and the needs are endless. When not volunteering, we run workshops at places most people only dream of going. And when it’s all over, we share up to 50% of our profits with the NGO we just worked with along with all of the images.

These are images that many NGOs, especially in developing nations, would have a hard time aquiring. Images of their work, their staff, the community they serve—images that protray the issues at hand, the hope for the future, and the purpose, goals, and visions for this NGO. After our trips, and after we share profits, we share these images with them. Thousands upon thousands of incredible, useful, meaningful images for them to use wherever they please. These images come from the professional photographers who lead our teams and also from our participants who come from all skill levels.

This is just one way in which we give back. We can teach staff so they can continue to do ongoing work, we can run camera drives and help set up photography clubs that keep kids in school, we can document endagered species in intimate spaces, and so much more.

Photography is a gift that can be taken and given in endless ways. It has the ability to hold more meaning than we can imagine. It is a tangible need, of real use, to these amazing NGOs who do tireless, incredible work day in and day out.

If you are thinking "This is exactly what I never realized I wanted to do!" then you’re not alone. We take teams year-round to give of themselves and their skills in intimate and tangible ways in communities around the world. The causes and issues are different, the team leaders change, and the countries vary. But the constant vision in all of this is to see photography—and an international community of photographers, regardless of skill level, background, education, or gear—make a difference.

We have trips coming up to Tanzania in July, India in early November, Thailand in late November, Cambodia in December, and Nicaragua in January. Join us for the adventure of a lifetime full of purpose and, of course, incredible photography!

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April 2013Humanitarian photographyThe giving lens