Highlights Portrait Charities founder Amanda Shoemaker started the site “to highlight portrait charities and support photographers who give their time, talent, and heart.”  Here she shares a few of the photography charities featured in the Shutter Mission’s directory.

What are some common themes between photography charities?  

Overall, the common thread that ties all these charities together is that they rely on volunteer photographers to give their time and talent in an effort to serve others in their community during a difficult or trying time. Each charity is unique in its mission, but the most common themes include helping families dealing with cancer (e.g., Flashes of Hope, The F.I.L.M Project, and Shoots for a Cure) and giving back to military families (e.g., Hearts Apart, The Maple Leaf Mission, and Operation: Love Reunited).

Is it difficult to get involved with a photo based charity?

Not at all! If you have the skills and a desire to help, there is likely a photography charity who needs your help in your city. Most of the charities in our directory prefer to use professional photographers only, and for good reason, as some events are sensitive in nature or once-in-a-lifetime moments and require a seasoned pro to provide the utmost in service and product. There are, however, several photography charities who also have a need for semi-pro and amateurs as well. Just a few examples:

The F.I.L.M. Project utilizes photographer assistants — great for a semi-pro or serious hobbyist who wants to get involved.

HeARTs Speak has an Aspiring Member category for aspiring professional photographers.

Help-Portrait welcomes the help of both pro and amateur photographers — whatever it takes to get the job done!

To get involved, you can start by visiting our directory of photography charities and find one whose mission focus interests you. From there, visit the charity’s site for more information on joining as a volunteer photographer.

What motivated you to start

Using your skills to make a living and take care of your family can be a satisfying experience. But using your skills to selflessly help others is an entirely different experience — a magical one. I started Shutter Mission as a way to inspire other photographers to pick up their cameras and help people. I wanted to create a resource that would help make it easy for prospective volunteers to find a charity whose mission focus aligned with their own interests, beliefs, or life experiences. The site is currently being redeveloped and I look forward to launching a new & improved blog and charity directory in the coming months.

There must be a wide range of different charities, what are three of the most memorable ones you’ve come across?

The first two that come to mind have some of the widest reach in terms of participation and impact in communities — Operation: Love Reunited and Help-Portrait. The third is a personal fave of mine, HeARTs Speak, whose mission focus is to help shelter animals by improving adoptability and reducing the number of animals euthanized each year.

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