So You Wanna be an NGO Photographer? - Part II

April 09, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Care - Peru, 2010An Indigenous woman wearing a CARE ball cap, in Cajamarca, Northern Peru.

 

I often get asked by aspiring photographers how to approach a potential client or an NGO/NPO. Who am I to give advice? - I am still trying to figure it out after 10 years!

But I can say this - avoid cold calling/emailing at all costs.

Its a waste of everyone's time and usually goes nowhere.

If you are serious, taking the time to meet face to face is the best route. But how do you get to that point?

First question to ask yourself is: Do I really want to do be a Photojournalist, do I have what it takes?

(If you want an indication of what the business has become check out how "Tech is Making things Awful for News Photogs on Peta Pixel)

Much like life, there is no magical pill, it really boils down to hard work, dedication, the ability to quickly adapt and a bit of luck. (Having a great sense of humour is also a great asset.)

Somehow you have to show how valuable YOU are, and can be to their organization or cause over the long term. This is more about you, how you fit in, your vision for not just great photos, but as a team member. You may have to take on other tasks, just to get in the door. You have to be more than Still Photographer.

Build Trust.

One way to do this is to stop talking about yourself and be genuinely interested in the client and the cause - ask questions, go to events - get involved!

And when the going get's tough: (and it likely will) Don't take rejection personally, let it go and move on/forward quickly.


Some advice if you are ready to take the plunge:

  • Minimize your costs.
  • Find a rich partner.
  • Have a side gig (related to photography is best)
  • Fake it till you make it.
  • Sell your house
  • Call Darren to pick you up at the airport.
  • Couch surf.
  • Eat Guinea Pigs.
  • Housesit or Petsit (but don't eat the pets)
  • Enjoy the journey.

And remember you have the power to say NO.

Its all about the experience.

That's all the "advice" I can give you.

Have I made Money? Very little. Do I find it enjoyable and challenging? Absolutely yes. Is it frustrating? Yes. Does it feel like my work is changing the world? A little.

Would I do it all over again? You betcha.


Terry Sebastian, April 2018

 


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...

Archive
January February March (5) April (2) May (1) June July August (1) September October November December
January February March (1) April (1) May (1) June July August September October (1) November (3) December
January (2) February (1) March April (3) May (1) June July (1) August (1) September October November December
January February (1) March April May June July August September October November December
January (1) February March April May June July August September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April (2) May June July August September October November December