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Archive 2012 · feedback wanted on NGO photo business idea...

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · feedback wanted on NGO photo business idea...

Hi everyone,

This is my first post, ta-da! I wasnt sure where to put it so I've parked it here.

I would really like feedback on a photography business idea that I'm trying to start up (through the NEIS program - highly recommended). It's actually two sides, the first is non-photo so I wont mention it here, the second side is basically the idea is to provide photographic services to 'public interest orgs' - NGOs, local government, maybe schools.

I'll give a sketch of the concept below:

The services I would offer would be across the range of using photography as community engagement to straight out documentation:

- photographic documentation of projects/marketing materials
- photo essays/story-telling
- digital imagining/desktop publishing

- photography and digital imagining teaching/training
- participatory photography projects (http://www.flashpointlabs.org/participatory-photography/)

I was thinking the clients would be ‘creative-thinking community-focus orgs’ -
• Based in Melbourne where I am (initially, then Australia, then asia-pacific region)
• Small-medium NGO, local government, school etc
• Cross sectors - Health, Environment, Social Justice, Education, Gender
• Under approximately 30 staff (larger ones will tend to seek more established agencies)
• Wanting to increase their profile
• Wanting to find innovative ways of community consultation/engagement
• Wanting to find cost-effective way to document their projects (under the increasing pressure of donor requirements and marketing needs)

My background
Am 32 now, have been into photography since 15, did a degree in art photography at the VCA about 5 yrs back (mainly working with 35mm/medium format, then more digital as in came in, the lab had a sweet film scanner though..now I've got more lazy and just shoot on my 7d...).
After that I've mainly worked in environmental NGOs on community projects, and was informal inhouse photographer when the occasion came up. Done some weddings gigs and the odd portrait. Had some experience teaching photography to disadvantaged youth and running participatory photo projects overseas (india, east timor, indonesia), I love doing it. But it's always been pretty ad-hoc, on-the-side type of thing. For some photos of these projects see - http://entropygravity.blogspot.com.au/search/label/photography.

So this is an attempt to bring lots of these strands together my passions- photography, social-justice/environment, and travel (ideally some of the briefs eventually would be for NGOs in asia).

I know I have to put in the hard effort and FOCUS, up my skills, and hopefully then eventually I can get some great work! (and I figure I'd still have to do the odd wedding to pay the bills, and maybe other part-time work).

So thanks if you read this far! I would LOVE to hear your feedback on the idea, either generally, or specifically in the areas of:

- is it feasible - would there actually be enough orgs who would pay for these services? is it a pipe dream?
- advice on pitching to organisations about these kind of services?
- who else is doing this kind of stuff? compete or collaborate?

on that the photographers/orgs that I've found so far (see below) have so much experience that it seems hard to compete... but you have to start somewhere and there doesnt seem many doing this kind of thing.


kind regards,

Oct 10, 2012 at 04:49 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · feedback wanted on NGO photo business idea...

Hi Michael,

Welcome to FM.

Sounds like you've thought this through. I have no revelations for you, except to say that teaming up with an accomplished photographer and/or organization might be a good way to get started. Heck, it might be a good way to accomplish all that you hope to accomplish.

Please, let us know how it goes.

Good luck, Jim.

Oct 11, 2012 at 02:08 AM

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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · feedback wanted on NGO photo business idea...

Thanks Jim, I'll definitely be scouting around for more experienced photographers in this area. So much more to learn! that's the exciting bit of course.

well see how it goes, (and whether there's any more advice coming in )

cheerio Michael.

Oct 15, 2012 at 06:24 PM

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