As any established photographer will tell you then best way to improve your skills is to always take pictures. You do this by take your camera with you everywhere and just shoot everything. However just taking random pictures of things isn’t always conducive to learning.
Sometimes you need a specific subject to focus on as I stated in a previous post on doing Weekly Assignments over at DPS. However this is only a once a week thing and it will not take all your free time to complete the assignment.
To fill up some of that time and give you experience with working for a client one option is to Volunteer.
So how do you volunteer your skills? There are several ways.
First you could do a Google Search for “volunteer photography work” which will give a huge list of links with information on volunteering your skills. If those results give you information overload and want to be more focused you can do look at your local community or work place.
My full time work has a whole department dedicated to something called the “Community Involvement Program”. Where I work they are very big on doing volunteer and charity work so much so they plan large events around things such and UNCF and United Way. Additionally they have a system in place where you can log your volunteer hours so that when you have your yearly reviews you can show how much you volunteer. There is even an event calendar where you can sign up to volunteer at events if you don’t know what you want to volunteer for.
This is how I volunteer my time and skill as a photographer. Different people will have an events scheduled and I go to them and photograph the event and share my pictures with our Community Involvement Office and the Organization the event was at. This way they can use the images for their own promotions and at the same time I get to shoot at different locations and in different environments as well as get my name out there and network.
You can also ask you local charity or not for profit establishments if they need any photography done for promotional items or just for record keeping purposes for their events.
I will warn you however, some places may say you can take photos for them but when you get there you are told you can’t! This happened to me for a charity event where a local Symphony was playing. I was not allowed to take any pictures because the Symphony brought their own “In House” photographer. When I asked why it was because the Symphony sells images of all it’s concerts it does for money so if I took pictures it would hurt their ability to do so. If something like that happens to you just shrug it off and find something else to shoot. There will be other opportunities out there for you.
Either way, I do highly suggest that you volunteer your time in taking photos for organizations that are out there. This way you can not only get practice in you also get your name out there and network with people.
Thanks for reading