Pro Bono Work

Why would a photographer choose to work Pro Bono (for free) when they may have bills to pay and a family to keep.

Firstly working Pro Bono is not for free the photographer can get an immense source of satisfaction from the work, with the right charitable agencies. When I offer my services to any particular agency, or am asked to provide Pro Bono services there are a number of things I need to reassure myself about.

  1. What could I bring to that agency that would be useful to them.
  2. Could the agency afford to pay for my services and more should the agency pay for those services. There are many of the large charitable organisations that can afford to pay, and have a budget line for photography and advertising, but still try the Pro Bono route. (whilst their staff ride around in luxury cars and stay in first class accommodation.
  3. Is the agency Bona Fide and genuinely doing what is says it is doing in the most cost effective way possible. Are they really there to help or scam. Charity scamming is big business in parts of Asia and the rest of the world with only a small percentage of donations, in some case, going to the identified cause.
  4. Are the people genuine and have a reliable reputation.
  5. Do I agree with their proposals and principles.


If I can answer those questions to myself, I am more than happy to offer support in the form of time, resources and skill to the right people, but not all. There are some of the larger charitable organisations,(and even some of the smaller ones), that I would not work for even if they offered to pay, out of principle.


I am very careful in the choices I make and the agencies I choose to work with and have been fortunate in the choices I have made and have met some wonderful and committed people along the way. People who have identified a need and then go out to address that need without taking for themselves anything, other than the satisfaction of knowing they have been able to help.

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The personal level of satisfaction that I gain from working with these few selected groups far outweighs any potential financial loss that I may incur (within reason) and I will certainly continue to do this work.

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