May Trend Exploration: Photographing for Good

May Trend Exploration: Photographing for Good
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Our May Visual Trend is all about photos with a purpose, so we got in touch with Adobe Stock Premium Contributor Jason Reynolds, a photographer who is using his photographic talents to give back. Jason is a designer by day, but nature and photography have always been his passions outside the office. Happily for Jason, he’s figured out a way to combine the things he loves most to help protect the planet.

Jason grew up in the desert and, as he tells it, this meant spending a lot of time playing in the dirt, hiking with his parents, and developing a close connection with nature. When he moved to Washington State, he explains, “I was instantly blown away by Mount Rainier, the North Cascades, the coast and Oregon and Canada. My desire to be outside and my curiosity with photos was amplified tenfold. Once I started going out and exploring those places and reluctantly posting them on Instagram, I realized people liked the work, and I thought maybe I could do something with this, make it meaningful.”

Then came the recent election, which put protecting the planet front and center in Jason’s thoughts. At the same time, he was taking a class on coding websites. All of the pieces came together to create Rogue Photographer. The site is a collection of some of Jason’s most stunning nature photography, and when visitors purchase prints, 100 percent of the profits go directly to the National Resources Defense Council.

For Rogue Photographer, Jason selects the shots people interact with most on Instagram, including photos of the mountains in Canada and Washington, wildlife, and experiments with astrophotography. “Now, I want to grow my following on Instagram in order to make a bigger impact and donate more. The goal is to slowly grow the project over time and update the website, so I can keep it going and inspire other people to do the same,” he explains.

Rogue Photographer isn’t just giving Jason’s passion a purpose, it’s also changing him as a photographer: “I’m learning how to take better pictures. I think of the purchase of my photos as a donation, and if I’m trying to get people to spend 10 or 15 dollars, I think, ‘What can I do to make people want to buy it?’ I want people to look and think, ‘Not only is this person talented and I want to follow him and support him, but also, that’s an inspiring photo, I’d like to hang that on my wall.’”

Make a difference your own way.

Photography is a powerful storytelling tool, so it’s a natural fit with philanthropy. Whether you want to remind people to preserve natural spaces or help find homes for sweet puppies waiting to be adopted, there are tons of opportunities for photographers to give their work a charitable purpose. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Contact your local animal shelter to take portraits of pets waiting to be adopted. It might just be your adorable photo that captures someone’s heart and finds those pets a forever home.
  • Volunteer to take free photos at a homeless shelter. Some families have never had the opportunity to have beautiful portraits taken.
  • Offer to be the pro-bono photographer for a local charity event.
  • Get connected with Photographers Without Borders to help grassroots NGOs around the world.

You can find more ideas for philanthropic photography here and here.

“If you want to make a difference, you can,” says Jason. “Even if it’s just a small impact, that’s something to be proud of.”

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