How I use my wedding photography to help those in need

bonfire sparkles with silhouettes of palm trees in the background

 

// helping those in need with my wedding photography

Today is January 31st, 2018. And one of the first things I did in the morning was to send $85 donation to a family from Netherlands. I’ve never met them before and never will. What caught my eye was a post by Huy (the man behind Fearless photographers) in my Facebook feed, asking to help a family from Netherlands whose house burned down in recent fire.

I was in.

“Why would you do that?” someone might wonder. Well…

Even though, I might have agreed with them several years ago, I really wouldn’t today. I’m not the same human being and wedding photographer I was few years ago.

We live in the world that is getting wilder and crazier every day. Therefore, I think it’s more important than ever to suffocate that negativity and remain human being.

family is gathering at the bonfire in Little Gasparilla island, Florida

my family getting together at the bonfire

when and how it all started

When in end of 2016 I was working on my wedding photography business re-branding and was planning wedding photography business expenses for 2017, I was curious: what would happen if I wouldn’t spend any money on advertising?

With this in mind, I made a decision: I’ll give it a try. As a result, my relationship with Wedding Wire and Wedding Planner and Guide was over.

All of a sudden, I felt liberated. And I was ready to pass my all advertising expenses to those who really need it (and no Yelp, it’s not you silly).

Things were about to get exciting!

where did it take me?

2017 went by.

Throughout the year my family and I made several contributions for individual fundraisers, natural disaster reliefs funds, etc. And when wedding and portrait photography work started slowing down around Holiday season, I thought to myself: why stop here? Right?

See, donating money for the cause of my choice directly was one thing. Of course, it made an impact, but, I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing to have my friends, clients and social media followers join me for a good cause?

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in 2017, my family and I donated 5.8% of my wedding photography profits to help those in need. to some people it’s might seem not that much, but to me it’s helluva good start.

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With this in mind, I went ahead and did series of studio portraits for clients for free, as long as my clients provided me with a proof of donation of $150 or more. As soon as I posted proposals on Instagram and Facebook, people started to respond!

Suddenly, I wasn’t doing it alone anymore!

Consequently, I influenced around $1,000 donations to recent victims of hurricanes in US and Puerto Rico along with victims of wildfires in California.

And you know what’s the best part? Being wedding photographer that gives back to those who need it more than I do AND influencing people around me to join me felt amazing!

aerial image from above of wedding photographer that gives back with his son laying in the beach

Aerial shot of the beach in Little Gasparilla island

what’s next?

Those who know me, know that me would be me, if I would keep it all simple.

Here comes the magical question that has been asked before: Why stop here?

I’m talking to you, my friend.

I’m asking you to look around and realize how much you have already. As Gary would say, “you won the ultimate lottery” already when you was born. Not as a snail, not as some weird specimen on Mars, but as a human being. And that’s a good start.

At the same time, even if you think you’re poor, you most likely are not. In reality, you’re probably still in the richest 15% of the world’s population.

So I want to challenge you to find your cause. To find your battle. Roll up the sleeves, get to work and help your brothers and sisters who need little push. Give little love to mother nature. Donate to local pet rescue non-profit.

It is easier than you think an. And I promise- it’s a damn good and rewarding feeling!

Because your donation can change someone’s life.

And it will!

And one day, all the good you gave to others, will come back you.

In 2017, my family and I donated 5.8% of my wedding photography profits to help those in need. To some people it’s might seem not that much, but to me it’s helluva good start.

That was 2017.

In the meantime, we’re all are stoked about what we’ll do in 2018.

Thanks for reading!

Please share thoughts in comment section and help to spread the word by sharing this story!

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the list

In conclusion, I put a list of several recommended top charities where your donations would make biggest impact:

United States:

EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY
US HURRICANE RELIEF FUND
PLANNED PARENTHOOD
ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE
BREAST CANCER RESEARCH FOUNDATION
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE AMERICA
NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE

International:

GIVE DIRECTLY
AGAINST MALARIA FOUNDATION
FOOD FORTIFICATION INITIATIVE

Local (Madison, Wisconsin):

WIL-MAR NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER
OPERATION FRESH START
W.O.R.T.
UNDERDOG PET RESCUE

If you don’t see preferred charity organization listed here, please click  >> HERE << and look for well rated non profits.

 

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wedding photographer and his family sitting on rental house stairs in Florida

my nut family and I on a rental house stairs in Florida. February, 2018

All images used in this blog post are from Little Gasparilla island, Florida, where I am currently vacationing with my wife and kids.

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Amy, Jason and their DIY family farm wedding

Bride and groom drinking from shot ski during their wedding

+ DIY family farm wedding in Middleton, WI

Original one-of-a-kind wedding full of good vibe come to those who work their asses off while planning DIY family farm wedding in Madison, Wisconsin. That hard work includes deep sea fishing in Florida for mahi-mahi and king mackerel, carefully selected wines and cheese, hand making sausages for the wedding reception, putting all decorations together, and, of course, endless hours of planning.
Amy and Jason both been in the restaurant industry for well over a decade; he has been primarily back of house cooking and baking, while she has been solely front of house service. When couple got engaged, they knew right away they didn’t want the typical tradition wedding. That meant no caterer, no bartenders, no cake, no assigned seating and so on. That also meant that it was going to be largely DIY family farm wedding. Or as Amy calls it “do it (y)ourselves”.

Location: this was first Amy and Jason’s task. After a few hiccups (losing their first venue 4 months before the wedding) couple wound up using a friend of a friend’s parent’s backyard. Filled with trees, gardens, wetlands, location had heaps of space for guests and kids to run around. That was a good start.
Food: once the location was settled, it really became all about the food and beverage. During that DIY family farm wedding Wisconsin planning stage Amy and Jason were dedicated in sourcing all of their protein and vegetables from areas around Madison Wisconsin. The idea behind it was to support local farmers. And it was easy task due of the strong relationship with local vendors that Amy and Jason have built throughout many years via shopping Dane county farmer’s market on Saturday. As far as wedding menu creativity went, from the very beginning Amy and Jason wanted their friends to have as much as possible while helping pout the wedding together. So while they offered guidance in terms of likes and dislikes, they ultimately left the decisions and flexibility to those up for those cooking (Neil from Stalzy’s, Patrick from Oliver’s public house, etc).
Beverage: Amy and Jason ordered variety of wines from in vino veritas wine distributors as well bunch of different beers from local breweries.
Decorations/lights: Amy and Jason asked proprietor of the venue to put away some square hay bales (that he harvested before their wedding) so they could use them as seating. For covers they used burlap sacks. And for burlap sacks couple reached out to barriques, a local coffee roaster. Jason’s father brought a few hundred mason jars that later were filled with candles and placed all over the garden to illuminate the paths in the darkness. Couple also bought some battery powered led light strings that they strung in trees around the area.
Tent/ furniture: after all above was taken care of it was a matter of renting a tent and some tables with chairs for the wedding reception.

And it would nice to say that just like that a DIY family farm wedding venue was born, but there were plenty more moments where Amy and Jason’s DIY attitude came into play. They won’t be listed here, but let’s just say that popcorn was popped, lights were strung, grasses were mown, firewood was chopped, and the crowd was fed. Many of its thanks to the lovely help and support that they had from their friends and family.
And while Amy agrees that DIY family farm wedding Wisconsin is certainly more work than your average wedding, all DIY customization also means, that your family farm wedding day will be unique and exactly the way you wanted it.

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To see full gallery from Amy’s and Jason’s DIY family farm wedding in Middleton, Wisconsin, please see click >>HERE<<.

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during wedding reception in rural Wisconsin outside of Madisongroom and guest are dancing on the dance floorguest has funny face while opening a bottle of whiskeytwo guests are dancing and shouting on the dance floor at the wedding reception in rural Wisconsin guests are dancing and shouting on the dance floor at the wedding reception in rural Wisconsinwedding guests are hugging on the dance floor at the wedding reception in rural Wisconsinwedding guests are hugging on the dance floor at the wedding reception in rural Wisconsinbride’s and groom’s friends are helping in the mobile kitchen during wedding receptionguests are dancing and shouting on the dance floor at the wedding reception in rural Wisconsin group of groom’s friends is performing a dance at the wedding reception in rural Wisconsinguest is pulling groom’s tie at the wedding reception in rural Wisconsingroom, his brother and their friends are jumping on the dance floorguests are hugging and laughingguests are posing in front of the food truckclosing time is being announced and wedding reception is being closed downrefrigerator truck and ski shot in the darklast drinks are being poured for wedding guests before the departuresnacks are being passed for wedding guests before the departuredrunk wedding guests dancing in the bus way back to Downtown Madison WIdrunk wedding guests singing in the bus way back to Downtown Madison WIdrunk wedding guests passing a bottle of alcohol in the bus way back to Downtown Madison WIdrunk wedding guests posing funny in the bus on the way back to Downtown Madison WI

 See full gallery from Amy’s and Jason’s DIY family farm wedding >>HERE<<.

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Thanks a bunch for checking out wedding pictures from Amy’s and Jason’s outdoorsy DIY Labor Day weekend wedding! If you’re planning your simple yet elegant outdoors wedding, like to celebrate like there’s no tomorrow, have a creative and adventurous soul, shoot me a message! I would love to be part of your adventure!

I am documentary wedding photographer based in Madison, Wisconsin and specialize in moment driven wedding photojournalism. See here about common wedding photography styles.

During this type of wedding photography I will stay out of your way and I will let you be true you.

FARM’S BACKYARD WEDDING VENDORS:

Ceremony/Reception: Friends Backyard in Middleton, WI
Bride’s Sandals: Toms
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bhldn
Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse
Catering Company: Stalzy’s Deli
Catering Company: Oliver’s Public House
Catering Company: Jordandal Cookhouse
Wine: In Vino Veritas
Craft Punch: Death’s Door Spirits
Rentals: Event Essentials
Transportation: Badger Bus
Hotel: Hilton Monona Terrace
Wedding Date: 9.4.2016