If you have followed me for any amount of time, you have noticed I am often the volunteer photographer at local events and fundraisers for various charities. This is my 'why'
As a child growing up in a very small Iowa town, I don't remember my family volunteering. I remember my parents being Jaycees for a time but that's it. The first time I heard about volunteering I was so confused. 'Work for no money? Why would anyone do that?'
I have learned there are a lot of amazing reasons people volunteer. One of the big reasons I do is fairly selfish! It feels good!!! I love being able to help out using a skill I have. Being able to provide something for a non-profit, like professional portraits for their marketing or covering an event, is just plain good.
One recent event I photographed was called 'Gimme Shelter' It was for South Side Office of Concern to raise money to help with homelessness in the Peoria area. Participants of charity fundraisers often get all dolled up, eat a fancy meal and bid on awesome items donated by local businesses. 'Gimme Shelter' is about as far removed from that as it can possibly be! Participants get dolled up all right...in their warmest winter attire and prepare to spend the night sleeping outside the Peoria Civic Center in a cardboard box. There are short workshops for learning and activities to keep participants occupied, but it's a cold 6pm-6am event! This event really opened my eyes. No matter how crummy my day may be, I can look around and know I have a warm and safe home to live in.
Do you volunteer? What local organizations have you fallen in love with?
January is always when we photographers can slow down for a minute. October-December is sheer chaos and I welcome the slower months of January-March and making plans for the new year.
So much excitement to share! On Friday of this week I am heading to Nashville for the annual Professional Photographer of America convention. It's a gigantic bunch of photographers all there to learn and network and it's so fun. I wasn't thinking I was going to go and then everything worked out (with the help of my amazing husband and some family members) so that I could attend. Going to miss my family but I am excited to be able to continue my education and learn the newest and greatest things in the world of professional photography.
February brings our family vacation and we are all happy to get a break and bond for over a week. Driving to the Nashville area (wasn't I just there?!?) to see family and then to Charleston to take a 5 day Bahama cruise. Anyone who knows me knows I love nothing more than a cruise and we got such a great deal on this one it was practically free!
Tomorrow I am going to look at some studio space for rent in East Peoria. I have wanted to have a dedicated shooting space for some time but didn't jump since I won't use it all the time. Still want to go to client homes if they want. But this spot opened up and it the right location and a great price. Plus, I can open the space for other photographers to use and then I wouldn't feel so much like I am paying for something not being used every day. Fingers crossed!
I also was recently invited to be a Graduate Assistant for the next Dale Carnegie training. I feel my life improves every time I attend one of these 8 week trainings and I can't wait to meet the new classmates and spend Tuesday nights with them.
Crossing my fingers that this more mild weather sticks around. The temps around zero were too much for me!
Jenni Williams Photography is a Certified Professional Family Portrait Photographer in Peoria, Illinois specializing in preserving your family's memories in photographic prints and wall art.