Primitive Trails Banner Image

Photographers face many challenges when first starting out and can have a tough time breaking into the local market. While it can certainly be said that photography is well-saturated in the cyber world, when we stop and take a short look around we see another story. New businesses and outreach efforts of all kinds are formed almost daily with a similar need of exposure.

One of the best and most rewarding ways to build a portfolio is to consider working with a local charity or non-profit organization. These groups are in need of not only useful imagery to support their cause, they need good people around them in general, especially ones who can help build their audience and extend their outreach in a quality way.

The best part is there is no pressure. We can just have fun and do our thing to help them do their thing. In this case, we don’t need their money. We need to help them get more for the awesome things they do. Some groups are large enough to budget promo work, but most just plain need you. Donating even a small amount of time can bring a ton of positive promotion to all parties and help establish lasting relationships along the way.

Image courtesy of Primitive Trails

For example, folks around town know Brian Marshall (above) mostly as a blur, cycling at speeds unknown to and from the surrounding mountains. Yet, while he is more widely known in the region as an endurance athlete and personal trainer, few are aware that he’s also the founder of a sincere and noble children’s charity.

Having a heart for the impoverished youth of rural America – areas in which he typically trains and competes – Brian formed Primitive Trails (PT) to lend a hand by donating new clothing to children in need. With every PT sale, he provides new clothing that kids can wear at school or play with confidence. An admirable idea on it’s own, Brian hopes to see a scholarship program added as funding permits.


The feature image for this post is of my friend and audio pro, Thomas Thurman, proudly displaying his new PT shirt as we were filming a local outdoor event. When we happened across the Primitive Trails kiosk that day, Brian was so appreciative for the attention given to his efforts that with one mediocre, full-sun shot and a few video clips we gained not only a client but a friend. Now we work together on a regular basis to promote his other businesses and even have him set up to record his own YouTube workouts and promos on demand.

The last thing I would want is for anyone to think they cannot afford my services, or that I might be too busy for them. Where there is a will to serve there is a way. When I allow myself to focus on giving of my time and resources, I tend to receive more than I could have possibly imagined.

Locating and shining a much-needed spotlight on a worthy local charity can do wonders not only for a portfolio, it can serve in making a positive impact in the lives and well-being of others. It’s a true win-win.

This Post Sponsored by: Be a kid in a camera store. Rent lenses, cameras, lighting and more from the original and best online photographic and video equipment rental company.  For one week only, save 25% on any one item rented with the promo code 5DAYSALE.

Mosaic A complete solution for photographers using Lightroom who want to manage and share their photos. You can easily view images with their iOS app or web service. Plus your photos are backed up to the cloud with several plans to match your needs. Be sure to also check out the Lightroom Learning Center to learn new ways to work in Lightroom.

Photoshop World, the ultimate Photoshop, Photography & Lighting Conference. Las Vegas, NV, September 3-5.  Use the promo code PSWFOCUS414 to discount $50 OFF a full conference pass. Learn more in three days than you have in three years! 

ViewBug  Stick With ViewBug & Photofocus throughout 2014 – because we’ve announced the biggest contest in Photofocus history! Learn photography anytime, anywhere, and at your own pace—from bite-sized tutorials to comprehensive courses. Try free for 10 days by visiting Photofocus.

The HDR Learning Center Check out new ways to use High Dynamic Range photography to make compelling images. Free tutorials and posts to get results. Produced in partnership with HDRsoft.


Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. A friend of mine suggested I this as I enjoy volunteering. It’s funny; I never thought of using my desire to give back BEFORE I’m a – ahem! – well know photographer. Thanks Mark and Photofocus for the idea!


Let us know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About Mark Morrow

Mark Morrow is an active Virginia-based photographer with specialties in a wide variety of domestic and commercial projects. Always an avid student of the craft, Mark enjoys sharing insight and inspiration with enthusiasts and aspiring pros on his blog, podcast and as a contributing author here at [email protected] |


Business, Inspiration, Photography


, , , , , ,