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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Changing the World: One Click at A Time

Editor's note: I have to preface this blog by saying that Walter Grio and Shoot for Change were some of my primary inspirations for starting this blog.  I hope his work inspires all of you as well!

Walter Grio does something extraordinary- he takes pictures and does not collect a dime for himself. Instead, he asks that his clients donate 100% of what they would be paying him for his services to charity.  He calls this philanthropic photography project Shoot for Change (SFC). Last year alone, SFC raised over $19,000!

My fiance and I grabbed lunch with Walter a couple of weeks ago to get a better idea about how SFC works.  It turns out that Walter has a normal Clark Kent job as a project manager for a software company here in DC.  His work as a superhero philanthropist is done on the side- on weekends and evenings.  

The idea for SFC emerged after a fashion and makeup photoshoot Walter happened into in Stockholm, Sweden.  He was "discovered" with his camera in a bar and asked to do the shoot.  After publishing his shots from the shoot to the web, people began asking Walter how much he was selling his photos for.  Many people in his situation would be thrilled to make a few extra dollars, but Walter saw an opportunity- an opportunity to do good.  He decided that all the money he made from photoshoots would go to nonprofit organizations.  

A picture of Walter Grio c/o SFC
 So, what makes SFC click? Well, you donate all the money you would pay for photography services directly to the nonprofit organization of your choice for an amount that you negotiate with Walter before the shoot.  You then get the tax benefit of making a donation to a nonprofit organization.  All you need to do is show a receipt confirming your donation.  The prices start at $500 for one-hour sessions, such as family and personal portraits, as well as fashion portfolio shots for stylists, models, designers, hair and makeup artists.   If you have more to give, starting at $3,500 you can get six hours of coverage for your wedding or a corporate event. 

Walter is the first to admit that weddings are not his field of expertise (he limits the number of weddings he does each year), but he does take beautiful wedding pictures, which you can see examples of here

One of his main passions is for fashion shoots, which is represented by his work with Fashion Fights Poverty, a non-profit ethical and eco fashion organization in Washington, DC and his coverage of events like Fashion for Paws, which benefits the Washington Humane Society.  
Photo by Walter Grio. Featured in the Fashion Fights Poverty Dress Responsibly Lookbook, Issue 6, Raw. 
SFC also raises money for numerous non-fashion related causes and events, ranging from breast cancer to helping battered women. To date, SFC has raised almost $30,000 for non-profit organizations! Of course the success of this unusual philanthropic endeavor has created quite a stir in the DC community. Recently, SFC even inspired local DC artist Don Patron to feature a portrait of Walter alongside with other notable DC philanthropists in his Stellar Constellations Collection, at L2 Lounge (Cady's Alley) in Georgetown.   

Walter is using all the attention he is gaining from SFC to inspire other photographers, models, designers, stylists, and members of the creative community to shoot for change and as he puts it “inspire the world one click at a time.”  My fiance and I were definitely inspired and  we are thrilled to have SFC do our engagement pictures next weekend. Because of SFC's remarkable mission we will get beautiful engagement pictures and make a contribution to a worthwhile cause.  Stay tuned in the coming months for pictures from our Shoot for Change shoot. 
In the meantime, check out some of these great events that SFC will be part of:

Women Empowered Against Violence - BoConcept
March 12th, 6pm to 8pm

Conversations at The Kreeger Museum
March 15th, 6pm to 8pm

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