Browsing Tag

Non Profit

How to Cook Partnerships in Our Kitchen

If you follow us on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook – then you know that we LOVE our kitchen in our new house! In fact – it’s our number one spot for business meetings these days. This year we’re focusing on creating new partnerships and working on bigger and bigger projects. Because you may not have ever noticed – we never actually attach ‘Photography’ in our company name.

It’s literally always just ‘’ and we’ve done for a reason. Because we do more than photography – so much more. Sure, photography has always been our main ‘vehicle’ that has allowed us to do good works – but we’ve grown to the point where we can actually get more done than simply taking photos. We have a team of dedicated creative people, we have ridiculous amounts of gear that we use in the most creative and incorrect ways, but also… we have a brand and a voice. Without overstepping or too much hyperbole – we literally have one of the most visited photography websites in Atlanta. Of course we’ve worked incredibly hard to literally be… everywhere.

And partnerships have always been a part of our strategy. Right from the start. Good partnerships – and honestly – we’ve never really partnered with other photographers except for the ones that come to us through our Internship. The partners that we like to work with are crazy. Well – they like crazy. Because we like to think big. Or aim big. Or something like that.

So we’ve been inviting various people to our kitchen for a cup of coffee (a Living Walls muralist, a string trio, nonprofit executive directors, and more). Because these are people we’d like to work with – and why wouldn’t we invite them into our home for a cup of coffee?


It’s been a crazy ride and all of sudden we’re in the middle of our 4th year of business – and we’ve found ourselves in a position to do even more. 

Of course part of that is because we hired a Creative Director (Joy) to help us out – but then also because we’re just… ready.

Our company has always worked with more charitable organizations annually than any other photography company, and we still operate the largest photography internship in the country. There is a lot of good work that we’re doing and still even crazier projects in the works for this year.

It’s not that we’re trying to give back or make up for the good fortune that we’ve had (because dammit – we’ve worked HARD for everything we’ve earned) – but because it’s what we’ve done from the very beginning. It’s part of the reason that we exist. We’re not giving back or being charitable.

It’s what we do – and we’re going to do so much more with all of the partnerships we’re cooking up in our kitchen (and everywhere).

And if you haven’t come over for a cup of coffee – you should. Seriously.








PhotoPop! Project

The goal of PhotoPOP! Project is to provide the participating organizations with new, relevant, and professional quality photography for use in their marketing campaigns and media kits.

This September and October, Bolster and will host the first annual PhotoPOP! Project. The event will take place over the course of 4 weeks with consecutive photography sessions covering approximately seven (7) Atlanta area nonprofits or charitable organizations. Each organization will receive pre-event consultation regarding what story they would like to tell and how best to convey that message. Marketing is about storytelling and sadly the truth is that many organizations fail to successfully tell ‘their story’ to the general public.

We truly believe that professional photography is an integral component of any successful storytelling endeavor (marketing campaign).

There is a $200 participation fee and all organizations will receive the following:

  • Their choice of any six (6) finished photos (hi-resolution digital file copies)
  • A two (2) year commercial use license
  • Fundraising, logistics and programming consultation session with Melonie Tharpe of Bolster
  • Option to license all photos produced for commercial use

The primary requirement for an organization to be accepted is the understanding that professional photography is extremely valuable to any marketing campaign in today’s environment of social media and online communication.

All photography will be completed by photographers in association with, and overseen by, Logistics, programming, and fundraising consulting services by Bolster will also be made available to all participating organizations.

At least one primary image from each organization will be exhibited at renew social ventures on the night of the closing ceremonies event. The exhibition will be open to the public and will allow for both the participating organizations and photographers to showcase their work.

Click here and apply to participate in the PhotoPOP! Project.

If you would like to find out more information about the PhotoPOP! Project, please send inquiries to:

Or fill out the contact form below:

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CARE: Share Your Heart

Click Here for the Photo Gallery.

CARE is an amazing organization that I have been fortunate to intern at since August.  What does CARE do?  Here’s our mission statement:

Our mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, we promote innovative solutions and are advocates for global responsibility. We facilitate lasting change by:

  • Strengthening capacity for self-help
  • Providing economic opportunity
  • Delivering relief in emergencies
  • Influencing policy decisions at all levels
  • Addressing discrimination in all its forms

Guided by the aspirations of local communities, we pursue our mission with both excellence and compassion because the people whom we serve deserve nothing less.

Yeah, that last line is my favorite.  Anyhow – CARE works in over 70 countries around the world, and has been working in Haiti since 1954.  We have over 130 staff members in our Haiti office, all but one of whom is Haitian.  So you can imagine the losses sustained by our staff when the earthquake hit.  Fortunately, none of our staff lost their lives – but they did lose homes, family members, friends, etc.  That didn’t stop them from coming to work every day and assisting with the disaster response.  And even though Haiti is no longer on the front page of our news, the rebuilding is still going on.  It’s a long, slow process.  Many of our staff members are still sleeping in tents – as are thousands of Haitians.

So while CARE USA’s fundraising team was busy raising money to help rebuild Haiti, CARE’s HR team decided to lead the efforts to raise funds for our staff – Share Your Heart.  Park Tavern generously donated the space, community members and Atlanta staff generously donated items for our silent auction, we put our noses to the grindstone and pulled off the event with only a month’s planning – and Mark took photos!

Which you can see.  Here.

Athena’s Warehouse

Athena’s Warehouse is an Atlanta-based non-profit group that provides low-income high school girls with prom dresses. Our goal is to show both girls and women that females can empower each other through personal support and public service. Our icon, Athena, embodies strength, equality, and heroic endeavor; she is accompanied by an owl that marks wisdom. She is our urban version of a fairy tale ending.

We collect cocktail dresses that are in good condition year round. We appreciate your support in helping students who are unable to purchase their own attire.

Okay. I’ll be honest with you – it’s easy to gloss over their mission statement and think “they give prom dresses to underprivileged girls” – yeah. And it’s easy to place that waaaaaay down on the list of ’causes’ that should be supported. I mean, there are lots of truly serious problems in the world and at first glance, giving girls prom dresses hardly seems like it’s anywhere near the top of the list.

But stay with me here – the reason why the work that Athena’s Warehouse does is important, is because of it’s core ideal of empowering young women. In America we have a different understanding, or rather – nearly complete lack of understanding on the true and long term benefits a community receives by simply, empowering their women – especially adolescent females.

Now – there is ‘Absolute Poverty’ and ‘Relative Poverty’.

Absolute poverty being what exists in the third world where they don’t have basics such as clean water and food.

Relative poverty is essentially extreme income inequality. We have a lot of relative poverty in America. While there are clear differences between the two types of poverty – the fact is that in America it’s very difficult for many people who are living in conditions classified as ‘relative poverty’ – to be able to overcome or ‘get out’ of relative poverty. Only recently have we really started understanding that relative poverty can be as detrimental on a psychological level as living in absolute poverty. (maybe I should type ‘poverty’ one more time… oh look, I did.)

There is a ‘Girl Effect’ movement going on – which focuses on empowering young women in third world countries on the basis that there is a ripple effect that ends up vastly improving the living conditions of the communities involved.

Of course it’s a pretty good leap to say that giving prom dresses to young women empowers them and helps to ease the effects of relative poverty for those particular young women.  However – having volunteered at Stand Up for Kids every week for a year – I know that there are many students who have home lives that are far worse than anything we imagine – and yet they somehow continue to make it through high school.

As an adult it’s easy to apply a coat of cynicism to the whole idea of prom – but for so many high school girls – it’s still a big deal and not being able to go because you couldn’t afford a dress is… well it just seems like something we can realistically help with and at the same time make some young women very happy so they can go lead productive lives and save the world. Well – at least the happy part is true.

And we’re all about being happy here at

Now. It might seem like Leah and I support every good cause out there – but we don’t. We obviously can’t help every charitable organization that approaches us ’cause sometimes we have to eat and sleep and watch Weeds or Dexter.

However – when Kim of Athena’s Warehouse wanted to hire us to photograph their charity event next Friday March 12th, we were totally up for that. Sadly, Leah and I already had plans to be in Phoenix at the time. So then Kim asked if we could photograph the young women as they volunteered at Project Open Hand. What? Photographing two non-profits at once?! That’s awesome and efficient!

So we took photographs, we’ve posted them on our blog, and now you know all about Athena’s Warehouse, you totally want to donate your old cocktail dresses, AND you want to attend their charity event next Friday at the StudioPlex lofts. Right? Right.

Hey. It’s Friday. Have a great weekend. We’ll be in Phoenix all next week – and it’s a packed schedule.

Check out the rest of the photos of the girls of Athena’s Warehouse at Project Open Hand. Click Here.

Kiva Loans Update

It’s hard to see how much a little effort adds up overtime – especially when you’re talking about donating amounts as small as $25.

We started lending three years ago but things really picked up when we decided to donate 10% or $25 of all photography proceeds (whichever is greater).

As of today we’ve helped to fund 48 loans all over the world.

The collage above is made up of photos of each person/community to whom we’ve loaned money.

The default rate so far? Zero. 0%

In the three years that we’ve been doing this, no one has ever failed to pay their loan back.

Thank you to everyone who’s hired us recently and if we haven’t already notified you as to who your money went to help, we will let you know soon.