Volunteer Photographer

 

Pre-Application Review:

If you are uncertain if you meet the required skill criteria, then please submit 3 portrait samples (.jpg) using Portable/Auxiliary Light to our Review Team.


If you only shoot in natural/available light and do not own or have experience with portable/auxiliary lighting equipment, then please do not proceed with the review request. Skills using portable/auxiliary lighting are a requirement for application.

Review Team
Please allow up to 2 weeks for an emailed response from a team member.

Note to International review requests (outside North America): Currently we are only able to accept applications from the USA, USA territories, and the following countries (but not their territories): Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer photographer for NILMDTS. Our work seeks to help families soften their pain, and help create photographic memories of their baby that they can be proud to share with other family members and future generations.

Due to the nature, sensitivity, and complexity of this work, many factors exist in which most photographers wouldn't consider necessary to fill this role. View this application in the same manner you would for a professional photographer position.

  • Submit your best portrait work showing your ability to use auxiliary lighting and natural lighting. Due to the nature of our mission, we need to see see your abilities in portrait work. Wildlife, flowers, buildings, etc., do not show the skills needed for this work.
  • If you only shoot in natural/available light and do not own or have experience with portable/auxiliary lighting equipment, then please do not proceed with the photographer application. Please consider joining as an Assistant to Photographer or Community Volunteer instead.

Note to International Applicants (outside North America): Currently we are only able to accept applications from the USA, USA territories, and the following countries (but not their territories): Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Note: You will need to pay a $10 application fee prior to submitting your application.

Note: All volunteers must be 18 years of age or older at the time of application.

IF YOU ARE RE-APPLYING: Our database system is email based. If you are re-applying, please use a different email than the original email used in your first application. We will be able to merge your accounts after the approval process is complete.


Skills Criteria & Image Submission Requirements to Apply (Click to Expand)

 

Basic First Steps:

 

  • A $10 application fee will be charged with your application submission and is tax deductible. You will receive an emailed receipt upon completion.
  • Prior to uploading of images: Resize your images to 700 pixels on the longest side and save as a JPEG to quality 7 or 8.
  • Fill out the application in full. You will not be able to submit unless the application is complete. You will receive a second email confirming that your application has been received.

Requirements of Submitted Images

  • Resize your images to 700 pixels on the longest side and save as a JPEG to quality 7 or 8.
  • Images must be from a minimum of four separate and distinct sessions. Multiple images of the same person will not pass.
  • Images taken at a workshop are not permitted, as we need to evaluate your work with the equipment you own.
  • The Natural Light images (sunlight/window light) may also include the use of reflectors. The use of flash as fill light is acceptable, but not as the main light for these samples.
  • The Auxiliary Light images should be those in which the main light is either studio strobes or speedlights, or other off camera flash. (Snapshot quality use of ambient/available room lights will not be approved.)
  • A minimum of three images must be in an environment in which 100% of the illumination is from the flash or strobe lighting. This is critical since many of our sessions take place is very dim or dark hospital rooms.

 

Skills Criteria & Evaluation Process


Once your application has been received, it will be evaluated by the NILMDTS Membership Application Committee (MAC). This Committee consists of experienced Affiliated Photographers who will score your application.

An application must score at least 40 out of 100 points to be considered for approval. We use a 0-20 scoring system (0 is lowest and 20 is highest) for each of the following 5 criteria:

1) Available/Natural Light - We are not interested in whether or not one shoots in available light, but how one uses natural light.

  • The overall submission should include light with direction. Directional light gives the face structure.
  • Blown-out highlights on skin are unacceptable. In general, both the highlights and shadows should retain detail.
  • Black and white images should demonstrate good conversion skills and not just dull gray images.

 

2) Portable/Auxiliary Light - It is critical to demonstrate the ability to deliver portrait-style lighting in a dark room.

  • Direct, on-camera direct flash is not acceptable. Please try to choose images that clearly show us that you have the ability to take professional photographs using equipment (Speedlights or continuous lights) that you could take with you to a hospital setting. Speedlights that are bounced or fitted to small softboxes/modifiers work well. While you CAN take studio strobes to a session, speedlights are far more portable and easier to use and some of the newer, smaller continuous lights also work very well.
  • Blown-out highlights are not acceptable if those appear on body parts.
  • Black and white images should demonstrate good conversion skills and not just dull gray images.

Keep in mind that when volunteering as a NILMDTS photographer, you will be faced with the challenge of hospital lighting, many times at night. Please try to choose images that clearly show us that you have the ability to take professional photographs using equipment that you could take with you to a hospital setting. Although studio/strobe lights show us your ability to create a portrait-style lighting in a comfortable and controlled setting, images with speedlights (bounced or with small modifiers) or continuous lights, will show us if you can photograph in a less controlled environment that's similar to a NILMDTS setting, so please choose images carefully.

3) Focus - Just like any portrait, the eyes have to be sharp.

  • If any two images in the submission or on the applicant’s website have questionable focus issues, the applicant will be declined.
  • Do not submit out-of-focus images.

 

4) Posing - All the standard posing guidelines apply.

Even though in our environment we are often limited in how we can position our subjects, the applicant should demonstrate knowledge of what makes flattering position.

  • A preponderance of square-to-the-camera poses would be grounds to decline the applicant.

  • Has the applicant made any effort to pose subjects in a flattering way?

  • Are diagonals used? Does your eye move around within the image?

  • Does the photographer utilize composition rules, like the rule of thirds?

 

5) Attention to Detail - This is an overall evaluation of the submission.

  • The committee reviews to see if the the photographer missed out on noticing details such as: drool on a baby’s chin, sloppy hair, centered necklaces, poles growing from heads, appropriate backgrounds, overall retouching skills, etc.
  • The scores are also affected if submitted images have not been resized correctly or if non-portrait images are uploaded.

 

For those of you who do not have image samples of work using studio lights or do not normally shoot using your flash attachment (speedlight) please do the following:

  • Take a cooperative human, doll, or stuffed animal into a low light room and shoot off a series of images using your flash attachment, bouncing the light off the ceiling and walls, using various focal lengths (shoot tight like you would a baby session), angles and poses.
  • We do not need the images to be retouched. We will be looking for your ability to shoot in very low light situations similar to what we encounter in hospital rooms during NILMDTS sessions.

***We only accept applications that show the ability to use off camera flash and/or studio strobe work. Because of our working environment, if you only shoot natural light and do not own or have skilled experience with portable/auxiliary lighting equipment,, please do not proceed with the application.

The application process can take up to four weeks depending on the current volume (although it is sometimes longer during the busy Trade Show season).


I have applied, now what happens? (Click to Expand)

 

The application process can take up to four weeks depending on the current volume (although it is sometimes longer during the busy Trade Show season).

 

If your application has been declined:

Applicants who are declined are always more than welcome to re-apply at a later date, after their skills have improved. Please feel free to inquire about specifics in how you can improve your work. The MAC Team is always willing to share their expertise.

If your application has been approved:

  • You will receive an acceptance letter in the mail with information about how to activate your member account.
  • Sign and return the Volunteer Services Agreement to Headquarters.
  • Make an annual membership fee of $25.01. Please see the Benefits of Membership.

Once your account has been activated:

  • You will receive a New Member Welcome Packet in the mail with detailed instructions on how to get started in your new volunteer role.
  • Your benefits as a member will be activated.


Step 1: Pay Application Fee »
Reason for the Application Fee
In order to submit the application, you must first have an Application Fee invoice number!
You will receive an email confirming the processing of the application fee.

Step 2: Complete Application »
To begin the application, use the invoice number located on the shopping cart receipt.
You will receive another email confirming if your application was received.