Using Photography As a Social Benefit

9E4377FD-F30D-4E29-8EAE-6532A9019933When I was asked to help out the Mental Health Association of Frederick County, my mind swarmed with ideas.

The first goal was to enhance the offering of their upcoming gala, the Catoctin Affair.  Attended by more than 500 area residents, this black tie event has become more of an event than just a local fundraiser.   The MHA faces the challenge each year of how to keep the event focused and relevant.  To share their message that mental health is all of us.  And to keep a large crowd engaged.

I created a live auction photography package to be narrated by the emcee with an accompanying slide show or powerful images from my archive.  Timed and delivered this package was expected to bring in $2000 that evening.   The package, was a full day of photography for a business, it could be stock photography, marketing content, a mixture of consulting and photography, or product photography.  At the last minute we added the option and the supporting imagery to also make this appealing to a family.  It was a success.  And now a continued part of the Catoctin Affair’s fundraising.

More than that, however, it hits many of the marks that are important to me.  The folks that bought the package at the Catoctin Affair met with me and we discussed how they might use the benefit photography package they bought.  They decided to host a family reunion and have the day documented.  And two months later, that is what we did.  The family got together for the first time.  Spanning three generations, they gathered and ate, played, reminisce, swam in the pool, teased each other, and for some met for the first time while others became acquainted.

Several times during the event people asked me, “what was this for again”, “you are volunteering for something?”, and  I would then have the opportunity to share about the benefiting organization, the Mental Health Association and their local work.

The family was able to connect, share, laugh, and make memories together.  Social bonding which I had the honor to document and share back to the entire family with 700 images from their day, many of which were of moments no one else saw.

There is nothing sophisticated about community and private partnerships, or at least they do not need to be overly complicated.  I was asked to help.  I offered a grand tour of photography for a family and they made the most of it.  All of which raised $2000.00 for a cause focused on changing lives.  It is pretty cool to be in an interconnected world.

Mental Health Association of Frederick County  – Through education, advocacy, empowerment, and treatment, MHA helps everyone face their challenges and make lasting positive changes.  Learn more at

The Catoctin Affair – for 20 years the business, entertainment and philanthropic community have come together to produce this not to be missed event learn more at 

Canan Photographic – Empowering and supporting clients to fulfill their mission by providing genuine, crisp and authentic photo stories and ongoing content services.  Learn More at