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Photography with a Social Mission – Commons Studio & Matt Reese

I am delighted to bring to you a podcast with Matt Reese, a Columbus photographer who has built up the Commons Studio  photography company with a social mission.

His social mission has three aspects:

First off, Commons Studio provides paid internships — something virtually unheard of in the photography business.  (Because why would you pay your future competition?)  But Matt believes it is important to pay young photographers who are just starting out and teaching them the ropes of the photography business, especially how to price their work and establish themselves.

With digital photography, the cost of becoming a photographer and learning how to take good pictures has dropped — but then young photographers work for unsustainable prices, or mis-understand the value of the rights to the work… which lowers the expectations in the marketplace making it more difficult for all photographers.

By educating new photographers on how to price appropriately and manage their digital rights, Matt is effecting the overall sustainability of photography as a business.

The second aspect of the studio is Shot For Shot — for each headshot produced, Commons Studio gives one headshot away to someone in need.  Matt is dedicated to helping individuals get back on their feet, and helping them develop their image as they transition.  This one-for-one is a common theme in social enterprises, and a great way to build a business where social change is funded by one half of the business.  I love this approach, because it sends the message that you can develop a business and earn a profit while delivering real value to your community.

A third aspect to Commons Studio is to do business with “good” companies. Any companies which aren’t wholesome, or not in line with the values of Commons Studio are turned down as clients. This way Matt Reese is promoting work within a sustainable community, and multiplying the impact of social change in Columbus.

It was a real pleasure to speak with Matt – he is such a dynamic and engaging fellow, and it was awesome to hear his story on how he is using his talents to build a company making a difference.  His studio has a pretty cool history of it’s own, but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out more about that — I hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think in the comments!

And… if you need a head shot, reach out to Matt at the Commons Studio and make a difference at the same time!


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