Photography as Service-Learning

How can I use photography to help others? Understand and develop the skills you will need to be a successful photographer in today’s world, build your portfolio, and experience learning through service-based activities.


  • Essential Question: How can I use photography to help others?
  • Areas of study: Art and/or vocational photography, community service
  • Type and amount of credit earned:  ½ credit
  • Community partner: Any organizations that need photography services (Suggestions include – The Humane Society or any animal rescue organizations, local child care centers, Summer Camps, organizations that need photographs of employees, particular events that need images, the local newspaper, community centers, teachers at a high school who need images of projects, etc.)


  • Communication – employ a broad range of communication platforms and styles.
  • Technology – use information and technology to effectively empower deeper learning.
  • Professionalism – develop the skills of respect, following workplace policies, etc. via interaction in the community.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Visual literacy – valuate images to see if they meet external requirements.

See the detailed ELO description for the full text of these competencies.

Student activities

  • Identify/brainstorm organizations, individuals, or groups who might need photography services. Contact organizations, ultimately finding three to work with.
  • Research what photography service could be done for each organization, come to an agreement with the organization, and complete a Service-Learning sheet as documentation.
  • Create a Pinterest Board for each of the projects.
  • Conduct onsite visits. While on site, take field notes.
  • Completion of the work for each organization will include visiting organization, making field notes, editing images, saving a copy for the student’s records.
  • Meet with each organization to make sure images meet the original needs/goals.
  • Write a three page reflection paper.


Student will create a final presentation using PowerPoint, Prezi, or Google Slide Show to answer the Essential Question. They will present this to teachers, community partners, staff and any administration during a one-time after school showcase. The presentation must include information about each organization, what the student did for each of the three service-learning projects, some excerpts from their field notes, some inspirational images from their Pinterest Boards, images the student took while doing the ELO, and excerpts from their reflection paper.

More information

This ELO was created for at-risk students who wanted to explore photography as a career. They had access to a car and they were seniors who were not interested or excited by the traditional teaching models but instead wanted to be out of the classroom taking pictures. This project allowed the student to serve the community, earn credit and do something s/he loved.

This ELO can be modified for IEP’s or simplified at any point. Some students may not be able to do three service-learning experiences; some students may need to do service-learning projects in school for teachers or administrators.  Students may need assistance sharing images with the service-learning sites. Also make sure students clearly communicate that they are NOT professional photographers, in order to keep expectations realistic for service-learning partners.

This ELO was submitted by Amanda Bastoni, CTE Photo/Video teacher at ConVal Regional High School. Email teacher for more information