Many of us love to show our patriotism around July 4th. Tonee Lawrence and the photographers involved with her organization Operation: Love ReUnited (OpLove), help out military families all year long.
OpLove is a non-profit consisting of nearly 1,000 photographers who volunteer their portrait photography services for military families deploying to and returning from service.
We talk with Tonee about OpLove as she explains how sharing photography helps these military families stay connected to each other and how OpLove uses Animoto to tell their stories.
What was the inspiration behind starting OpLove?
My husband went on one deployment when our boys were three and four. Our boys were old enough to know he was gone but didn’t understand why. We didn’t live close to any family and friends and so we didn’t have anyone to go with us to the airport to take photos of our family being reunited again.
That was our one and only deployment and we have nothing to help us remember it. I was inspired by that and wanted to make sure other military families would never be left without photos capturing these very special moments of saying goodbye and also welcoming a family member back.
How important is it for a lot of these family members working for the armed forces to have great photos of their family?
It’s EXTREMELY important. The ladies and men of the US military need to see that they are so very loved back home and we are waiting for them to come back safely. It makes them feel connected to their families.
But sometimes, they don’t come home and that simple family session that we provided is now one of the most treasured memories they have.
How many photographers and families are involved? And how can photographers who are interested get involved with OpLove?
About 1,000 photographers are involved worldwide now. We always need more photographers, especially in high-demand areas like Southern California and Virginia. We have helped THOUSANDS of families. Photographers should visit our site to find out more information: Oplove.org.
How have you see OpLove members using Animoto? How do you think video helps photographers tell the story of their clients?
I personally see so many of these Animoto videos that OpLove photographers produce since we have an Animoto non-profit account. Anytime you add music to images, it pours out emotion. Our organization is built on emotion. Our clients are very touched by these videos, especially when video is added in. Animoto is so simple to use and since these photographers are volunteering their services on top of running a business, it’s so wonderful that they can create these emotive videos in just a few minutes.
Visit Animoto for a Cause for more videos and how your cause can sign up today!