On the heels of a successful Help-Portrait 2010, Leigh Caraccioli (@fleurdeleigh) of Dayton, Ohio, Help-Portrait has a few insights on how to market your Help-Portrait event to maximize its impact.

Something magic happens when you set out to change the world one smile at a time. It’s a magnetic force. Suddenly you find yourself surrounded, supported, connected to do-good, kindred spirits. Help-Portrait 2010 made me realize that I am part of a giant mass of positively charged individuals hell-bent on doing something to make this world a better place.

Leading our Dayton, Ohio, Help-Portrait event this year, I found out how instrumental social media is in promoting a good cause. In less than 30 days, we amassed nearly 100 volunteers and gifted 293 local military family members. We wanted to share with you five ways to hop up your event experience by online networking/marketing for 2011.

Inform your networks about the Help-Portrait event you are planning on email, Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to tell them why it’s important to you. Ask that they share what you are doing locally with their networks as well. Stretch your reach. Inform them of your needs: volunteers, photographers, equipment, funding, location, garments, support, coverage, spreading the word. People do care and want to find ways to help specifically. Share the Help-Portrait site, video, your own stories or those from other areas of the world.

Let’s face it. Every city around the globe has leaders in social media, photographers or otherwise.  Luckily, I already had solid connections with many of the “twitter elite” in Dayton so I sent a Twitter direct message asking for their help in promoting my H-P event. The best way to start making those connections is to engage in conversation with them, establish a two-way street of connection, find ways to help THEIR cause, and inform them about yours. You can find your cities key social media influencers through twittergrader.com. Here’s Nashville for example:

Our combined social network was paramount to our successful event in Dayton. Ultimately, it brought us together with the people we wanted to gift with portraits to meet our goal of photographing 100 families in need.

When one person talks about an event, it’s a status update. When thousands talk in unison about an event, it’s a viral happening (viral marketing defined). Watching the Help-Portrait event planning ramp-up this year was both inspiring and informative. You can put your ear to the wall in social media to hear better what is happening around the globe by utilizing dashboards like Tweetdeck, or Hootsuite and creating columns for the hashtag search #helpportrait and @help_portrait.  There is no question that on Dec. 4 this year, social media platforms were abuzz with H-P updates and it became a trending topic through hashtag use in many cities including Dayton, Ohio. You Tube videos went viral like Jeremy Cowart’s intro, which had more than 10,000 views. The 2010 main video had 38,039 views.

Members on our H-P team targeted our local newspaper, radio and television stations giving them information about the worldwide impact of our gift along with progress updates. We had coverage from two local television stations, which helped us build awareness for the global Help-Portrait campaign and positioning for the coming year’s event.

My personal network locally and globally expanded thanks to this year’s H-P event. I found, followed, friended and volunteered with so many incredible people. For that alone, I am grateful. I had the opportunity to connect with the families of the military in our area making tremendous sacrifices for our freedom. I was able to thank them in person and give them something to smile about.

Connect with people. Engage in conversation. Learn their story and share. We are a part of a growing community of caring photographers and volunteers who want to be the change they want to see in the world. Embrace this Help-Portrait tour de force. 2011 is going to rock.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010  |  Category: H-P Organizers, H-P Tips  |  2 Comments
  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    It's been a real challenge conveying the event through printed media, so any suggestions are much appreciated! This year our location had very few people attend in comparison to the number of volunteers. We are hoping to improve our marketing immensely next year!
    Ron Manke | 20/12/2010 5:45 PM

  • Stanley-Carl du-Pont Stanley-Carl du-Pont

    Neat write-up Leigh and thanks for sharing your experience. Making an early start, especially in areas such as marketing is key. Here is to an even bigger event in 2011!
    Stanley-Carl du-Pont | 21/12/2010 5:32 AM

A collective of Nashville songwriters penned a song for and inspired by Help-Portrait that’s available as a free download from Noisetrade. “I See You” was a collaboration between songwriters Andy Davis, Jason Ingram, Chad Cates and Paul Mabury. We recently talked with Davis about how the song came to be and what their hope for it is.

Where did the idea for the song come from?
Jeremy asked me if I’d be interested in writing a song for Help-Portrait – I thought it would be cool to get a lot of people involved, so it turned into a group effort with Paul, Jason, Chad and I.

When we got together we just started talking about what makes Help-Portrait so special…..what it does for people.  There are tons of reasons why it’s an amazing concept, but we kinda settled on this one idea that everyone wants to be noticed – to be seen – to validate their existence as humans. Getting your picture taken makes you feel important. [Help-Portrait] not only provides people with something they can hang on their wall – it gives them proof that they are worthy of having their picture taken – that they are not forgotten, and that their existence on earth is significant, just like someone who gets their picture taken all the time by professional photographers. The basic message of Help-Portrait, we felt, was to find people who may feel forgotten and invisible, and say to them, “I See You.” So we wrote that song.

What was the process like in writing it, then recording it?
Recording was a bit of a challenge since we all were heavily involved in other projects at the time, but we managed to pass protools files around and get it finished and mixed.  Everyone added a little bit here and there til it was done.

What do you hope people take away from hearing it?
Hopefully it will enhance the experience that people get when they view the behind-the-scenes videos from the various Help-Portrait shoots . ..really we just wanted to write a song that conveyed the emotional weight of what Help-Portrait creates for people.  It’s a pretty intense and emotional song, yet has a beauty and uplifting hope about it.

What are your favorite tools for your trade?
Some gear I play and use are as follows:
Protools LE
Shure Microphones
Gibson acoustic guitars
Universal Audio mic pre’s

Lyrics to “I See You”
Verse 1
you were the last in line
thought you never existed
you were the lost in time
they never called your name
if there’s a light to find, a ladder to climb
it’s nowhere to be found
if you just close your eyes
you might disappear
ooh ooh ooh

Verse 2
yeah it’s a fight sometimes
to leave where we’ve been hiding
maybe we’re all the same
just need to be found
to the blood in our veins, the lines on our face
to a story that isn’t over
what we don’t celebrate
we all lose in the end

youuuuuu you are here
there’s a light shining on,,,,shining on you….
youuuuuu  are here….
i see you, i see you

You were the last in line
I know it’s a fight sometime
You were the lost in time
I know it’s a fight sometimes
I see you
Ooh Ooh Ooh
They never called your name

youuuuuu you are here
there’s a light shining on….shining on you….
youuuuuu  are here….
i see you, i see you

Chorus Repeat

You can download the song now at Noisetrade.

Posted on Dec 18, 2010  |  Category: Inspiration  |  2 Comments
  • leigh caraccioli leigh caraccioli

    I appreciated Andy's song & blog share so much! It was marvelous to hear a little about the origins of this song which keeps playing in my head. And now I have no excuse for totally messing up the lyrics ;)
    leigh caraccioli | 20/12/2010 1:58 PM

  • Andy Davis Raises Money for Album + Homeless Meals | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 Andy Davis Raises Money for Album + Homeless Meals | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011

    [...] is no stranger to the Help-Portrait community.  Davis was one of the songwriters that penned the song inspired by H-P titled “I See You” (get the free download from Noisetrade if you haven’t!). When we [...]
    Andy Davis Raises Money for Album + Homeless Meals | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 | 17/02/2011 3:11 PM

We’re creating a page to list the national and local sponsors of Help-Portrait 2010. Please take a minute and let us know what companies donated resources to your event so we can include them on our “thanks” page!

Help-Portrait Sponsor Report Form: http://bit.ly/eO4623

Posted on Dec 08, 2010  |  Category: H-P Organizers  |  6 Comments
  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    The first time I submitted the form, it returned a blank page, so I did it a second time. Too bad Google Docs doesn't send a confirmation email when someone submits a form.
    Ron Manke | 08/12/2010 3:57 PM

  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    This website's time zone seems a bit messed too... it thinks it's 3:58 pm, but the local time in America is between 7 - 10 am. Maybe it's in GMT?
    Ron Manke | 08/12/2010 3:59 PM

  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    Thanks for doing this! Has anyone created a Thank You letter template yet?
    Ron Manke | 08/12/2010 4:01 PM

  • grover grover

    Hey is the song available for the iphone as a ringtone,?
    grover | 09/12/2010 3:06 AM

  • Joanne Henig Joanne Henig

    Long Island Photo Gallery is set to do their shoot a week from today, Dec. 16th. Families in need at a local church.
    Joanne Henig | 09/12/2010 8:08 PM

  • Jaeger LeCoultre Jaeger LeCoultre

    The excellent and duly answer.
    Jaeger LeCoultre | 13/12/2010 7:05 PM

Stories are pouring in and we can’t wait to share them. We will be posting as they become available.

New Orleans, LA
“Katrina took everything from me. But now you are here to help me get something back, and I thank you for that.”

Soweto, Gauteng, South Africa
Two hundred children ran for me, greeted me with such joyous smiles, wanted to touch my hair, wanted me to carry them, they wanted to carry my bag and tripod and just be helpful and felt like I was some kind of royalty. It was such a joyous event for me and I didn’t want the day to end. I hope they too enjoyed it and enjoy their portraits.

Miami, FL
“I never knew that a stranger could be so caring as to take the time to give me my first-ever, picture with my kids and ask nothing in return.”

Las Vegas, NV
One homeless teen commented “You are all such beautiful people…we should be taking photos of you. You have no idea how grateful we are that you are making us feel so special today. Thank you!”

Cedar City, UT
Photographed a lady that was almost 103 years old.

Radford, VA
I photographed a 23 year old girl that had lost her job,car, and her confidence in her self along the way. She told me that it had been so long since she felt important to anyone she had just given up on life. The fact that I took the time to photograph her was the best thing that had happened in her life in a year. She is giving the portrait to her father to try and rebuild a relationship with him over Christmas.

Bangalore, India
A blind child asking how his photograph looked…

Minneapolis, MN
A survivor of 4 brain aneurysms caused by an ex-boyfriend blessed us by allowing us to give her some amazing photos with AND without her wig. She was beautiful both ways and told me that she had never felt so beautiful in her entire life.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
My very first photoshoot ever was with a little boy and his parents, and the son was sick with leukemia, but he took beautiful photographs and was extremely sweet and adorable.

Greenville, NC
We had a lady that had been estranged from her brother since they were babies. Each of them were adopted by different people and only lived one county apart. Just recently they reunited but live 4 hours from each other. Her brother told her all he wanted was a recent picture. As she cried she told us we made his wish possible.

London, UK
Photographing Isolated people from very devastated and poorest areas in South India with an team of 5 teenagers working as assistants/volunteers during a whole month. Incredible feeling for the whole group -the experience of their lives – and for the whole dalit (poorest-untouchable indian caste) people!

Calgary, Alberta
One gentleman (homeless) said, “You made me feel like I was special, like a ROCK STAR.”

Another said, “Whenever I am down on myself, I am going to pull out this picture and remind myself how lucky I am. You captured me in a way that I don’t ever see myself.”

Milton, Ontario
Our HP event was at a respite/hospice house for children with debilitating disease. Most of these children are non-ambulatory and non-verbal. Almost all of these families had never had a family portrait done because of time constraints at portrait studios and the health requirements of their children. Again and again families shared their joy and appreciation that they were being provided with the opportunity to have portraits done that otherwise would have been impossible.

Washington, PA
“You made my Christmas wish come true!”

Toronto, Ontario

“Thank you for taking time away from your kids to photograph my kids.”

Woodstock, GA
We photographed families and patients of kids who had illnesses ranging from cancer to cystic fibrosis, to therapy patients suffering from severe head trauma…the list goes on. I was amazed at the joy that came when that camera was put on these kids. They’re going through so much, but they were able to let it all go for those brief moments in front of the camera.

Salisbury, MD
I took away from this event the absolute need to give back. I already volunteer regularly, but now I want to do it MORE.

St. Petersburg, FL
Watching the women transform, both physically and emotionally. Initially, several of the women expressed being self-conscious or lacking self-confidence. However, once they met with the photographers and spent a bit of time in front of the camera, most seemed to come out of their shells and blossom.

Atlanta, GA
At our site, we worked with families with newborns. It was so wonderful that many of these newborns were having their first photos taken. Along with prints, we will be providing each family with their digital prints so they can share the photos with their family across the U.S.

Green Bay, WI
I was so moved by the opportunity to coax smiles and laughs out of families at the domestic abuse shelter. I know making their portraits isn’t going to change the circumstances, but for 10 or 15 minutes these kids and moms could forget about their cares.

Bangalore, India
A group of over 50 photographers from the Bangalore – Help Portrait Group assembled together at the Samarthanam School for the disabled, visually impaired and underprivileged. Their smiles, their excitement at being part of something they believed was important, their shyness and raw energy. But, most of all their sense of fairness, friendship with and inclusion of those less privileged than even themselves was beautiful.

Dayton, OH
One family was celebrating their first holiday together after the husband/father had been deployed for 3 years.

Camden, NJ
“Nothing is ever free anymore. I am grateful for this. Thank you so much.”

Belleville, Canada
They couldn’t believe we would stand in the cold ALL day just to see people smile!

Mableton, GA
“I’ve been so excited for today! I’m currently going through a divorce, and this is the first picture with just me and my girls. I feel like this picture represents my new life.” – from a mother at a women’s shelter, after leaving an abusive husband with her two girls under age 4.

Georgetown, DE
The very first sitting of the day, was a single, pregnant mother, with her 8th grade son. It was their first professional portrait together. While we were taking the photos, her baby started kicking and it became very emotional for her. She began to cry, and this whole process became more meaningful for all of us. She also began to cry when we showed her the framed, finished photo. Her baby will be named Nevaeh, HEAVEN backwards.

Franklin, TN
I took pictures of a family that lost almost everything in the Nashville Flood. A few days after that, they found out that their son Jack, who already has autism, has cancer, and not the family is trying to put everything back together, but it feels like the weight of the world is coming down on them. Today was a nice break from all of that and they left with a prints and on framed picture and everything on a disk and it really made their day!

Coimbra, Portugal
A blind, elderly man told us that although he couldn’t see, he would trust that we would make a good picture of him. He let us comb his hair, arrange his clothing and then photograph him. He won’t be able to see the picture, but he can be sure he will look as good as ever.

Logan, UT
We were working at the County Jail – those guys don’t have a lot of opportunity for holiday shopping. The very first inmate we photographed thanked us profusely and kept telling us that he was going to give this picture to his kids.

Alexandria, VA
A family came in with a 7 people. They have never had a family photo done before. Before the pictures were taken and she found out that she’d get to take them home today, she started crying.

Cape Girardeau, MO
Family of 5 who lost their house and all their belongings – including wedding photos, family photos – in a house fire. Today, we gave them back a family portrait, something to remind them of that they are still a family. When the dad started crying, the whole place did.

Huntington, IN
One lady told me this was the first photo she’s had taken since she “got clean” four years ago. She said this was the first time she felt good enough about herself. In a sense, it was a way of burying the old her and celebrating the new.

Montgomery, AL
The other location was at a Home for children whose mothers are in prison. Some of these children’s moms are still in prison while some have gotten out and never come back for their children. The mothers who are in prison will get pictures of their children for Christmas. I would love to see their faces when they open them. The children who no longer know where their moms are will now how GREAT pictures of themselves to display in their rooms and around the house.

Apollo Beach, FL
Our event involved taking group portraits of teams from the Sun City Center Emergency Squad (in Sun CIty Florida). This 100% volunteer organization. They respond to calls for emergency medical assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The mean age of their volunteers is 70! In addition to the team portraits they wanted to get one big group shot – this was 237 people. In order to get the shot the Captain arranged for the local fire department, whom they work closely with to send over their ladder truck which gave me the birds eye view I needed to get the shot.

Budapest, Hungary
A mother said to Us that I had planned to be here in 2009, but we overslept with my kids. One of My friends was there with her kids in 2009 event, she showed me their portraits and I cried. That is why I came here today, to have a special day like they had in last year.

Phoenix, AZ
The homeless family that could not speak a word of English and one or two of our photographers jumped right in and helped translate for them. The family came dressed in the most spectacular, beautiful Mexican style dresses and suits. They were literally beaming and the kids could not stop grinning.

Although I couldn’t understand their language… the smile, laugh and sheer joy on their face as they held their own portrait spoke much louder than words ever could.

Ontario, Canada
We had a very generous gentlemen come as Santa Claus. He also donated gifts for all of the children. One mother shared that “this was the best Christmas ever” because her son finally had the chance to see Santa.

Clements, MD
We went to the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in Charlotte Hall, MD. There was a resident who was 102 years old. He drove up and down the hallway most of the day refusing to come in. All of the girls were trying to woo him in. He said if we took his picture his ex-wives may be able to find him. :-) Another said he couldn’t have his picture taken because he was part of the witness protection program. Before the day was over, we had pictures of both of them. :-)

Jackson, MS
“I really look like that? I am beautiful.”

Kalispell, MT
“Thanks for giving me my only Christmas present.”

York, PA
As a news photographer, I had photographed several of the fires that left some of these families homeless. It was wonderful to see the children happy and smiling, though some had permanent scars from the fires. It was very heart warming to see how appreciative the parents were to have their families photographed for the holidays.

Berlin, Germany
“I always thought, I am not photogenic – This is why I refused having my picture taken all my life. Today that changed.”

Frankfurt, Germany
“I always felt like a superstar inside. Today is the day I can live it out.”

Ontario, Canada
I have one image ingrained into my head… a shot Mike had taken of a young man with musical aspirations, holding his 8×10 print in his hands, pacing the room for a good 15-20 minutes, with a smile that went from ear to ear. His mom could not get over how how happy and healthy he looked… just incredible.

In one case, the husband was suffering from cancer, and was scheduled for surgery. His wife was thrilled with the picture that they had taken and was going to send copies to their children. It was wonderful to see the smile on her face as she received her photo.

Cary, NC
One mom said she was talking with her mom about how she has NO family pictures of all of her kids and this came along. She did not want to get in the picture since her husband wasn’t there, but after some convincing, I think she was thrilled to see how nice it was and she even commented that she can give one of these pictures to her mom for Christmas!

Roanoke, VA
We did our event at a local shelter and two ladies said that this photo was the first image of them since they had been sober. It was a beautiful thing.

Albuquerque, NM
A 14-year-old girl who didn’t know how long she was going to be at the shelter because her family was “messed up.” She had obviously been there for some time already and there was no end in sight. But in the next breath said, “You just have to keep smiling. I do.” and we sure captured her smiling.

The Woodlands, TX
“Thank you so much for making something I can give to my mom; I’ve never given her a present for Christmas and she will cry.”

St. Louis, MO
A woman from a domestic violence shelter came and only wanted pictures of her kids. As the photographer talke to her she learned that due to what had happened to this woman, she didn’t look in mirrors let alone get photographed. The photographer talked her into getting her picture taken. After she saw the photo, in tears she said, “This is the most beautiful I have ever felt.”

Montgomery, AL
I was telling someone to have a Merry Christmas and her response was “You just made sure of that. This was the best gift I could have ever gotten.

Madisonville, KY
One lady came in for a family photo with her children and grandchildren and informed me that she hadn’t seen these family members in 10 years until today – they got together just for this event.

Posted on Dec 04, 2010  |  Category: Updates  |  38 Comments
  • Miriam Miriam

    Lansing, MI - A young man who was just accompanying his friend for her picture. He didn't want his taken because he was too embarassed. He'd never had a portrait taken. After some convincing, he agreed. He was so happy with his portrait he indicated that was what he was going to give his mother for Christmas because she didn't have a picture of him.
    Miriam | 05/12/2010 1:12 AM

  • Antonia Garcia Guerra Antonia Garcia Guerra

    Holt MI - Event that took place today in Lansing MI. A young girl said to me that she came today because they could not afford her senior pictures. Their was one other girl that come in for that same reason, and that they are so greatful to Help-Portrait.
    Antonia Garcia Guerra | 05/12/2010 1:54 AM

  • Pete Herman Pete Herman

    Just finished shooting 35 portraits in 3 hrs. We were at the Lutheran Home for the elderly this year...what a great group of people to photograph & talk to..Living history!
    Pete Herman | 05/12/2010 3:24 AM

  • Jackie Palmer Jackie Palmer

    One of our first families that came into today were so wonderful. The gentleman said all he wanted for Christmas was a family photo. A few days later he saw the Help Portrait Lansing, MI event posted and so he came over. He was so greatful and appreciative to all of the volunteers. And he loved that he was a part of something like Help Portrait that happened all over the world on the same day. He was honored to have taken part....he was a part of a giving day.
    Jackie Palmer | 05/12/2010 3:44 AM

  • Lucy O'Dell Lucy O'Dell

    In Charlottesville, VA after a man who had had his portrait taken was talking with a volunteer he paused and said, "This has been good....for a few minutes, I forgot I was homeless"
    Lucy O'Dell | 05/12/2010 4:33 AM

  • Gina Elliott Proulx Gina Elliott Proulx

    In Charlottesville, Virginia, volunteers who raised service animals for the disabled got an opportunity to pose for photos with the animals that were soon to graduate and leave their homes and become working dogs. One volunteer who had raised a black Lab, who was destined to leave her and become a Diabetes detection dog said she'd never gotten a decent photo of him.. Upon being given her completed portraits, she smiled quietly and thanked us for providing what she called 'the only way I'll have to remember him, once he's gone on to his working life..'
    Gina Elliott Proulx | 05/12/2010 4:40 AM

  • Candice Candice

    To read this is too amazing. I took part in the South African project and it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It left me humbled and eager to do more. It left those photographed with a sense of self worth.
    Candice | 05/12/2010 5:21 AM

  • Ladislav Ladislav

    450 portraits, 5000 pancakes, over 40 volunteers, kids fashion show, puppet theatre, magician.. In town with population of 4000. WOW. Congratulations Slatina, Croatia.
    Ladislav | 05/12/2010 8:53 AM

  • Jordan (aka J-dog) Jordan (aka J-dog)

    This was an incredible day, I brought my 5 yr old son down, to the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver, to help out while I filmed "behind the scenes." Really enjoyed watching Jaden hand out flyers to people on the street and greet people .... great moment to watch him learn about the great blessings that come from giving! It truly was beautiful to see so many people smile and radiate pure joy. One moment I won't forget, was watching my son hop and skip, as we walked home - I know he will remember this day! (as will I) ... "My cup is full."
    Jordan (aka J-dog) | 05/12/2010 9:03 AM

  • Anna Scott Anna Scott

    Today in new plymouth, new zealand we photographed a woman who has been hospitalised and is in kidney failure and has four children aged 4-17, a woman batteling caner, a woman who has been a victim of abuse nominated to us by womans refuge and an incredible grandmother who has fostered heaps of children & currently has a 3 year old & 6 year old, she had never been to a hair dresser let alone had a proffessional portrait taken. you just can’t estimate the impact that you've made on someone’s life in just a few short hours by taking a simple portrait and that in itself makes it all so momentously worth it! I am very proud to be apart of this event for the second year running and cant wait to do it again next year. Thanks to our stunning volunteers for contributing your time and talents!
    Anna Scott | 05/12/2010 9:30 AM

  • Aleksandar Jaredic Aleksandar Jaredic

    Video story from Montenegro :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y49SBxvVq_w
    Aleksandar Jaredic | 05/12/2010 9:53 AM

  • Jovan Gojkovic Jovan Gojkovic

    Video from Nis, Serbia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fUPkXcBqO0 ;)
    Jovan Gojkovic | 05/12/2010 3:06 PM

  • Noelle Noelle

    It truly was a blessing to participate in Help Portait. I am passionate about what I do as a photographer, so to see other people get so excited and share in that passion over a portrait is amazing! "Thanks so much for what you do" we heard numerous times. People couldn't get enough, it was awesome!
    Noelle | 05/12/2010 6:35 PM

  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    Help Portrait's not just for the visitor's to the event. I brightens my world. 3 different volunteers told me yesterday that they loved HP so much that they plan to do much more volunteering this year! Yet another side-effect of this great event!
    Ron Manke | 06/12/2010 12:01 AM

  • sven goewie sven goewie

    Help Portrait Belgium / Hasselt. a 50-something year old woman said with tears in her eyes: " I've never been "make-upped" before... brought tears in our (130 volunteers) eyes... thank you all ! x
    sven goewie | 06/12/2010 12:11 AM

  • Chris Dickinson Chris Dickinson

    Salt Lake City, UT - Photographed a single mother and her daughter that lost her husband a week before the shoot, and her mother a week before that. Heartbreaking and yet, so rewarding.
    Chris Dickinson | 06/12/2010 12:55 AM

  • Cale Glendening Cale Glendening

    Union Rescue Mission LA, Ca - First guy I talked to outside at Skid Row I had brought in and turns out his grandchildren don't have a single photo of him. They are teenagers and live in Alabama. He is sending the photos to them that he received from Help Portrait. The first photos they will ever have of him.
    Cale Glendening | 06/12/2010 8:40 AM

  • Thuy nguyen Thuy nguyen

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - We have met a street vendor seller in the center of Ho Chi Minh City. Many tourists have taken photos of her but she never has any photo. She felt so touch when we delivered her her portrait that was well printed and nicely presented in a frame.
    Thuy nguyen | 06/12/2010 11:52 AM

  • Thuy nguyen Thuy nguyen

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - 50 photographers, 50 supporters and 1,300 portraits on 4/12/2010. More than 30 news release on local newspapers and online new site, 3 TV news, 4 stories on printed papers. That was a great day of sharing love!
    Thuy nguyen | 06/12/2010 11:54 AM

  • Thuy Nguyen Thuy Nguyen

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - We have met many very old people. They wanted to have a portrait with a thought of a portrait for memory if they would pass over. 3$ for a portrait in studio in Vietnam is expensive for them. That really touched our hearts.
    Thuy Nguyen | 06/12/2010 11:56 AM

  • carandavis carandavis

    Thanks for your comments and stories. Keep 'em coming!
    carandavis | 06/12/2010 1:15 PM

  • Colleen Smith Colleen Smith

    Baltimore, MD- My girlfriend and I came into have pictures taken today, this was the first time we've even been in a church and not been judged from the second we walked in the door.
    Colleen Smith | 06/12/2010 4:06 PM

  • Jennifer Karon Jennifer Karon

    Warwick, NY - We met with 56 women and children from a battered women's shelter. The same group we targeted last year. It was pretty special to have some of the same families return and recognize us. And in turn it was great for us to see a change in them and hope that next year they will be on a new path. We had 5 portrait photographers, 1 behind the scenes photographer, 4 photo editors, 2 make-up artists, 1 hair stylist and numerous other volunteers to help make this day a beautiful one!
    Jennifer Karon | 06/12/2010 9:36 PM

  • Jennifer Jennifer

    Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Qc - Over the last few days my phone has not stopped ringing. I have received phone calls from the families who showed up on Saturday just thanking us for making them feel so incredibly special. They were all blown away that we would give up our time to do this for them. It has been a while since they have seen such kindness first hand. I am not kidding guys, their gratitude was second to none. From the pampering of hair and make-up to the individual time each photographer gave them, making them feel like they truly were BEAUTIFUL and special, to the conversations they engaged in while they ate and the hugs they received as they were walking away......They felt like they mattered. They took something away from that day that I don’t think any one of us can imagine. Some of you don’t know the stories, but we had families torn apart by an unexplainable death of a 2 year old baby girl, a marriage that ended in divorce after 29 years, all the while the husband was cheating with the woman's next door neighbour , a lady living with the same terminal cancer that had taken her mom some years back and a little 4 year old spitfire waiting for a heart operation. We had sisters reunite who had been estranged from birth and now have become best friends. We had a lady who grew up hating her father and today he is her saviour. She came to give him her picture as for the first time in her life, she felt beautiful enough for him. These are just some of the stories!!! So when I say Thank You, it is not only for me. It comes from them and I just wanted you all to know that WE (each of us) gave them that gift......We should truly all be very proud of what we accomplished. I am so in for 2011!!!!!!
    Jennifer | 06/12/2010 10:58 PM

  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    Edmonton, AB, Canada: There are a dozen great stories from the weekend event, but here's one: Once of my volunteers who was documenting the event asked if he could take a photo with a lady getting her makeup and hair done, and her response was: "No. I'm too busy crying right now". Later on, she told him that her self esteem was too low to measure when she walked in, and as she was leaving she held her hand above her head and said: "No, it's up to here!" and smiled.
    Ron Manke | 07/12/2010 2:50 PM

  • Joey Chandler Joey Chandler

    San Francisco, CA - a local community activist told me that many of the senior citizens couldn't afford to send photos of themselves to their families in their home countries so the pictures meant a lot to them. Plus one family asked one of the photographers, who had played with their two children, to be the children's godmother. She couldn't believe it.
    Joey Chandler | 07/12/2010 4:18 PM

  • Rich Hill Rich Hill

    Fayetteville, Arkansas: Single mother of two kids: "We lost everything in the fire - including the baby pictures. They haven't had their pictures mades since."
    Rich Hill | 07/12/2010 5:01 PM

  • Rich Hill Rich Hill

    Fayetteville, Arkansas: The mother of 13 sons, daughters and grandkids said "I can never get everyone together at the same time - but today I did."
    Rich Hill | 07/12/2010 5:03 PM

  • Julia Pearson Julia Pearson

    I helped out with makeup at our Help-Portrait event in Madison, WI at Karpata Studios. My husband and his best friend and partner shot photos of 21 families. It was amazing doing the makeup for these families. When I showed them their faces, their smiles lit up the room. Many cried as they talked to Channel 3 News and Channel 15 News here in Madison. Thanks for starting this!
    Julia Pearson | 07/12/2010 9:08 PM

  • HELP PORTRAIT Dayton was a great success on Dec. 4th, 2010 | Peter DeMott Photography HELP PORTRAIT Dayton was a great success on Dec. 4th, 2010 | Peter DeMott Photography

    [...] HELP PORTRAIT is an international event. Here are reports from HELP PORTRAIT events occurring all over the world: http://help-portrait.com/2010/12/story-live-feed/ [...]
    HELP PORTRAIT Dayton was a great success on Dec. 4th, 2010 | Peter DeMott Photography | 13/12/2010 12:01 AM

  • steve hill steve hill

    Those are such awesome photos.
    steve hill | 13/12/2010 7:58 PM

  • Interview with 2010 San Francisco Help-Portrait event organizer, Joey Chandler | Shutter Mission Interview with 2010 San Francisco Help-Portrait event organizer, Joey Chandler | Shutter Mission

    [...] What is your favorite story that came out of the day? I didn’t meet the family, but I heard of a family with a six-year-old who had never had his picture taken.  Pretty cool to think we provided that for him and his family.  (Read more stories from other 2010 Help-Portrait events around the world). [...]
    Interview with 2010 San Francisco Help-Portrait event organizer, Joey Chandler | Shutter Mission | 14/12/2010 9:09 PM

  • Mike M Mike M

    Dubuque, IA: Had the pleasure of taken portraits of a 3 week old little girl. Her mom said it was her first pictures. Over 13 families came down for pictures. What a great time.
    Mike M | 18/12/2010 11:46 PM

  • Help-Portrait Impacts Lives Worldwide with 2010 Event(s) | Overture Media Help-Portrait Impacts Lives Worldwide with 2010 Event(s) | Overture Media

    [...] from Help-Portrait 2010 can be read on the H-P blog. Photos and videos from the events around the world can be viewed here: [...]
    Help-Portrait Impacts Lives Worldwide with 2010 Event(s) | Overture Media | 03/01/2011 9:45 PM

  • Photographers to give, not take, portraits | Absolutetruth Photographers to give, not take, portraits | Absolutetruth

    [...] Across the world, recipients of these portraits express their gratitude. [...]
    Photographers to give, not take, portraits | Absolutetruth | 10/12/2011 2:05 AM

  • Photographers to give, not take, portraits Photographers to give, not take, portraits

    [...] Across the world, recipients of these portraits express their gratitude. [...]
    Photographers to give, not take, portraits | 10/12/2011 7:37 AM

  • Photographers to give, not take, portraits « Fresh Coffee News Photographers to give, not take, portraits « Fresh Coffee News

    [...] Across the world, recipients of these portraits express their gratitude. [...]
    Photographers to give, not take, portraits « Fresh Coffee News | 10/12/2011 9:45 AM

  • Photographers to give, not take, portraits | World News Photographers to give, not take, portraits | World News

    [...] Across a world, recipients of these portraits demonstrate their gratitude. [...]
    Photographers to give, not take, portraits | World News | 13/12/2011 11:21 PM

Let’s make some waves on CNN by creating and uploading CNN iReports online from Help-Portrait events around the world.

Here’s how to do it.

At your local event, capture a compelling brief video or photo(s) or so of what’s happening. Give an overview of your event and interview an organizer or participant about what the day has meant to them (don’t forget to get release forms signed).

Upload your report here:

http://ireport.cnn.com/ (click “Upload” in the navigation)

You’ll be asked to register. Check your e-mail and click the link to confirm your membership.

Now you’re ready to fill out information about your report and upload the files.

Include a title for your work (Example: Help-Portrait Central Florida Gives Back)

You’ll be asked to assign your report a category. We suggest “Breaking News.”

Tell them about what you’re sending. Here’s an example that you can tweak for your own event:

Help-Portrait Central Florida is part of a worldwide event today, Dec. 4, where the photography community gives back to local communities by giving photos instead of taking them. http://help-portrait.com

Try to include details about how many volunteers you have there and how many participants you have coming through the doors.

Add the story location and date along with the description of the event.

In the tags section, make sure to include “Help-Portrait” as a tag.

• You may upload up to 10 files at one time.
• Maximum size for each file: 600 MB
• They support most image, video and audio formats.

Okay … let’s get started and make some noise on CNN!

Posted on Dec 04, 2010  |  Category: H-P Organizers, H-P Tips  |  1 Comment
  • Help-Portrait Is Here! | Help-Portrait | 10 Dec 2011 Help-Portrait Is Here! | Help-Portrait | 10 Dec 2011

    [...] a CNN iReport for your Help-Portrait location! We’ve got a step-by-step tutorial on our blog. At your local [...]
    Help-Portrait Is Here! | Help-Portrait | 10 Dec 2011 | 09/12/2011 2:58 PM

We have been receiving a handful of emails from people around the world looking to have their photo taken at a Help-Portrait event.

This is awesome. This is awesome because that means that our photographers are getting the word out and people who could benefit from this day are hearing.

Here’s the thing. We at Help Portrait are working really hard to make sure all of our photographers are equipped for the day. That is our goal- to make sure that every photographer who wants to be involved has found a place and feels ready to participate.

We exist to inspire and motivate those within the industry and those who want to give.

We are not about giving away free photography. And via email, it is tough to know whether the sender of the email is legitimate or just looking for free photography. Also being that we are an international organization, it is just simply impossible to know details of every event.

So. We are not making it a practice to connect photographers with subjects.

But we want to make sure that every family/person in need that wants a portrait taken is given that chance. So listed below are the best ways for someone looking to receive a portrait to find the event in their area.

If you are someone looking to have your portrait taken:

1. Check our facebook page. There you will see many people posting about the event in their city. Feel free to post there if you are trying to find an event. It could be as simple as:

Could someone give me information on any Help-Portrait events occurring in Chicago, IL?

2. Search “Help Portrait” on facebook. Many cities have created their own page and you will be able to find a location there.

3. Look for your city on the Community Site.

4. Use google to search for “Help Portrait” + your city name.


We hope this helps.

We are so grateful to the thousands of photographers who have planned events and put so much time and energy into making Help Portrait a reality in 2010. We consider it an honor to be able to support you in what you are doing.

Posted on Dec 03, 2010  |  Category: H-P Tips  |  7 Comments
  • Leroy Skalstad Leroy Skalstad

    As I was signing in people to be photographed a Woman asked me "Why are you people so nice?" I noticed something in her eye contact as she asked the question. Life throws curves at all of us but some seem to have to endure so much. I tried to ease her suspicion by saying that we really enjoy doing this project. To see the joy in her eyes as she received her print is something I will always remember.
    Leroy Skalstad | 13/12/2010 10:36 PM

  • kim kim

    Hello I wanted to see if help portrait would take pictures of some families at Homesafe in Gallat
    kim | 25/11/2011 8:07 PM

  • John McKay John McKay

    Pond House Photography in Mehoopany, PA would like to join theHelp Portrait project. Please contact John McKay bjon79@live.com
    John McKay | 27/02/2012 2:04 PM

  • felders felders

    We would love for our family to participate i this family portrait
    felders | 12/11/2012 3:02 PM

  • felders felders

    This is such a great opertunity for us and all families should participate in this blessing we our receiving
    felders | 12/11/2012 3:06 PM

  • Constance Constance

    I just read about you in the Lansing State Journal about an even on Dec. 8th. I'm so excited!!! I have a one and two year old and we have never been able to get a family photo together and so happy to be able to attend the event.
    Constance | 27/11/2012 8:10 PM

  • katherine katherine

    katherine | 07/12/2012 7:34 AM

Stanley-Carl du-Pont is an H-P organizer for Ubuntu Help-Portrait in Johannesburg, South Africa. He offers an overview of how they plan their Help-Portrait event and points out that every city and event may approach it differently.

On reflection, our project workflow is very different to how we understand others are applying it. Why? Because out here in South Africa, the “need” communities are large, dispersed and do not have access to [cheap or free] public transport. And so we take Help Portrait into these communities as opposed to inviting them to a location where our photography gear is set up. Consider this: when we close our project, our team of volunteers will have offered portraits in over 60 different locations and over 5,000 portraits will have been given!

This is how we do it:

  1. We set up a catalogue of locations at which shoots will be held and invite volunteers to sign up. This is the event list.
  2. The shoots cover a period we call “Help-Portrait Month”: 4 November to 4 December. Following the launch on 1 November, our volunteers began shooting on 4 November and they will continue up to the worldwide Help-Portrait day on 4 December.
  3. After a shoot, the images are edited and then submitted into a print pool. We have secured a printing deal that makes it worthwhile to bulk print the portraits.
  4. After printing, the images are mounted on hardboard [that has been decorated by school children] and readied for delivery and presentation on a pre-arranged date. Here is an example:
    Shoot setup
    Portrait presentation
  5. We have raised the funding to pay for the prints through a number of ways:
    • A photography print shop subsidised the 6″x8″ prints at a rate less than 50% of the street price of prints
    • Our group on the Help-Portrait portal: http://community.help-portrait.com/group/codphelpportrait is the home-base for event scheduling, discussion and management of the shoots
      We also use a Google group: https://groups.google.com/group/codphelpportrait?hl=en to reach a wider audience that is not registered on the Help-Portrait portal
      We have a blog: http://helpportrait.co.za that is hosted on a photography related network and it is used to share information about the project publicly
    • A small number of “generous” individuals “underwrote” the cost of the project’s target of 5,000 prints
    • A blog article was used to draw attention to the value of the portrait and it called for donations: See here.
    • A very small number of corporates were approached for a donation
    • A very low key public appeal for donations was made on radio
    • Invited volunteers to donate and challenge their friends to match or better their gift. See here.

    Has this worked? Absolutely! And so we are well on the way to surpassing the project goal of giving 5,000 portraits

  6. How we are organised and how we communicate:
    We have added some fun and spontaneity to the project:

    • By communicating regularly and in a fun-filled way
    • We emphasise that it’s less about the photos and more about the people we photograph
    • We have created challenges.
    • Encouraged free shooting.
    • And called for sharing of stories and experiences.

And so when its all said and done, I wonder how what we have learnt through all of this compares with others focused around a single day shoot. Probably very differently!

But notwithstanding this, I believe we invoke and experience the same emotional response: Joy. Giving back to people in need – giving joy – through photographs! And it is no better expressed than as compliment we received:

“You may not realize the importance of this gift. These kids will receive their first and possibly the last photograph of themselves in their lives!” –Ms Phindi Hlalele, Executive Director: African Children’s Feeding Scheme

Posted on Dec 03, 2010  |  Category: H-P Organizers, H-P Tips  |  3 Comments
  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    Great article! Thank you for sharing your experience!
    Ron Manke | 03/12/2010 5:04 PM

  • Irina Mia :) Marennikova Irina Mia :) Marennikova

    I agree. Thanks for sharing this.
    Irina Mia :) Marennikova | 15/02/2011 6:47 PM

  • Brice Elyse Miantouady Kimbembe Brice Elyse Miantouady Kimbembe

    Hi, good morning and how are you? is me my name is Brice and I`m a volunteer photographer at cape town! I wil like to join you on one events international if that will be possible?
    Brice Elyse Miantouady Kimbembe | 08/12/2011 7:58 AM

We are gearing up for an incredible event and are encouraged by two milestones we hit this week:

  • We just got our 15,000th member of the Help-Portrait community. (If you haven’t yet, join us!)
  • We now have every state in the U.S. participating, thanks to Help-Portrait Wyoming!

Some things to keep in mind as we head into the weekend:

  • We’d love to get #HelpPortrait to trend globally on Twitter Saturday so be sure to use that hashtag.
  • We’re broadcasting live throughout the day (9am to 6pm PST) at http://creativelive.com/live. Be sure to check it out!
  • Don’t forget to track and report your numbers. We’re looking for the number of photographers, volunteers and portraits given. At the end of the event, head over to http://bit.ly/help-portrait and fill in the details.

We’d love to hear what you’re most looking forward to at your local Help-Portrait event. Tell us the in the comments below!

Posted on Dec 02, 2010  |  Category: H-P Organizers, Updates  |  1 Comment
  • uriela marie uriela marie

    YAY!!! so excited!
    uriela marie | 02/12/2010 4:00 PM