lori mahonIt is really hard to put into words how much Help-Portrait means to me and what I’ve seen over the last few years being a part of this incredible event and community – I’d even go as far as to say it is a family.

In 2009 before the first Help-Portrait event, I received a call from Kyle Chowning as he had been referred to me to write and service a press release.  I remember him talking about this idea from Jeremy Cowart that was blowing up overnight. I watched the very first promo video for Help-Portrait and immediately wanted to help in whatever capacity that I could. I was in awe of how many people from around the world were resonating with this idea of giving back.  It was becoming a global movement beyond anyone’s expectations.

The first year of H-P there were so many impactful stories flooding in – but it was those stories that I witnessed firsthand that will always stick with me.  I’ll never forget the sweet homeless newlywed couple that I met that year. They had recently been married at the local courthouse, and they were beaming. The ONLY photo they had together was on a small disposable cell phone. As they were handed the first printed photo together, tears streamed down their eyes as they embraced. The husband pointed to their photo and looked at me saying, “See this, this is love.”  It was priceless.  Love is such a universal emotion that if you are fortunate enough to truly experience in your lifetime, you want a photo to capture it. I was a newlywed that first year of H-P and couldn’t help but think how much my wedding photos met to me – and here this couple was receiving their own “wedding” photo for the first time.

We could tell you story upon story of the lives impacted with a single portrait. It is truly incredible to see someone’s life changed with the simple gesture of giving the time of day – to show him or her you care – that they are WORTH something. Help-Portrait provides so much more than just a photo every second Saturday in December – it gives someone their dignity back.

It has been my honor to share the stories of Help-Portrait with the media over the last three years.  I can’t tell you the joy that I get seeing someone’s story shared or the idea of what Help-Portrait is on a national media platform.  We’ve had amazing support from CNN, The Wall Street Journal as well as ABC World News Tonight not to mention all of the incredible local media outlets in cities around the world. It has been one of my professional and personal highlights to be a part of Help-Portrait.

We need your help in continuing this global movement of giving back. Please consider giving to help change another life this year.

Lori Mahon

HELP Help-Portrait

After three years, the Help-Portrait community of 25,000+ photographers, in 56 countries, at over 700 events, have given away nearly 170,000 portraits to those who are less fortunate. We’re currently seeking donations to help fuel the base operational costs such as staff, marketing, promotions, press and other related expenses.

Donate today and help us continue to touch and change lives.

To date we’ve raised $10,682 of $75,000 — that’s 14%!

Posted on Aug 22, 2012  |  Category: Inspiration, Updates  |  No Comments

Stanley-Carl du-Pont is an H-P organizer for Ubuntu Help-Portrait in Johannesburg, South Africa. He offers an overview of his group’s ambitious plan for 2012.

In 2011 Ubuntu Help-Portrait volunteers hosted 95 portrait events and gave a staggering +13,000 portraits over 10 weeks to bring our tally to over 19,500 free portraits in three years.

A photographer development programme for six candidates from under-privileged backgrounds was launched with the support of Nikon South Africa who sponsored free equipment and the College of Digital Photography who provided free tuition. Free photography services at events hosted by charities serving people in needy communities were also piloted, with notable success being achieved through a partnership with Stop Hunger Now SA, an organisation committed to eradicating child-hunger in under-privileged schools.

So how can we possibly top that in 2012?

We made some choices

In the face of a growing programme that looked more like it would soon need an organisation, we chose to go back to the beginning – to our roots – to revisit who and what we were about.

Then we chose to remain a movement – nothing more.

We’re not and never aim not to become an organisation, a charity or any structured entity that requires “staff.” We’re staying 100% volunteer-driven and using 100% of any donations we receive to pay only for prints – nothing more.

We chose to strive to use photography to benefit needy people and communities for free.

In keeping with this, we undertook a complete review of what and how we do things – start to finish.

The key outcomes: a comprehensive programme of events planned to maximise volunteer experiences, new ways to inspire and equip volunteers to participate in more events while shooting better portraits and new programmes firmly rooted in giving back for free through photography.

2012 Free Portraits Programme

Free printed portraits for the needy remains our mainstay activity and in 2012, there will be approximately 180 events over 14 weeks to give over 25,000 free portraits.

At the heart of this, a simple challenge for our, now +170, volunteers: “50in4” to shoot 50 portraits at just 4 events. That could bring us easily with reach of our goal of 25,000 portraits for this year!

First off, a revamped RSVP for Events page that allows volunteers to select events by location, type or period. The events can also be viewed in the form of a map here.

We introduced new activities and worked hard to improve on-going communication that positions giving as also being about volunteers having fun through Portrait Challenges, scheduled Weekends Away and also Online Help-Nights.

Workshops that unleash passionate volunteers

Our free one-day portrait workshop for volunteers got a serious make-over to hit three hot-spots:

  • Inform new volunteers about the heart of Help-Portrait and entrench the “free giving” values of our movement;
  • Inspire volunteers to multiply the movement and to take Help-Portrait into their local communities; and
  • Equip volunteers to take more and better portraits, faster!

So what else is new this year?

  • “Chapters” for other cities: where we have attracted volunteers and there isn’t a Help-Portrait group. We offer a community to belong to, arrange and schedule events in their area, provide free training, provide online help and upload facilities for their images and we get their portraits printed. We deal with all the “stuff,” including the cost of the prints, and all they have to do is shoot portraits. Our aim is to multiply the Help-Portrait movement by enabling these chapters to develop into their own independent groups.
  • Framed Online: offers free online digital portraits for generous hearts – those that support the Free Portraits programme. Our volunteers “frame” donors and we give them a digital portrait. We also plan to extend this to include offering free online portraits in malls and centres as a way to promote and spread public awareness about Help-Portrait.
  • WizKidz: is all about sharing the joy of photography with a child from an under-privileged background. A volunteer pairs with a child for a morning in a centre or facility of interest or education, and provides the child with the use of a point-and-shoot camera so that the child may also take pictures on the day. The Wiz mentors the Kid for the day and uses photography to connect and show love. A digital collection of the images provide a memory for the child to keep of that day.

So, is that it?

“Yes” on the surface and for portrait goals and new initiatives.

“No” in terms of what lies under the skin! Although not new, our focus, planning, organisation and communication have really honed in on enhancing volunteer experiences. This we believe is key to future growth and to the multiplication of the Help-Portrait movement.

It’s becoming more about leveraging volunteer input, skills and relationships, and also about partnering with others in giving joy though photography. For example we:

  • reach into pre-schools in the squatter camps and informal settlements to offer free portraits through a national organisation involved in resourcing and developing these schools;
  • engage the camera clubs and groups and share our plans with their organisers so that they can plan their activities while being aware of what we’re up to;
  • motivate the potential benefits of our activities to suppliers and when requesting their support, choose resources and materials over money – afterall, it’s only printed portraits we need.

Our closing event on Help-Portrait day, Saturday 8 December 2012

We hope to end our 14-week season of Free Portraits in a way we have not done before. Don’t be silly, we won’t be shooting film ;-) but we hope to raise the bar again.

What does the future hold?

We’re starting to attract attention and we know that may change many things. Media and publicity are curiously staring over the fence asking why and how we do this. But we’re not paying too much attention and we’re sticking to our knitting. Why? Because we believe that if we do what we do well, and we focus on growing volunteers who are deeply passionate about giving back through Help-Portrait, we will attract – not seek- the resources we need to succeed.

We’re going to stretch the boundaries and have fun experimenting with new ideas.

We’ve already had a go at some out-of-the-box stuff like 94toGram, a collection of portrait messages to celebrate the 94th birthday of Nelson Mandela. Through this, we gave people who do not often have a chance to shout-out, the opportunity to send online birthday messages to South Africa’s most loved statesman. But it has more potential than just birthday messages – our volunteers got a taste of using their cameras to give others a voice and a platform to speak to the world!

Will we find new ways to give? Yes, we always do. Will we increase our portrait goal? Yes, but only through the Chapters we hope to form into independent groups.

If there is any certainty, then it is that we will continue to try to multiply the Help-Portrait movement locally, nationally and across our borders. We will strive to find new ways to use photography to benefit people in needy communities and we will have an absolutely awesome time along the way because we love people and we love giving back!

Posted on Aug 21, 2012  |  Category: H-P Organizers, Inspiration  |  2 Comments
  • stasvavilovsky stasvavilovsky

    Всем привет! Давно не заходил сюда. Пароль забыл, пришлось заново региться. Искал я тут недавно где кредит взять в Вологде, наш местный сайт. сайт нормальный такой. кредиты в Вологде На нем все предложения, от всех банков плюс адреса. :)
    stasvavilovsky | 15/12/2012 12:00 PM

  • Help-Portrait Remembers Nelson Mandela | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013 Help-Portrait Remembers Nelson Mandela | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013

    […] most loved statesman,” Stanley-Carl du-Pont, an H-P organizer for Ubuntu Help-Portrait, shared our blog in 2012. As we mourn the news of his passing, we join with Mandela’s global chorus of […]
    Help-Portrait Remembers Nelson Mandela | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013 | 05/12/2013 11:16 PM

treyI first found out about Help-Portrait from Jeremy Cowart after its first year. Having been friends with Jeremy since 2000, I was instantly intrigued, not by the purpose of Help-Portrait but because I wanted to work on a project with my old friend. My initial thought was, Why photography? What good is it to take peoples’ portraits when people need food, water and shelter? I couldn’t understand how this would be “helpful” to those in need.

I could not have been more wrong…

As I got involved on the leadership team and helped plan 2010 Help-Portrait, I began to clearly see why Help-Portrait was so important. Our photographers and volunteers offer something to people that is just as important as food/water but in a different way … we give people their dignity. By offering people a professional portrait (and in some cases a hair and makeup team) we are showing people that they are worth having their picture taken. Many people see for the first time how beautiful they really are. We had families that had not seen or taken pictures with their family in 20 years.

It didn’t take long for me to see how important and even necessary that the service Help-Portrait offers our clients. A photograph is inspiring and empowering to people to show them that they do matter and they are just as important as anyone else in the world. Photogs know that a camera lens knows no bias and that beauty can be found in all of God’s creatures.

We have a slogan at Help-Portrait, “A Picture is worth,” and in this lies the brilliance of Help-Portrait. We have seen a picture provide worth, dignity and significance for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. We have seen lives changed, families brought back together, and now we have friends all over the world who have been treated like they matter and their story is important.

This is why I continue to consider it one of my greatest joys to get to serve Help-Portrait and the photographers around the world that makes this event a continually exploding and powerful reality for people in need all over the globe.

Trey Bowles

HELP Help-Portrait

After three years, the Help-Portrait community of 25,000+ photographers, in 56 countries, at over 700 events, have given away nearly 170,000 portraits to those who are less fortunate. We’re currently seeking donations to help fuel the base operational costs such as staff, marketing, promotions, press and other related expenses.

Donate today and help us continue to touch and change lives.

To date we’ve raised $10,682 of $75,000 — that’s 14%!

Posted on Aug 20, 2012  |  Category: Updates  |  No Comments

Dear Help-Portrait Community …

Today is an unprecedented day in Help-Portrait’s history. Please, take a 5 minutes to read through this important post.

After three years, 25,000 photographers, 56 countries, 700 events, and giving away nearly 170,000 portraits to those who are less fortunate, the amazing success of Help-Portrait has never been more evident than it is today.

We’ve all worked hard to make this movement a reality. Countless hours, dollars and emotional investments have been made to ensure that people know that they matter…to you…to us…to the world.

The stories have been numerous…

  • Prostitutes have quit decades of prostitution after being loved for a day with no judgement and seeing a portrait that represented who they used to be and who they could be again.
  • A mom who was murdered after she and her children had their picture taken at a Help-Portrait event leaves only memories, and a picture for them to remember her by. Pictures that Shelly took, and GAVE away.
  • The mother of 4 who had recently lost her husband now has her first-ever family portrait after we were able to combine his photo with hers and her children’s.

The list of stories could go on, and they do. You have your own, no doubt. And while these stories are touching, amazing and nothing short of awe-inspiring, we immediately think of the stories that have yet to be written. The people who have yet to share in the Help-Portrait experience. We, like you, want to do more.

But, we need your help.

When Help-Portrait was just an idea, a small team of people rallied to make it a reality. These people put thousands of hours into making sure that the word was spread, events were booked, stats were captured, press was present, ink and paper were provided, and photographers, assistants, volunteers and makeup artists were present around the world.

Since then, the time and demands on the team have increased significantly. We receive thousands of emails, requests and other unique needs (even legal issues) on a regular basis. Frankly, our core volunteer team is running out of time to give because the demands have exceeded our ability to meet the growing needs of our community.

The team has BIG ideas on how to help you, the community, do events much better and more efficiently while reaching a broader base of less fortunate people. Unfortunately, we simply can’t do it all with our current setup.

So, we need you, to help, Help-Portrait.

The time is now to have our community help make Help-Portrait a household name. That means a focused effort and a small central team to better serve all of our event leaders. By taking this next step we can grow to be a powerful household name like the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, United Way and others.

The only way we can do that is if you, the community, step in.

Presently, there are more than 25,500 people in our community. If each of you donated $5US, we could raise enough funds to hire a small team of people while covering some desperately needed developmental costs for our community and donation management systems. Can we say, “yeah baby!”

Would you please, take a moment and donate today?

Then, help us spread the word via social media using the hashtag #helpportrait. Need tweet ideas? Click here.

Without you, Help-Portrait would be nothing. So, thank you. I am forever grateful, and humbled to be a part of this movement.

–Jeremy & the Help-Portrait team


Posted on Aug 15, 2012  |  Category: Updates  |  26 Comments
  • Joanne Joanne

    You got it. Worth way more than five bucks. So many lives touched.
    Joanne | 15/08/2012 7:56 PM

  • Jeff Krutsinger Jeff Krutsinger

    I would love to help as a photographer. Years ago I went to a low end community outreach Christmas gathering sponsored in part by a local church and the police department I work for. We took family portraits of anyone interested and had them blown up to an 11X14 and framed (all processing and frames purchased at Costco) and we gave them to these families. This happened when a woman who worked with this children noticed that many families only had a polaroid photo of their family proudly on display in their homes from the previous years event. She thought about how nice it would be to offer professional portraits to these needy families and I was blessed to have the opportunity to set up a studio and capture these families. My family (including my 9yo daughter) worked together to shoot hundreds of portraits that day and I would love to do it again. Im a local Southern California photographer so if I can offer my services for this great cause, please let me know.
    Jeff Krutsinger | 15/08/2012 9:55 PM

  • Ruli Yanto Ruli Yanto

    Ruli Yanto | 15/08/2012 10:06 PM

  • Charity from Suffolk, VA Charity from Suffolk, VA

    Done & Done. :)
    Charity from Suffolk, VA | 15/08/2012 10:11 PM

  • Brandie Craig Brandie Craig

    Brandie Craig | 16/08/2012 12:28 AM

  • Ray Ray

    I would donate my time as a professional photographer or image editor but I cannot make a monetary contribution at this time. If you know of anyone in need in the Windsor, (Ontario) Canada area, I would be willing to donate my time and services.
    Ray | 16/08/2012 1:57 AM

  • Bryan B - Indianapolis Bryan B - Indianapolis

    Having led a volunteer organization and organized events to support the community, I can only imagine the time, effort, and other resources it takes this small group of dedicated folks. I'm more than happy to contribute to help create the path that lets this team focus on continuing to build the excitement and exposure (ha!) for Help-Portrait.
    Bryan B - Indianapolis | 16/08/2012 2:49 AM

  • Jeff Clough Jeff Clough

    I'm willing to help out with money, but what I'd REALLY like is for Help-Portrait to get a better web site. I tried to connect with some of the Atlanta groups last year. I got signed up, but I could. not. figure. out. the message boards. I'm far from new to computers, forums, message boards, and all this modern stuff, but it beat me, and I wasn't able to lend a hand.
    Jeff Clough | 16/08/2012 3:13 AM

  • Jeremy Cowart Jeremy Cowart

    Jeff, that's exactly the idea behind needing more money. We need a better website. To get a better website, we need money. It all comes down to overhead costs. :) - jeremy, founder
    Jeremy Cowart | 16/08/2012 4:08 AM

  • Matthias Hombauer Matthias Hombauer

    Done! Greetings from Vienna/Austria and I would love to help out with some portraits.
    Matthias Hombauer | 16/08/2012 8:30 AM

  • Luis Macedo Luis Macedo

    Done! Doing everything to spread this... This is an idea worth fighting for... Helping other's, in any way possible and even through photography it's a powerfull inspirational force and a life changer!
    Luis Macedo | 16/08/2012 10:08 AM

  • Chenghao Chenghao

    All the best Jeremy. Hope the small token (which I would have easily spent on a meal) would do much more with Help-Portrait.
    Chenghao | 16/08/2012 1:28 PM

  • Barbie Barbie

    I too give my time to take Christmas photos of families in women's shelter and headstart kiddos. I would love to help extend the cause to Alaska!!
    Barbie | 16/08/2012 3:30 PM

  • ChrisKay ChrisKay

    how do I donate $$$?
    ChrisKay | 16/08/2012 6:01 PM

  • L Scott L Scott

    Willing to donate by services as a photographer/assist. Redondo Beach to San Pedro to Gardena and points between... South Bay California. Great project; I believe in the dream! Peace~Joy~Love
    L Scott | 16/08/2012 6:22 PM

  • Mike Rachel Mike Rachel

    Wow, its like taking habitat for humanity & turning the house into a home-Sure, I'll Donate!
    Mike Rachel | 17/08/2012 11:44 AM

  • Swee Swee

    I would be happy to donate my time as photographer.I am in San Francisco.
    Swee | 17/08/2012 11:45 AM

  • Pat Pat

    Is there a way to link Help Portrait to my website? A button or something? Any help? Would be happy to help spread the word.
    Pat | 17/08/2012 5:16 PM

  • carandavis carandavis

    Hi Pat, there's no button at this time. Feel free to use this code to create a text link: Donate to Help-Portrait. Thanks!
    carandavis | 23/08/2012 1:30 PM

  • carandavis carandavis

    Hi Chris, simply follow this link to donate: http://ow.ly/daW8j
    carandavis | 23/08/2012 1:31 PM

  • Help Portrait: Changing Lives Through Photography | Catherine Hall Help Portrait: Changing Lives Through Photography | Catherine Hall

    [...] Help-Portrait: [...]
    Help Portrait: Changing Lives Through Photography | Catherine Hall | 27/08/2012 7:52 AM

  • Mary Mary

    You got it!! AWESOME work guys---and what a remarkable example you are to everyone. It is truly a gift when we give back....Keep up the great work!!
    Mary | 27/08/2012 8:41 PM

  • Jairo Jairo

    I will be happy to donate time as photographer right now, I'm located in the north bay area of San Francisco
    Jairo | 28/08/2012 3:28 AM

  • Agustin Lopez Agustin Lopez

    I want to keep doing the portraits and if $5.00 helps
    Agustin Lopez | 29/08/2012 1:58 AM

  • Jeremy Cowart Needs Your Help on Help-Portrait Jeremy Cowart Needs Your Help on Help-Portrait

    [...] Here is the open-letter from Jeremy Cowart: [...]
    Jeremy Cowart Needs Your Help on Help-Portrait | 21/06/2013 3:40 AM

  • Sermon: Kingdom Dreams | Big Circumstance Sermon: Kingdom Dreams | Big Circumstance

    […] are wonderful stories coming out of this movement. Prostitutes have given up their trade after many years, because they finally felt loved and realised who they could be again from looking at their image. […]
    Sermon: Kingdom Dreams | Big Circumstance | 26/07/2014 4:19 PM

Help-Portrait needs your help. Here are some tweet & status ideas to share with your network to spread the word.

#HELPHelpPortrait! Donate to help us keep changing lives. http://hp.cta.gs/helphp

I believe a picture is worth. #HELPHelpPortrait give free pictures to those in need by donating. http://hp.cta.gs/helphp

#HelpPortrait needs help! Donate $1 today. http://hp.cta.gs/helphp #HELPHelpPortrait

#HelpPortrait is about changing lives. Help us change even more: http://hp.cta.gs/helphp #HELPHelpPortrait

If you’ve been involved with #HelpPortrait, consider donating to keep it going http://hp.cta.gs/helphp #HELPHelpPortrait

Love #HelpPortrait? Donate to help us reach even more lives this year http://hp.cta.gs/helphp #HELPHelpPortrait

Posted on Aug 15, 2012  |  Category: Updates  |  3 Comments
  • Tara Tara

    Always down to help a great cause. Help Portrait is one of the most creative projects I've come across. #HelpPortrait
    Tara | 17/08/2012 12:07 PM

  • Pat Pat

    Donated what I could afford, shared it... and also sent your site address to the photo studio I work for. Hope it helps. Where is the update on contributions?
    Pat | 17/08/2012 5:05 PM

  • Jeremy Cowart Needs Your Help on Help-Portrait tutorial Jeremy Cowart Needs Your Help on Help-Portrait tutorial

    [...] help us spread the word via social media using the hash tag #helpportrait. Need tweet ideas? Click here. Without you, Help-Portrait would be nothing. So, thank you. I am forever grateful, and humbled to [...]
    Jeremy Cowart Needs Your Help on Help-Portrait tutorial | 17/08/2012 7:42 PM