Your perspective is invaluable. Help us deepen what we offer on this website by submitting a post. Your name, group location and community link will be shared. Here are the guidelines to give you a framework:

    • Posts must be at least 300 words (400-600 preferred).
    • Posts may appear elsewhere but should be catered to the Help-Portrait audience.
    • Images should be formatted 570 pixels wide.
    • Posts can be memories & stories from Help-Portrait events, tips & tricks on hosting an event, or photography pointers.

    Submit your blog post below. Posts may be edited for length, grammar and tone. You’ll be notified when your story is posted if you include links to your social media outlets.

Posted on Feb 26, 2013  |  Category: Submit a Story  |  No Comments

Sasha Leahovcenco, Sacramento, CA:

Two years ago I had the amazing opportunity to go literally to the end of the earth to photograph people who never had their photo taken.

At schools, churches, homes and hospitals I could give people a moment to forget their troubles and just smile for the camera. But while shooting with nomadic reindeer herding families it was me who was most deeply touched by the experience. For although my hosts had few material possessions they shared with me something rare in the world – a sense of peace and satisfaction with life.

This March we are going back on a new journey across Chukotka. We are going to travel over 1000 miles and reach out to the most unreached places in Chukotka. We will visit people who have never had visitors in their life, stopping by every village and tribe on the way, giving them warm clothes, shoes, gifts, and simply showing them grace and love. The very exciting part of the trip will be taking pictures of the natives, printing them on the spot and handing them to the villagers. This will be the very first time that these people had ever had their photo taken.

A large part of the project is sponsored by us, but unfortunately we can’t pay for all of it ourselves. That is why we need your help. Our kickstarter almost at 50% mark and need have another 12 days to go. With your help I belive we will be able to reach our goal.

You can view our kickstarter page here.


Behind the Scenes at Sasha Leahovcenco’s Help-Portrait: Chukotka, Russia
Sasha Leahovcenco Takes Help-Portrait to the Ends of the Earth

Posted on Feb 25, 2013  |  Category: Contributors  |  No Comments

Although it’s been nearly four months since Hurricane Sandy viciously swept through the East Coast, its path of destruction continues to haunt the families touched by it.

We remember how we all felt after seeing the images of flooded subways, destroyed homes and distraught communities.

And we remember the moment we realized we had the power to do something about it.

As news crews interviewed victims in the midst of the aftermath, those affected responded that they wished they had their photographs. We knew we could never replace their photos, but we could offer them a fresh start.

After providing portraits for people in need for the past four years, Help-Portrait volunteers have seen the power of photography first-hand and how coming alongside of someone in need and giving them portraits can return the light in the eyes of those who had previously been hopeless.

So we got to work. We hoped to help as many affected families as we could by not only giving them portraits but cameras and hard drives to preserve future memories. We wanted to give gift bags, basic survival supplies and anything else to uplift spirits during this devastating time. We began connecting with photographers, makeup artists, volunteers and the Help-Portrait communities in New York and New Jersey. Then we came to you, the Help-Portrait community, for help.

We invited you to play a massive role in supporting the vision, which many of you graciously answered. Words cannot express our deep gratitude.

Because of your donations we were able to hold four events in New Jersey and New York. 78 photographers and 172 volunteers (make-up artists, hairstylists, greeters, food servers, etc.) were able to provide free portraits for 278 different families who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. While we were unable to reach our campaign target in order to secure new cameras for the family, we were able to provide each family with new hard drives where they will be able to store their new photographs. Beyond that, we were able to give clothing, food, supplies and even surprised a handful of the kids with Christmas gifts from Santa himself! The impact of this event could tangibly be felt as joy contagiously spread throughout the room. The families received a day of love, care and hope because of you. Thank you.

Here is a peak into just a few stories from the day that couldn’t have happened without your support:

Help Portrait Staten Island, NY 2012 Hurricane Sandy Relief from Philip Small on Vimeo.

On behalf of the team here at Help-Portrait and the families you have served in New Jersey and New York, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We couldn’t have done this without you!

As we look toward this coming year of Help-Portrait, we would love to invite you to continue serving with us. You can help by giving, getting involved in future Help-Portrait events by signing up on our community site, or spreading the word via social media or wearing HP apparel.




Posted on Feb 22, 2013  |  Category: Updates  |  1 Comment
  • Help-Portrait 2013 Staten Island, NY Documentary | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013 Help-Portrait 2013 Staten Island, NY Documentary | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013

    […] year in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that ravaged the Northeast U.S., the Help-Portrait community rallied to help […]
    Help-Portrait 2013 Staten Island, NY Documentary | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013 | 28/10/2013 2:38 AM


Isabel Goncalves, Portugal
Help-Portrait Lisboa

This amazingly beautiful experience in December 2012 has not been my first experience of volunteering with Help-Portrait, and though it was a tremendous success, I do not dare to say it has been the richer. I boldly say it was RICHLY, as RICHLY was the previous and as RICHLY all the ones to come will be.

As a volunteer on this team, it’s a huge pleasure to experience the emotion of being part of a collective dream, a dream that becomes real by the gathering of plural energy, a dream that brings inspiration to the collective of givers and receivers.

In each act of love, it’s difficult to label who’s the giver or the receiver. The interaction is ever dynamic, sharing the opportunity to give space and light to each actor.

Under the magic preparation of the coordinate of the Portuguese edition, this event brought smiles to hundreds of faces.

Early in the morning it was already visible the thrill of having an myriad amount of expectations to fulfill: a soccer team, a rap band, families, friends – shining grins raging from babies to elders.

The event was held in Centro Social da Musgueira, a center founded in the early 60s by volunteers inspired to help the most needed families of their own social delicate environment – a substandard neighborhood in the suburbs of Lisbon. Their actions have an amazing scope of action, always promoting the capacitation, development, integration and collective growth of the community and human values.

From the preparation of the space till the deliverance of the framed pictures, we’ve testify moments of anxiety, yearning, dedication, enthusiasm, playfulness, generosity, tension, vanity, cooperation and competition.

When all sort of emotions come to stage, we can also sense the truth that each life represents. for each of us those pictures are vividly alive: they represent stories, actors, presented and represented by real people, challenged by their daily adventures.

I’ve seen and felt in the portrayed smiles that luminiferous power of loving their image captured; the pride of sharing with others the beauty that they shine – singular and collective; the feeling of being worthy to be spoiled, to receive attention and light; to be inspired to reconnect to the potential of shinning each day, showing up their better smile and animating others with their positivity.

There is something about looking to a gorgeous photo of an idol, and dream to be as beautiful as he/she is. And then, there is that thing of looking at your gorgeous being standing on that photo, remembering you that you are already beautiful. Remembering: bringing that memory alive into a daily experience.

I look forward to the next edition, enthusiastic by the potential of this event and the effects that it creates.

I’m grateful for all the dreamers and workers that make these dreams possible to be lived and I hope you enjoy some of the photos of the behind-the-scenes.


Posted on Feb 19, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  1 Comment
  • Denver photography Denver photography

    The article really takes my interest into it as i love portrait. The experience shared is good and inspire other towards it. The portrait work done is really fabulous Denver photography .
    Denver photography | 17/06/2013 11:08 AM

We began the Help-Portrait blog with the goal to provide updates, tips & tricks about planning your event and to share the stories that come from them.

But now we’re thinking it’s high time to just open up this platform to you, the Help-Portrait community. Below is information about becoming a contributor to this blog. Thank you for taking the time to share your story with the HP community. We couldn’t do this without you!

help_portrait100-27Help-Portrait exists because of you.

Lives are touched, impacted and changed around the world because each of you care deeply about using what you have in your hand to give back.

The stories recorded on our blog show that taking just a little time out to offer someone hope and to show them their worth can change a person’s entire outlook.

And as volunteers, you all know this isn’t a one-way street. Each of us who have participated in a Help-Portrait event have received far more than we’ve given.

To that end, we want to continue sharing the stories and also ways to do what we do better on our blog. We’re inviting the Help-Portrait community to lend their voice to the Help-Portrait blog.

  • Do you have a story and photo you can share?
  • Do you have a perspective on volunteering?
  • Do you know a great organization or work flow tip?
  • Can you help a first-timer learn what to expect at an event?

Your perspective is invaluable. Help us deepen what we offer on this website by submitting a post. Your name, group location and community link will be shared. Here are the guidelines to give you a framework:

    • Posts must be at least 300 words (400-600 preferred).


  • Posts may appear elsewhere but should be catered to the Help-Portrait audience.
  • Images should be formatted 570 pixels wide.
  • Posts can be memories & stories from Help-Portrait events, tips & tricks on hosting an event, or photography pointers.


Submit your blog post below. Posts may be edited for length, grammar and tone. You’ll be notified when your story is posted if you include links to your social media outlets.

Posted on Feb 13, 2013  |  Category: Contributors, Submit a Story  |  No Comments

Rachel Chalhoub, West Palm Beach, FL, USA:

This has been my second time working on Help-Portrait. My former
co-worker, Jamilah Newcomer, introduced me to the program when she was
still a teacher with me. I got the opportunity to work as a photo editor
my first time around. It was such a rewarding experience that I wanted to
be a part of the next one for sure. A few months ago Jamilah emailed me
and asked if I’d be interested in helping out again. This time she needed
someone to help document the day and asked if I wouldn’t mind creating a
short video of the event.

On December 8th I got the chance to work with Jamilah and many other
generous photographers and volunteers on Help-Portrait at the local
child/family services center. Getting to interact with the kids and have
them light up at the sight of my camera was an amazing experience. They all
were amazed at the equipment I was using and wanted to know what I was
filming for. When they found out they definitely ‘hammed’ it up for me.
But my favorite moments were those true genuine feelings of pride that I
caught on film. When each kid saw their photo completed, they were so
proud of their families. It was something they could hold and show that
they were a family, and I felt so honored to share that day with them.

As a full-time educator, I see how important families are in a child’s
life. And to be able to give something to them to strengthen that bond is
something I wish I could do every day.

Posted on Feb 12, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  No Comments

Jason and Sandy Edelstein, Chosen 300 Location, Philadelphia, USA:

The 300 Location was one of 7 Help-Portrait locations in Philadelphia.  Around 20 volunteers helped provide photographs for 128 people.  What was so special about this event was that we really brought the next generation of charitable photographers along.

My son Jason has grown up with a camera in his hand and face (literally as I’m a Philly based photographer).  He had 3 of his friends, who are all very interested in photography as well as being very charitable kids used to giving back every opportunity they have, come along with us to this year’s Help- Portrait. It was incredible to see four 16 & 17 year-old kids completely blown away by how great it felt to do something for someone else. Teenagers are typically portrayed as selfish but these kids truly got it, and I do believe the experience changed each of them.

We have decided as a group to go back to the shelter as often as possible and volunteer to deliver dinners to the people of the shelter. Just another way Help Portrait is impacting people, but in this case it’s the next generation and that in my opinion is where real change can happen, they are after all our future.

This week Jason brought up a good point, and one I hadn’t thought about before. He said, ” what’s so incredible about Help-Portrait is that you get to see immediately how you have impacted someone else’s life. With other charity and volunteer efforts you might never get the chance to see how your time, money, or efforts impacted someone. With Help-Portrait the reward is instant. The second you show them their picture, you see their eyes light up, and you can tell that they now feel valued and important. You know right away that you have impacted someone’s life for the better.”

Pictured here are Jason and his three friends:


In addition to helping out, Jason also did the filming, audio, and editing for this video.  Please take the time to watch the video and hear some of the other ways this Help-Portrait event has impacted our community.

Help Portrait Philadelphia 2012 at Chosen 300 from JPEVisual on Vimeo.

Connect: HP Philadelphia

Posted on Feb 11, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  3 Comments
  • Ashley Ashley

    Awesome:) what a great experience for everyone <3
    Ashley | 12/02/2013 2:24 AM

  • Shandai Jenkins Shandai Jenkins

    This was an outstanding video. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share the experience with Help Portrait. Our guests look forward to help portrait each year. Our doors are always open to Help Portrait. Thanks for serving. Shandai Jenkins Sr. Vice President/ Co-founder
    Shandai Jenkins | 16/02/2013 12:31 PM

  • Jim Denham Jim Denham

    Wow, really well done! Just proves that the benefits of giving are for both parties involved! Great stuff!
    Jim Denham | 18/02/2013 4:22 PM

Paul Wheatley, Santa Paula, CA, USA:

In December I joined my friends, Dana, Steve, Valea & Hunter in doing our first Help-Portrait event at a retirement home in Santa Paula, CA. If you’re not familiar with Help-Portrait, please check out their website HERE. We gathered photographers, make-up/hair stylists, printers and helpers to capture, style and hand-deliver beautiful photographs to people who don’t have this kind of opportunity. It’s just a small way for artists to pass on something nice to others.

This experience was truly amazing though and left me feeling very touched. I felt like I took a little piece of everyone home with me. Their stories were incredible and everyone was so open and kind. I learned so much about everyone.  I felt like I made tons of new friends. Hundreds of photos taken and over 50 8″X10″ prints, hand -selected, retouched and delivered to everyone.

One of my favorite memories was of a woman I photographed named Loris. Loris lives in the retirement home but is truly one of the most energetic people I’ve ever met. We were having a great conversation during our shoot when she mentioned she had recently started taking up the drums. I was shocked. When her session ended she jumped up, headed to her room and returned with her electronic drum set in hand! She gave me my very own private concert right there on the set–it was AWESOME!! Loris was one of MANY that day that truly rocked my socks off.

So, cheers to everyone who helped make this day so special and I can’t wait for more of these events in 2013!

Connect with us here!

























Posted on Feb 09, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  No Comments

David Castillo, Tijuana Baja California, México

We photographed a group of 22 seniors, ranging in ages from 65 to 88 years old, some feel weak, others tired and others felt forgotten and alone. They cast aside all that and made a long trip to our rendezvous site, so enthusiastic and happy about their photograph. Being able to make them so happy with a portrait was the most impactful part of the event.

One person said that in her 67 years, there were not that many meaningful moments in her life…. But this was definitely one of the best!

Another person said, “Thank you for this gift, and doing this for us, as for many of us are all alone, and seldom have someone doing things for us… God bless you and keep you!”

The joy in the faces of those who are elderly and feel forgotten and really appreciate a portrait even before they were photographed is what made this, for all of us, unequivocal!Hp_dcp_dc_2517_s_2400

Connect with us on our Facebook.


Posted on Feb 08, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  3 Comments
  • Zoe Alexander Zoe Alexander

    It is fantastic to see how the act of bringing people together to share a common experience such as a group portrait has a profound impact on their lives. They now share a common bond other than being a group of seniors.
    Zoe Alexander | 09/02/2013 11:04 AM

  • Amparo Amparo

    para nosotros también fue una experiencia maravillosa y lo volveremos hacer!!
    Amparo | 09/02/2013 6:34 PM

  • Kendra Kendra

    Que bueno!! Gracias por tu participación. Nosotoros estamos emocionados que ustedes sean parte de este movimiento!
    Kendra | 10/02/2013 4:43 PM

Mark Walczak, Chicago, Illinois, USA:

For the second consecutive year, I had the pleasure of coordinating a Help-Portrait event at The Moody Church in Chicago.  This year brought greater involvement from Jim Porett and Bryan Dockett – two local photographers who worked at other sites in the past, but were able to focus their attention on Moody in 2012.  We had the privilege of serving families that were involved in the church’s Angel Tree program.  Every year, hundreds of children receive Christmas gifts that are purchased by church-goers on behalf of their parent who is incarcerated.  When it came time to distribute the gifts, the families were invited to Moody for a huge party with food and entertainment.  Before making their way to the festivities, families were given the opportunity to have group and individual portraits taken.  Every family left with three things: an 8×10 family photo, a bundle of 4×6 individual prints, and a USB flash drive that contained the digital files.  A separate 4×6 family shot was also printed, and mailed to the parent in prison.

This year, we made tremendous improvements on our workflow from last year, and I think it’s worth sharing: we decided to do all of our printing in a second room adjacent to our photo bays.  This allowed our photographers and assistants to focus on interacting with clients and giving them the best experience possible.  Our print volunteers were then able to concentrate on organizing and finishing the final product before giving it to the folks we were serving.  This made our main workspace more open and gave a calmer, more welcoming feeling for our clients.  You can download our workflow documents here:

The biggest surprise of the day came when we finally tallied up the photos and discovered that we printed approximately 500 pictures and served 95 families!  We were projecting to only help 50-75 groups, but our clients were excited and energized from their experience last year.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, which supplied about thirty volunteers as well as all of the supplies for our hair and makeup department.  They were incredibly helpful, professional, and organized.  Best of all, they were experts at showing our clients the love and care that we desired to impart.

On behalf of all of the Chicago volunteers, I would like to thank Jeremy, Kyle and the entire Help-Portrait team for inspiring fellow artists to greatness, service, and community.

Help-Portrait Chicago 2012 | The Moody Church from Help-Portrait Chicago on Vimeo.

Posted on Feb 07, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  4 Comments
  • Steve (HelpportraitDub) Steve (HelpportraitDub)

    well done all, and appreciate the documentation,
    Steve (HelpportraitDub) | 07/02/2013 9:30 PM

  • Mark Walczak Mark Walczak

    You're welcome, Steve! If anyone's interested in following H-P Chicago, check us out on twitter @HP_Chicago You can also follow us on Facebook: To follow myself, Jim or Bryan, see: @mdwalczak @jimporett or @Dockettphoto Thanks again! It was such a pleasure serving our community!
    Mark Walczak | 07/02/2013 11:53 PM

  • Sandy Sandy

    That is a great place to do Help Portrait, Moody Church When is it going to come to Grand Rapids, MI
    Sandy | 08/02/2013 12:02 AM

  • Mark Walczak Mark Walczak

    You should start one yourself, Sandy! It's busy work, but it's so, so worth it!
    Mark Walczak | 08/02/2013 2:12 AM