I’ve been the Lead Coordinator of the group for the last 3 years. The first year I was involved as a Lead Photographer and that event was an eye opener for me. My very first Help-Portrait session was for a single mom and her kids. At the end of the shoot, which had gone fabulously, the mom, with tears in her eyes, hugged me and told me that I had made her Christmas. She said that all she had ever wanted was a photo of her and her kids together and I would never know how big of a gift this was for her. It blew me away. She was right, I had no idea.

Up until that moment it hadn’t even occurred to me that someone could be that touched by something I do for fun every day.

It showed me how important and valuable a portrait really is to someone who has never had one. It had never occurred to me that showing someone they were worthy of a professional portrait, when they never had had the means to get one, could transform that person’s self-esteem. The experience changed my view of the faces of people in need in my community and I knew from then on that Help-Portrait was going to be a long-time passion of mine.

This year, we had more than 50 volunteers, did 215 sessions and served 774 people at two food pantry locations–a huge growth from the 12 people we served three years ago!

- Amandalynn Jones, Photographer, Help-Portrait Madison, WI

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See more photos from the Madison, WI shoot and read Amandalynn’s full post by clicking here