Emily Weary, Egg Harbor, New Jersey, USA:

I realized just how much of an impact I can have on someone. These people were not only grateful for the portraits and the donations, but simply how willing we were do something nice to brighten their day. That impacted me most about this event.

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Posted on Jan 22, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  No Comments

Chris Bruner, Chatham, Ontario, Canada:

This autistic young man was shy and started singing, “You are my sunshine,” because he was nervous. Any volunteer that was within earshot immediately stopped what they were doing and started singing along.


Posted on Jan 21, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  1 Comment
  • Elizabeth Elizabeth

    I was honored to be a part of Help Portrait CK and this was the most humbling and touching moment of our day! I am so happy I decided to volunteer - this young man made it more than worthwhile :)
    Elizabeth | 21/01/2013 4:54 PM

Amanda Marie Mason, Sarasota, FL, USA:

That it is what I live for, photographing groups of people under less than perfect circumstances to hopefully achieve something greater. The sharing of the images which represented them not as teenagers but as young professional adults made both the students and their teachers feel very good.

Posted on Jan 20, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  No Comments

Anese Merriwether, Minneapolis, MN, USA:

We blessed three different organizations in Minneapolis on December 8th. As lead organizer for our group, I am still collecting the stories that continue to stream in from volunteers. I can’t think of a better way to deliver this particular story from beginning to end. So, unconventionally it is!

This is Annie. She is one of the dozens of women we photographed as part of the event we held for MOCA (MN Ovarian Cancer Alliance). Annie was quite moved by the wonderful gift given to her and other cancer survivors by Help-Portrait that day. Unbeknownst to her, she also touched the hearts of several volunteers as well. Following is a stream of conversation that happened in the Minneapolis Help-Portrait group, during the days following the event.

“Annie’s story brought me to tears, and I imagine others who were present. I was especially touched when she mentioned she had died, had been gone more than 45 minutes, and was in a coma too.” –Lead Photographer who did Annie’s portrait session, Cedric Dean

“I LOVE this lady!” –Assistant Photographer, Jen Martodam

“She was so amazing. While she waited for her images, she stood by the door, just watching us all, and smiling the whole time. I think she connected with a bunch of us.” –MOCA Site Lead, Michelle Hartman

“She was the sweetest person!” –Assistant Photographer, Jen Martodam

“She was amazing. Her concern was having a professional photo of herself for her family when she is gone. WOW!” –Lead Photographer, Lorrie ‘Peets’ Roff

“The lovely lady whose story of survival was the one that broke me down in tears that day. To call her simply a “survivor” is selling her short. She is a miracle. She is the reason I promised to have a CA 125 test done, the next time I see my doctors. A beautiful woman who survived cancer, but will lose her life to complications caused by the disease.”  –Hair & Makeup Artist, Sarah Elizabeth

“Sarah, I think the shot Toni got of us hugging was just after you worked with her. I remember you were so upset and touched.”
-Site Lead, Michelle Hartman

Toni (pictured speaking alone to Annie) and Meng shot behind the scenes, and were moved to add additional photos to this story.

As photographers and other volunteers, I don’t think we often take enough time to realize how much of a difference we can make in the lives of others, simply by doing what we love. When we dedicate one entire day in December giving this priceless experience and gift to others, it helps us all remember… A picture is worth.

I’m certain that Annie would tell you that. Someday, her family will too.

Posted on Jan 19, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  No Comments

Michaela Janetzko / Franziska Molina, Stuttgart, BW, Germany

There was this one little girl in particular, who is very sick and very shy. After we gave her the camera and let her take some pictures, you could see how much she changed. She suddenly smiled and had a sparkle in her eyes.


Posted on Jan 18, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  5 Comments
  • Michaela Janetzko Michaela Janetzko

    Thank you, Help Portrait Team Stuttgart for all the support. You did a great job!!!! I m sure, the families and children in the hospital had an unforgettable day.
    Michaela Janetzko | 18/01/2013 7:26 PM

  • Sandy Sandy

    Dankeschön für die tollen fotos von meiner kleinen Sie ist ein sooooooo tolles kleines mensch Eine wirklich tolle Erinnerung an sie <3 Vielen dank dafür <3 Ihre Mama
    Sandy | 11/02/2013 6:22 PM

  • bec bec

    das foto ist einfach wunderschön, vor allem das "blitzen" in ihren augen! tolles mädchen!
    bec | 13/02/2013 10:50 AM

  • Renate Waldner Renate Waldner

    ein wundervolles mädchen...... so stark...... sie möge in frieden ruhen........
    Renate Waldner | 01/03/2013 10:16 PM

  • Kai Kai

    Du bist der Hammer - Nein - Du und das Model!!!!
    Kai | 20/12/2013 5:42 PM

Elizabeth Chambers, Freeport, IL, USA:

The women we photographed were homeless women with children. One of the most inspiring was a 15-year-old girl that didn’t want to smile, and I finally sat down with her and asked her why. She said that she has a gap in her teeth and has never felt beautiful. I told her that the gap in her teeth represented her unique personality and beauty, and that that gap could very well represent the gap that we come across with other people culturally and socially – and that we should be proud and embrace our “gaps”- not look at them as a flaw.

I myself have been at the bottom and the top, and I prefer to be towards the bottom – because only then do you truly rely on the substance of things not seen, increase your faith, and live simply enjoying the greater experiences in life.


Posted on Jan 17, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  No Comments

Anthony Aquino, Queensbury, New York, USA:

A gentleman had not heard from his son in 23 years. The Thursday before the event his son contacted him and said he would like a photograph of his father. When he arrived at the soup kitchen on Saturday, he had no idea we would be there.

Photo: John Lines taking a portrait, one of eight students who participated

Posted on Jan 16, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  No Comments

Candi Carmen Ingo, Munich, Germany:

We again were in the hospital where children and babies with heart disease are hoping to get better so they can spend Christmas at home with their family.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  No Comments

Rob Loud, Long Beach, NY, USA:

Many families (who attended the event) lost their homes in Hurricane Sandy. Most lost all of their old family photos. One woman told me she has been feeling down about herself lately since having her home very badly damaged. She made herself come to the event so she would have an excuse to do her hair and put on some makeup, and to feel a little better about herself. And it worked. It was such a positive experience for her, and she was blown away by her photos. She considered the day a turning point for her recent bad luck. It was not about giving people a free photo shoot, or even photos. It’s about making people feel good about themselves and connecting with them. It’s about them sharing their story.


Posted on Jan 14, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  No Comments

Matt Druin, Woodstock, Georgia, USA:

We actually were able to have a number of the same people we served last year come back again this year. We were able to catch up on their lives, see the new additions to their families, and get to know them even more on a personal level.


Posted on Jan 13, 2013  |  Category: Story of the Day  |  2 Comments
  • Jessica Jessica

    Hey it's us!! That's so cool! Nice submission Matt!
    Jessica | 13/01/2013 3:02 PM

  • Kate H Kate H

    Yay !!! Was sooo proud and glad to be a part of this group again this year! It was so fantastic seeing some familiar faces from last year from both the volunteers and families ! Can't wait til 2013 !! WTG Cherokee HP Team!
    Kate H | 13/01/2013 11:51 PM