Rohit Singh Tolia, of Pune, Maharashtra, India, shares the following from his H-P event in December of 2011:
I had gone to children home’s in my city, they all had dream like us to be something good in life but somehow their dreams will remain dreams because there’s no one to guide them or be their guiding star. While shooting I questioned them, “How many of you have photography, and out of 20 I just saw 3-4 hands raised. Those girls were so excited to get shot & when I told them they would get a print too they were damn happy about it & yes they told me to add on so many things in their photo’s :) Loads of memories & smiles I had with me when I was back to home.
“Organizing this event was exhausting, but worth every single minute I spent doing it. The smiles on the faces of the teenagers we photographed, and the pure joy they had in feeling like rockstars for a day… That was priceless. One of the best things about help-Portrait is the sense of camaraderie among photographers. I’ve said time and time again over these past weeks, that all the fun and laughter our group shares make Help-Portrait something I don’t ever want to stop doing.” –Anese Merriwether, Minneapolis, MN
Kaley Diaz from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, shared this about her December 2011 H-P event:
Most of the children had never been photographed before, and had never seen themselves in a photograph. After each photo, I showed them their images in the back of the camera, and they all exclaimed, “que linda” or “que guapo!” (how pretty / how handsome) The smiles that crossed their faces after seeing their images were amazing. [Some said:] “Thank You” … The children that I photographed do not speak English, so the fact that they were trying to thank me in a language that they do not speak was so meaningful.
Ted van der Linden of San Francisco, CA, shared this from his December 2011 event:
I was asked if there was any way to help take some yearbook photos for the daughter of a friend. (This is not the traditional Help-Portrait event, I know.) I decided to do this as I didn’t have a full day to donate – and was able to create a framework to support the need of this request.
We (photogs) should make a point to do pro-bono work – just like the legal community – find a project, adopt a school…and give your time like it was critical to your success.
“A single mom with her 18-day-old baby girl came near the end of the day. She was very excited because she never imagined that she would get to have a nice photo of her baby that small. She was really sweet and the photographer asked her to stick around since we were almost finished for the day. Once everyone was done, he brought her back in and gave her a baby/momma photoshoot like she never imagined. He captured the baby’s tiny hand holding hers and her little ears. All of the things people pay hundreds of dollars to have. She was so moved and grateful. I felt very happy to provide that experience for her.” –Tess Kearns, Chicago, IL
Lindsay, a wheelchair bound mother of two young children, and her husband Jason, came into our event after hearing about it from one of the event coordinators. Lindsay was excited about the opportunity she was being given, but Jason on the other hand seemed to be a little unenthusiastic about the process. Jason did not want to have anyone touch his hair let alone remove his hat. After talking to Mark Varone, one of the barbers, Jason came around. Mark and his staff worked their magic to clean up Jason and ended up cutting his hair! While Jason was getting his hair cut, Lindsay had her hair styled by J Christian, an internationally known platform artist. Their daughter Alysia, worried that her dad would be upset with the way his hair turned out. Lindsay, Jason and the kids had their portraits taken and were nothing but smiles.
Oliver was brought in from a group home. He was very shy, and didn’t know what to expect. Leo, one of our photographers, did a great job talking to Oliver. He left with a smile on his face, and a portrait in a frame he picked out.
It’s not what people said it was their reaction when they realized what they were getting at no cost. Being able to see some of my own family smiling was awesome after know what they have gone through. Also, knowing that our group of 35 volunteers would come back and do it again tomorrow, no questions asked!
“We had a high school senior come in with his newly ‘adopted’ mom. He had been kicked out of his house with nowhere to go and had been homeless until this family took him in. They brought him to our Help-Portrait because he had not had his senior pictures done. He was shy and quiet, but within minutes his smile was enormous. There were lots of great hugs going on around him!” –Cathryn Becker, Casper, WY
“People were shocked that we were giving them framed photos and CDs for free. Since all our photographers were between the ages of 10-19, some of their families came along for portraits. One mother said this about the 11-year-old photographer that made her family photo: ‘Thank you so much for a wonderful time our family and kids had today. It was a really great experience having our portrait taken by Helen. We are really grateful for the opportunity offered to our kids and have a wonderful environment!!’” –Erik Auerbach, San Francisco, CA
Photo made by Helen Jimenez, age 11, and it was of her cousin Katherine Flores, age 14, and her family. Katherine is on the right.
Chances are the first place you visited after hearing about Help-Portrait was this website. But this website wouldn’t exist without the generous development support of Flosites. We began working with them because of mutual friends, but the professional service was a match made in heaven, as the Flosites team specializes in brands, blogs and websites especially for photographers.
H-P founder Jeremy Cowart describes them as “Amazing. They’re on the other side of the world but they’re always available and super laid back and friendly. If they were here, they’d be the type of people that I would hang with in my downtime… great people.”
Their time, design and input has been invaluable to the Help-Portrait movement, as our website, online brand and online community are foundational for us. They’ve been instrumental in piecing all those aspects together so Help-Portrait forges ahead as a movement – existing beyond our online tools.
Coordinating a global effort like Help-Portrait takes a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts – efforts, that without the help of a service like Social Rain, would be untraceable. We’d have a hard time knowing our reach. Social Rain offered their services to us this past year through Carolyn Haggard, managing partner at Rain Cloud Media, the maker of Social Rain Technology. She was a volunteer for H-P last year and she offered their social media analysis technology for our us for free this year.
They not only helped us set up, manage and track all of our social media outlets, but they used their team to help us think strategically and even executed some of the campaign, according to Trey Bowles, Help-Portrait’s volunteer over strategic partnerships.
“They have gone above and beyond in all cases to support us and help make H-P as successful as possible in our social media strategy,” Bowles added. “They have empowered us to be able to more fully and comprehensively share the message of H-P around the world, connecting people, telling the story of H-P and spreading the vision and mission online making a larger impact across the globe.”
We highly recommend checking out Social Rain‘s social media tools for your company, project or next campaign. Thanks, Carolyn and the team at Rain Cloud Media, for your invaluable contribution to Help-Portrait and your help in touching lives around the world.