Like Help-Portrait, many ideas start simply, then strike a chord with audiences online and spread quickly. So it was with yesterday’s Generosity Day.

On Friday, Sasha Dichter (@sashadichter), who is the Director of Business Development at Acumen Fund, a global non-profit venture fund that invests in enterprises that fight poverty in the developing world, posted a blog entry that challenged people to turn Valentine’s Day into an opportunity for greater good.

Inspired by a talk at last week’s Social Media Week New York, the idea was to “reboot” Valentine’s Day as “Generosity Day: one day of sharing love with everyone, of being generous to everyone,” he wrote. “Let’s make the day about love, action and human connection – because we can do better than smarmy greeting cards, overpriced roses, and stressed-out couples trying to create romantic meals on the fly.”

The goal was to spend the day saying “yes” to everything that was asked of you – all day long, leading to big and small acts of generosity. Those who participated were encouraged to share their experiences by tweeting and using the hashtag #generosityday.

More than 3,000 people tweeted and bloggers and national media picked up on the story.

And for good reason. We’re all in favor of ways to encourage giving back – in big and small ways – and look forward to Generosity Day becoming a yearly tradition. Who’s with us?

You can join for updates.

Posted on Feb 15, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • Tweets that mention Generosity Day Reboots a Traditional Valentine’s | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Tweets that mention Generosity Day Reboots a Traditional Valentine’s | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 --

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Montgomery, Deborah Lee, Leslie McDaniel, Lori Mahon, James Currie and others. James Currie said: RT @help_portrait: We loved this idea: rebooting Valentine's Day as #generosityday [...]
    Tweets that mention Generosity Day Reboots a Traditional Valentine’s | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- | 15/02/2011 2:30 PM

We saw this post about giving back with flowers today on Design*Sponge and just had to share it with the Help-Portrait Community. We love it when we see others bringing beauty to the community in creative ways. With a similar approach as H-P, Jaime at The Monkey Flower Group in Napa, Calif., launched a fantastic new project called Flowers to Care that provides simple, low-cost flower arrangements to members of the community who wouldn’t otherwise have them.

Check out Jaime’s site to donate an arrangement (you’ll even get an email with a artful picture of the arrangement for personal use).

Read more at Design*Sponge.

Posted on Feb 08, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • Tweets that mention Flower Group Brings Fresh Bouquets to Communities in Need | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Tweets that mention Flower Group Brings Fresh Bouquets to Communities in Need | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 --

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by caranicoledavis, Help-Portrait. Help-Portrait said: It's the floral version of @help_portrait! Check out The Monkey Flower Group [...]
    Tweets that mention Flower Group Brings Fresh Bouquets to Communities in Need | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- | 08/02/2011 6:46 PM

Sasha Leahovcenco is a photographer originally from the Republic of Moldova, but who moved to Fresno, Calif., about three years ago. Inspired by Help-Portrait, he traveled to Chukotka, Russia, for a unique opportunity to share the gift of photography with people who live at the literal ends of the earth. Traveling into the very deep Tundra where small tribal groups of reindeer herders live, he stayed photographed them in their everyday life. He calls it “a life-changing experience,” citing his experience at a hospital for children with tuberculosis as “the most memorable.” We talked with Sasha about his experience, his motivation and how everyone can give back with whatever they have in their hands.

How did you get into photography?

It’s interesting, but I never thought I would be a photographer. The only reason I started is because I couldn’t find a job on the campus of the university where I was studying, and the only available position was photographer for the university scrapbook. So I took several pictures send it to my brother-in-law Ross, he edited them and sent me back, and with those pictures I showed up on the interview and presented my portfolio. Next thing I remember, I was sitting reading “DSLR Camera for Dummies.”

What’s your favorite type of work?

I really enjoy photo-journalistic work. For the most time I photograph weddings, and being a wedding photographer allows me to capture a unique story of very important day in life of different couples.

Also, I like editorial work, and this trip allowed me to push myself more in this direction.

How did you learn about Help-Portrait?

I believe first time I heard about Help-Portrait was from my brother-in-law Ross, founder of Flosites, when he started building a new site for H-P.

Sasha with the kids from the hospital (

What about it inspired you to do a similar project?

The whole idea of making someone’s life better even with a such small thing as a photograph was enough for me to step up and try to make a difference.

What brought you to Chukotka, Russia?

Two years ago I became friend with a man who was a missionary in Pevek, Chukotka (northest city in Russia), and he invited me to come and just photograph life of people who live there. And since than I always wanted to come, but never had time and possibility. And last summer I went to Moldova to visit my family, and my friend was also in Moldova at the time. Both of us had busy schedules, yet we still met for about 20 minutes, and once again he invited me to come to Chukotka. I knew next year will be very busy for me, so I decided to come during the winter break. There were a lot of challenges due to my work schedule, financial problems, my car broke down just before the trip, yet I got on the plane and went to Chukotka.

Sasha with reindeer herders inside the yaranga (

How did you choose the places where you would photograph?

I visited 2 cities, 2 villages, and the Tundra (where I photographed reindeer herders). In total I hosted about 10 different Help-Portrait events.

Prior to the trip I planned some of them ahead with the local people I knew, and some just came right there on the spot, such as event I did in a hospital for kids with tuberculosis.

How long were you there?

I was there for a month.

Were you alone? What did you bring with you?

No, I came with another five people who were organizing different events and social projects for kids, teenagers and youth.

I could bring only limited amount of stuff due to weight limits of Russian airports. I had warm clothes, as the temperature there were getting down to -45F. And my photo equipment – couple of camera bodies, couple of lenses, flashes, stands, umbrellas, portables printer and lots of photo paper.

Tell us about some of the people you met. Had they been photographed before?

I met a lot of different people; those who’ve been photographed before, those who haven’t been photographed, and those who barely knew anything about photos.

Assistants in the Tundra (

What do you think what you did meant to them?

If I would choose one word to say, it would be “memory.” More than that – “good memories.” And let me explain why. Eight months during the year – it’s winter there. More than that half of this time, people don’t see sun, because its just don’t raise up.  People are just depressed.

Sights that you would think would never happen is part of the daily life everyday and everywhere in Chukotka. And when I was photographing them, that was the moment when they actually could smile and forget all their troubles and problems in life and feel happy for a minute, and I would capture that on a photo, which they will cherish, I believe for the rest their life.

What did it mean to you?

Maybe some people would look at the photos, and say that it’s not that big of a deal. But for me, as a photographer, that’s how I can give back and serve people. And as someone said: “We have not lived today if we hadn’t made even something for those who will never be able to pay us back.”

On your site you say I believe this life is not about what we can get, but what we can give. In what ways can photography give back?

I don’t think photography in general can give back. But it’s life as photographers that we live, which can give back. I believe every person on this planet is talented in one way or another, and this talent is not just for us, but also that’s how we can serve and give back to the people around us. And each of us need to ask what you’ve got in your hands. I’ve got a camera, and with that camera I can give back and serve others.

For more photos from the trip, visit

Posted on Feb 01, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  10 Comments
  • Tweets that mention Sasha Leahovcenco Takes Help-Portrait to the Ends of the Earth | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Tweets that mention Sasha Leahovcenco Takes Help-Portrait to the Ends of the Earth | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 --

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by caranicoledavis and cameronpowell, Help-Portrait. Help-Portrait said: An inspiring read from the blog: @sashaphotog took @help_portrait to the ends of the earth last month [...]
    Tweets that mention Sasha Leahovcenco Takes Help-Portrait to the Ends of the Earth | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- | 01/02/2011 7:57 PM

  • mikhail glabets mikhail glabets

    amazing! Always great to read bout photographers putting them selves aside and going across the world to captures moments in other wonderful lives.
    mikhail glabets | 01/02/2011 8:26 PM

  • Jeremy Knop Jeremy Knop

    I love that Sasha was able to take the concept of giving through photography first displayed internationally by Help-Portrait. Then he was able to do something that was so full of compassion for people literally on the other side of the world as you say. There is something that can be said about the character of a person that is willing to go so far and to such great lengths to give back. I wish I could travel somewhere remote to do this for a village of people in a far off land. I must give Jeremy a heartfelt thanks on getting the word out on doing this as a service for people so that other people could get excited about it and find motivation to do something like what Sasha has done here. I started a photography company out of high school and have always photographed friends and family who all struggled financially and I have always wanted to do this but just didn't know how I would get the word out to as many people as I would have wanted? So I also thank Jeremy for motivating me to do my own little version of Help-Portrait but on a daily basis which I have been wanting to do for over 10 years now. Jeremy, you finally got me off the bench and into the game. I started my endeavor last week and have already shot my first session. And I hope to participate in Help-Portrait 2011 in Phoenix where I live now or somewhere nearby.
    Jeremy Knop | 01/02/2011 10:56 PM

  • Aleksey Aleksey

    Dear Friends, I was in Chukotka l and saw the hardships Sasha had to go through last month, traveling in freezing tundra, nearly loosing his fingers to frostbite... What he was doing there was AMAZING! I am honored to know you Sasha!
    Aleksey | 03/02/2011 1:31 AM

  • Jeremy Knop Jeremy Knop

    Aleksey, wow! Did not know that! I am in awe... Sasha, I hope you are okay now and everything though I know how frostbite can be when it is bad. One of my family members fell through ice and down into a river one year and its serious stuff.
    Jeremy Knop | 03/02/2011 1:43 AM

  • Sasha Sasha

    Thanks for all your kind words, guys!
    Sasha | 07/02/2011 7:31 AM


    Es maravilloso todo el trabajo que haces y muy signiicativo el que vivas los momentos intensamenteal convivir con las personas a las que retratas y puedess ver de cerca sus costumbres su cultura es muy7 hermoso porque haces de tu trabajo no algo simple algo que vale la pena y que da vida a tus fotos aunque tengasque aguantar mucho friogracias por mostrar lo que haces
    MIRIAM BOSQUES | 15/02/2011 1:13 AM

  • Behind the Scenes at Sasha Leahovcenco’s Help-Portrait: Chukotka, Russia | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 Behind the Scenes at Sasha Leahovcenco’s Help-Portrait: Chukotka, Russia | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011

    [...] weeks back we highlighted a special Help-Portrait project by Sasha Leahovcenco (“Sasha Leahovcenco Takes Help-Portrait to the Ends of the Earth”). Inspired by Help-Portrait, he traveled to Chukotka, Russia, for a unique opportunity to share the [...]
    Behind the Scenes at Sasha Leahovcenco’s Help-Portrait: Chukotka, Russia | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 | 23/03/2011 4:02 AM

  • O primeiro encontro. Fótografos e fotografados – Cláudio Versiani O primeiro encontro. Fótografos e fotografados – Cláudio Versiani

    [...] Sasha Leahovcenco Takes Help-Portrait to the Ends of the Earth [...]
    O primeiro encontro. Fótografos e fotografados – Cláudio Versiani | 22/09/2011 10:59 AM

  • Sasha Leahovcenco: Help-Portrait, Nigeria | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013 Sasha Leahovcenco: Help-Portrait, Nigeria | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013

    […] except small tribal groups of reindeer herders. He called it a life-changing experience. (Read our interview with […]
    Sasha Leahovcenco: Help-Portrait, Nigeria | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013 | 03/12/2013 3:55 PM

We wanted to share some of the great stories published by the media about 2010 Help-Portrait. We’re appreciative of all the coverage and get especially excited to see local coverage featuring the volunteers on the frontlines making this event happen. Did you post about 2010 H-P on your blog? Give us a link in the comments!

Zachary Levi interview (Fox 11 LA)

Baltimore-area photographers donate time for free portrait day (The Baltimore Sun – front page)

Help Portrait brings smiles and something to remember (Seattle KING5)

Portraits prove ‘unexpectedly important’ to marginalized men and women at Help Portrait event (Associated Press)

Help-Protrait to be Held This Weekend (PASTE Magazine)

Help-Portrait Knows Value of a Picture (The Tennessean)

Less Fortunate Step in Front of the Camera (CTV – Canada)

Volunteers give Deployed Something to Hold Onto (WDTV – Ohio)

Help-Portrait Event Offers Free Family Photos (WSMV Ch 4 Nashville)

Omaha photo project returning Saturday (Omaha World Herald)

Photographers offer public free portraits in New Haven (New Haven Register)

Photographers donate time, portraits for homeless youth (Las Vegas Sun)

Dec. 2nd Story w/ Shannon (WSMV Ch 4 Nashville)

Help Portrait offers portraits for needy (News-Leader Springfield News)

HELP PORTRAIT VANCOUVER – DEC 4th 2010 (Beyond Robson – Vancouver)

A photo shoot for people on the Downtown Eastside (News1130 – Vancouver)

Free portraits at RIFA today (Jackson Sun)

Photographers aim to help homeless (The Reflector – South Carolina)

Shooting to help this holiday season (Abbostford – Canada)

The Story Behind Help-Portrait (Relevant Magazine)

Giving the Gift of Portraits (Good Morning Texas)

Help-Portrait Seattle ( Seattle)

Beauty in eye of a loving lens (Maribyronog Weekly)

Free Photo Sessions Light People Up (Montreal Gazette)

Free Portraits for York area disaster victims (York Dispatch)

Local photographers give Madison families lots to smile about (WKOW Madison, WI)

Photos: Help-Portrait visits Main and Hastings (Vancouver Sun)

Local photographers help needy smile (Fox 11 Green Bay, WI)

Free Family Portraits (ABC Dayton OH)

Portraits – an unexpected gift (News and Observer – Raleigh, NC)

Help-Portrait Hits Downtown Eastside (The Province – Canada)

Families Receive Free Portraits (NWAonline)

Warm Fuzzies to be Delivered by Help-Portrait 2010 (VolumeOne – Wisconsin)

All Eyes Photo Blog (Tampa Bay & St. Petersburg Times)

Photographers Show Poor, Homeless In Different Light (KETV ABC Omaha)

Help-Portrait: Photographers zoom in on city’s less fortunate (West Island Gazette – Canada)

Snap happy: Cork photographers offer to recapture smiles with free portraits (Irish Examiner – Cork)

Families cherish chance for photo of loved ones (Leader-Telegram – Eau-Claire, WI)

Einmal aussehen wie ein Star (Frankfurt Neue Presse – Germany)

Photographer offers free portraits for families (KSFY ABC Sioux Falls)

Photographers to offer free portrait service (Vietnam News)

Many received a gift that keeps on giving (WSAV Savannah, GA)

Pro photographers offer a deal (The Register-Mail Galesburg, IL)

Photos: Smile and say ‘cheese’ (Deseret News – Salt Lake City)

Photos capture new lives for those in need (Roanoke Times)

Restoring dignity — one picture at a time (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Photographers Shoot to Help Neighbors in Need (WHSV Harrisburg, VA)

Photographers, stylists to do free portraits for those in need (SouthEast Missourian)

Local Photographers Taking Part In “National Day Of Photography” (KKTV CBS Colorado)

UNC photo club gives free family portraits to the needy (Greeley Tribune)

Photographers Donate Time For Family Pictures (KTXS Abilene TX)

Families get red-carpet photo treatment (Colorado Springs Gazette)

‘This Is Our First Family Photo’ (AbqJournal – New Mexico)

International Story (TORINO, Italy)

Family portraits capture hope (UNM Daily Lobo – New Mexico)

A Portrait of Giving (Hamilton Spectator)

Pros share photographic gifts (The North Bay Nugget – Canada)

Lights, Camera…Magic! (Bay Today – Canada)

Help-Portrait Charity (Fox 13 Salt Lake)

Posted on Jan 25, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • Tweets that mention Help-Portrait in the News | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Tweets that mention Help-Portrait in the News | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 --

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Overture Media, Lori Mahon. Lori Mahon said: Thank you to all the media that covered @help_portrait this year - looking forward to 2011! [...]
    Tweets that mention Help-Portrait in the News | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- | 26/01/2011 2:19 AM

We caught up with Help-Portrait Central Florida‘s Alonzo DeJesus at one of their December 2010 events in Orlando. In this vlog, Alonzo shares his passion for Help-Portrait, this vision of his local chapter and why everyone should become part of this movement in 2011. He also relates a story about a young woman who received a makeover and portrait at one of their events the night before. The story embodies the heart behind Help-Portrait: giving love, value and hope to people often overlooked by society.

Related link: “What’s Your Help-Portrait Story?

Posted on Jan 18, 2011  |  Category: H-P Organizers, Inspiration  |  No Comments

Christine Elizabeth is a photographer in Omaha, NE, and serves as Help-Portrait’s Social Media Manager. She’s done a great job spreading the word about Help-Portrait, and today she shares a sweet story about friends of hers who are doing unique things to give back the community and give some special kids positive attention in her hometown in Nebraska.

Presley Poor, photo by Christine Elizabeth

I am blessed to be surrounded by people who understand the spirit of Help-Portrait and who are excited to serve others in their own way. One little girl recently organized her very own event at one of our Help-Portrait 2010 Omaha venues!

One of the amazing things, as we wrap up Help-Portrait 2010, is to see that the desire to serve others is present all year round. I was so excited to hear how one little girl organized her very own event because, as her mother, Angela Poor, said, “She wanted to show some love.” Angela was a team leader at one of our Help-Portrait 2010 Omaha venues, and her daughter is following right along in her footsteps.

Presley Poor is 9 years old, and is already finding ways to make her ideas turn into realities so that she can bless other kids. She had the idea to have a pizza party and paint T-shirts with the children from a local emergency shelter, Omaha’s Lydia House, and she asked relatives and passed out flyers until she had the resources to make it happen. She raised money for T-shirts and art supplies, and talked to a local store about donating cupcakes. Greg, her father helped out by donating the pizza. Angela said that many of the children were wearing their T-shirts by the end of the day, and it seemed that they had a great time.

Even at her young age, Presley is excited about helping other people and making them feel special. She already raised funds two other times with a lemonade stand for another local shelter, and friendship bracelets, which raised money for a girl with cancer. She has her next event planned out, and is already organizing a trip to the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo for the children from the Lydia House. She is already looking for volunteers and donations to help her rent limousines, and provide sack lunches and even some money for souvenirs.

You can see the local news story here.

We’re happy to use this blog as a platform to share how others are giving and serving. Have someone we should talk about? Let us know!

Posted on Jan 11, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  2 Comments
  • Tweets that mention Omaha Girl Brings Hope to Area Kids | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Tweets that mention Omaha Girl Brings Hope to Area Kids | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 --

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jenn Gaudreau. Jenn Gaudreau said: RT @help_portrait: Check out this story of a young girl happy to serve! Know someone with a great giving story? Sha ... [...]
    Tweets that mention Omaha Girl Brings Hope to Area Kids | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- | 11/01/2011 5:51 PM

  • Angela Poor Angela Poor

    Awwww Christine, thank you...You inspire me too! Presley is surrounded by giving hearts like you that in turn help her to evolve into the loving, giving child she is. Thank you for this write up! Love n God bless you and Help Portrait~`~
    Angela Poor | 11/01/2011 9:34 PM

Help-Portrait founder Jeremy Cowart posted a video blog about his Help-Portrait 2010 experience and is inviting the rest of the H-P community to share theirs. Check out what Jeremy shared from the event he attended in Seattle, and then share yours – either in the comments on this post, or by posting a link to your video. We can’t wait to hear and see what impacted you most.

Posted on Jan 09, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  8 Comments
  • Karen Barnes Karen Barnes

    My husband & I had an amazing time helping at the Nashville event! I posted my reflections over at my blog, which you can find here, if anyone is interested in reading it. A little too long to just post in a comment :) We definitely look forward to helping again in 2011! Thanks for starting this wonderful movement!
    Karen Barnes | 09/01/2011 11:37 PM

  • Tweets that mention What’s Your Help-Portrait Story? | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Tweets that mention What’s Your Help-Portrait Story? | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 --

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeremy Cowart. Jeremy Cowart said: RT @help_portrait: What impacted you most @Help_Portrait 2010? @jeremycowart invites your stories & videos on the HP blog [...]
    Tweets that mention What’s Your Help-Portrait Story? | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- | 09/01/2011 11:53 PM

  • Chris Dowsett Chris Dowsett

    My experience from Help Portrait was nothing less than life changing. I had the amazing chance to join Mr. Cale Glendening in Los Angeles to help with filming this year. Being from Canada, I had never seen anything like the area where the event was held. I found every second to be extremely humbling and could not believe the amount of smiles that could be shared within a single day. My favourite times of the day easily were making a couple new best friends. Both Cale and I had at least one secondary shooter for most of the day. I had two young boys and one tiny little girl share the role of photographer using my camera and it was amazing to see how passionate and explorative they were. I will never forget it and I look forward to the same sort of experiences next year : )
    Chris Dowsett | 10/01/2011 12:35 AM

  • carandavis carandavis

    Thanks Karen and Chris!
    carandavis | 11/01/2011 2:53 PM

  • Chris Dickinson Chris Dickinson

    Wow, where do you start? Victims of domestic violence, homelessness, poverty...every story left an indelible imprint on all of us and leaves us more hopeful for 2011! One story in particular brought nearly everyone to tears. A family of 8 came to my station, four children and four adults. As I was determining which children went with which families, the first two emerged. A single mother and her daughter. A spent 15 minutes or so photographing them in various non-traditional poses. Once the shoot was over I was approached by one of the members in the family. They proceeded to tell me that the mother and her daughter had lost their father a week before the shoot. If that wasn't bad enough, she lost her mother a week before that. In the week leading up to the shoot they told me the mother wouldn't come out of the house and had become very reclusive. They left with tears in their eyes when they saw the pictures of the mother and her daughter smiling again.
    Chris Dickinson | 11/01/2011 5:01 PM

  • You Can Be Part of the Movement | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 You Can Be Part of the Movement | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011

    [...] Related link: “What’s Your Help-Portrait Story?“ [...]
    You Can Be Part of the Movement | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 | 18/01/2011 9:57 PM

  • Bryan Alano Bryan Alano

    traveled to the philippines to share @help_portrait experience, check out event video
    Bryan Alano | 21/01/2011 11:38 PM

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On the heels of a successful Help-Portrait 2010, Leigh Caraccioli (@fleurdeleigh) of Dayton, Ohio, Help-Portrait has a few insights on how to market your Help-Portrait event to maximize its impact.

Something magic happens when you set out to change the world one smile at a time. It’s a magnetic force. Suddenly you find yourself surrounded, supported, connected to do-good, kindred spirits. Help-Portrait 2010 made me realize that I am part of a giant mass of positively charged individuals hell-bent on doing something to make this world a better place.

Leading our Dayton, Ohio, Help-Portrait event this year, I found out how instrumental social media is in promoting a good cause. In less than 30 days, we amassed nearly 100 volunteers and gifted 293 local military family members. We wanted to share with you five ways to hop up your event experience by online networking/marketing for 2011.

Inform your networks about the Help-Portrait event you are planning on email, Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to tell them why it’s important to you. Ask that they share what you are doing locally with their networks as well. Stretch your reach. Inform them of your needs: volunteers, photographers, equipment, funding, location, garments, support, coverage, spreading the word. People do care and want to find ways to help specifically. Share the Help-Portrait site, video, your own stories or those from other areas of the world.

Let’s face it. Every city around the globe has leaders in social media, photographers or otherwise.  Luckily, I already had solid connections with many of the “twitter elite” in Dayton so I sent a Twitter direct message asking for their help in promoting my H-P event. The best way to start making those connections is to engage in conversation with them, establish a two-way street of connection, find ways to help THEIR cause, and inform them about yours. You can find your cities key social media influencers through Here’s Nashville for example:

Our combined social network was paramount to our successful event in Dayton. Ultimately, it brought us together with the people we wanted to gift with portraits to meet our goal of photographing 100 families in need.

When one person talks about an event, it’s a status update. When thousands talk in unison about an event, it’s a viral happening (viral marketing defined). Watching the Help-Portrait event planning ramp-up this year was both inspiring and informative. You can put your ear to the wall in social media to hear better what is happening around the globe by utilizing dashboards like Tweetdeck, or Hootsuite and creating columns for the hashtag search #helpportrait and @help_portrait.  There is no question that on Dec. 4 this year, social media platforms were abuzz with H-P updates and it became a trending topic through hashtag use in many cities including Dayton, Ohio. You Tube videos went viral like Jeremy Cowart’s intro, which had more than 10,000 views. The 2010 main video had 38,039 views.

Members on our H-P team targeted our local newspaper, radio and television stations giving them information about the worldwide impact of our gift along with progress updates. We had coverage from two local television stations, which helped us build awareness for the global Help-Portrait campaign and positioning for the coming year’s event.

My personal network locally and globally expanded thanks to this year’s H-P event. I found, followed, friended and volunteered with so many incredible people. For that alone, I am grateful. I had the opportunity to connect with the families of the military in our area making tremendous sacrifices for our freedom. I was able to thank them in person and give them something to smile about.

Connect with people. Engage in conversation. Learn their story and share. We are a part of a growing community of caring photographers and volunteers who want to be the change they want to see in the world. Embrace this Help-Portrait tour de force. 2011 is going to rock.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010  |  Category: H-P Organizers, H-P Tips  |  2 Comments
  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    It's been a real challenge conveying the event through printed media, so any suggestions are much appreciated! This year our location had very few people attend in comparison to the number of volunteers. We are hoping to improve our marketing immensely next year!
    Ron Manke | 20/12/2010 5:45 PM

  • Stanley-Carl du-Pont Stanley-Carl du-Pont

    Neat write-up Leigh and thanks for sharing your experience. Making an early start, especially in areas such as marketing is key. Here is to an even bigger event in 2011!
    Stanley-Carl du-Pont | 21/12/2010 5:32 AM

A collective of Nashville songwriters penned a song for and inspired by Help-Portrait that’s available as a free download from Noisetrade. “I See You” was a collaboration between songwriters Andy Davis, Jason Ingram, Chad Cates and Paul Mabury. We recently talked with Davis about how the song came to be and what their hope for it is.

Where did the idea for the song come from?
Jeremy asked me if I’d be interested in writing a song for Help-Portrait – I thought it would be cool to get a lot of people involved, so it turned into a group effort with Paul, Jason, Chad and I.

When we got together we just started talking about what makes Help-Portrait so special…..what it does for people.  There are tons of reasons why it’s an amazing concept, but we kinda settled on this one idea that everyone wants to be noticed – to be seen – to validate their existence as humans. Getting your picture taken makes you feel important. [Help-Portrait] not only provides people with something they can hang on their wall – it gives them proof that they are worthy of having their picture taken – that they are not forgotten, and that their existence on earth is significant, just like someone who gets their picture taken all the time by professional photographers. The basic message of Help-Portrait, we felt, was to find people who may feel forgotten and invisible, and say to them, “I See You.” So we wrote that song.

What was the process like in writing it, then recording it?
Recording was a bit of a challenge since we all were heavily involved in other projects at the time, but we managed to pass protools files around and get it finished and mixed.  Everyone added a little bit here and there til it was done.

What do you hope people take away from hearing it?
Hopefully it will enhance the experience that people get when they view the behind-the-scenes videos from the various Help-Portrait shoots . ..really we just wanted to write a song that conveyed the emotional weight of what Help-Portrait creates for people.  It’s a pretty intense and emotional song, yet has a beauty and uplifting hope about it.

What are your favorite tools for your trade?
Some gear I play and use are as follows:
Protools LE
Shure Microphones
Gibson acoustic guitars
Universal Audio mic pre’s

Lyrics to “I See You”
Verse 1
you were the last in line
thought you never existed
you were the lost in time
they never called your name
if there’s a light to find, a ladder to climb
it’s nowhere to be found
if you just close your eyes
you might disappear
ooh ooh ooh

Verse 2
yeah it’s a fight sometimes
to leave where we’ve been hiding
maybe we’re all the same
just need to be found
to the blood in our veins, the lines on our face
to a story that isn’t over
what we don’t celebrate
we all lose in the end

youuuuuu you are here
there’s a light shining on,,,,shining on you….
youuuuuu  are here….
i see you, i see you

You were the last in line
I know it’s a fight sometime
You were the lost in time
I know it’s a fight sometimes
I see you
Ooh Ooh Ooh
They never called your name

youuuuuu you are here
there’s a light shining on….shining on you….
youuuuuu  are here….
i see you, i see you

Chorus Repeat

You can download the song now at Noisetrade.

Posted on Dec 18, 2010  |  Category: Inspiration  |  2 Comments
  • leigh caraccioli leigh caraccioli

    I appreciated Andy's song & blog share so much! It was marvelous to hear a little about the origins of this song which keeps playing in my head. And now I have no excuse for totally messing up the lyrics ;)
    leigh caraccioli | 20/12/2010 1:58 PM

  • Andy Davis Raises Money for Album + Homeless Meals | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 Andy Davis Raises Money for Album + Homeless Meals | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011

    [...] is no stranger to the Help-Portrait community.  Davis was one of the songwriters that penned the song inspired by H-P titled “I See You” (get the free download from Noisetrade if you haven’t!). When we [...]
    Andy Davis Raises Money for Album + Homeless Meals | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 | 17/02/2011 3:11 PM

We’re creating a page to list the national and local sponsors of Help-Portrait 2010. Please take a minute and let us know what companies donated resources to your event so we can include them on our “thanks” page!

Help-Portrait Sponsor Report Form:

Posted on Dec 08, 2010  |  Category: H-P Organizers  |  6 Comments
  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    The first time I submitted the form, it returned a blank page, so I did it a second time. Too bad Google Docs doesn't send a confirmation email when someone submits a form.
    Ron Manke | 08/12/2010 3:57 PM

  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    This website's time zone seems a bit messed too... it thinks it's 3:58 pm, but the local time in America is between 7 - 10 am. Maybe it's in GMT?
    Ron Manke | 08/12/2010 3:59 PM

  • Ron Manke Ron Manke

    Thanks for doing this! Has anyone created a Thank You letter template yet?
    Ron Manke | 08/12/2010 4:01 PM

  • grover grover

    Hey is the song available for the iphone as a ringtone,?
    grover | 09/12/2010 3:06 AM

  • Joanne Henig Joanne Henig

    Long Island Photo Gallery is set to do their shoot a week from today, Dec. 16th. Families in need at a local church.
    Joanne Henig | 09/12/2010 8:08 PM

  • Jaeger LeCoultre Jaeger LeCoultre

    The excellent and duly answer.
    Jaeger LeCoultre | 13/12/2010 7:05 PM