We are constantly inspired and amazed at the work of Ubuntu Help-Portrait in South Africa. Follow their Flickr feed and their website for ongoing inspiration. Here are some photos from recent events at the Joburg Housing Committee Holiday Programme on Oct. 25 and the Ekuphumleni Old Age Home in September. Click for more.




Posted on Oct 31, 2013  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

Can you believe that it’s already the end of October, and the 5th Annual International Help-Portrait Day is only 39 days away? As we’ve said all along, without you, Help-Portrait is just an idea. Because of you we’ve been able to give portraits to over 282,000 people in 67 countries! Amazing.

As we turn our attention to the details to ready ourselves for the big 07 December 2013 date, I wanted to send some reminders:

* If you’re looking to get connected to a group, the best thing to do is open Google and type “help-portrait [your city name]“. Our community is so widespread that it’s becoming nearly impossible for us to track each group individually.

* Speaking of tracking, if you’re leading a group, please be sure to let us know the details of your event » http://bit.ly/1fTFLxn

* If you’re looking to get started and need a jump start, start here » http://bit.ly/hp-150000

* If you’re in the US and you’d like to raise tax deductible funds for your event, go here » http://bit.ly/17Hc8r3  We’re sorry that we can only offer this for US based events.

* Don’t forget to track your numbers…this is a key part of building our story. We’re looking for details on the number of people attending your event, photographers, hairstylists, makeup artists and volunteers. You can report them here » http://bit.ly/18JOhu6

* We just released our new line of 2013 Help-Portrait apparel. Check out the the limited edition 2013 T-shirt we just released at the end of last week too. Get them while they last…once they’re gone, they gone! » http://bit.ly/H0Bbyy

* Reminder that the Twitter handle has changed to @helpportrait. Also, track social conversations by tagging your posts with #helpportrait

As always, if you have any other questions, please submit a support ticket on our support site: http://support.help-portrait.com.

Finally, remember, that Help-Portrait isn’t just about 07 December 2013…it’s about helping people anytime, anyplace, anyway you can. If you can’t do HP on 07 December, please find another day to participate.

Thanks again for all that you’re doing! We’re so excited to be celebrating our 5th anniversary with you!

Talk to you soon,

Kyle Chowning
Executive Director

Posted on Oct 30, 2013  |  Category: Updates  |  No Comments

Help-Portrait Milwaukee hosted a dozen event sites last year. They were superstars at fundraising and media darlings as well. In this video they recap their amazing year as they look forward to 2013′s events Dec. 7-9. Find them on Facebook at facebook.com/helpportraitmke and leave a note of encouragement below for them!

Posted on Oct 29, 2013  |  Category: Inspiration, Story of the Day  |  1 Comment
  • Gregg Gregg

    Help-Portrait Inspiration
    Gregg | 19/11/2013 3:51 PM

Last year in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that ravaged the Northeast U.S., the Help-Portrait community rallied to help victims.

With donations that came in, 78 photographers and 172 volunteers were able to provide free portraits for 278 different families who were affected across four events in New Jersey and New York. Each family received new hard drives where they will be able to store their new photographs. They also received a day of love, care and hope because of the generosity of others.

Here is a new documentary telling that story.

As we look toward this 5th anniversary of Help-Portrait on Dec. 7, we would love to invite you to serve 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 Oct 28, 2013  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • Gregg Gregg

    Help-Portrait Inspiration
    Gregg | 19/11/2013 3:57 PM

A few things you should know:

1. We are offering a new Limited Edition T for 2013!  Once it’s gone… it’s gone.  Order soon!

2. We now have V-neck and Ladies’ Cuts available! Whoohoo!

3. Make sure to place your order before Nov. 29th if you’re in the US or Canada and before Nov. 15th if you’re international to guarantee delivery by the Dec. 7th event!

4. Proceeds from merch go towards supporting Help-Portrait operating costs and future events.  By purchasing from the store you are becoming an advocate for HP.

Now go get your shop on here!


Posted on Oct 25, 2013  |  Category: Updates  |  No Comments

Want to know what’s happening in Help-Portrait events around the world as they happen? Follow our tagboard #helpportrait to see, and don’t forget to use #helpportrait when you post your pictures as well!


Posted on Oct 23, 2013  |  Category: Updates  |  1 Comment
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Bert McLendon is a photographer in Austin, Texas, who volunteered at Help Portrait event in Raleigh, N.C. in 2010. He was so inspired by the idea that he pursued a personal project in a similar vein. He shared this note with us, and we asked him if we could share his story here.

“A few months ago I wrapped up a personal project in the style of Help-Portrait. Volunteering at the Help-Portrait event is the direct reason I did this project and will continue to do projects like this. I just want to say thanks for doing what you do. Keep up the great and inspiring work; it not only affects the lives of the subjects but of the volunteers as well.” -Bert McLendon

Editor’s Note: For more information on how to do Help-Portrait by yourself, read our post, “What if I’m the only one?

Austin Portrait Photographer_0112

On December 4th, 2010, I volunteered my time to an organization called Help-Portrait, a global event that is focused on giving the gift of photography to people in need. One day a year during the holiday season, photographers around the world take portraits of people in need. Individuals and families who are struggling are given special attention, receiving hair and makeup, a professional photoshoot and a printed memory to enjoy. At the time of the event I was unemployed but there was something about this event that drew me in and I knew I had to be a part of it. I wanted to photograph at the event in Raleigh, NC, but the photography spots were already filled. The only spot needed was post processing/print tech.

As weird as it may sound, I’m so glad that there wasn’t a photographer spot open. The task that I had was the most fullfilling of all tasks that day, handing the prints to the people who were struggling with life in so many different ways. At the time, I was struggling myself, but after seeing how little others had and how little they lived on every day, it changed my perspective dramatically. Some of these families had never had a family photo taken.

My outlook on how I would use my photography was shifted in a direction that I had never imagined. After the event I started thinking about places where I could do a solo Help-Portrait event. I thought about the UNC Burn center, Duke Childrens Hospital and other established organizations. As luck would have it, as soon as connections started to be made, I made a huge transition in my life and moved down to Austin, Texas. A year later, after settling into the most awesome city in the world, I was introduced to the Marbridge Foundation in Manchaca, Texas, an independent living facility for people with special needs. I approached them with the idea and spirit of a Help-Portrait style project and we were able to execute their very own portrait day.

I was able to capture and deliver, with the help of my beautiful wife, 70 portraits of the residents. The residents were super excited on the day of the shoot and even more excited when they were handed the prints. I’m looking forward to the next portrait project.

Austin Portrait Photographer_0113

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Posted on Oct 22, 2013  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
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Help-Portrait Franklin is a group just south of Nashville, Tenn. They have four planning committee members and 40-50 volunteers for setup and the day. Last year’s and this year’s HP event is held at New Hope Academy, a private Christian school in Franklin which reserves 50 percent of its seats for low-income children with a commitment to launch all of its students into a bright future. In the past this group has helped cancer victims and those who suffered from the Nashville floods in 2010. Creating a well-organized event that caters to the needs of children and families are their strength. We asked them for some tips and best practices as they plan this year’s event. Have something you’d like to share? Please do! Leave a comment and keep the conversation going.


What advice would you give to someone planning their first HP event?

First, find out who your team is going to be. Remember to make sure you have non-photographers on this team. I think it’s essential to be able to utilize the talents of multiple areas. Remember to be realistic–not all artsy people’s strengths are details. Make a list of people you know that can be your “go to.”

Second, find your location.  Once you have that, then you can have a starting point of what you are going to need, how many people, who your market is going to be, etc.

How do you find the best location?

We based it first on who would have the biggest spot for free.  We found that churches were the best locations we could find for free, but we unfortunately lost people who wouldn’t attend since it was at a church.  Many of the free large spots, like churches, aren’t as easy to access for those without cars.

Last year’s location at New Hope Academy was amazing.  People were not as intimidated since it wasn’t a church, but it still wasn’t the ideal location for people without transportation.  We are looking at doing multiple smaller events with a base location…kind of a satellite concept to go where the need is.

What are the most essential things for running a successful event?

Communication and plenty of volunteers. Always overstaff volunteers, no matter what size event you’re planning.


Do you have any recommendations for creating and maintaining your group-planning site?

Create events within the site, especially if it’s just photographers getting together.  Send as many reminders as you can…the day before, the day of and a few hours before.  You really can’t remind them too much.

How have you gone about collecting donations?

We’ve utilized connections our team has to local businesses and visited them in person to collect donations.

What organizations have you worked with, how did you connect with them and what has been your experience working with them?

Each year, this is something we talk about improving.  We have worked to get many organizations involved, but this is one of the weakest areas of our event.  We are all still figuring out how to get people inside these organizations to promote from within.  It basically comes down to the fact that most people don’t trust it’s actually free.  We’ve gone to these locations multiple times personally and handed out flyers.  This has been the most effective effort thus far, but not the most realistic.  In the future, we may staff volunteers to go to organizations we partner with and help spread the word.


How have you found hairstylists and makeup artists?

In our experience, this has been our weakest link:  They have been the hardest to confirm, or they confirm and don’t show up.  We had a fantastic team this year that was confirmed the two days prior to our event. We’ve kept in contact to maintain the relationship for future events.  In addition, we are collecting makeup during the year, so they don’t have to use their personal products.  We also enlist high school and college-aged girls with lots of tools and experience for hair and makeup.  We have also used salons and beauty schools from around the area.

Day of tips?

Get there early, get ready before you open the doors, get the team together and remind them that our purpose is to give value and to give respect.  Make sure you have at least 2-3 extra volunteers to spare to run errands and fill in wherever.  This allows person in charge to focus on the big picture and not be caught up in the small things.

Any tips for smooth and efficient flow?  

Indoor and outdoor signage is key.  Have people at each checkpoint to direct people as they come.  We also did a run through the night before with all of our volunteers.  It allowed us to create a list of people to have at each station and have floaters to fill needs as they arose.


What ideas do you have when it comes to hospitality for your guests?

We offer food after their photos are taken.  This allows us to connect with the families while they wait.  We also have water available.

We did a prize basket (a bin with small stuffed animals & little toys) for the kids to pick from when they finish for the day.  In addition, we did a coat drive and allowed people to pick out a coat at the end of the event.

Printing tips?

We have loved HiTi 510s printers. They are dye-sublimation type printers that use a three-color ribbon process that is transferred to the paper.

We also did our prints on flash drives from iPromo. They were our main cost, but were so much faster than trying to burn DVDs.


What items do you need on hand?

Make sure you have plenty of supplies ahead of time and delegate! Many people in our area are willing to help, especially financially.

Here are some examples of items to have:

  • Sharpies
  • Duct Tape
  • Name Tags
  • Pens
  • Baby wipes & tissues
  • Bottled waters
  • Snacks for workers
  • Hairspray
  • Q-tips & cotton pads
  • Mascaras
  • Extension cords & power strips
  • Tablecloths
  • Napkins & plates
  • Paper towels
  • Clorox wipes

Here are a few examples of features we couldn’t make it without:

Electrical Volunteer: He helps get all the right cords for photographers, lighting & hair/makeup. This is a huge need, and helps us not blow fuses.

Identical Setup: We set up every station identically, which allows for consistency.  All photographers also shot in the same format and lighting.

Designated Kid Area:  We used a TV/DVD player and played the movie Elf.  It was a huge hit!  Have at least 4 volunteers stationed here and don’t forget you teenagers are often great with kids.  When the parents know the kids are in a safe place, it allows them to enjoy being pampered.

Event Photographers: Make sure you designate 2-3 photographers to take candid shots of the day’s process.

Volunteer Appreciation: Everyone can’t be photographers that day, so it’s important to put value on each person’s role in this process.  Thank volunteers whenever they help doing whatever.

Right before ending setup, pull the entire group of volunteers together and thank them for coming, for their commitment to such a great cause.  Remind them that this day is not about what hat they are wearing, but what they are creating; who they will be influencing, changing, and touching.  This may be these people’s first experience of being on the receiving end of a selfless act.

Our goal is not for them to see who we are, but to feel Jesus through us.


Any final tips for us?

Keep music going in the background.  Make sure the photographers and hairstylists/makeup artists have what they need.  Follow up with the kids area, and keep the food going at all times!

Are you local and want to get involved? Join Help-Portrait Franklin on Facebook for details.

Posted on Oct 21, 2013  |  Category: H-P Organizers, H-P Tips, Inspiration  |  3 Comments
  • Jones Jones

    Hi - thanks for the tips. After burning discs the last couple of years - I really like your idea of using the jump drives. Just a couple of questions: what were your costs (model / quantity) and it looks like iPromo allows for logos - did you use the H-P logo or keep it simple with a solid color? (it it's easier - you can email me directly, too)
    Jones | 22/10/2013 4:19 AM

  • David Braud David Braud

    We ordered them with the logos. In fact, they may still have the graphics. We went with the logo on one side and the words HELP-PORTRAIT on the other. I ordered them through a rep named Rahan who was easy to work with. They were 3.50 each, but talking to Jeremy and the Chownings, we may place a large bulk order this year and then make them available for different groups to purchase at cost.
    David Braud | 22/10/2013 1:22 PM

  • Jones Jones

    Thanks, David, for the info. At the end of the day, I'm not sure if we'll have the budget but it sounds like a great workflow enhancement (and it's certainly something to bring up with the local planning team).
    Jones | 23/10/2013 5:34 AM

Help-Portrait season is in full-swing, and we could use some additional help!  We currently have an opening for a Social Media Coordinator Volunteer to join our team. Here’s what we’re looking for:

Job Title: Coordinator, Social Media

Reports to: Project Manager

Social Media Coordinator – Job Description

Summary & Position Overview

The Social Media Coordinator will implement Help-Portrait’s online community strategy, managing engagement and interactivity with its audience, and fostering community spirit.  Will work closely with the Project Manager, Online Editor, designers and developers to support their respective roles, ensuring consistency in voice, and cultivating a strong community around the brand. Will have online community management experience at a content-rich consumer website and be able to work in a nonprofit environment.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities

Primary duties include but are not limited to the following:

  • Implements the online community strategy, coordinating with stakeholders across the company to ensure its effectiveness and providing superior quality of customer service and support to our community with the help of various communication tools.

  • Manages a volunteer moderator program and build an active community leader network.

  • Works with  corporate to ensure the community platforms (e.g., blogs, FB, Twitter, G+, moderation tools, etc.) are kept up-to-date.

  • Manages a schedule of online events and campaigns (e.g., video campaigns, email campaigns, merch campaigns, etc.)

  • Acts as an advocate of the Company HP in the brand’s community and as the advocate of the community within the Company, engaging in dialogues and answering questions where appropriate.

  • Gives regular feedback and insights gained from community monitoring to the HP core  team, to help them evolve their strategies in a timely fashion.

  • Supports other social media marketing initiatives as needed.


  • Minimum 2 years of online community management experience for a nonprofit or consumer content website.

  • Must be currently active in social networks with a Klout score of at least 60.


  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of online community platforms and their respective participants (Forums, Blogs, Photo Uploads, Profiling, etc.) and how they can be deployed in different scenarios.

  • Have a good knowledge of principles of customer service.

  • Familiarity with content management systems (WordPress), MyEmma, and other Web publishing tools.

  • Proficiency in Photoshop and HTML preferred.

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, results-oriented team environment with a constantly evolving workflow.

  • Strong written and oral communications skills.

  • Exceptional technical abilities and experience working and communicating with technical and non-technical staff.

  • Well-organized, able to juggle multiple projects.

  • Creative, diplomatic, cool under pressure and fantastic interpersonal skills.

  • Knowledge of the nonprofit industry a plus.

  • Must be a self-starter


This position reports to Project Manager


Commitment of 10 hrs/wk


This is a volunteer position.  Benefits include hands-on experience working with a global nonprofit and being an integral part of the carrying out the mission of Help-Portrait, and being listed on the HP staff page.

This description may expand to include other duties as required.

If you are interested and meet the criteria above, we would love to hear from you!  

Please send your resumé to Kendra


Posted on Oct 15, 2013  |  Category: Updates  |  No Comments

Help-Portrait is a global movement of photographers and volunteers who give back. Our 2013 video documents some of the amazing stories happening around the world in the past five years we’ve been doing this event.

Help-Portrait is more than a day of giving photos – it’s a day for celebrating hope.

Share this video with others, then let us know how you’ve been impacted by Help-Portrait in the comments below. Also, remember to save the date for Help-Portrait’s fifth anniversary event on 07 Dec 2013 and get involved in a local group today.

Posted on Oct 01, 2013  |  Category: Updates  |  No Comments