Gabriel Doty shares this memory from Help-Portrait Atlanta:
This teen mother and her friend came in, both with new babies about 6 months old. The girls were both a little shy, a little stand offish, but both lit up as I took pictures for them and their babies.
Our site didn’t do onsite printing, but I had happened to bring in my small Canon Selphy printer that does 4x6s just in case. I only had 6 prints in it, and was down to my last 2 when the girls came in, so they got the last two.
The second young girl that I photographed was very quiet as we looked over the shots I had taken, and picked one for their Help Portrait print, as well as which to print for the 4×6 I could give her today. She quietly picked one, and said thank you, nothing more.
I moved on to the next editing task while her friend was having her photo edited at the other computer. A few minutes later I happened to look up as the young girl I had printed the image for was showing it to her friend, tears streaming down her face.
It was perhaps one of the most touching things I have ever seen… Teen mom, one can only imagine the challenges that brought her to this point, huge challenges ahead of her, moved to tears by holding a single picture of her and her daughter.
That is what Help-Portrait is about, guess what I will be doing next December?
submitted by Juan Rubalcava in Hermosillo City, México
“You know, I’m not rich, I don’t have nothing to give to my family when I die. This picture is my inheritance.” –Baltazar, the elder of his community
Juan also shared this story: “The other picture is from Miguel and his daughter Rosaura. They were a normal family when they had an horrible accident a few years back. His wife couldn’t go ahead with the situation and left him and Rosaura alone. They have no other family, it’s only him and the girl. He is her father and mother, he combs her, cleans her, and takes her to his daily job. He’s always talking in plural, always speaking for her and saying, ‘Rosaura says thank you’ (she can’t speak). He was struggling to smile for the picture until I said, ‘Now give her a kiss and tell her how much you love her.’”
If you have participated in a Help-Portrait event before, you know that there are amazing stories to be shared throughout the day. We’d love for you to be able to get those stories to a wider audience through the vehicles of your local news stations or newspapers. Below are a few simple ideas to help promote your Help-Portrait event and share the power of a photo.
1. Write and service a press release that talks about the basic information of your event. You can use the sample release here to begin.
2. Once you have your press release ready, find the right contacts in your area to make sure they have the release in their email inbox. You can find these contacts by looking online at the news sites – look for a newsroom contact or producer. Also ask around in your community and your volunteers – you’d be surprised how many people know someone who knows someone that can help get the word out and on the news.
3. A few days before your event, send another reminder to the same contacts about the event with all of the basic info – you could also resend the original press release just as a reminder of the event coming up. Many of the news outlets do not assign stories until the day before or day of the event – so do not be surprised if you don’t hear back from anyone. Most of the time these things happen very last minute.
4. On the day of the event, if you get a minute in the morning, give a call to the newsdesk and just remind them you have this event happening and you’d love to have someone come cover it. Be quick and specific – the person that is normally handling the phone at the newsdesk is in a hurry to grab your info and move onto the next call.
5. Since things happen last minute, make sure there is a cell phone number and contact that a reporter can reach on the day of your Help-Portrait event. This person needs to have all of the important info on hand for when someone calls – such as:
- Is there parking for our TV truck?
- Can we film a family or individual going through the whole Help-Portrait process?
- When should we arrive for the best subjects/ opportunities to tell a good story?
- Where exactly is your venue located?
- Do you have any local celebrities or well-known people attending your event?
- How long will you be there today?
6. Also be sure to get a contact if they have called you so in case you don’t see them coming, and you need to reach out to them again have a phone number that you can reach that person.
7. A few other things to keep in mind if a media outlet attends your event:
- Everyone that is filmed must sign a release form to know that they could possibly be on TV or in a Newspaper
- You have a spokesperson on behalf of your local Help-Portrait team that can speak about what the event is and what it means to be a part of this worldwide event. You can look at the quick facts here for more info on Help-Portrait.
8. Keep in mind that having the media cover your event is secondary to what you are doing that day – it is just the icing on the cake if it happens. We LOVE reading all of the stories that run across the globe, but what we love even more is knowing how many lives are being impacted on December 8th or whenever you hold your event.
Editor’s Note: Andrew Fore reveals Lexington’s plans for 2012 Help-Portrait & a cool way a second location opened up for them.
Last year was the first year for H-P in Lexington, KY and we managed 132 guests and 72 portraits. It was an amazing event and some great stories came out of the day and lots of positive comments, but it wasn’t until a few days ago did the best story come to fruition.
I am in the process of putting together this year’s event and have decided to do two locations in Lexington so we can serve two parts of our city that desperately need this. I already had one location confirmed and had an idea of where I wanted the second location to be, but did not have any solid contacts in that area and was just about to start cold-calling when I got a voicemail on my phone.
It was from a lady who said she and her son were recipients of H-P last year, and she is now part of a church that turns out to be in the very part of town I want to do the second location. She was asking if I would be interested in using their facility. When I called her back she told me about how the event last year was so amazing for her and her son as they did not have any money for pictures or anything last year so they came to the event and were overwhelmed with the love they felt from the volunteers that spent time with them during the shoot, enjoying refreshments, and then the framed picture they received. She wanted to reach out to see if I would be interested in using their facility for H-P this year so she could be a part of the “giving” aspect of H-P after being on the receiving end last year.
Of course her facility is now our second location for this year’s H-P event. We are going to run two locations simultaneously on 12/8/12. What a blessing to be involved with this movement – stories like this one are what it is all about!
Here’s the little guy’s photo taken last year:
Do you know a former recipient of Help-Portrait who is now a volunteer? Share your story with us in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: Help-Portrait volunteer Jessica Barker sent in this bit of inspiration about Minneapolis/St. Paul’s Help-Portrait team.
Our Metro Help Squad team in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota is over 200 volunteers strong. Three of those volunteers are me, my mother Hanna, and my daughter Lily.
We’ve spent time together the last three years giving the gift of professional photographs to people at a homeless shelter, at a crisis center for women & families and a music high school for at risk-teens.
My challenge to you is to incorporate YOUR family within the volunteer group in your city – bring your sister or brother, your cousin, your dad, your grandmother, your kids, etc.
Neither my mother nor my daughter are photographers, but they love to help others and have huge hearts. I am proud to call them my family – both by blood and by being connected by Help-Portrait.
Share the love one photo at a time. Here are a couple of ours.
Committed Photography has chosen Help-Portrait as their cause of the month by helping to raise funds for Help-Portrait through fine art photography. Semi-pro and pro photographers are encouraged to showcase their work on the Committed Photography website. Committed Photography markets, sells, manufactures and ships the purchases to its customers worldwide. This is the final week you can order prints. This is a great way to support Help-Portrait. Help us spread the word about this campaign. Here are some sample posts:
Customer Twitter/Facebook Posts:
Did you know you can help out #HelpPortrait through Photography for Cause? See all of the #art that is available for purchase – http://bit.ly/Utno3i
#HelpPortrait is part of @CommittedPhoto #Photography for Cause. See all of the great #art that supports us! http://bit.ly/Utno3i
Editor’s note: Debbi Robertson, a Help-Portrait volunteer in Fort Worth, Texas, shares their plans for Help-Portrait 2012 in this guest blog post. Have an idea for an event? Share it in the comments below.
Debbi Robertson and one of the Admin Team members (Carol Gray) on the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in Hico, TX.
This year Help-Portrait Fort Worth, TX is serving the Christ’s Haven for Children located in Keller (a suburb of FW). It is a home for children ages 0-17 along with staff and House Families. The children are there for a multitude of reasons: parents cannot care for the children for whatever reason, possibly no longer living, etc. The home is EXTREMELY excited about our involvement!
We have an Admin Team of 7 and then several committees, each with a committee lead person.
- Photographers/Assistants/Lightroom Techs/Behind the Scenes Photographers
- Hair & Makeup
- Food Catering and Servers (we are having lunch catered for the children, staff and all volunteers)
- Arts & Crafts
- Shepherds (those who will shepherd the children from one station to another)
- Registration and Reception
- Children’s After-Event Project
- We currently have about 75 COMMITTED volunteers and more and more are joining us daily.
We are printing 3 photos each (“Thank you” to Walmart for their generous donation of the printing.) One will go to the child, another to send to a family member of the child (to be a reminder to those who may have forgotten their child or to bless those who desire to be with them, but for whatever reason cannot), and the third will be used as the Craft project. They will be decorating mats that will show “What Christ’s Haven means to them.” and then giving those to the home to display as they please.
McDonalds is graciously providing food and we will be joining the children and home-staff for lunch. A massage therapist is donating her time and bringing her chair to give 5-10 minute massages to the staff and House Family Parents while the photos and crafts are keeping the children occupied. We are even planning to have an After-Event Project to give the children a taste of photography and then show them what their gifts and talents have produced. We will bring point and shoot cameras to the event and allow the children to take photos of the photographers, then do something with those photos afterwards to give to the Home.) We want them to see their potential and quite possibly spark future photographers.
We are VERY excited and HONORED to be a part of such a wonderful Event. This is our first, but we are already making plans for next year!
Thank you Help-Portrait for this opportunity to serve and love on these children in a unique way!
Help-Portrait Founder Jeremy Cowart, Executive Director Kyle Chowning and volunteers from Help-Portrait gathered in a Times Square studio to provide hair & makeup and free portraits for several victims from Hurricane Sandy. Here’s a look at some photos from the day. Help us replicate this experience for 200+ families on Dec. 15 by helping fund the Help-Portrait Hurricane Sandy Campaign on Indiegogo now.
Help-Portrait volunteer Keely Kernan shares her photos and stories with us as we kick off the Help-Portrait Hurricane Sandy Campaign today to raise money to give FREE portraits and goods to 200+ families affected. Visit HPSandy.com to donate.
This year’s New York Help-Portrait event is special because we are working with families in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Many of these families have lost everything.
I have worked for an extended period of time with All Hands Volunteers, a disaster relief organization that provides assistance to survivors of natural disasters. While working on the ground in New York, I met David Sylvester, a resident in Staten Island. After the storm subsided he and his wife returned home only to be devastated that their home had been completely destroyed by a fire. A power line fell on it during the storm. They began to sort through their belongings in the debris. One of the items his wife found in the ashes was a frame that encased a photo of her father who had passed away.
Joanne Vidal and her family live only a few blocks from David. Her family did not evacuate because her parents did not want to leave; Instead, they stayed upstairs during the storm. The water rose to the top of the first floor leaving her and her family stranded above twelve feet of water. They moved to the attic. She described the situation by saying, “There were fires and houses exploding, the ashes were all coming this way. So now on top of not knowing if we were going to drown we also thought we were going to be set on fire. I don’t know how to swim but my kids know how to swim, I told them if anything happens to grab the baby and just swim until you can reach something and don’t look back for me.” The next day a rescue boat evacuated her and her family. See the video below for more of her story.
Many of the families we are working with during this year’s Help-Portrait event have not only lost everything they own but some have lost each other.
Photos are so important to us because they evoke memories, are a testament to our experiences, and capture the story of life unfolding. This year’s New York Help-Portrait event is about bringing families together in the wake of hurricane Sandy, creating a positive environment and capturing new memories.
Video and editing: Keely Kernan Song: David Cardall / Life and Death