Below you’ll find some Frequently Asked Questions. If you can’t find an answer to your question, please submit it on our community support forum.

What equipment do I need?2014-09-22T17:04:11-05:00

A question we get all of the time here at Help-Portrait is what kind of equipment do I need for my Help-Portrait event?

Austin Mann, a Dallas based photographer that put on the HP event in Dallas last year put together a list of things he used for his event in Dallas and he also included a video that walks you through each piece of equipment along with some suggestions and explanations on how and why he used the equipment he did and how it can be successful for your event.

You don’t have to use all of this particular equipment in order to have a successful Help-Portrait event, but hopefully this will point you in the correct direction.

Here’s a link to the post.

What about event signage?2016-12-03T07:46:03-05:00

Ron Manke, a Help-Portrait organizer in Edmonton, AB, Canada, has shared his event signage and forms. We’ve added them to the downloads page and posted the links to the PDFs here as well. Feel free to use these or use these as guides to create your own.

Event Signage & Forms

What size pictures are the best to provide?2016-12-03T07:46:05-05:00

What is the recommend size of prints?

5×7 and 8×10 are good sizes, as 4×6 might feel a little small. You might want to ask your subjects what they prefer and give them as much say in the process as possible.

Should we offer one than one size?

Try to at least offer 4×6, 5×7 and 8×10.

How many prints do you normally give people?

It’s up to what you’re able to do. Last year we gave some families several prints, and other times we were so busy we were only able to give some families one.

Do you give people multiple poses – i.e. family shot, just mom & kids, just dad & kids, etc.

Some families we were able to give multiple poses to – again it depends on how busy your event is and how many you’re able to print. You can also burn a CD if time and supplies allow with all the images.

Do we print as soon as the portrait is taken, or give them a time to come back?

Either way will work. Printing immediately will be more convenient but giving the subjects a time to come back creates yet another opportunity to connect. One person in the chat room said “We will be giving people a ticket stub that has a number on it so we can track the people and their prints.” Great idea!

Do you let the subjects choose which image they want?

We think this is a good idea. The more control you can give the subjects in this process the better.

Is it okay to create an online gallery for the participants who want to proof their photos?

Same answer as above. We think it’s a great idea if you’re able to offer this – so long as the gallery isn’t public.

In your experience, did people want the actual image files? i.e. on CD

Yes, we heard from several that they were able to offer the images on CD as well as prints, so that’s a great idea.

Do you have a sample of that photographer’s release for subjects to take to get their own prints made?

Yes. Download it here: Photo Release Form (PDF)

Does my event have to be on the annual date?2014-09-22T16:57:57-05:00

Absolutely not. Help-Portrait is about a movement of generosity, not a specific date. Find people in need, take their picture, print their picture and deliver it…any day or time of the year. The more, the merrier.

Do I have to be a professional photographer?2014-09-22T16:36:35-05:00

Absolutely not. In fact, most of our photographers are not professional.

If you are excited about the idea, have a camera and a printer (or access to one), go for it!

Can I take pictures on my phone?2014-09-22T16:35:35-05:00

Yes! As long as you have a way of printing them for your subject.

How do I plan an international HP event?2016-12-03T07:46:06-05:00

Stanley-Carl du-Pont is an H-P organizer for Ubuntu Help-Portrait in Johannesburg, South Africa. He offers an overview of how they plan their Help-Portrait event and points out that every city and event may approach it differently. 

Click here to read his blog post.

Can you help me find someone to take my picture?2014-09-22T16:32:45-05:00

Unfortunately, we (Help-Portrait, Inc) cannot connect you to a local photographer or photography group. If you would like to have your picture taken, it’s your responsibility to search for a local group and ask them directly.

How do I find a local non-profit partner?2016-12-03T07:46:07-05:00

Finding at least one local non-profit partner is essential to pulling off a good medium to large event. The main reason is simply because these organizations have established relationships with the people you seek to take portraits of and they’re in regular communication with them. This is a huge benefit when it comes to promoting your event and ensuring that people show up for it.

Here’s a list of where we’ve been most “successful” in serving large groups of people:

  • Rescue mission
  • Womens health
  • Halfway houses
  • Recovery programs < this is very unique experience because so many of them deal with poor self-image issues
  • Food kitchens
  • Churches
  • Homeless organizations/ministries

Check out this blog post for more details about securing local non-profit partners.

What are the necessary elements to a successful HP event?2016-12-03T07:46:08-05:00

If you’re new, this can be quite overwhelming. So, below is a list of what you need to get started on your first HP event.

At minimum, you need:

  • Camera
  • Ability to print (onsite, local store or online)
  • people to shoot

This is not an oversimplification of the model. We, the creators of HP, have done many that were just that simple. We’ve also done some that are complex:

  • Camera
  • Light kits
  • Backdrops
  • Hair & Makeup
  • Food – We got ours donated from Chick-fil-a and Walmart
  • Donated clothing
  • Coffee – donated from starbucks
  • Printers – Donated from a local photography store
  • Frames – Donated from local home store
  • Photo Release forms
  • Press announcement sent out to local news outlets
  • Videographer to capture the day
  • B-Roll photog to capture the behind the scenes
  • And lots of people :)

People can come from lots of places. Here’s a list of where we’ve been most “successful” in serving large groups of people:

  • Rescue mission
  • Womens health
  • Halfway houses
  • Recovery programs < this is very unique experience because so many of them deal with poor self image issues
  • Food kitchens
  • Churches
  • Homeless organizations/ministries

The best advice I can give you…it’s best to partner with organizations and ministries that have built relationship with the people you want to reach. This connection means less work in gathering and returning pictures…especially if you’re working with homeless people. It also means that they know how to communicate with them. This will save you a ton of time and energy!

Remember: it’s all about finding ONE person, printing A picture and delivering it to them. Really, this is enough. Anything beyond this is icing on the cake.

When you engage with people who are normally avoided or don’t have a positive self image, you are giving them a gift that will mean more than you could ever imagine. Trust me. It’s a surprising experience, AND one of the most rewarding!


Do you have a recommended site for organizing my group and event?2016-12-03T07:46:09-05:00

meetupWe recommend Meetup.com as the easiest way to setup, organize and communicate about the event with those who want to participate. The tools and resources they provide are essential. For a small fee, you can upgrade and open up more planning and communication tools.

Meetup.com makes it easy for other photogs, hairstylists and makeup artists to find you too.


Do you need to be part of a group at a location?2014-09-22T16:17:59-05:00

Q: Hi I just wondered, to be a part of help-portrait, do you need to be part of a group at a location? Or can you find someone you know of in need and offer to take a portrait of them and their family on the day and that still count? Like if I found someone in need & did just them, would that count enough to be a part of it?

A: Absolutely. This is the essence of Help-Portrait. It’s meant to be as simple and powerful as that is. Sometimes it’s fun to get with friends and combine efforts, but as long as you find someone deserving, take their picture, print and deliver it, you’ve followed the Help-Portrait formula.

Can I establish my own non-profit using the name Help-Portrait?2016-10-25T10:19:02-05:00

Because Help-Portrait is a US based non-profit, we often get asked if people can setup a non-profit in their own country in order to offer tax benefits and to comply with government requirements. Unfortunately, Help-Portrait, Inc. doesn’t have the resources to properly setup and maintain these type of partnerships.

If you are seeking tax benefits or need to connect with a non-profit for legal purposes, we suggest the following:

  1. Ask a local non-profit to assist you in your event and efforts – Oftentimes, local churches and parishes will utilize HP events as an outreach and partner with local HP volunteers. This allows you to fundraise and funnel expenses through them for tax purposes.
  2. Start your own non-profit – This is the most extensive and expensive option, but it would give you the freedom and benefits you seek. Please understand that Help-Portrait is an international trademark and you do not have permission to use it in your business name.
What does a typical event look like?2016-12-03T07:46:10-05:00

There isn’t one way to do a Help-Portrait event. Our experience has found that events in third world countries look very different than those in western influenced countries. The setup and format largely depends on what your goals are.

Here’s what one of our test events in Nashville, Tennessee looked like:

Setup started at 8:30am. We took pictures from 10-4 and then cleaned up until about 5pm. Specifically related to the Nashville Rescue Mission, as people came in to eat their meal, one or two of our volunteers would explain the project and see if they would like their portrait taken. Then they would just walk over and get it done. Our contact at the shelter knew all the people, so there was no need to write names down, etc. But we have heard of some people taking a practice shot where the person/family is holding a sign with their name, or maybe an ID number, and then you can match them later.


How do I start a group?2017-12-04T10:28:54-05:00

If you’re interested in starting your own group and/or event, fill out this form so we can register you and send the Help-Portrait Event Director’s Kit. This kit will provide you details on how to start and lead a group effectively, use the HP brand, answer questions about merchandise, fundraising and submitting your event statistics to be included in our global impact report. **Note, as of 2018 we are no longer offering support for director’s kit and expenses will no longer be eligible for reimbursement.**

What if I can’t find a local group?2016-12-03T07:46:12-05:00

If you’ve searched for a pre-existing local group and you can’t find one—start one!

Help-Portrait is as simple as you want it to be. You can take photos with one person or 500. It’s up to you, your contacts and your resources to make it happen.

How do I join an existing group?2016-12-03T07:46:13-05:00

If you haven’t already, find a group near you.

Once you’re able to locate an active group, we recommend reaching out to the group leader to see how you can connect and get involved. The earlier you join, the better your chances of playing a meaningful part in the event.

What about liability insurance?2014-09-22T15:52:33-05:00

If you are using a commercial space for your event, you may be required to provide proof of insurance in order to use the space. Help-Portrait, Inc. does not provide coverage for this as it is cost prohibited to cover events in nearly 70 countries.

We recommend that you reach out to a local insurance agent and ask for him/her to underwrite your insurance needs. If you are unable to get it at no-cost, a short-term policy shouldn’t cost too much. We’ve heard of some groups getting it for around $100 USD.

Who pays for the event?2014-09-22T15:49:55-05:00

The vision of Help-Portrait is that the community of photographers, hairstylists, makeup artists and volunteers would pool their financial resources to pay for the event and the materials needed. Many groups have found success in getting local companies to donate some or all of their needs. We think this is a really great solution and it gets the community involved too.

How do I find out if there is an event in my area?2016-12-03T07:46:14-05:00

The best way to find an active local group is a Google search. We recommend searching for the following format: “{city state} help-portrait“. It may seem simple, but it’s effective.

In the past, we operated a “community” site that existed for the sole purpose of connecting volunteers with local groups. Overtime, that site has become inactive and no longer used.

Please note, the community site will be shut down on January 31, 2015.

Where can I download the logo?2014-09-22T15:44:52-05:00

All of our downloads are available on the DOWNLOADS page.

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