This past weekend, I volunteered for an annual event called HELP-PORTRAIT. This was my second year to be a part of this event, and once again, it has left me speechless. HELP-PORTRAIT was started about 4 years ago by a photographer in Nashville, TN who wanted to be able to make a difference with his camera. As a photographer, we recognize that professional photos can be expensive... sometimes really expensive... but we also believe in the power and worth of a captured image. HELP-PORTRAIT was designed so that photographers aren't just "taking" photos, but rather, "giving" them. It's such an awesome, yet very simple, concept.
There is so much magic wrapped up in this day... from the dozens of volunteers... to the massive amount of camera equipment... to the hair & make-up... to the food donations... to the news cameras... to the live music... to the many photographers... and to the stories. No doubt, it's the stories that make this day completely worth it. The people and stories that walked through the door on Saturday will forever touch my heart.
Here are a few of my favorite moments from this year's event...
1) The photographers. It can be a little intimidating at first... you walk in with your camera... secretly wondering how your equipment stacks up to the photographer next to you... knowing that you've seen so-and-so's work... all while wondering if you can keep up with the tech-savvy lighting-gurus... but on this day, we are anything but competition... we are family. Everyone is there with the same purpose... the same desire... and it was such a joy to work with such an amazing group of people.
2) The volunteers. It takes more than "just photographers" to pull off an event like this... and man, did we have an awesome group of volunteers. So many people were willing to help "wherever needed." We had photographers greeting people at the door... hair stylists inviting people straight off the streets... editing masterminds preparing lunch... you name it, someone did it. But the best part was to see how excited volunteers/photographers got when we prepared the finished product. That's a little happy dance in the photo above:)
3) The kiddos. The little ones certainly know how to work the camera! This cutie-patootie was thrilled to have her hair and make-up done and twirl for us in her sparkly red dress. It was so funny to see all of the photographers swarm around all the adorable kids that walked in the door. Seriously... talk about paparazzi. There were probably 10 other photographers capturing this moment... I kid you not.
4) The actual photos. Something magical happened when we handed that printed image over to somebody. I can't quite explain it. If you're like me, you take hundreds of photos... of your kids... your blog projects... your food... and you probably have a few of yourself too... it's something I definitely take for granted. Many of the people that visited us on Saturday haven't had a picture of themselves made in years... or for some, ever. The smiles and tears that came when we handed over some of these photos were beyond words.
I'm so grateful that I was able to play a small role in this special event. The people and stories will live in my heart forever. All in all... a picture perfect day:)
To learn more about HELP-PORTRAIT, go here. To read about last year's Louisville event, go here. To see a quick (less than 2 minutes) news clip video about this year's Louisville event, go here.
Linking up with Angie at Many Little Blessings...
and Lena at Lena B, Actually...