Thursday, December 23, 2010

Help Portrait 2010: Over 80 Lawrenceville Family Portraits Made!!

This post is a little late, but it really has been one crazy month. I will tell you more about it later, but I really wanted to make this post since everyone worked so hard to make Help Portrait 2010 a success.

This year is my second year participating in Help Portrait. Last year Jessica, Hannah and I volunteered and worked at the Lawrenceville location. You can read about our experience here. We had such an amazing experience, especially Hannah, that this year we decided to take the whole crew. So this time, Jessica, Hannah, Delanie, Zac and I worked at the Lawerenceville location all day. I originally had been assigned to work as a photographer, but when we got there, one of the processors was unable to come, so I processed photos all day and never got my camera out of it's bag. Although I don't have any photos to share with you this year, I do have our special story to share with you.

But I'm not going to tell you about it. Nope. I've asked Hannah to do it instead. I thought y'all might like a little break from me. So, making a guest blogger appearance right here on my blog is our very own Hannah!!

Here's what she had to say:

Guess What? Help Portrait was a couple of weeks ago and we had a blast! Help Portrait is a volunteer event where photographers, editors, and friendly people gather to take pictures of people who can’t afford Christmas Portraits. Around a hundred families came and had their own Christmas Portraits done. Our location was one of the busiest in Atlanta. A lot of the people there had a long year and couldn’t afford a portrait. With the help of our editing crew, photographers, greeters, and runners the entire day went smoothly.

We were there from around 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. It was a long day with Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast and Chick-Fil-A lunches. There was a business card exchange and promises to see everyone for next year’s Help Portrait. We took pictures of everyone, including ourselves. Everyone joked around, messed with Christmas props and experimented with ways to make young children to smile. The way that seemed to work the best was bribery with donuts and candy canes. All the families were very polite and grateful. The editors worked in front of their computers all day and I bet their eyes hurt. The photographers were tired of standing all day, and the runners were out of breath after finding families, papers, and places for everyone. Their were times when no one showed up for a while, and times where wait lines made the room too full for comfort. We ran out of chairs and tried to find places for everyone. However, despite being tired everyone was enjoying themselves. We had more photographers than we had room for so people switched off with each other and a couple of photographers edited photos instead. We exchanged jokes, special techniques, and phone numbers. All different types of people were there from youth volunteers to advanced photographers to design majors.

The volunteers got to meet people they didn’t know, and a couple who were brand new. From infant twins to brothers in high school, the photographers got a lot of practice in taking pictures of different types of groups. We talked to all sorts of people and we got to see all sorts of outfits like traditional Indian Dress and a coordinated black and white set. There was even a set of triplets around three or four wearing the same the same outfit. We had three backgrounds, two black, and one white; we often ended up debating what background color was best.

I was a greeter and a runner. I kept track of kids, passed out treats, and did my best to make everyone smile. When a little boy fell, or a grandmother was worried about whether or not her family would show up, I was there to help. One woman had a large family and a set of grandkids. She was concerned about whether they would come. She waited for a long time and was ready to leave, because she thought her family wouldn’t come. She said she had a family of twelve, and had never seen the youngest two, who were only a couple years old. I brought her a donut and talked with her and convinced her to stay. Her family showed up in about 20 minutes, along with an extra surprise. The nine she expected to come did, along with the rest of her family. The look on her face when she saw grandkids was well worth the wait. I know she was glad to have stayed.

The entire event was an enjoyable experience, and we already waiting for sign-ups for next year’s event. Every single person there worked hard and gave precious moments of joy to remember forever. From families of few to groups of twelve, hundreds of photos were taken. Each family got one free picture of their choice. With a little editing, dozens of people left happy. After finding missing memory cards, rearranging the room twice, and matching faces to names everyone was tired out. We ran out of paper towels, and bottled water and made an emergency Kroger trip. By the time we got home we were to tired to do anything so we ordered Chinese Takeout and dropped into bed. Help-Portrait makes hundreds of people happy every year, and I am proud to be a part of it. Visit the site (www.help-portrait.com) if you’re interested to learn more.


Thank you Hannah for making a guest 'appearance' on my blog. You did a great job, both with the blog post, and on Help Portrait day. All of the other volunteers were really impressed with Hannah's take charge attitude. You can always count on a first born to get some stuff DONE.

And now, take a look at this awesome video produced by volunteer Dave Ferebee.




Once again, Help Portrait was a remarkable and rewarding experience. It was fantastic to work with many volunteers from last year, and to meet several new ones. The whole family is already looking forward to next year!

As always, thanks for checking out my blog. I hope everyone has a very happy Christmas Day on Saturday. I'll be with you again next week with some new cool stuff to share.

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