Free Family Portrait Event

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by crimbfighter, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    There wasn't a great fit for a gallery for this post, so here it sits... Working in law enforcement I encounter many people every day. Many who are your average Joe citizen, some are those who have had a very privileged life, but most commonly, it's those who have struggled. Struggled financially, emotionally, socially, you name it. I go into homes where the best and happiest family memory they have is something many of us probably get to enjoy every day. Most noticeably for me, as a photographer, is the obvious lack of any family photos. Most of us take for granted that we have generations of photos to look back on, talk about, use to bring back memories. Many families I meet lack this privilege. At best they have a few photos they snapped on their cell phone, but those are often lost when they change phones, change housing, or run from violence leaving everything behind. I see blurry images printed on printer paper, tapped to the wall. I see broken photo frames holding what is sometimes the only family photo they have. Knowing what they mean to me, it makes me upset that they often don't have lasting family photos to cherish.

    For years I thought about this. I asked myself how I can help using my talents. I wanted to use my skills to bring photography to those who couldn't otherwise afford it. After asking around, a photographer friend of mine pointed me to a group named Help-Portrait (www.help-portrait.com) as a possible way to accomplish my goal. Long story short, I ended up borrowing the model they created and organized my own event, but not under the Help Portrait name or umbrella. Over the course of three years I tried to bring it together, but various issues kept it from coming to fruition. Eventually, I partnered with a local photographer who was instrumental in recruiting and organizing local photographers to help (I learned that trying to organize photographers is a bit like herding cats...)

    On December 2nd of last year we finally hosted our own event. Our local Salvation Army cut us a deal on renting their gym for the event and a fundraising group comprised of retired law enforcement funded it. We had six photographers and set up five photo bays and we had two printing stations running. There were many kinks along the way, but we learned from them and vowed to make this an annual event. The feedback from the families was incredibly rewarding. We had families who left everything behind after fleeing domestic violence to families who had never had a family portrait done, and even a family being held together by a single mother with cancer who wanted photos to give her children if she didn't survive. In the end, the point of this is to encourage anyone who can use their talents (photography or otherwise) to put them to good use and help others when you can. If you want to use photography as your method to give back it's as simple as you and a friend taking a day each year setting up one or two bays and making it happen. It's the most rewarding thing you can do.

    Here's a couple snaps of the event. I'm hoping to expand it to service up to 150 families next year.
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  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    What a fantastic idea. Good on all of you!
     
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  3. Fred von den Berg

    Fred von den Berg No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wonderful. Reading the post was very moving!
     
  4. pjaye

    pjaye TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    What a wonderful thing to do.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Very cool! Well done, you! Interesting too, to see the different styles & gear of the various photographers.
     
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  6. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Thanks Derrel!

    Thank you! It was a moving experience. Most amazing for me was the how the interaction changed when I wasn't in uniform. The same families I work with on duty were completely different towed me when I wasn't.

    Thank you!

    Thanks! It was actually a bit of a challenge because of the different setups. We told the photographers that we didn't care how they ran their bay so long as they used radio triggers and handed us a memory card with jpeg fine in srgb.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
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  7. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That’s incredivle! I’d love to get something like this together in my area.

    How did you advertise it or get the word out?
     
  8. paigew

    paigew Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Oh my GOSH!!! What a beautiful gift. I love this <3
     
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  9. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Thanks! It was definitely a lot of work to put together an event this size, but smaller ones are very doable. I'm actually hoping to run a single bay by myself a few times a year at different community events.

    For advertising the event I used my relationships with various community organizations to spread the word. I wanted to reach those who really benefited the most as opposed to people who just want free stuff but could otherwise afford it. I made flyers in various languages and posted them at places like community center, the Salvation Army shelters, and provided some to coworkers to hand out when they encountered people who could benefit from it. My biggest worry was over advertising and having to turn people away. Next year I am hoping to include transportation for families that need help getting to the event.

    Thank you! It was a lot of fun and worth all the effort!
     
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  10. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    In my area the transportation part would be pretty easy. Get a local church or non-profit that has vans involved.
     
  11. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    That was the plan, but for our first go at it, things were just becoming too complicated so we scaled back a bit. The Salvation Army actually had vans and we'll probably use them next time. We also have a great working relationship with our city metro transit, so they may lend us a city bus and a driver to make rounds.
     
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