Giving Back

Peoria Help Portrait Team (2011)

Peoria Help Portrait Team (2011)

A few years ago, Nashville photographer, Jeremy Cowart, decided to use his craft to change the world, one family at a time. He started the Help Portrait project, an annual event that brings photographers, makeup artists, stylists, and retouchers together to offer families who wouldn’t normally be able to afford a professional family portrait with one for the holidays.

Since the launch of Help Portrait, I’ve been fascinated with the project and had it in mind to start an event here in the central Illinois area. Little did I know that the project had already reached Peoria. I was approached to join the project and donate my talents for the day. Spearheaded by Jeff Woods of PortraitLife, the event coincided with the Dream Center of Peoria’s annual holiday meal and gift-giving event, Smile.Eat.Receive.

I know it’s been said many times before by Help Portrait participants all over, but I was totally blown away when I walked in. With almost thirty different photographers, retouchers, and runners, we were able to shoot, retouch, print, and frame enough photos for almost 300 people. We had six different “bays,” each with a different background and lighting setup, and the teams were able to accommodate families of all sizes, big and small.

For my small part, I was in the mood to lend my retouching skills this time around. With my Wacom tablet and laptop fired up, the images started rolling in. I don’t think my hands and eyes moved faster than they did yesterday morning. Before I knew it, I had to head out to some prior commitments; I guess time flies when you’re having fun or, in this case, helping out someone other than yourself. My last count was 26 retouched images in two hours. If only I could be that motivated during my client edits…

Anyway, a special thank you to Jeff and the Dream Center folks plus all the photographer and retoucher friends I worked with yesterday. For those photographers considering participating in this national event, I highly urge you to do offer up the day; you won’t regret it.

One comment

  • What a generous way to give back to the community! A professional portrait is a luxury for most people, and to make that available to families who otherwise couldn’t afford it is a gift that will be cherished for years.

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