Behind the scenes at Help Portrait Orlando

Today I took part in Help-Portrait here in Orlando, Florida. For those of you who might not be aware, this is a photography event where well over 7,000 photographers worldwide have volunteered to take photos this holiday season with one goal: to find someone in need and take their photo. There are so many people who never get the chance to have their photo taken and for many today, it was their first time having photos taken. So for us photographers volunteering it was very meaningful for all of us to give back to help do something a little special for those in need this year. From what I’ve heard we had one of the biggest group of volunteers worldwide. Our Orlando group took photos at two Coalition for the homeless locations. I rallied together five of us from Valencia to participate in the event.

It didn’t take long before I was dubbed the “baby photographer” at our location. Early in the day we bumped into a mother with a three week old little girl and I jumped at the chance to take newborn photos. I really didn’t anticipate taking baby photos today, but it certainly made my day. I have to admit one of the most rewarding parts of the day was not just taking the photos but then getting to see the reaction of the families as they saw the photos. This mother was just as thrilled of her little one’s portrait as all the other new mothers I’ve taken newborn photos for the last two years.


Thanks to Jim Hobart for taking the next two photos. I have to admit that as I photographed the three week old things went so fast, but I could sense I had a crowd watching and taking photos of me taking photos. In between photoshoots we were found twittering and updating our facebook statuses. Yes, we probably look pretty geeky twittering but hopefully you all enjoyed the updates as we were participating in Help Portrait.


We had a lot of volunteers today and so as we waited for families to take photos of, many of us went around taking photos of other photographers taking photos. It was very rewarding to see how excited everyone was to have their photos taken.



As we waited, proud canon owner, Kayla got to test out my nikon d700 – and  yes, she took photos of us waiting through a playground peep hole.


This was an international event so before the day was over we ended up seeing several media crews out covering stories of the homeless and the help portrait event. We overheard interviews of families telling the news crews how it was their first ever family photo and just how appreciative they were of all the photographers volunteering their time to capture such special moments.



The kids enjoyed having their photos taken and it was rewarding to see their reaction as we showed them their photos.


As the channel 6 news was filming, Valencia student, Kayla Hernandez was photographing one of the families. She did an amazing job at getting the kids excited about having their photos taken.


Here’s a few shots of me behind the scenes. (thanks Erin!)


This event was definitely a team effort. My team was outdoors and the light changed constantly as the day passed. We were constantly diffusing, deflecting and reflecting the light as we took turns taking photos all day. For half of the day Jim Hobart gave us a huge hand throughout our photoshoot. (photos courtesy of Valencia student, Erin McLain)


It was priceless to see how excited many of the kids were today to have their photo taken. Here’s Erin capturing one of the cutest smiles I saw all day.


We saw many families throughout the day. We even got to photograph a family of seven at one point during the day.


In the afternoon we had Valencia students, Matthew Westerman and David Remedios join us to help out.


It was really rewarding for us to see the smiles on the faces of all the families today.


Here are two shots of our Valencia group that volunteered at Help Portrait Orlando. A big thanks to Erin McLain, David Remedios, Matthew Westerman, and Kayla Hernandez. You guys were amazing today!



At the end of the day we took a group photo of all of us who volunteered during the day. Erin and I were the only two from Valencia that remained at the event all day so why not take yet another picture to remember the day, eh.


We’re still awaiting our images to download from the Help-Portrait Orlando team, so I may have a few more behind the scenes shots that to share later. For all of us who participated it was such a rewarding cause that I imagine we’ll be doing more events like this in the future. Thanks to all of you who made today a big success!

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December 14, 2009 - 10:08 pm

Daissy - WOW… It’s amazing that you guys helped with this cause :D
Way to go making a real difference this holiday season!!!

December 13, 2009 - 10:15 am

Help-Portrait Event « Erin McLain - [...] won’t post the rest of the behind-the-scenes pictures as you can find them on Amanda Kern’s blog about the event, including pictures of me at the [...]

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