Friday, 03 November 2017 06:56

Photographers snap smiles with ‘help-portrait’ movement

Written by  Demi Knight
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Volunteers of the Lethbridge Help-Portrait day ready themselves for smiling faces and a day of giving. Volunteers of the Lethbridge Help-Portrait day ready themselves for smiling faces and a day of giving. Steve Layton

This November, Lethbridge is once again joining the international movement of giving rather than taking for Help-Portrait Day.

On Nov. 26 from 11am to 5pm at CASA a group of professionals and photographers will be joining forces to offer free of charge portraits to the people of Lethbridge who may otherwise not be able to afford them.
For the seventh year now, Lethbridge has joined this empowering movement of professionals using their talents to give back to their communities and event Director, Steven Layton says he couldn’t be more honoured to be a part of this inspirational day.
“It’s hard to put into words how important it is for people to get these photo’s. There’s just so many people out there who don’t have a photo...Through participating with this event you get a sense of what it’s really worth to people when they’re so happy they break down in tears and you realize it’s so much more than just a picture.”
The movement which was originally introduced in 2008 by Celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart and Kyle Chowning as a way of giving back to the locals, has fast evolved over the years to reach different corners of the world with it’s selfless ways.
Now to date, the movement has snapped its way across oceans to 67 different countries to take more than 380,000 portraits by over 75,440 different photographers.
With great intentions and a giving community spirit, Lethbridge were quick to get involved with the campaign and for the past six years has offered their own expertise to members of the public with their own ‘Help-Portrait’ Day.
With a group of over 40 professionals coming together from volunteers and photographers to lighting experts and makeup artists, Lethbridge is really doing their part to give the gift of memories to deserving demographics.
“With this day, we are able to give a memory that the family or individual can cherish, and we extend the day to the women’s shelter and the special needs community here in Lethbridge,” says Layton. “We have a lot of sponsors and organizations directly involved such as, Purely Inspired who volunteer their students to do makeup and hair styling for everyone throughout the day and we also have Life Touch printing on site who do the printing of the photographs for us.”
The event is also home to multiple local photographers who volunteer their time throughout the day as well as countless sponsors that are happy to take part.
With soaring success and great stories to tell, Layton says it’s incredible to find that throughout his time with this yearly event, such a small act of kindness can cause tremendous effects in the most unexpected ways.
“One year,” Layton said “someone reached out and told us about their sister who had been in abusive situation and had since stayed inside the house, but she came out that day and had her makeup and hair done and her photo taken and said she finally felt beautiful, and soon after, she was trying to get a job.”
With southwest Alberta excited to be involved in such a progressive movement that works to do nothing more than create a lasting moment of joy for people within their community, last year’s event saw a high of 330 smiling faces, stopping by to get their photos taken just in time for the holiday season.
However, it’s not only the public that benefit from this day says Layton, but instead he thinks all those involved leave feeling just as fulfilled and gratified as those obtaining the photos. That’s what makes this event such a special time for the whole community.
“I think that all photographers get to feel good that they did something special that helps families in their area, but it goes a little deeper than that, because in some scenarios — we’ve been able to change lives taking these photos.”

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