Holiday portraits for the homeless

The holiday season is officially here, and you are bound to receive holiday photo cards from your family and friends.  Some photos are very traditional, such as a family with matching holiday sweaters positioned precisely in front of their festive mantel. Others are a bit more lighthearted with everyone, including the family pet, wearing Santa hats. Regardless of which photo is chosen, everyone loves to receive and display it in their home. Pictures are one of the best ways to capture a moment, and they create a great memory for both sender and receiver.

Unfortunately, homeless individuals and families aren’t always able to hang onto their precious photos, especially when escaping from a domestic violence situation. And they can’t afford or don’t always have the opportunity to take new photos. When one is living in a homeless shelter, looking for a job and trying to save money for the future, taking family photos is not a priority.

The truth is that photos can mean a lot to people, especially those who are homeless. Having a family photo taken is an instant self-esteem booster. Not only do photos provide a sense of normalcy, they produce a guaranteed smile from the recipient.

One group is doing just that. Help-Portrait is a community of photographers who come together to use their skills to give back to the community. Their website touts that this global movement is about giving the photos, not taking them. Help-Portrait entices photography professionals by saying, “you have the chance to give a family something they may have never had before – a portrait together.” 

Our clients at the Coalition, both at the Center for Women and Families and the Women’s Residential and Counseling Center, had the opportunity this past weekend to participate in Help-Portrait Central Florida. The photographers enlisted the help of other local professionals such as make-up artists, hairstylists, image editors, and videographers. Clients were treated to day of fun, laughter and memories. Once each resident was styled to perfection, they had their very own photo shoot. After they worked up an appetite, the clients indulged in a delicious lunch provided by Chick-fil-A.

The day was a success, but it was not over yet. After our residents finished their photo shoots and returned to their regular day – while gushing about their experience – the real work began. The photographers and image editors went into post-production mode. They spent the rest of the day perfecting the photos, printing and framing each one.

Our clients now have their memories in hand, and are eager to show anyone who will see. The excitement and smiles on their faces are priceless.  Thank you Help-Portrait Central Florida for donating your time and talent. This event truly made our clients day!