An Opportunity to Create Brighter Holidays for Families and Individuals in Need

ATTENTION AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHERS, HAIR STYLISTS, MAKEUP ARTISTS, EDITORS, VOLUNTEERS:

I am really excited to inform you about what Help-Portrait Austin is doing this year!  (Any of you who have taken my Photography 101 workshop may remember the video I show about the great work Help-Portrait is doing.)

Help-Portrait Austin creates brighter holidays for families and individuals in need.   A portrait is a treasure. It is hung on the wall or displayed on a mantle, or kept in a special album. It is a record of how we looked as children, the pride we feel in our children, and a legacy for our descendants. It is these portraits that most people would save from a burning house.

These photographic treasures can cost hundreds of dollars, putting them out of reach for many Central Texas families. Help-Portrait Austin is on a mission to provide those in need with the entire portrait experience, from hair and makeup to a fun photo session, to leaving with framed professional portraits.

Volunteers will gather to make this magic happen on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Boys and Girls Club of East Austin, 901 Thompson Street, Austin. More than 100 photographers, hair and makeup artists, photo editors, and other volunteers will welcome up to 200+ guests, turning the 1950s-era gym into a giant photo studio.

“It is an amazing event,” Event Director Regina Maldonado said. “I have a soft place in my heart when it comes to kids.” Maldonado has been involved in the Austin event since it was started in 2009 as part of Help-Portrait Worldwide.

All around the world, gyms, tents, homes, offices, and hotels are transformed for one day of fun, hugs, smiles, memories, and even a few tears. Guests at the Austin event range from extended families who lost all family photos in a flood to individuals who need a good headshot for a resume to families who dress up for a holiday portrait to treasure and share.

The event has created some special traditions, including an arts and crafts area and a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, who are happy to pose with young guests.

“I love looking at the photos and videos from past events from other cities as well as the Austin event,” Lorraine Miller, one of the volunteer coordinators with HPA, said. “They never fail to make me smile.”

As an all-volunteer event (HPA has no paid employees), the local group depends on the generosity of local businesses and individuals. The event requires photo supplies such as ink and paper, arts and crafts supplies, and food for the volunteers.

This year, HPA has expanded its focus to help the homeless and teens in foster care. On March 11, several HPA volunteers braved wet conditions to take portraits of homeless people (and some pets) as part of the SXSW Pop-Up Care Village sponsored by LavaMae and Encast. Photos were taken and printed on the spot, and guests received stamped envelopes to send the portraits to loved ones.

Another new initiative will be an add-on to the Dec. 2 event, as HPA will partner with Foster Angels to provide portraits to high school seniors in foster care. More information will be available soon!

HPA welcomes volunteers who can help with photography, photo editing, hair and makeup, or just a friendly smile. Volunteers who speak Spanish are always needed! To volunteer or for more information, visit the HPA website at www.helpportraitaustin.com

Monetary donations are accepted through Pure Charity, and are tax deductible. For information, contact Regina Maldonado at  or leave a message at (512)-748- 7751 or contact Cynthia Miller at  or leave a message at (512) 971-9092.

Let me know if you get involved!  I’d love to hear about any of you who volunteer!  

Thanks!

Kevin Gourley

 





Kevin's book "30 Practical Tips for Better Photographs" is available in print and on Kindle devices!
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