Help Portrait Day in Biddeford Maine...

Mark and I decided to focus our attention on a local food pantry, so we gave 50 "free portrait" certificates to the director and asked her to hand them out to both volunteers and clients.

So that we didn't have everyone show up at the same time (and better control the flow for the day) we also gave her an all day schedule with open time slots in 15 minute increments, as the certificates were handed out they could pick their own portrait time (the schedule thing worked out real well and something you might want to consider should you do a similar event).

The certificates had instructions on when and where to come to get their free portrait, directions, a map, and contact information should the have any questions.

We received a call from from a woman just before our day was "scheduled" to begin and said that her friend had very recently had a baby and did not have her own certificate and she wanted to know if she could she give her certificate to her friend because she really wanted her friend to be able to have a portrait with her new baby.

We told her to keep her certificate and simply bring her friend and new baby along, that they could all have their portraits done.

There was a moment of silence and then a very tearful voice came over the phone, “thank you, thank you, thank you”.

Another man brought his son in for a portrait and after we handed him the print he stared at it for awhile and shook our hands thanking us (repeatedly), explaining this was going to be a Christmas gift for his wife... the only gift he was able to give her.

We took 26 portraits Saturday and only 2 people that were scheduled to come didn't (but they did call to tell us they had sick children and couldn't make it).

I was touched at how warm, how genuine the appreciation was from the good people who came to our studio.

Probably the most surprising thing for me was when the day was over and I had gone home, I started to tell my wife and my mom the events of the day and was suddenly overcome with emotion, I had to pause a couple times and then finally I just had to walk away.

It was a very good day.

Things we will do differently next time:

1. Get the word out sooner, it would've been wonderful to have done more portraits.

2. Print 5 x 7 images, the "choke point" for us was actually printing out the 8 x 10 image to give to the client, so a smaller image will print faster.

3. After hearing some of the stories, framing their images may prove difficult, so next year we'll see if we can get a craft store to donate frames.

Here is a short video from our day, if you are a subscriber you will need to return to the blog to view it or follow this link to YouTube.


Michael Brillant said...

Doing something from the heart feels soooo good! Congrats Scott and Mark

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your process.

Leah Haydock said...

Great job and great post. I am sure your subjects were extremely happy. I was involved in the Boston Help-Portrait event and I think the photographers almost got more out of the day that the subjects. Happy Holidays.

Scott said...


I feel the same way, that what I received far outweighed what I was able to give.

Is there a link to the Boston event that you can share?

Thanks for stopping by,


E. Broderick Photography said...

I got choked up just reading about it! Wonderful.

Scott said...

Thanks for coming by and taking the time to leave a comment.


Gabby said...

That's awesome!