What a great day! Everyone can be proud of what we accomplished!
Long before the day was over, I was already hearing the phrase "Next year.....". I think everyone has ideas and thoughts about how the day went, what they think worked, what they thought could be improved, etc.
So add your post-event comments and suggestions here! I hope to schedule a post-event meeting also, but I don't think this is feasible until after the holidays, unless everyone is really gung-ho to do it sooner.
Yes Yes Yes! What a wonderful group of people well done to everyone. I am honored to have had the opportunity to know each of you. We had a top notch team everyone brought something to the table. So proud of the Capital District and all of you! Here is the press so far.
Families smile for camera at Help Portrait event
Saturday, December 12, 2009
By Jason Subik (Contact)
Photographer: Barry Sloan
Jeff Perkins, left, and Bob Gough, both members of the Schenectady Photographic Society and Help-Portrait movement, volunteer their skills and equipment Saturday to give the gift of portraits to underprivileged families at the Christ Church on State Street in Schenectady. At left, Ryan and Heidi Goodspeed of Schenectady pose with their children Zoe, 2, and Mackenzie, 6 months. At right, Barbara Seymour of Schenectady poses with her daughter Brittany Barnowski, 10, and friend Emma Mainville, 3.
Text Size: A | A | A
SCHENECTADY — It had been six years since Melissa Krom’s family had posed for any kind of a portrait.
Krom said it’s difficult to get her family together for a photograph. But she made the effort Saturday and brought her sons Peter Krom, 16, Shane Conway, 23, her daughters Breeana Aricl, 24, Jasmine Krom, 15, and Kaitlyn Krom, 6, as well as her grandmother, Lillian Proctor, 84, and her boyfriend, Troy Fludd, to the community center of Christ Church on State Street.
Krom’s family was one of approximately 100 who had professional portraits taken for free at Christ Church as part of an event called Help Portrait.
“It was our chance to get a family photo and my grandmother, we don’t ever really have a picture of her as part of all of us together, so we wanted to get one for Christmas,” she said.
The Capital Region Help Portrait event was organized by photography enthusiasts Cynthia Smith and Matt Milless, who are part of a Yahoo Internet group of photographers from the Capital Region. Smith said one of the members of the group discovered the international Help Portrait day event, founded by professional photographer Jeremy Cowart, and decided they should try to have a Help Portrait event in Schenectady.
According to Cowart’s Web site — www.help-portrait.com — there were approximately 420 Help Portrait events Saturday in about 55 countries. The purpose is to spread enjoyment of photography to people unable to afford professional portraits. Free family portraits were donated at every Help Portrait location.
Milless, who works for Union College and takes pictures of Division 3 sports teams part-time, said his group organized six professional portrait photographers who agreed to donate their time.
“So many of us in our society take for granted photography, photos and images. It’s so important to be able to document family history and moments in life through photography. All of us sit home and sit with old photo albums,” Milless said. “I think creating an opportunity for people who may not be able to get high-quality portraits taken is just so exciting.”
Each family who participated in the Help Portrait event will receive three free photo prints. The largest will be 8 by 10 inches, another will be 5 by 7 inches and the smallest 4 by 6 inches. Families also receive a free compact disc with all of the digital images.
Milless said a company called propicsexpress.com will print all of the photos after he uploads the pictures to the Web site.
Smith said, “They are giving us a substantial discount. They’re absorbing most of the cost and the rest is paid for by donation.” The time from the professional photographers was donated.
Dennis Hays, the photographer who did the Krom family’s portrait, said he’s worked part-time as a portrait photographer for about 30 years. He said to take a good portrait the lighting is essential.
“You design the lighting to flatter somebody,” Hays said. “If somebody has a big, round face then you want to have more shadows on one side so it thins them out and it’s more flattering. If somebody has a very thin face you do the opposite. You give them almost a flat lighting on the front and it makes their face look bigger.”
Hays said there are many tricks to the portrait trade.
“If they have a prominent feature, a nose, if it’s a big nose you probably want to put the head more forward so it diminishes the size of the nose, rather than turn them to the side.”
The Kroms said it was good experience having Hays take their picture.
“He was funny,” Jasmine said.
Hays said getting his subjects to relax and forget they are having their picture taken is also a key factor in portrait taking. His experience taking portraits has given him insights into the psychology of families.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a family or two come in where you could see that the family dynamic is not healthy and it’s a lot of work then because the children don’t want to express themselves,” he said.
Smith said her group is already discussing plans for another Help Portrait event next year. She said she’d like to see two venues for the portraits and perhaps a doubling of the families helped to about 200.
My thanks to everyone who gave of their time and expertise to make this something special for the 75 families. I really want to thank "Coffee" Joan, who kept me in caffeine and Susan, who assisted me. But the real thanks has to go to whomever (and I don't know who you were) that brought me the family with the Rottweiler. Getting a dog to smile was tough!
As I mentioned to some of you, I want to add to our contact list, a web address for any of you that have websites or photo-sharing sites such as Flickr or pixcetera. Almost everyone involved in the project came to the group because of an interest in photography, but many of us probably never had time or information to check out each other's work. I would love to see examples of what all of you are doing with photography and what subjects inspire your passion.
Some of you already mentioned your websites, but assume I don't have it and send it to me again anyway. I'll add that inf to our contact list, along with any other final info that never made it on and I'll publish the list again.
For those who didn't get a notice, Help Portrait is planning to publish a book of stories and experiences from Dec 12th around the world. They do plan to include photos. This means despite their initial directions regarding releases etc, if we want to submit any of the portraits from our event, we have to go back and get permission from the subjects.
Is anyone interested in pursuing this to get our group and event represented? They have so many stories from around the world, I'm not sure how they will choose what to include or how we will know if any of our submissions are accepted. However, you all might want to be thinking about your own "story of the day" or highlight incident, and start writing something up about it.
We originally talked about having another meeting to recap once we got through the holiday period. Do people still want to do this? What makes sense for everyone?
I've missed you all, and its been strange not checking the HP site everyday or getting the slew of emails. Can't wait to see you all again.
We all got busy with the holidays, but we're coming back together for a gathering. If you weren't able to join us on Dec 12th for the event, you are still welcome to come socialize with us on Monday Jan 25th at JT Maxies on Wolf Road, 6pm. We will undoubtedly do another event sometime in the future (at least next December if not before) so if you want to be a part of this amazing group of people, come out and introduce yourself.