Hundreds of Edmontonians took home a professional-quality portrait this weekend — free of charge — thanks to a number of volunteer photographers.
The event, known as Help-Portrait, is hosted each year in cities around the world, providing portraits to clients who would otherwise have difficulty affording them.
Over the past 10 years in Edmonton, it has produced more than 3,800 portraits for clients, according to Javier Salazar, who leads Help-Portrait Edmonton.
“People have to focus on food and shelter and clothing — all that kind of stuff — and sometimes they don’t have enough for that extra layer of support. They don’t have the change to get the professional photo or the extra nice jacket or that kind of thing,” Salazar said.
Morgan Shultz has been attending Help-Portrait with her daughters for four years. Without this event, she said she would have to settle for taking family photographs on her phone.
“I’d probably have to save up money just to get photos done,” Shultz said. “The poses are more professional. The photos themselves are more professional.”
The event brings together local hairdressers, makeup artists and photographers, all volunteering to help attendees look and feel their best.
It’s Terry Lusty’s second time attending the gathering. He plans to give his portrait to his children and grandchildren.
“I feel more so for the other people that come here, because otherwise they wouldn’t have the opportunity to get their photos taken,” Lusty said.
Railene Hooper has volunteered her photography skills for the past five years. She said helping and interacting with her clients keeps her coming back.
“We’ve spent all this time with them and now they’re your friends, right?” Hooper said. “They become your friends within five minutes of meeting them, doing their portrait and then giving it to them — the whole process.”