The Impact of a Portrait

I'm always trying to find ways to reach people with my photography. I believe the most important thing I can do with my career is to help others. This gets a little tricky as a photographer though. How am I supposed to help another person with a picture? Luckily for me, opportunities have been popping up to help me out.

Recently I was asked to give away portraits to families in need on the East side of Nashville. The idea was simple: Setup a portrait booth and let families come through and get a simple photo taken. No flashy setups, no tricks, just one light and a camera.

When I got to the location we were shooting at, my team and I quickly setup our backdrop and our light and waited for the families to arrive. I started talking to some of the families as we were shooting, and quickly made friends with the kids that were running around. As the day went on, I was thinking more and more about how this could be a great opportunity to go beyond what I was asked to do. I couldn't help thinking that I was missing out on telling a great story with these photographs. 

So towards the end of the day, I started shooting a little differently. Instead of just trying to get a shot, I started trying to get THE shot. Here's what I ended up with. 

I wasn't sure how these would be received by the families, because they're just a little different than what they were probably expecting, but the response was amazing. I received this messages after the photoshoot:

"His momma is so proud!... These are the moments I love! He has struggled behaviorally a lot lately, but every time today I mentioned his photo, he broke out in smile...even in a almost full on melt down. These photos means so much more than any of them may know! REALLY cool stories behind these faces. How can a kid go from full on melt down to smiles just from me mentioning this photo?"

Here's the deal: A portrait is a powerful tool. A good portrait can change the way a human being looks at themselves in the mirror. Some people just need to be shown how beautiful they really are, even a six year old kid.