2013 Christmas Challenge: Day #13…Looking Through the Lens of Kindness

My husband has the look of dread all over his face; he knows what’s coming.

We get the kids dressed and head downstairs.  I start scoping out options and setting up.

It’s time to take our family picture for our Christmas card.

Over the past year, I’ve developed a deep love for photography…I think it’s an occupational hazard of being a mom of two adorable cuties.

However, I will admit that sometimes my “photo shoots” can be a bit of painful process.

Getting both kids to look at the camera, making sure everyone’s smiling, no one’s blinking…it’s really next to impossible and often requires countless retakes.

I set my camera on the tri-pod, cuddle my family by our tree, and hope for the best.

And a miracle happened: I’m still in shock, but we got our picture in just one shot…at least one that’s good enough.  Halleluiah!

I love family pictures–they’re priceless to me.

Which is why this afternoon was so incredible…I got to play a very small part of giving other families this same gift.

Help Portrait is an organization that brings together some of the area’s top photographers to take pictures for those in need.

Now, I am no where near a professional photographer, but I loved this idea and offered to help.  My assignment: behind the scenes photographer.  I’ll take it!

So today I packed up my camera bag and lenses and was able to be a part of something truly amazing.

They had five mini-studios set up in a church auditorium.  Families would come in, have their very own photo-shoot, and leave with printed pictures.  They even served lunch and offered free hair cuts!

I loved watching the faces light up in front of the camera–seeing moms and dads proudly put their arms around their little kids, brothers and sisters make silly poses.  There was a woman who was excited to get a picture of her pregnant belly, a little boy who started dancing.  They had never had their picture taken by a professional before.

It was magic.

And while there were countless smiles in front of the camera, there were just as many behind it.  I was so impressed with all the volunteers–eager to be a part of giving back.  There was an energy in the room–I felt like I was part of something big, something that brought a new kind of joy to those in need.

It’s funny, when you think about those in need, your mind likely goes to the basics–food, shelter, clothing.  But I think today provided something important as well.  Getting your picture taken validates you as a person and captures a moment.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words–so I think it’s appropriate to let some of the pictures tell the story of this amazing event.  Below are just a few of the shots I was able to capture.

Today didn’t cost me anything, but I was honored to be a part of giving someone a priceless memory and was inspired by the number of other volunteers who were willing to look through the lens of kindness and give back.  And I know I will cherish my family pictures even more.

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