Portraits for LOVE - Helping Others
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Recently had the opportunity to do a portrait photography event in Huntsville Huntsville Alabama.
The event was a wonderful opportunity to provide photography and portraits or families in the Huntsville Alabama area.
Meeting at the Dove Awards
The journey to Huntsville, Alabama started back in October at the Dove Awards in Nashville, TN when I was doing photography for the Museum of the Bible.
Museum of the Bible Is located in Washington DC at 400 4th St. SW, Washington, DC.
I was the location scout for the Museum of the Bible exhibit that was on display at Lipscomb University in Nashville Tennessee. After spending several weeks finding a location for the museum exhibit, I was also hired to be the photographer while the exhibit was on display and Nashville Tennessee at Lipscomb University.
The Museum of the Bible exhibit display was located right outside the entrance of the Dove Awards. So that evening in October I had the opportunity to do photography As participants were attending and entering the Gospel Music Awards / DOVE Awards.
I have attended the Dove Awards in the past they are a lot of fun, and I enjoy the program. On this particular occasion, I did not have the opportunity to attend the Dove Awards, but I was hired to do photography for the production company that was managing the Museum of the Bible tour across America for the museum exhibit.
So on a beautiful October day that started a little cool in the Lipscomb University courtyard, we did photos of people with the Museum of the Bible display which was about About five stories high and 40 ft wide weighing 3 tons.
The museum exhibit takes two flatbed tractor-trailers to carry it across the country utilizing a setup team engineers and cranes. I am told it takes about two days to set up the display and about one day to take the display down.
The Green family are the founders of Hobby Lobby are the managing founders of the Museum of the Bible. While working the Museum of the Bible event at Lipscomb University in front of the Dove Awards, I met Fred Whitlow II.
He was there attending the event as a guest, and he is also a musician and leader in the Huntsville Alabama area. Somehow we got to talking about portraits of love and ended up falling up with each other after the event.
After some phone calls texting and messaging, we decided on doing the portraits of Love event in Huntsville, Alabama on the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018.
So we went from bumping into each other at the event in October to planning a photoshoot in Huntsville Alabama. Fred Whitlow II Was able to provide us with a host location to set up for the portrait event and he also provided us with families and individuals to work with on doing the portraits.
One of our promotions was doing Facebook live on his Facebook page. This turned out to be a great way to get the message out in to explain the vision behind portraits of love.
We did a Facebook live interview together and ran down the different parts of portraits for love. The main idea behind Portraits for LOVE is to provide photos for individuals and Families that cannot afford professional portraits. At the Portraits for LOVE events volunteers assemble to help families in need.
Recruiting Volunteers for Photography
Recruiting volunteers can be a very challenging opportunity.
Thank goodness we had two wonderful photographers show up and volunteer their time and talents for the event. There is no way I could have done the event by myself. Every time slot for the event was filled with a family or individual for portraits.
Special thank you to Patrick Collins and Vic Vergara for providing for photography and gear for the event.
Loading photography gear can always be an interesting task. I have an old Dodge Caravan that makes this task very simple. But the old Dodge Caravan that was used for family vacations and did concerts events is no longer in the best of conditions. So most of the time it is just setting in the driveway and is used as a junk hauler from time to time.
I have recently become very skillful at loading everything into a Nissan Altima. One of the tools that I have to make packing and unloading simpler as using a red folding cart with wheels.
This allows for all the lighting stands and tripods and backdrop stands to be rolled in and out of the location making load loading time shorter and less time-consuming.
The first time I did this was doing headshots at the local College and had to roll everything into a conference room to set up for the headshots and gracefully roll everything out quickly and move on to my next photoshoot.
Driving down the Huntsville, AL
Thank goodness the weather was perfect that day we had a break in the icy cold weather and no snow or sleet to add to the drama of getting to the photoshoot. Frederick. Patrick and I both all three showed up about the same time. That was a great way to start the event getting there on time and knowing everyone was there.
Set up Photography Gear
We all three started setting up pretty quickly. I think we all knew we had to be ready when the families showed up. you don't want to be fiddling with gear when families are ready to have their portraits made.
We had the perfect amount of space to set up three areas for photography in also a holding area for the families to mix and mingle in They were waiting to have their photos made.
The folding red cart has proven to be a big success with helping me with unloading and setting up for events. It's a great tool to move a lot of tripods and stands at the same time and roll them right into the venue and offload them into the areas that they will be needed for set up.
The think-tank camera bag that I use for transporting camera gear has proven to be worth every penny. It keeps my camera gear from being damaged, and it is easy to work out of.
The Pace of the Photoshoot
The photoshoot started at 2:00 and went all the way up to 5:00. We were doing photos the entire time. Frederick's team keep everything organized with the families.
So we had a pretty fast pace of shooting and rotating the families and individuals through the three photography setups that we had in the venue.
Falling into a Creative Rhythm
Somewhere in the photoshoot I was inspired by the individuals that were allowing us to do portraits of them. So in a moment of inspiration, I started using blue gels.
Thank goodness my camera bag was closed and organized with a traveling kit of different colors of gels for my flash. I had just purchased two small umbrellas that I use in conjunction with my beauty dish or 7-foot umbrellas.
So I was able to take a blue gel and place it on one of the edge lights and create a blue light effect with a few of the participants where it seemed creatively appropriate. I probably ended up doing more than the number of photos that I originally anticipated. But it is always fun to have subjects that appreciate having their photos made and having all the gear setup and room to work with.
Before you knew it, it was 5:00 and the event was coming to an end. We did a few promo type shots for the host and then it was time to pack up our gear.
Packing always makes me think about having a studio space of my own. in the perfect world the gear would stay set up and just be moved for Creative exercises and learning new techniques for lighting.
But for now, all the gear had to be packed back into my Nissan Altima and eventually rolled back into the garage and office at home. Patrick and I went to eat at Ruby Tuesday's had an awesome meal. I drink about 5 gallons of water because I was at the end of having a cold and sore throat and needed lots of water.
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
― Barack Obama
Vic Vergara https://www.facebook.com/vic.vergara.7
Fred Whitlow II https://www.facebook.com/minister.whitlow
Museum of the Bible https://www.museumofthebible.org/
Lipscomb University in Nashville Tennessee https://www.lipscomb.edu
Hobby Lobby https://www.hobbylobby.com