Engaging Sourcing

University Photographers Give Back to Military Families through Portraits

University photographers from across the country came together in Nashville, Tennessee for the the UPAA’s 2016 Symposium, and in the midst of listening to an impressive roster of speakers, shooting photos of Music City and swapping tips and stories, they took a moment to give back to the community through a special day of Help-Portraits for military families.

Help-Portrait is a nonprofit founded by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart and Kyle Chowning. Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Find someone in need.

For UPAA, working with military families was a clear choice because Austin Peay State University, the host of UPAA’s 2016 Symposium, is a short drive away from Fort Campbell. The university photographers also teamed up with Stacy Pearsall, who founded the Veterans Portrait Project to honor and thank veterans through photography.

Photo by Robert Jordan, courtesy of UPAA.

Photo by Robert Jordan, courtesy of UPAA.

Step 2: Take their portrait.

Next, the photographers at UPAA’s 2016 Symposium spent a day doing what they do best – shooting photos and capturing special moments. They got to use new equipment provided by sponsors like Nikon and Canon in six different portrait studios.

Copyright Moraine Valley Community College, courtesy of UPAA.

Copyright Moraine Valley Community College, courtesy of UPAA.

“It was an amazing opportunity for everyone – photographers to sponsors to clients,” says Glenn Carpenter, photographer and imaging specialist for Moraine Valley Community College and UPAA President. “Without our sponsors this would not have been possible, they provided us with the tools to give back to a group of people who deserve so much more. A special thanks need to go to Austin Peay for allowing us to us the space and providing the technology to make this happen.”

Step 3: Print their portrait.
Photo courtesy of UPAA.

Photo courtesy of UPAA.

Next, the families got to review their portraits and choose their favorites. Glenn explains that this process gave the UPAA members a chance to practice innovative workflows.

“We used PhotoShelter’s FTP upload option, which allows a photographer to concentrate on creating images while the camera sends images to PhotoShelter,” says Glenn, who uses this technique to publish photos quickly to social media with his team at Moraine Valley. “Each of the six studios would send to a specific PhotoShelter gallery where an image tech would would work with the client to select and print and image. This workflow can be duplicated at their schools to move images to the web and social very quickly.”

Next, they printed the photos – check out the look of anticipation on those faces!

Photo courtesy of UPAA.

Photo courtesy of UPAA.

Step 4: Deliver the portrait (and a whole lot more), free of charge.
Photo courtesy of UPAA.

Photo courtesy of UPAA.

Finally, they gave the families a portrait – a keepsake to take with them wherever they go. And in the process, UPAA gave these families a memorable day of photos and smiles. Take a look at this video produced by Baylor University’s Matt Forer, and be sure to note how many smiles you see in the behind the scenes, not just in the portraits.

The Takeaway

The portrait event was a great way for UPAA members to work together on a photo project, share ideas and workflows and test out new equipment, all while doing something wonderful for veterans, active duty service members and military families. As Glenn explains, it was a day that everyone will remember and be able to take with them when they go home to their schools.

“Our hope is this experience will spark new ideas for our members,” says Glenn.

Cover photo courtesy of UPAA.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Glenn Carpenter
    June 30, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for sharing Kristin! I really can’t say enough about Photoshelter and all the other sponsors, Canon for donating the printers, Mac Group for donating lights and paper, Profoto for donating lights and technical expertise, and Roberts Imaging for backdrops studio gear. It was awesome to see everyone come together to help!

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