Help-Portrait Vancouver EVENT DATE: December 2, 2023

Help-Portrait Vancouver
Help Portrait Vancouver 2012 LIVE BLOG


The last time Marcelline and Darrell had their portraits taken was with us in 2013. Marcelline’s birthday was just a few days prior to our event and Darrell suggested  they drop by for a birthday present. What a fantastic gift! Happy Birthday Marcelline!



When little Keith came to us last year he was our youngest portrait to date at just 11 days old.  This year we were so happy to see Keith and mom, Maxine, again.  Maxine says she wants to keep coming back to see the changes as he grows.  That’s what’s so wonderful about portraits. Babies grow so fast and documenting their growth is so precious. A treasure forever.



Some fantastic smiles from staff at the Union Gospel Mission:  A big thank you to all the staff from UGM. You are always so helpful and gracious and amazing.  Thank you for being such a big part of our day.




Such a beautiful family!! And how about that smile from the littlest one.  Probably one of the biggest of the day. Warms the heart.



These lovely volunteers make the craft table so fun.  It’s so nice for guests to head over and create something special, something personal, after having their portrait taken.  





This sweet couple enjoy the conveniences of the Chinatown area. They try to keep up with the local events that happen in the neighbourhood and discovered Help-Portrait one day on an afternoon stroll. Glad you found us!  



So pretty in pink. Wendy said she only dresses up and wears makeup once a year when she visits us for her portrsit. She says it makes her feel very special and she’s so grateful.. You look lovely Wendy. You are special indeed!



Stanley, also known as “Papa,” is a repeat guest to Help-Portrait.  Originally from Texas, he has lived in Vancouver for many many years.  He is 55 years sober.  Stanley is a very talented carver.  The eagle head you see in this photo was carved by him and the eye of the eagle is a jewel given to him by a good friend.  Stanley is going to send these photos to his kids that are back in Texas.

gcc_7053 gcc_7062



What a great family. First timers to Help-Portrait they’re thrilled to be able to have these family photos as holiday memories.  They had so much fun with Neil, one of our volunteers, they wanted him in one of their photos.  



This is a character – he had our photographer laughing during his session.  This is Roland’s first time to Help-Portrait and he says this photo is gift to himself for the holidays.



Evan has been volunteering with Help-Portrait 2009.  As well as being one of the executive director’s  he’s also our entertainment co-ordinator. Thanks you Evan for finding such wonderful entertainment to filling the rooms with such sweet music.



Trevor was one of our first guests today. A former house framer and logger he was thrilled to see today’s event and came in for a photo. He plans on giving a photo to his son and father and will keep one for himself – because he “looks good.” And he does. 

20161126-_66a0069 Trevor


To begin our live blogging today we want to introduce to you our morning crew for 2016 and our customary photo.

Morning Crew 2016


It was a very successful day and we are so glad to have been able to provide over 650 photos to the guests that came through the doors for UGM today. Here’s our afternoon/all day crew for Help Portrait Vancouver 2015. Many more volunteers behind the scenes that didn’t make it for the group photos but they were all such a big part of making this day special.IMG_2107

Of course you know there’s got to be the customary goofy shot at the end too.



Our youngest Help Portrait visitor to date. 11 days old Keith and his parents Bill and Maxine



Peter and Susan have been together for seven years. Both have battled addiction when they met and decided to make a change together. They’ve been now sober seven years. Today they were interviewed by CBC.





I think it’s safe to say these two ladies are pretty happy and proud of their portraits. Lenora and Maxine are aunt and niece. They were walking by and were drawn in by the music.



The only thing that makes a big family portrait all that more special is that they’re all big Canucks fans! Go Canucks Go!!



This is Kelly’s fourth year coming to Help Portrait. She loves getting her hair and makeup done and will be sending photos off to family and friends.



This is Daniel’s first year at Help Portrait Vancouver and he is sending his portrait home to his grand daughter who’s never seen him before.



Cecilia and Tyler have been volunteering together with us for the last five years. This year they got married. Congratulations!



Live Christmas music is filling the room and providing a great festive mood.



Sally has been coming to Help Portrait Vancouver since we started in 2009 and looks forward to it each year. She’ll be sending her portrait home to her family and son.




Stephanie the original founder of Help Portrait Vancouver dropped by. Here’s a photo of the original crew from 2009 reunited in this portrait.



Robert saw our flyer in the neighborhood. He’s been sober for a year and feels much better. Robert hasn’t seen his family in 23 years and is the youngest of 16 children with only 5 of them left. He’ll be sending these portraits home to his family this year.



This is Stephanie and this is the second time she’s been to Help Portrait Vancouver. She’ll be giving her portrait to her boyfriend for Christmas.




Bruce and Natalie heard about us through Facebook and this is their first time coming to Help Portrait Vancouver and the first time they’ve had a portrait together in over three years. They will be sending this to Bruce’s mom. What wonderful gift.



We love seeing families and babies coming in for portraits. We’ve had our first of the day with this cute little guy.



We’re in full swing and the first guests are already getting their portraits.



Global TV here interviewing Roger



Morning crew of Help Portrait Vancouver 2015


Customary funny photo


We are underway setting up for the 7th Help Portrait Vancouver





DSCF0075 DSCF0081 DSCF0082

That’s a WRAP!! Big thanks to the UGM team and also the afternoon and all day volunteers.


IMG_1564 IMG_1571

These two guys came with a purpose. 1970’s ping pong attire. Bonus points for originality and extra skill point to the photographer for catching the ball in the air.



This guy has the look!



Couples supporting each other get a chance for a great portrait session.



Despite the chilly weather outside our volunteers managing the doors are all smiles.



Lots of media visiting us today to cover the event.



Happy moments reviewing photos for printing


_DSF1068 _DSF1076

Mother and son photos.


_DSF1046 _DSF1053

Lots of happy couples today.



This happy couple had such a joyful nature about them. What an inspiration.



Great interactions between photographers and guests


Help Portrait (2 of 2)-2 Help Portrait (2 of 2)-3

Incredible faces!


Help Portrait (4 of 4)

Wonderful mother and daughter portrait



Photographers connecting with the guests and delivering their photos to them on the spot.



This mother and son portrait is amazing.


PB290038 PB290039

Two very proud guys with the portraits that they made into Christmas cards.



These ladies have been coming back for the last couple of years and each time get their photos together. So great to see them sharing a great moment.



This little guy is charming all the volunteers. Great to see families coming out.



Our guests are beaming with smiles from their portraits.


Help Portrait (2 of 2)

Awesome portraits like this is what this day is all about.



She’s one of the youngest guests we’ve had today and what a day for a family photo.



Our makeup and hair team are truly one of the special parts of this day.



Live music to entertain our guests. Festive spirit is in the air.



Kids are enjoying some hot chocolate and coloring in the lobby area.



The team from UGM. Thank you so much for having us back for another year. This would not be possible without your support.



Help Portrait 2014 Morning crew!! Woohoo!!! The first guests are already rolling through the studios and getting photos.



Editing team getting things prepped for the portraits



Everyone here bright and early to get things going.


Stay tuned as we kick off Help Portrait Vancouver 2014 live blog from the Union Gospel Mission. Also follow us on Twitter @HelpPortraitVan #HelpPortraitVan


It’s 4:00! The last portrait has been taken. The last printer has been shut off. It’s a wrap for Help-Portrait Vancouver 2013!



Debbie comes to Help-Portrait today as a former UGM volunteer and she says it’s lovely to see it from a different perspective. After going through rehab, she’s now sober and enjoying meeting people at this event laughing, dancing and bonding with one another. “Thank you to all the people who volunteer and organize the event, it means a lot to me” she tells us with triumph.




Help-Portrait’s an event that Crystal looks forward to every year. She says every portrait taken of her family shows their journey and togetherness as they continue to bond each year. “I used to come here with my 2 daughters and my son” she tell us, but her daughter is battling cancer now and was unfortunately unable to join them. Hope your family portrait is yet another one to remember Crystal. Wish you and your family all the best.



Getting hair and make up done, getting portraits taken, the lighting and transformative magic of today reminds Jan of of the fond memories of her childhood watching the Chinese Opera. The Downtown east side has been her neighbourhood for years, and she feels being able to receive a portrait commemorates her life and her struggles and all her pain and joy. Her picture gives her hope to connect with her dream in the theatre industry, “I want to send my portrait to an agency to see if I can be shortlisted for an acting role” she says. Already getting a head start, she works at the SFU theatre as their greeter. She loves the spirit and the warm connection offered at Help-Portrait from all around. “I am full of joy, thank you”



Gordon and Jester. Hitting the mark on 2 things PERFECTLY: festivity, and general adorableness. Ladies and gentlemen, round of applause for these two.



What. You guys. This is what we get to do at Help-Portrait Vancouver. These are the smiles we get to ignite!

PicMonkey Collage


7 year old Tristen is here today for the first time with his dad, his older bother Darrean, and good friend Jamie. He loves having his picture taken but has never had one with his whole family, so they came here to get one done! He sat down at the creative table, got his artistic brilliance on and was inspired by the buckets of coloured markers and papers to draw something for his dad. “I love the colouring and the hot chocolate the most. I am happy here!” Tristen beams. Welcome to Help-Portrait guys!



We just take the pictures. The REAL stars are the awesome smiles we get to capture.


Daniella Guzzo is one of our wonderfully talented editors at Help-Portrait, the stories she gets to hear warms her heart and keeps her coming back year after year. “I grew up seeing lots of photos of my family, I wanted to contribute to those who may not have the same” she says. She shares with us a recollection of a man she handed a portrait to for the very first time, and his reaction with tears of joy. “Smiles, warmth and extra confidence is what we are all giving out today”. We feel ya, Daniella!



Basically our best portrait EVER. Ju Ping is our most prominent portraitee today, like most fine wines out there she is aging with beeeeauuutttyyy!



Christine plans to send her 5 children her fantastic portrait, wanting to recuperate the dynamics of the relationship between them. “This photo is what I can share with them. It’s part of my heart’s desires that goes along with my portrait”. She’d also like to give a shout out to the volunteers for being “very helpful in every aspect of [her] experience”. It’s been a good couple of years having you too Christine, we’ll see you next year!




Lora is a peer-on-peer support worker who works with women the Downtown East Side. “I was once living on the street”, she tell us, journeying back to her 18 year old self, when Marilyn finally encouraged her to create a better life for herself. It’s this lovely lady’s 3rd year at Help-Portrait and she says every single one she goes to makes her feel ‘extra beautiful’, and reminds her of the new journey she embarked on. Today she is here spending the day with Marilyn, rejoicing in her new life, and enjoying every bit of it.



Shout out to the amazing crew making Help-Portrait Vancouver work! Wouldn’t be going strong without these peeps to keep us going.








Well look at that, it’s a Help-Portrait first! Clearly enjoying his day at the UGM, Siu decided to take a snap with his luncheon. Happy eating, fella!




Talk about an adorable picture. These kids decided to leave one of our volunteers with a token of their appreciation. What absolute sweethearts.



“Most of my portraits were taken when I was jail. Today I want a photo of myself where I’m not holding a number, but just me as a man who wants to have a new clean life. It’s been over 2 decades since I can have a photo taken with a sense of dignity and acceptance. When I look at myself in this nice portrait, I dream of a new beginning and of all my family that I hope to reconnect with. Today, I’m starting my new life.”

Leo, thank you for sharing your story with us. Good luck on your journey to a new and better life. We can’t wait to see you next year!



Greg is a Cree aboriginal who also goes by the name “Hungry Wolf”. Greg’s been working his way from shelter to shelter for years before finding UGM, and is 2 weeks into his 6 month program. As a recovering alcoholic, he shares with us his journey to enlightenment and his dreams of becoming a conference speaker and creating workshops about his experiences.. He says “My people are loving, kind and forgiving, but we are also warriors,’ he emphasizes, “and I’m going to use that strength when I go to speak”



John is sending his portrait to his family back in Calgary for some incredible news – he is healthy and sober. Having been in recovery for the past few years has been a journey he can only tell through his headshot. ‘I feel good about myself and I want them so see a healthier son,’ he beams, ‘I want to tell all the Help-Portrait volunteers that I’m very grateful for people taking their time to make this possible for people.’



This is what Marcel had to say about his first experience at Help-Portrait Vancouver, “This is such a great experience and most people living in the downtown eastside, including myself, will never have money to afford a decent professional portrait, ever in their life time. The photographer has captured the essence of my state in the photo”.

Marcel we are so happy that you came to visit us, and we can’t wait to see you next year!



Craig is planning on gifting his portrait to his grandmother who is 98yrs old and in the hospital.



Today, before Marlene’s portrait, she has let us pamper her – which was an incredible feat considering she has never put on make-up… for… well… ‘I’ve never worn makeup in my life,’ Marlene explains with a smile, ‘can’t afford it. Today is my first, so thank you Help-Portrait’.

You are more than welcome Marlene. Thank YOU!




This is Juliana, she came to Help-portrait after seeing a poster at the UGM Women’s Centre. Guess who gets to recieve Juliana’s beautiful portraits? Her grandparents! She is happy to be here and we’re more than happy to have her!

Welcome Juliana, we hope to see you next year!



This is Valeries’ 3rd year at Help-Portrait Vancouver! Every year she chooses us to help chronicle her journey in life and her changing appearance – and every year she does it sans make up, saying she wants to show her true beauty. In just one short week Valerie will celebrate her 65th birthday. Woot Woot! She says that she loves coming back every year and feels safe amidst the loving volunteers.

Valeries’ shout-out: “Thank you so much Help-Portrait Vancouver! Lord willing, I hope to come back next year for my 66th year portrait”.



The little ones are keeping busy through all the fun too! Thank you Candence for your help with the little ones!



We are stoked to introduce you to Cheryl! This is her first time at Help-Portrait Vancouver, boy, are we glad she’s here. About 3 years ago Cheryl was living in an apartment that was affecting her health, through the growing mold, mildew and fungus. With rapid weight loss and having lost almost all of her hair, Cheryl stopped looking at herself in the mirror. With the help of BC Housing and the lunch program at the UGM Women’s Centre, she has regained her health and her beautiful hair. When Cheryl heard she could come in today to get her hair, make up AND portrait done – she was absolutely thrilled. Her dream is to have a beautiful photo of herself for her children to remember her in case she gets sick again. Today she looks forward to a beautiful portrait of herself – the first in over 30 years! And she might even give the photographers a few tips since she used to be quite the kick-ass photographer herself. Yup.

Cheryl thank you so much for coming in today and sharing your wonderful story with us.



It may be Matthew’s first time playing at Help-Portrait but he’s been involved with events in the downtown eastside since 2000. He became a DJ in 2005 and he is now producing his own music. “It’s nice to be here and this event is great, it gives people a reason to smile” he tells us.

We are getting the morning kicked off with some chill house electro beats. Thank you Matthew!



Imran ran up to us with the biggest news to share – he hasn’t taken a headshot since 1973 when he took his first passport photo. At 44 years old, he is treating himself to a day of fun at Help-Portrait and can’t wait to send his new photos to his mum. Imran looks super snazzy today, wouldn’t you say?



This is Cecilia – super amazing, super down to earth and a volunteer at Help-Portrait Vancouver for 3 years! She is excited to be part of the photo taking madness once again. “It’s the time I look forward to the most every year”, she smiles.

As a full-time Science student at UBC, Cecilia started playing around with her camera when she joined the media team at her school and wanted to bring her “pizzaz” to Help-Portrai. Love it!



Help-Portrait Vancouver 2013! The Union Gospel Mission is filled with an amazing team of new and familiar volunteers this year. Makeup & hairstylists, greeters, social media station and of course our wonderful photographers – our fifth year is ON! The doors have opened and we can’t wait to share some of the amazing stories from the cool people who want to share them. Keep tuned in! This year’s going to be a spectacular one!


It’s a wrap for Help Portrait Vancouver 2012!

The last song has been played and jammed out to:

The last head of hair has been did:

We’ve shot our last portraits:

And the last words have been spoken:

Thank you all for being part of our team!


We LOVE seeing familiar faces at Help Portrait Vancouver. This year we had a lovely visit from Grace! It was three years ago when Grace stepped in our studios for a portrait – and she’s been back every year! It’s smiles just like Grace’s that make our event so awesome.


Who said our portraitees were only of the homosapien species? Correction. We opened our doors to all guests!


Shout out to our incredibly hardworking leads at Help Portrait Vancouver 2012. As you can see, they are a whole lot of crazy. We mean that in the most loving way of course…




Woah – hold on. Munchkin alert! Our littlest Help Portraitees at Help Portrait Vancouver 2012!




When Ms. Cheng came down to Help Portrait Vancouver 2012 this morning, we were stoked to get her pampered and into our studios to get her portraits taken. When she came back a second time we were even more ecstatic – but we had to ask her why. With help of a volunteer to translate, Ms. Cheng told us it had been years since she has seen her family and she plans to send the extra pictures to them in China.


CBC made it down this afternoon for Help Portrait Vancouver 2012! Thank you for the awesome coverage.


Our volunteers are in the zone.

With feather hats!

On stools to get the perfect height:

Overlooking editing stations:

And making sure they get that perfect shot:


HUGE shout out to Bread Garden for providing us with fresh, satisfying food for our photographers, MUAs and general volunteers!



Peek a boo! Help Portrait Vancouver first timers are our fav!



“Make up is not about making someone change, it’s about making someone feel attended to. It’s a luxury that everyone should at least have one day of the year.”

Basically our Help Portrait Vancouver MUA team ROCKS.


You know the party’s really getting going when there’s a bass involved. Christmas music filing our Help Portrait studios brought to you by Nelson Boschman Trio! Among the heads bobbing and the feet shifting to the good tunes, one lady grabbed another and hit the floor.



This is Steph! Director of Help Portrait Vancouver and the coolest chick we know. So when her mom stopped by all the way from Winnipeg, we just had to get their portrait did! Turned out pretty awesome, hey?



“This is an awesome way to give back to the community and I just had to be a part of it” says Help Portrait-er, Kylie. We LOVE that these are the personalities that fuel our event. Wait a go, Vancouver!


Annie Bennett and her rad Rudolph antlers may be new to Help Portrait Vancouver 2012 but not to the Downtown Eastside. “I know a lot of the women here from working in various shelters” she smiled, “this is a great extension of what already goes on in East Van.” Welcome to the Help Portrait Vancouver MUA fam Annie!


Did we mention our editing stations are printing off portraits like mad?


When we saw Help Portrait-er Joey’s shirt, we had to ask him what made today so positive. “I mean, I thought it was a cool event when I registered as a volunteer” he laughed, “but after being here for barely an hour, the smiles I see on everyone’s face, whether they’re getting pampered or getting their portraits taken – it’s just something that makes today better than just good”


Our editing station is busy printing portraits already! We LOVE that things are nice and busy this year.


Let’s get this rockin’ and rollin’ folks. It’s Help Portrait Vancouver 2012!
Come in and let us take your portrait – it’s on us.



Well that is a wrap for Help-Portrait-BCCH-Vancouver 2012 We will be live blogging again from our next event on December 1st 2012 at the Union Gospel Mission DTES! Thanks for following along today & sharing this special day with us !


Diane Hart With Roger Hur, Two of our favourite people


one of our hair stylists preparing a patient for her shoot


Roger Hur one of our amazing Volunteer Photographers, Roger is the Lead Photog for our BCCH event this year, he has done an amazing job 🙂


A Polaroid Shot From Today Shot on Rogers Hasellblad 500 C/M Polaroid


Steph Limage our BCCH HPVan Founder plugging away, she is here with us all the way from Haiti!


One of our awesome MUA’s with her epic blue hair!


One of our very brave kids!


Jenny our Lead MUA doing a bit of Makeup on one of the clients/patients


Our Photo Editing Station with our crew hard at work already



Welcome to the BC Children’s Hospital Live Blog for Help-Portrait-Vancouver BCCH 2012! We just opened the doors to our studio & are photographing the first family & patient !


Welcome to the 2012 BC Children’s Hospital Live Blog ! We are just getting our studio all set up and ready to go! We are opening the studio up to the patients and families of BCCH at 1pm .

Dennis, Steve & Bernard Getting the lighting just right


Help Portrait 2011 – La Familia


This is the part we dread most. Hitting 5 o’clock and having to tear down.

Packing up equipment.

Printing out the last photos of the night.

That doesn’t mean smiles disappear though!


Having survived two open heart surgeries, one stroke and severe depression in the last few years alone, to welcome Brian Begin into Help Portrait Vancouver 2011 and capture his delightful smile is truly a miracle. With his children situated in all parts of Canada, Brian would like to extend huge e-hugs to them all! Thank you for being with us this year Brian, against all odds.


Single mother of two wonderful children admitted to us that there was no way she could have gotten pictures done this Christmas. When you can give back, why on earth wouldn’t you? We live in what’s supposed to be a first world country. Having a family tell us their Christmas is portraitless is not okay. Let’s change this.


This is another thing you find walking around Help Portrait Vancouver 2011- you don’t have to be a pro photographer to be involved! Mark Wimmer has flown all over Canada and the world as a commercial pilot but getting his hands on a camera to take portraits is a first! Mark was taken aback by how many people burst into tears of joy today. “I’ve flown all around the world, all across Canada” says Mark, “now I get to ground myself and see the faces I don’t get to see when I do my day job”


Wanna see something absolutely contagious?

These are the smiles of Help Portrait Vancouver 2011:

Hope it made you smile too.


It’s all about improvising here at Help Portrait 2011. Behold, the second card reader today that has broken – fixed by our photographers and their McGyver skills using key rings and pens!


This is Kelly! One of our awesome portraits this year. Representing the Downtown Eastside.


“Today, everyone is important. Today everyone means something.” says Jaclyn, who joins us for a second year at Help Portrait Vancouver, capturing smiles and listening to the stories individuals bring in. “[Help Portrait Vancouver] allows families to take portraits they might not have had the chance to take this year.” And we do it with absolute pleasure! When asked if she’ll make the trip to be back next year, Jaclyn answered with a very firm “Absolutely.”


This is Help Portrait Vancouver 2011… in a nutshell!


Single mom, Social Media & Human Rights student and first time Help Portrait-er! No one could get enough of the smiles of Frida (or her purple sweater!) since the moment she walked in. She waltzed happily right into make up where our stylists worked their magic.

Then it was Frida who couldn’t get enough of how great she looked!

And off into the Help Portrait Vancouver studios she went!

Now you’re about to see the best part of what we do here…

Watching everyone one who walks in, walk out with this reaction…



This is one of the many friendly photographers you’ll see this year at Help Portrait Vancouver! It’s Horst Siegler’s second year capturing smiles in the little studios sheltered in the Union Gospel Mission. Horst has seen his fair share of smiles having been a commercial photographer for the past 25 years! But it’s the happiness behind the smiles that is most important and it’s the smiles that has brought Horst back to join us for Help Portrait Vancouver 2011.


Barely one year old, this superstar is getting his first Christmas portrait this year and having the Global TV crew follow him around! Oh we’re giving alright. To possibly the tiniest person at Help Portrait Vancouver this year.


Walk into the studio section of Help Portrait Vancouver and you’re hit by a wave of clicking and holiday smiles all around. Our photographers and editors are in action and hard at work!


We are an hour in, and it is getting warmer and cosier inside by the minute. The smooth sounds of the The Nelson Boschman Trio is bouncing off the walls of the Union Gospel Mission. These guys have been putting smooth christmas tunes in the air since the cameras started clicking.



The doors are opening and despite rosy cheeks and sniffly noses, there are many smiling faces at Help Portrait Vancouver this morning.

Our make up artists and hair experts have lined up their equipment and are ready to jazz these beautiful faces. The prep talk has been given and the excitement is not dying down anytime soon.

Our videographers are ready to get giving.

Our social media coordinator is on it!

This is Help Portrait Vancouver 2011.

Recent Tweets

Follow Me on Twitter

Help-Portrait Vancouver ( is an independent group of volunteers who are participating in the worldwide Help-Portrait, Inc. movement to give portraits away to the underprivileged. This is not an officially sponsored Help-Portrait Inc site, and is not managed by Help-Portrait, Inc. The opinions and views expressed on this website do not reflect those of Help-Portrait Inc. (