Lawton photographers helping those in need this holiday season

Photographers offering family portraits for less fortunate

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Photographers from across the area are coming together this weekend to take free family portraits for anyone who can’t afford a professional photoshoot.

For some, family portraits are a holiday tradition just like opening presents. But others, unfortunately, don't have that luxury and may have never had a professional picture taken of them and their loved ones. That's what a group of local photographers hopes to fix, offering the opportunity for anyone from any background to come and have this moment in time captured forever.

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

"I think it’s worth far more than that and the impact is far heavier than anything anybody can imagine until they have that moment in time captured,” said photographer Chris Martin.

Help-Portrait started as a world-wide initiative about 15 years ago. It made its way to Lawton for the first time in 2017.

"When these individuals, these families get a picture, maybe they've never had it before or maybe they lost it in a fire. But they're walking out with this cherished heirloom in their hands,” Martin said.

In their short time of doing this, the photographers have seen the impact it can have.

"Last year we had a lady come in with very striking features. She was walking out with her portrait, I made a comment on it and thought she was beautiful and didn’t get her name or her story. But somebody came up to me right after she walked out the door and said that was probably the last photo that was going to be taken of her. Because she had elected to stop cancer treatment and this photo was for her family. It was her last gift to them,” Martin said.

Martin said they will take photos of anyone, alone or with their giant families. Angela Schertle is one of the volunteers who will be assisting the event on Saturday. She said you might not realize how important something like a family picture can be until much further down the road.

"To have a moment that captures everyone is so precious. Especially as a mom with kids, I’m always the one behind the camera and I don’t get to have my picture taken and I know a lot of other moms out there are like that too. So this is a chance for them to step back and be in the picture with their family, be able to say that I remember that time, I remember when my kid was a little kid and I remember all the fun things we were doing with them and just to have that precious moment captured,” Schertle said.

The event will be Saturday, December 7 from noon until 5:00 p.m. But Martin said if they still have a line at five, they will keep going. It's happening at Cache Road Square in Lawton. They'll be set up at suite 19A. They will be cooking hot dogs for the first few hours. Every person who comes will get their portrait taken, printed and framed so they can leave with it the same day. We're close to the holidays but you don't have to put on those Christmas sweaters if you don't want to, you can wear whatever you want.

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