Create My Story of H.O.P.E.

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The Story

In July 2015, an acquaintance of mine, with whom I volunteered for a charity organization of which she was a bored member, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. When I was told about this beautiful non-smoking, 35-year-old mother of two's diagnosis, I was stunned into silence. Her best friend sat across from me trying to keep her composer as she asked me to help with fundraising. It was from that talk and gathering of core friends and family who took the bull by the horns that Teresa's H.O.P.E. was born.

Through my involvement, my life changed as Teresa's light and energy consumed me and I turned the word acquaintance into friend. In January 2017, Teresa finally lost her hair to a round of chemo. I was in awe of the grace, poise and continued positivity she emulated throughout her journey. She told me in her sweet southern accent, "If I don't have to fix my hair, then I figure I can put make-up and jewelry on every day."

I felt it was important to show Teresa how beautiful she remained even though the cancer was taking its toll on her physically. Her spirit and personality always snuffed out the side effects and her smile could brighten any room. We determined a glamour portrait shoot with her 15-year-old daughter would be a fun way to spend an afternoon, and it was the perfect way to show Teresa how beautiful she was from the inside-out.

I delivered the photos the next day and by the end of the week, at the age of 36-years, Teresa put an end to her battle with cancer.

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H.O.P.E. = HAVE ONLY POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS

The release of Teresa's portraits in combination with her passing soon after, reminded me how precious, important and powerful images can be. Since then, Teresa's story has been a driving force in many areas of my life, but most of all, in my business. That's why I offer portraits for those who are working hard to fight a terminal disease and/or cancer. Having only positive expectations is not just about finding a cure. Teresa knew there was no cure so her HOPE resided in making it to the next child's birthday, having one more Christmas, or feeling good enough for a weekend get-a-way with her family. HOPE comes in all forms and so does strength and courage. Portraits of HOPE is my way of honoring Teresa's memory, and it is also my way of celebrating your HOPE or encouraging it to grow.

Portraits of HOPE

A session will take as long as it takes. If I need to be as quick as possible so you can get back to resting, that's what I'll do. If you need to stop and take a rest between flashes, you have all the freedom to do so. These sessions are at no cost to you. You will receive your images through an online gallery and they will also be available for you to print online at a consumer print lab that is owned and operated by a professional print lab.

You must a apply for a session using the form provided below. I read EVERY application. You do not have to have a terminal diagnosis to apply. If you are going through a medical condition that is life altering, please feel free to apply. Unfortunately, do to many circumstances, your application does not guarantee you a session. You will receive a personal response within 24-48 hours letting you know if we will move forward with a session. Please read the FAQ below before applying. Thank you.

FAQ

Q: Do you come to me or do I come to you?

A: Ideally, you will come to my studio. This will give us the best situation to provide you with my signature portraits. However, I do entirely understand that travel is not always possible, so I do leave this as a case by case situation.

Q: Are hair and/or make-up services provided?

A: At this time it not a part of the session. If those services are important to you, we may be able to find a way to include them. We will discuss this further if you are accepted and truly desire those services.

Q: How do you determine who is accepted or is not accepted?

A: There are different factors. One is determining if I am the best photographer for you. If you are someone who would love to have your pictures taken in front of Lake Superior or in the big woods, then I'm probably not the right photographer for you and I'll try to help you find someone. If you live outside my travel radius, I may not be able to accommodate you if you are homebound. There are so many things I have to consider, but that's why I have you fill out an application. And I'll be honest, there is a bit of gut play that happens. That's why I say on the application that telling me your story is the most important part.

Q: If I'm accepted, do I have to pay for anything?

A: No. This is an entirely donated session from me to you.

Q: What exactly is included the session?

A: If you've browsed my website, then you know I am a print photographer and I get very hands-on with my clients. Meaning that I do meet and greets and in-person image reveals. However, I understand that this type of service may not be an option for some situations. If you want this type of service and are able to have it, then yes, let's add the meet and greet and the in-person image reveal, please! Otherwise, this is what you will receive:

  • Your full session of web ready digitals. These will not have a watermark.
  • Choose up to 5 print ready digital images to print from anywhere.
  • Image reveal video.
  • Your above images are delivered through an online gallery that you'll be able to download directly to your computer.
  • Your full session online at Mpix. This is an online consumer print lab owned and operated by one of the top professional print labs in the United States. You will be able to order from their entire inventory and receive near professional print lab quality without the professional print lab prices. You and your loved ones will have access to print your entire session through this gallery.

Q: Not that I'm complaining, but why won't my web ready digital images contain your watermark?

A: It's simple. When I watermark images (discretely or not), I am advertising my business. I want my clients to share their images because they love them and I want everyone to know who took those images so they will book a session with me. That makes sense, doesn't it? It's a bit of word-of-mouth advertising, but I'm not offering Portraits of HOPE for advertising opportunities. If you agree, yes, I might blog or post about your session, but I'm not doing this to gain more clients or pats on the back. If I share your session, it's because I was truly inspired by YOU. My watermark on your images would be tacky in my opinion. I want you to be able to share and use your images. Many of Teresa's friends and family used her images in a way that would make any artist wince a bit at what was done with their work, but it made me smile because they were using the images in a way that helped them come to terms with her passing. They thought it was beautiful and that is what is important to me. The credit is not important in this situation. The story and the memories are what's important to me. If you know someone else that should apply to have a session, then please, tell them about it so they know where to go. Otherwise, kudos is not needed or expected.