Free Portraits Free Portraits

Ubuntu Help-Portrait Logo FreePortraits 920px

Free portraits for people in needy communities. We take them, print them, and then give them for free.

Free Portraits

A world-wide initiative to give free portraits to people in need


What is this all about?

Free Portraits is an Ubuntu Help-Portrait programme through which individuals and communities are given free printed portrait photographs.

It was established as CODP Help-Portrait in 2009 and was facilitated by the College of Digital Photography as part of the global Help-Portrait movement to give free portraits to people in needy communities. In 2011, the project became independent under its new name, Ubuntu Help-Portrait.

At the heart of this initiative is that volunteers use their time, skill and equipment for free. They also undertake not to use or publish any of the images in any manner.

It’s all about giving back to the community. Giving back for free!

How does it work?

It’s very simple:

Volunteer “Heartographers” [a] identify needy communities and arrange the portrait shoots that they wish to host, [b] invite and coordinate fellow volunteer photographers, make-up artists and others they wish to involve.

Over an annual season, including world-wide Help-Portrait day – Saturday 6th December 2014 – volunteers go out to shoot locations to take portraits. The portraits – one per person – are then edited, uploaded online via DropBox, printed and then delivered and presented to the portrait beneficiaries for free.

What has been achieved.

Ubuntu Help-Portrait volunteers have successfully given over 56,000 portraits at over 320 events in the past five years.

In 2013 alone, it gave over 19,000 portraits [up from 16,000 in 2012] representing, for another consecutive year, the largest proportion of the global total number of portraits for that year!

What is planned for 2014?

The maiden launch of a season year of portraits! Yes, volunteers will be able to shoot portraits over an entire year beginning at the launch of the season at the PHOTO & FILM EXPO on Thursday, 30 October 2014 until the EXPO in 2015.

During the season year, volunteers head-out to take portraits – spreading Help-Portrait joy – including on global Help-Portrait day on Saturday, 6 December 2016. We plan to give over 25,000 free portraits!

Want to get involved?

Come on, be a part of it!

Sign-up, volunteer or tell a friend about the initiative. This project needs you, even if you are not a photographer!

Make a donation and help give the gift of a portrait. The budgeted sponsored cost of printing and mounting the portraits is R5.00 for each 20cm x 15cm colour print and you can give many smiles to many people in need.

Click here to register online or email [email protected] for more information on the plans for 2014.

Need one last shot of inspiration?

Check out this video from 2010 to get a flavour of what this comes down to, and share it with your family friends and others in your network!


Ubuntu Help-Portrait [] is an independent group of volunteers who are participating in the world-wide Help-Portrait, Inc. movement to give portraits 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. []. HELP-PORTRAIT® name and logo are registered trademarks of Help-Portrait, Inc. Used by permission only.