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:

A work group [a] identifies needy communities and arranges the portrait shoots, [b] invites and coordinates photographers, make-up artists and volunteers and [c] solicits donations to fund the cost of the portrait prints.

Over a three month period leading up to the world-wide Help-Portrait day – Saturday 7th December 2013 – volunteers go out to the shoot locations to take the portraits. The portraits – one per person – are then edited, contributed to the pool of images, printed and then mounted on hard-board decorated by school children before being distributed for free.

What has been achieved.

Ubuntu Help-Portrait volunteers have successfully given over 19,500 portraits at over 180 events in the past three years.

In 2012 alone, it gave over 16,500 portraits [up from 13,000 in 2011] representing over 20% of the global total of 86,928 portraits for that year!

What is planned for 2012?

Over several weeks, volunteers head-out to take portraits – spreading Help-Portrait joy – starting on Saturday 3 August and leading up to the global Help-Portrait day on Saturday, 7 December 2013, 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 2012.

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.