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2012: The Year of the Belly! – Guest Blogger Sarah Schulte

15 Nov

As I sat in my chair with a sleeping newborn in my lap, my mind raced…I needed something to distract me.  It was winter, wedding season was over and the next season wouldn’t kick into high gear for another couple of months.  I was caught up on albums, edits and (gasp!) even my marketing.  Maybe, just maybe, it was time to do a project for ME!  Something that would get my creative juices flowing, that had nothing to do with weddings, and that could refresh my mom brain just in time for me to go back to work.  When I was still pregnant, John (my husband) had painted my big belly up like a Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween.  It was cute, it got lots of comments on Facebook…it must be cool…wouldn’t it be fun to paint other pregnant bellies?  Surely, John wouldn’t mind it if I volunteered his services…and I bet pregnant moms would jump at the chance to jazz up their bellies.  I could take a snap when they were done, keeping the elements as uniform as possible, and find a way to display them.

How to display them?  I sure didn’t want to do all this work just to leave them on the computer…how about 12 bellies, 12 months – a calendar!  What a cute gift that would make…I could sell them and give the money to a charity!  I  wanted a charity that was uplifting, joyful, and for children.  I chose Little Smiles because I love what they do for children…bringing smiles to the faces of kids in local hospitals, shelter and hospices.  They remind kids to be kids.  I had donated several sessions to their Little Smiles Ball Silent Auction in the past, and it was an important organization to several of my clients.

All that in the span of one nap…and now, almost one year later, the calendar is done!  I didn’t think it would ever get finished…waiting for bellies to be the right size, for John to be available, for the expecting moms to be available…but we made it and I am so excited and beyond thrilled with how they came out.  If you want to purchase on of these bad boys, send an email to calendar@sarahschulte.com.  Please include your full name and mailing address and specify if you would like to pay by check or through PayPal.  Orders will be collected and invoices will be emailed out on a first-come, first-serve basis until the calendars are gone!  Calendars are $31.50 (includes tax and US Postage) each and should arrive in time for the holidays.  I’ll be taking orders through the month of November, and $10 of each calendar sale will go to the Little Smiles Organization.

Sarah Schulte is the owner of Sarah Schulte Photography and is a proud member of the Photo Betties Network.

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Becoming Women of Heart: Art for a Cause Recap!

10 Nov

Last Tuesday, the Photo Betties partook in an amazing event, one that inspired 13 Philadelphia area artists to create and donate a body of work to turn art into hope for thousands of families across the  area who are struggling with Cancer: Women of Heart: Becoming Art for a Cause. While it took the help of many to bring this dream to life,  no one worked harder than Katie Bradford Obsbourne, the founder of Women of Heart – who dreamed up this amazing idea in order to honor the memory of her father – another victim of Cancer. Katie not only created the idea for the cause and carried it through to success, but she inspired over a dozen other artists to follow her lead and submit some beautiful work that went on display on November 2nd at Studio 5 in Philadelphia.

A concept born from the grief of losing someone so dear to her, Katie wanted to find a way to use her art to flip sadness on it’s head and create a movement that would not only help heal those wounds, but would help others who are now battling the disease. “I think the thing I’m most proud of is giving myself a chance to have good memories that day by doing something. Instead of making a day that was HIS- his 60th birthday- about me and my grief. Or about grief at all! A birthday is a celebration of life, and I certainly celebrate that he was here for almost 57 years”. And so the gallery was filled with amazing pieces of her work and many others, and after months of determination and commitment, Women of Heart came to life. “There was a moment I’ll never forget when everything was up, and I stopped and just looked at it all. I could feel my dad saying, ‘I’m really proud of you, Sugar,’ and it just hit me that I really made it happen.”

Along with Katie’s body of work, juried pieces from Catherine Bogart-Rome, Brendan Burke, Caitlin Domanico Katherine Fraser, Brittany Koch, Patty Kropp, Helen Orombi, Jennifer Osborne, Alix Passage, Jenna Walcott, and  Christie Young displayed their work throughout the gallery and musical artist Matthew-Billy Williams of Williamsboy Band performed soulful sets of acoustic guitar that created the perfect atmosphere for the crowd. The event drew over 60 people to North Philadelphia to view the works and purchase and donate for the cause, The Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia.

Katie featured two main bodies of work for the event, The Women of Heart Series and Mixed Media. “My Portrait of a Woman program is my passion, and this is exactly why. These are all regular women who put aside their insecurities to ‘become art for a cause,'” speaks Katie about the Women of Heart Series, “and mixed media is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I’ve always been fascinated with it- it’s a different way of thinking when your photograph is the jumping point instead of the finished product. I played with alternative printing techniques, interesting materials such as tissue paper, and LOTS of black acrylic paint! The end result is something I am truly proud of as an artist- these pieces really reflect me- who I am and where I’ve been”.

Totals from donations are still being calculated, but regardless of the number there is no question that this event was a true success and marks only the first of many of it’s kind. “Now that the event is behind me I’ve had a chance to think about where I would like to see it going, and I know for sure that it’s not over! It’s a little up in the air where I’ll be this time next year, but wherever I go, I can certainly see Women of Heart following me. I am SO passionate about this cause – being able to, in some way, do my part to help others whose lives have been affected by Cancer and also give other artists a way to do that, too.”

Donations can still be made in the name of Women of Heart toward the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia. Contact Katie for information on how you can contribute or get involved.

Women of Heart: Becoming Art for a Cause

12 Sep

Hi, Betties! At the request of Jenna and Heather, I wanted to share with you an upcoming charity event that I’m organizing called Women of Heart! I hope you’ll want to get involved in making it a HUGE success for a great cause!

What Women of Heart is All About

Portrait of a Woman: Women of Heart is a series that I will be offering this September and October, culminating in a gallery event on Wednesday, November 2. A portrait from each session will be displayed, alongside other art submitted by the art community here in Philadelphia. (Read: You guys! You’re part of the art community!)

This is going to be a fantastic event! Yummy food! Live entertainment! Lots of friends and family and ART! And all the profits from each mini session, along with portrait sales during the gallery event, will be going Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia, an amazing organization dedicated to providing support and education for those whose lives are affected by cancer.

How Women of Heart Got Started

One day in July, I did a little math and realized that November 2, 2011 would have been my father’s 60th birthday had we not lost him to cancer 3 years ago. If I thought that my family was the only family affected by cancer, I might have resigned myself to spending the day moping – but cancer is bigger than that. And my father’s memory is bigger than that! So mixing what I do with a desire to honor what would have been a special day for a really amazing man, Women of Heart was born. I wanted to use my best talents (my Portrait of a Woman program) to do what I can to help other people who are also being affected by cancer.

In that spirit, Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia was the perfect organiation to benefit with this effort!  Some of the kindest people I have met since moving to Philadelphia are part of the CSCP, and they do amazing things for so many families affected by this disease. I am excited and honored to be able to donate the profits from Women of Heart to their organization!

So, What Can You Do?

1. Schedule a shoot!

Become the art of Women of Heart – and schedule a shoot with me. Book quickly, because time slots are filling up fast!

2. Submit your own art!

You're welcome to submit anything that lies within your own idea of what "Women of Heart" could possibly mean. You don't need to be a fine art photographer – take this as an opportunity to reach outside of your comfort zone and do something different and awesome that you'll be proud to have on your wall! Dream up a picture in your mind that you are dying to create – even if you think you're not 'good enough.' Find the model (let me know if you need any help with that – a good place to start is somewhere like Model Mayhem), choose the location, and set up the whole thing. Just see where your imagination takes you! You can find the full submission guidelines here.

3. Attend Women of Heart!

Your participation and presence at the culmination event is priceless – bring your friends, your loved ones, those you know may have been affected by Cancer and give them a way to take action. Remember, each gallery purchase is funds toward the cause – so help us fill the gallery with kind hearts and art lovers!

4. Help me spread the word!

My Portrait of a Woman effort is brand new, and with this being the first year for Women of Heart, I am definitely in need of some serious help with marketing! Please like and share Women of Heart’s Facebook page, mention the effort on Twitter and word of mouth, and contact me with any ideas you have about where to place flyers or cards! I’m dedicated to making this an amazing event to support the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia; any ideas, Facebook posts, tweets and retweets, or plain old screaming from the rooftops will be incredibly appreciated!

Photos for Good: Part 1

2 Sep

The first time I watched Born Into Brothels, I had the immediate urge to pack my bags, jump on a plane, and help out in some faraway place. (I’m pretty sure many other photographers out there did too.) The reality, though, is you don’t have to fly around the world to make a difference.

There’s been a lot of buzz and recent Photo Betties posts about photography-marrying-philanthrophy, so we decided to dedicate this one to getting involved with current charity organizations. We’ll be following up with Part 2 which will cover locating existing opportunities, as well as tips on finding and creating your own projects.

Volunteer Photography Organizations

Started by Kristin Weaver, an internationally published fashion and wedding photographer, Images for a Cure is an annual event held each fall (usually October, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month) promoting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, their beneficiary charity. Photographer registration is from August to September – and each participating photographer is encouraged to set their own session dates, plans and pricing – and donate 100% of their session fees to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, via their FirstGiving page.


Wish Upon a Wedding, which we posted about in April, is the world’s first non-profit wish granting organization that provides weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation. They work with all types of wedding vendors in addition to photographers, including planners, venues, caterers, rental companies, videographers, bakers, officiants, florists, stationary designers, DJs/bands/musicians, salons, transportation companies, and more. With 18 chapters around the country (and 10 more coming soon), you can help out in many ways – volunteering your skills, financial donations, hosting a fundraiser and more!

Operation Love Reunited, or as many call them “OpLove”, is a non-profit organization that assigns photographers to families with loved ones getting ready to deploy, are currently deployed, or are coming home. The participating family chooses a photographer and up to two sessions per year. The photographer volunteers their services for the session(s), a 4×6 album for the service member, and a CD of images from the homecoming. If you’d like to volunteer check out the blog which is filled with information and inspiring photography from OpLove sessions.


Flashes of Hope is a national, nonprofit organization that “changes the way children with cancer see themselves through the gift of photography.” They transform hospital playrooms, waiting areas and even hallways into studios, and photograph children solo, then with their family and loved ones. Photos are delivered as enlargements, prints and on disc, all free of charge. “It’s an indescribable treasure that forever preserves the grace, dignity and beauty of each child.” To maintain the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry, they work primarily with published and commercial photographers, as well as members of The American Society of Media Photographers. If you fit the bill, you can apply as a photographer or, if you want to help in other ways, you can still be part of this amazing organization as a general volunteer, or with a donation.

PhotoPhilanthropy helps to connect, shed light on and reward connections between photographers and non-profit organizations around the world to tell stories that drive action for social change.” Great photography helps inform, educate and inspire volunteers to act, donors and grant-makers to give, people to push for new policies, and to give those who are not heard, or seen, a voice. In addition to helping facilitate Volunteer Connections, they also give annual Activist Awards for winning photo essays, Student Production Grants (which include financial, promotional and supportive assistance), promote Artist Residencies and Workshops, and have a great blog which they update often with inspiring imagery and stories from around the world. It’s no wonder their goal is to “Change the world, one photo at a time!”

Credit: PhotoPhilanthropy 2010 Grand Prize Winner - Josh Meltzer

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) volunteers offer “gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner” to families who have suffered the loss of an infant. “The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives.” They are always looking to recruit volunteers for their database to be on call to offer Remembrance Photography Services to be on call when needed, as these sessions are sudden and require quick response. If you’re interested you can sign up to volunteer as a photographer, assistant photographer or digital retouch artist – as well as read volunteer articles for background and advice.

Founded by Celebrity Photographer, Jeremy Cowart, Help Portrait is a grassroots movement of photographers giving their time, gear and expertise to offer portraits to those in need. The idea is simple, powerful and global.

Each December, this year on 12/10/11, photographers will sign-up online, create or join teams, and offer portraits to those who wouldn’t normally have access to, or be able to afford, professional photography. People like the homeless, orphans, single-parent families, people of ill health, the elderly, veterans and more. It’s the chance to not just take a photo, but give a photo.

Tiny Sparrow is a non-profit organization who helps provide photography to families with children who are facing life threatening illnesses. Their volunteer photographers provide a session as well as a beautiful album to “carry the love, joy and everlasting memory of each individual family.” Currently located in Texas, but with a goal of expanding in 2011, Tiny Sparrow also accepts donations through PayPal.

Images of Hope is a non-profit organization that brings awareness to childhood cancers and illnesses by offering free portrait sessions to children and families dealing with cancer. Their purpose it two fold. First, to capture timeless moments that will last a lifetime for the families, and second, to spread awareness. Founder, Jessica Oatman, whose son, Montana, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age two, looks at photography as “a great outlet and a wonderful way to document his journey.” Looking back through the photographs has helped them “realize what we have really been through.”

With an artist list of that spans continents, Heart Speaks photographers worldwide are committed to stopping the unnecessary euthanization of adoptable animals. Their goal is to increase the numbers of adopted animals in shelters by just 3%, and give rescue animals safe, loving homes. The power of a image can speak volumes, so Heart Speaks connects artists with shelters and animal relief organizations to effect social change and better the lives of humans and people alike.

Pictures of Hope is a charitable organization of professional photographers who provide complimentary, documentary-style, photography sessions to babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and their families.  Members are professional, established photographers (many of whom are “NICU mothers” themselves) who hail from across the United States and Canada and are dedicated to donating their time to a cause they believe in, and sharing the gift of photography with families in need.

It’s also important to note that bereavement photography is not their focus. While photographers may be asked to photograph a bereavement session, services are generally geared to babies in the NICU at any point during their stay (not just those terminally ill) which could mean a 27 week preemie or a NICU graduate about to go home. There are specific requirements for membership which are listed here.

Started in 2008 by Felicia Reinhard, Inspiration Through Art (formerly called The Littlest Heroes Project) is made up of professional photographers, artists, children and other volunteers across the world who provide a variety of programs and services to children who are fighting serious illnesses and/or life-altering disabilities. Sessions can be home-based, at benefits and fundraisers, or hospitals or clinic visits, and are specially catered to each little hero. Services include photography, but they also also offer special programs and fun art-related sessions as well. They also have a comprehensive list of partners, other organizations who need volunteers and worthwhile vendors.

The Tiny Light is a Canadian-based, female-run organization that connects member photographers with children and families that have been faced with a life altering diagnoses. Applicants must be professional photographers with a client base as well as a online portfolio, willing to donate their time and talent as well as a disk of ALL high resolution images from the session. Families who are accepted receive these portrait sessions free of charge. Their current list of photographers includes only Canadian-based photographers – but the application does not say whether or not that is a prerequisite for membership. If you’re passionate about joining the cause – get in touch!

Dog Meets World, at first mention, sounds like an animal-based charity, right? In fact, the “Dog” is a sweet stuffed puppy who helps their photographers to spread joy and smiles. Their mission is to give children and families in developing countries personal photographs, often for the first time. DMW seeks to change the way people travel by creating positive cross-cultural interactions and rather than simply taking pictures, to give them as well. Travelers bring along a digital camera, a portable printer and the stuffed Foto mascot dog to photograph children and practice Take & Give Photography! DMW believes with simply sharing a photo, photographers can practice ground-level diplomacy and voluntourism for all travelers.

Celebrating Adoption was officially started by Jenifer Samaha in 2007, and is a national organization of photographers who donate their time to document and celebrate the love and bond of adoption. Volunteers give these sessions at no cost, and families who participate must have gone through the adoption in the past twelve months. Their member list is quite extensive… although we did learn that unfortunately, due to personal issues, they are not able to accept any additional photographers at this time. We still chose to include Celebrating Adoption in our list, however, in case you may know of families who can benefit from their services, or if it inspires you to start a similar endeavor yourself!

We’d like to give a big shout out to Shutter Mission, who we found midway through our research for this post, and helped add a few additional resources to the list. Bookmark their site – it’s filled with photo-related charity organizations as well as stories and spotlights on photographers who serve them. You can also nominate a photographer who gives back that you’d like to see featured, and there’s an extensive list of complimentary resources for photographers who donate their time and services to charity. Simple, straight-forward, informative and inspiring!

If you’ve found this post useful, have something to add or want to share it with your friends, family or fellow photos – please post, tweet, comment, share – and help us motivate others to make a difference, one shutter click at a time!

Help Out A Fellow Photo Girl In Need!

26 Jul

Hi, Betties! Katie, here – one of the newest Betty Editors…

I hate for my first post to be a sad one, but I need to ask for your help to support a fellow lady photographer who has recently lost everything in a fire.

Kori Sutton – you may recognize the name Kori Hiser – is a portrait photographer who was living in Cape May until her husband was stationed in Bainbridge Island, WA, right outside of Seattle, last year. Two days ago, Kori’s house burned down taking with it everything they owned. She lived with her twin sister, their husbands, and her two little boys – 18 months and 4 years old.  And all of them are left with only the clothes on their backs.

Her external hard drives where she had everything backed up, her camera equipment, her computer, her clothes, her little boys’ toys – all of it is GONE.

It’s heartbreaking to think of such a sweet person losing everything – but a fellow lady photographer who is SO talented basically put out of business by a fire? We Betties have big hearts – let’s reach out to her!

Kori's home after the fire

Kori’s a Nikon lady, and she has been given a D300 and one prime lens (I’m not sure which one, but she prefers to shoot with primes). This doesn’t replace what she lost, but it’s a start. But anything anyone can part with – extra memory cards, camera equipment, bags, etc – would be so appreciated!

In addition, Kori and her family are in need of a lot more!

• Clothes: Kori is a size 2 and her sister a 4 – both of them smalls. Her sons are sizes 2T and 4T. (I don’t have Kori or her sister’s husbands’ sizes, unfortunately.)
• Shoes: Both Kori and her sister wear a size 7
• Diapers (size 4), toys for the boys, books – you name it!
• Another helpful idea is gift cards.
• If you’d like to make a monetary donation, you can send it to her directly through Paypal; her email address for Paypl is kl_hiser@yahoo.com

I will be sending a big box Wednesday, so if you would like for me to include anything (or if you would rather send things yourself) contact me at katie@kbophotography.com

Thanks so much, Betties! I know that Kori isn’t in our area anymore, but I like to think that we photo girls need to stick together, no matter where we are! If you have the means, let’s do what we can to help her out!