Photographer Kevin Brusie sent me a link to this amazing organization (he started the Maine chapter last year):

Flashes of Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating powerful, uplifting portraits of children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.”

It’s all staffed by volunteer professional photographers and a donation (here) goes towards processing and framing of the portraits for the family. What a wonderful gift.


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  1. A lovely idea.

    There has been a lot of talk on this blog about when it’s appropriate/not appropriate/worthwhile/not worthwhile, as photographers, to work for free; this is a nice example of the kind of project where I think we could ALL agree that working for free is an unquestionably good thing.

  2. I’ve been shooting with FOH for a couple years now and have loved the experience. It’s about 6 hours of my life two or three times a year to do something nice for people who are having a tough time. Some kids even come back to get pictures made once they’re well so it’s been cool to see them excited about being better. I’ve made enough good and fun pictures that I’ve incorporated some of them into my portfolio. And in case anyone is wondering, they negotiated the contract with ASMP so that photographers retain all rights to the images with the limitation that they don’t use the kid’s names or reveal their specific illness.

    • @Scott Lewis,
      We are thrilled that photographers, such as Scott, continue to keep volunteering for our organization. We would really be nothing without people like him.

      I just wanted to clarify on our ASMP negotiations. The copyright is actually a shared one, between Flashes of Hope, the photographer and the family. It is definitely encouraged to use the images on your personal website or portfolio. Though, we do have some strict policies on using the images outside of that. We just ask, out of consideration for the families, that you contact us at the main office for permission of use on all sides!

      Thank you to everyone who has seen this blog and have responded to the organization!
      Natalie Kontur
      Image Management & Photographer Relations

      • @Natalie Kontur,

        So sorry for the inadvertent overly broad take on the rights. I stand corrected.


  3. I am going to look into becoming apart of FOH. Doing volunteer work I feel is very important. It becomes overwhelming trying to decide which organization is a right fit. I think this is great.

  4. This is great–thanks for posting it. I’m hoping to participate.

  5. FOH has been a very rewarding experience for me and I would encourage any photographer to volunteer. This is definitely something that is valued by these families, and is a chance for these kids to smile.

    I always find myself crying a bit in the car afterward though. Then I go home and hug my two little ones.

  6. Flashes of Hope is wonderful. I’ve been shooting FOH portraits for a couple years, and am impressed by the organization and always touched by the resilience of the kids.

    The hardest portrait for me, an exception to the norm, was just a few weeks back: needed to go to a very young boy’s hospital room, he was clearly in a lot of pain and couldn’t come over to the converted studio. It was difficult to photograph him and his mom, sister. It’s a privilege to make a few portraits for these families, records of this significant part of their journeys.

    Portrait photographers: look up FOH and see if there’s a nearby chapter where you can volunteer!

  7. I’m a volunteer for Moment by Moment, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, which does the same work as FOH throughout California. I live in Reno, where there is no Children’s Hospital, and Moment by Moment reaches out to families here, and we photograph in their homes.


  8. As one who has survived Lymphoma I signed up as soon as I read this piece.

    This seems like a very good group.

  9. We’ve volunteered with Make a Wish in the past but haven’t heard about FOH. Thanks for bringing attention to another worthy cause.

  10. i have to say that what started out as excitement about this opportunity turned to disapoinment when i read the qualifications to be a volunteer photographer. (written by a non-commercial non-member of anything.)
    i don’t think it is a stretch to say that in the context of making these portraits, most any minimally progressive run-of-the-mill portrait or wedding photographer, not stuck in the props and poses of the 80’s, could do a wonderful job on this project.
    they wouldn’t even let me carry in the light stands, but i will leave it at that. i am not one to cry and moan and start a fuss. there are plenty of ways to do something nice for the universe.

  11. It is really awesome to see these folks getting all of the coverage. You know you made it if you’re on APE. :) I began volunteering with FOH two years ago and it is one of the best things I have ever done. The kids are really incredible, and I have had so much fun hanging out with them, can’t wait until the next photo shoot. I encourage everyone to find a chapter near you (or start a chapter in your area) and become a part of theses amazing folks with huge hearts.

  12. Thanks so much for sharing this great link. It’s so wonderful to learn about such an uplifting organization– FOH is a great example of how photographers can really make a difference.

  13. I’ll be shooting my second FOH session next week in Milwaukee. I can’t say enough about what a great experience it is – needless to say, it puts a lot into perspective. And on the photographer/volunteer side, the organization is really organized, and has the structure down pat – so it’s a very simple process on the back end. Get involved with your local chapter – you won’t regret it!

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