Portraits with thank-you messages

Portraits with thank-you messages written by families who had their photo taken.

Family photos are tangible memories. Professionally done, they capture a moment in time for loved ones.

But not everyone can afford to have professional photos taken, and Joe Hendricks knows that. That’s why he, with the help of several other Montrose volunteers, is providing portraits for free to anyone in the community who wants them.

The effort is part of an annual global day organized by a group called Help-Portrait, which is held the first Saturday in December. This year, that falls on Dec. 7, and for Montrose, the event will be held at Columbine Middle School, thanks to Montrose County School District, which agreed to host.

Hendricks has been involved in these free portrait sessions for about 10 years, having organized four of them in Tennessee and Texas. With his family having moved to Montrose recently, he wanted to organize a portrait event here.

“Everything is coming along so well here,” he said Tuesday of the planning. “I’m pretty amazed. I’ve done it four times before, and I’ve never seen it come together so fast.”

So far, Hendricks has 11 photographers lined up, along with five stylists to help with either hair or makeup, for those who want some help grooming.

And for everyone who shows up to have their portrait taken, they’ll walk away with a framed hard copy of the photo. Tim Frates at Megapixel Framing is printing the photos for the families, and the frames are coming from several different places.

“The most rewarding part is giving to families who can’t afford it,” Hendricks said.

He recalled the time he did portraits for a family who had a son with terminal cancer. The doctors hadn’t given him long to live, they told Hendricks, so they wanted their portrait done for the first, and possibly the last, time.

“They had a great time, and then they came back the next year,” Hendricks said of the boy and his family. “Then they came back the next year. They came three years in a row.”

He said some of the best subjects are homeless people. He’s seen homeless people come in looking to have their portrait taken and said it’s rewarding to help them get dressed up and made up, “which can make them feel good and more positive about themselves.”

“We’ve seen people in really nice suits that just needed headshots, too,” Hendricks said. “We just say we’re happy to do it for anyone.”

When and where to get your portrait made

Columbine Middle School

610 York St, Montrose

Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 


Volunteer photographers

Mike Boese, Joey Boese, Malachi Lewis, Candace Miller, Sarah Hall, Amy Zuniga, Irene Durante, Hope Baumanm, Cylia Gilmore


What’s provided? 

•A free portrait to anyone who wants it, including a framed hard copy.

•Free hairstyling or hair trims

•Free makeup

Justin Tubbs is the Montrose Daily Press managing editor. 

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