Friday Fun – Inspiring Kids Through Photography

We attended WPPI (a yearly photographer’s trade show and conference) in Las Vegas this past week and it was great and fun, and we met all these people and learned a lot, blah blah blah…. BUT all of that drastically pales to what we did Saturday, March 6th, the day before WPPI initially started, all thanks to Pictage.

We were approached a few months back by the coolest people EVER at Pictage (our AMAZING online hosting image gallery, among many other things)wondering if we would be willing to be a part of a charity event with the Boys and Girl’s club of Las Vegas right before WPPI.  Kids?  Photography? Helping other people?  Count us in!!!!!!  We flew out a day early and were really excited but had no idea of what would really unfold.

For those of you who aren’t really aware of The Boys and Girls Club and what they do… Their mission is to “...enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.  Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.

The day was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and seriously, such a blessing.  I think it’s very possible that us photographers got more out of the day than the kids did…

It started off with a group of phenomenal Pictage photographers all  gathering together from across the US while the big man (by title, not size), Jim Collins kicked us off and then we headed off to lunch with about 80 kids of the Las Vegas Boys & Girls Club.  We got to know the kids a bit (aka goofed off with them) over a pizza lunch and then split off into smaller groups to talk a bit about the different elements of photography.  After that we all bussed over to Springs Preserve and the kids had a photo scavenger hunt putting what they learned into practice and having FUN!  Afterwords, we all came back to the center where each kid was awarded a certificate for the work they did that day.

At the end of every WPPI there is an awards ceremony.  Pictage was given the platform to share about the event with the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas and we’ll now digress to Ron Dawson describing on his blog what that was like.

The video I shot that Saturday was finished by Sunday and showed at the WPPI awards ceremony Wednesday night, March 10. About 40 of the kids from the event were on hand to watch themselves on the big screens, then get a standing ovation from the crowd of photographers. As the kids marched out of the ballroom to go back home (it was a school night after all), they were greeted by high-fives and congratulations. How cool an experience must that have been for these kids, many of whom are underprivileged.”

How cool!!!!  It all was fantastic and we are soooooooooooooooo thrilled that we were able to be a part of it all.  There simply is nothing better than giving back.  It’s hard to describe it all but we hope that the images below and the video at the end communicate a bit as to what that day was like :)

A HUUUUUGE thanks to Pictage for putting this event on, to CEO Jim Collins for having the heart for this a long time ago and helping others catch his vision, to Canon USA for donating the usage of the cameras and then donating 3 cameras to the BGCLV, and then of course to the Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas, and to Ron Dawson of Dare Dreamer Video for capturing the awesome day in motion.

We’re so glad we were able to be a part of this event with photographer friends (old and new!).

Mike Colón
Joe Buissink
Will Jacks
Kenny Kim
Mike Larson
Justin & Mary Marantz
Chelsea Nicole
Shawn Reeder
Ray Santana
Matt & Stevi Savage
René Tate

Enjoy the pictures and don’t miss the VIDEO at the end!!

Canon cameras donated for usage…

Shooting to the death with Justin Marantz while Emily Engle plays around with all the new toys :)

Eric Cotter & Mike Larson trying to get their gansta’ on

Mike Larson refuses to take more than one shot on a camera before he throws it away. Hard on the back carrying all those cameras around on a wedding! ;)

CEO, Jim Collins beginning the day…

Getting to know and having fun with the kids as we all waited for PIZZA!

Ron Dawson doing his thing, capturing all the good fun.

I (Jody) wanted to take this kid home with me :)

A photographer not to be named, trying to achieve Mike Larson’s famous “Camera Toss”

It was up there for a while.

Having fun with the kids!

Will Jacks beginning our teaching session!

Gotta love on the girls who have CONVERSE ALL STARS!

These were Zach’s personal body guards for the day.

Bus ride with the kids to Springs Preserve!!  LOOOOOOOOVE bus rides! Firmly believe that the best connection times are on bus rides :)

….I wanted to take this precious child home with me too..

The scavenger hunt photo challenges!

Bringing out the diffusers & reflectors!  Aw yeah!  Our group was Big Time! :)

Future photographer right here, folks!

Pictage CFO KEVIN RUBIN! (Coolest CFO we have ever known…)

Ninja Joe Buissink, capturing the event :)

This kid here (believe it or not), was really shy at first and really held back… he totally opened up and was loving it all (as you will see on the video as well!).

Mike Larson getting ready to do his famous Camera Toss with all of us surrounding him in one big circle!

Kenny Kim getting ready to capture the Camera Toss action!

Ooooh, ah, pretty photo!

Mike Colon wishing he could do the camera toss with his Nikon ;o)

… this is where we will conclude our photo story and pick up with the amazing video captured, directed, and produced by Ron Dawson. This will give you a deeper glimpse into how special this day was for all of us.

Lens & Learn – Inspiring Kids Through Photography from Ron Dawson on Vimeo.

THANK-YOU Pictage for this awesome opportunity!!!!!!!!!

And once again, here is the awesome camera toss photo by Mike Larson & his camera :)

PS.  iPhone photo of the day – me and my girls on the bus together!