Many of us parents have enough photos of our kids to paper our walls five times over. But for low-income families, having professional portraits taken of their children typically is not even an option. So that’s where Sheila Hudson comes in.
While volunteering at Abington Hospital (located in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia), Hudson, a photographer, realized these families might lack of pictures. “Since photography is kind of a hobby of mine, I thought these parents would probably appreciate having no-cost portraits done of their babies,” she told Ukee Washington of CBS Philly.
So Hudson set up a portrait session at the Montgomery County’s Nurse-Family Partnership, an organization that works with first-time moms, visiting them when they are pregnant until their children are two years old, providing mentorship and parenting education. She calls her photography project “Giving Smiles.” With each session, parents leave with $200 worth of prints, a framed portrait, and digital picture files. “We’re trying to promote healthy moms and families,” Susan Vukovich of the Nurse-Family Partnership told Washington. “Photos of the baby are a nice family memento and help to reinforce that bond.”
Hudson spends about $40 per session on equipment and supplies and in order to fund her work, she accepts donations to sponsor one, two, or three “smiles.” Hudson also partners with the Maternity Care Coalition to reach low-income parents like Stephanie Major, whose nine-month-old Marcellus enjoyed a recent photo sessions. “We’ll be able to remember him forever at this age, which is so fun, and it’s going so fast already,” Major said.