Baroness Hotel

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

Seattle SMUG Cancer Survivor Charity Photo Shoot

Update:  After I posted this blog, the Seattle SMUG received a letter thanking us for our efforts.

I always believed that photographer’s have a gift, and on occasion, should use that gift to help lift the spirit of others. I wrote about this in a previous post Volunteering is a Good Thing: It Strengthens Your Community.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

Antonio Cejudo of CoCo & Company Hair Salon of Seattle, Wash., putting the finishing touches on a client.

This past week, I had the privilege of volunteering for a cancer survivor portrait shoot. The Seattle Smug Mug User’s Group (Seattle SMUG) which I am asst. coordinator for, held a two day portrait session at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., for survivor’s of cancer.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

These ranged from head shots to large group photos. The organizer of the event was my good friend and Seattle photographer Erin Kohlenberg. She did a wonderful job getting everything together. As she stated once: “This will put my project management experience to good use.”

A few days ago, the Seattle SMUG received this letter:

I just wanted to tell you a WONDERFUL story.

One of our cancer patients just passed away. I was talking with his wife today and she was telling me the family photo that your team gifted her was at the patient’s memorial service and everyone was telling her what a precious gift it was to have the fa

mily photo and how wonderful the patient looked in the photo (although the wife told me he was feeling horrible the day of the photo shoot).

This photo project you took on has made a world of difference for so many of our patients and this is just one small story.

Thank you and I hope this project can continue.”

During the two day event, Seattle photographers Henry Lingat, John Cornicello, Melissa Wax, Ilona Berzups, Wenmei Hill, and others, not only provided their talent, but also provided the necessary lighting equipment to do a good job.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

Seattle, Wash., photographer John Cornicello during one of the shoots.

On the digital editing team, Paul Gibbons, Mitch Reinitz, Seattle SMUG Leader Earnie Glazener, and others spent the time with each family to edit the images and provide a selection for their personal use.

CoCo & Co. Hair Salon provided excellent service in the hair styling and makeup department. Owner Nathan Panuco coordinated makeup artist Antonio Cejudo and stylists Lili Carlson and Kim Hicks.

It was a simple flow. Each survivor signed in, had their hair and makeup professionally done, moved onto their portrait session, and then went to a station with someone skilled in editing to help them chose which image they wanted as their complimentary 16×20 professionally printed masterpiece, which is generously provided by Bay Photo out of San Francisco.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

Mitch Reintz, left, goes over a client’s portrait session with them.

They were also given a CD of the high res images of their choice, and those sized for the web. No photographers copyright, no watermarks, these were a gift from the photographers and volunteers.

It was incredible watching the clients view the images as the editor went through them. They were amazed at the images and it was good for the soul to see such happiness in their eyes. Some have not even had their hair nor makeup done in quite some time.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

A client smiles while viewing her after having it finished by CoCo & Company Hair Salon stylist Kim Hicks.

The actual location of the shoot was in the lobby of the Baroness Hotel across the street. Not only did the hotel provide space for the event, we had several caterers provide food and drinks. Seattle vendors Stuffed Cakes, Starbucks, Take 5 Market, Tom Douglas Catering, Noah’s Bagels, and Eltana Wood-Fired Bagles provided food and refreshments.

It was a good time for all. for more behind-the-scenes photos, follow this link: Seattle SMUG Cancer Survivor Charity Shoot

But the most important thing was seeing the smiles on the faces of the survivors and their families. Those moments, now captured for them.

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Special Thanks to everyone involved:

Thank you to the wonderful volunteers, organizers and donors for the Virginia Mason Cancer Care Survivors Photoshoot. Links to photos from this awesome event to come soon.


John Cornicello, Melissa Wax, Paul Conrad, Henry Lingat, Ilona Berzups

Assistants, Editors, Behind the scenes photographers, Greeters and general help:

Anne Mills, Arnie Cohen, David Loseno, Diana Alvarado, Doug Bulger, Earnie Glazener, Erik Zakarian (Video!), Francine Scott, Henry Lingat, Ilona Berzups, Iris Dumuk, Jess Villanueva, Kamella Boulle, Kelly Hasenoerhrl, Lori Davis-Sandoval, Maris Gerard, Mitch Reinitz, Nat Seymour, Paul (Pablo) Conrad, Paul Gibbons, Ron Yeh, Sara Burgess, SuJ’n Chon, Susan Schroeter, Susie Carey, Terri Christensen, Wenmei Hill.

Hair & Makeup:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

CoCo & Com. Hair Salon makeup artist Antonio Cejudo works on a client’s makeup.

CoCo & Co. Salon ( Nathan Panuco, Antonio Cejudo, Kim Hicks, Lili Carlson

Organizing Help from Virginia Mason:

Meredith Kennedy, Nancy Tyler

Special Thanks:

Earnie Glazener for coming up with the idea

John Cornicello and Henry Lingat for the use of their portrait lights and backdrops

Bay Photo Labs ( for donating a 16×20 metal print to each family group.

The Baroness Hotel ( for letting us take over the lobby for two days.

SmugMug and SeattleSMUG for supporting photographers and supporting these events.

Thank you to the organizations who donated food:

Take 5 Urban Market

Tom Douglas Catering

Noah’s Bagels in the Queen Anne neighborhood

Eltana Wood-fired Bagel Cafe

Stuffed Cakes

Extra Thanks to Francine Scott for bringing Starbucks Coffee & breads.

Virginia Mason Foodservice
Thank you for stopping by and reading. All comments are appreciated.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

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Volunteering is a Good Thing- It Strengthens Your Community

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth” – Muhammid Ali

It was cloudy, rainy, and cold, yet you couldn’t tell it by the warm smiles that abounded in the studio.

Seattle SmugMug User’s Group photographers volunteered to photograph portraits of special needs children and their families. These families are members of the Starlight Children’s Foundation of Washington.

Seattle SMUG organizer Earnie Glazener worked diligently to organize these shoots. There are multiple shoots in multiple locations. The one I was coordinator for was yesterday in Mulikiteo. There are half a dozen more in as many places.

Erin Kohlenberg acts as the model while we test the lights. ©2010 Paul Conrad

The free portrait sessions were held at the Seattle Photography Associates (SPA) Studio in Mulkiteo, Wash. Each family was photographed as a group, and individually. The families will be receiving a free 20×30 print from Bay Photos in Santa Cruz, Calif., with the ability to purchase other prints through the Seattle SMUG site.

Photographer Mark Hinwood posed as we tested the lights. ©2010 Paul Conrad

It truly was a collaborative effort. As the families arrived, they first had their group portrait taken. Mark Hinwood was the photographer for the groups. Mark just immigrated from England only 2 weeks ago. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Arts University College at Bournemouth. He was excellent with several of the special needs children.

After the group photograph was taken, then families went on to a few several different stations for individual portraits. The lighting for these ranged from monolights to florescent hot lights. The set-ups were simple. Two main light on the left and the right equally placed from the center and with equal power.

Nothing fancy. The goal was to give each family a wonderful experience and a nice print for their wall and memories. That is the goal of this project.

Russell Savala checks his composition while photographing a family member.

Russell Savala checks his composition while photographing a family member. ©2010 Paul Conrad

Volunteer photographers Russell Savala, Erin Kohlenberg, Richard Danielson, and Kelsey Kangas helped  the endeavor. These photographers worked diligently to capture some nice individual portraits of each family member. Without the help of these fine people, the shoot would’ve been a little overwhelming.

My role was that of organizer, editor or whatever needed to be done. I was quite happy with that. I did shoot some photos from behind the scenes, which are posted here. One of the reasons I volunteer is that I believe as a member of the community, we should all be giving back to some extent. Due to the sensitivity of the special needs children, I am unable to post any photos of the clients that came for a portrait session.

Ric Danielsen as we test the lights. ©2010 Paul Conrad

We as photographers are always taking things: photos, names, time, moments. We have this incredible opportunity to record history, and the talent to do so. We should spend some time giving back and giving to those less fortunate than us. There are those that simply cannot afford, have the time, or have the energy to go to a studio and have their photographs taken. Why not take the time and give these families womething for thier future generations?

It was a fun time overall and a great learning experience. There were both good images and good friends made.

Special thanks go to Earnie Glazener, owner of Eye Lights of Life Photography, for his tireless efforts in organizing this huge endeavor, and When Paddison, director of SPA Studio, for allowing us to invade her space and use the equipment.

And I look forward to the other upcoming shoots for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

As an update, we’ve done another charity shoot. This time it was with the Virginia Mason Cancer Clinic and cancer survivors.

Read more here at Seattle SMUG Cancer Survivor Charity Photo Shoot.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. All comments are appreciated.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

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