Help-Portait. Nigeria.


It all began over a cup of coffee. My good friend Kim, who is in charge of the Global Missions in Bayside Church invited me to go to Nigeria and document the story of Dr. Chris and the great work he does for the Nigerian people.

Sometimes there are things you don’t need to think about or pray about – you just need to say Yes to immediately.
Two months later I was on a flight to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

Me and my friend Danny arrived about a week later after the rest of the team, and had a little bit over a week to do a documentary. Most of the our time was spent in the hospital which had started in a single room and grew to a 3 story building helping over 400 patients daily. By now Dr. Chris and his staff have helped over 750,000 people across Nigeria. During our entire trip to Nigeria, I had a chance to literally follow Dr. Chris for 16+hr days daily.

One day, myself and Danny had to woke up at 2am (that’s the time Dr. Chris wakes up every single day), and film the Doctor’s daily routine.
Along with the hospital Dr. Chris helped start multiple skill acquisition centers where people can receive free education in some form of professional proficiency. Also Dr. Chris and the Faith Alive Organization support multiple schools and smaller clinics all over Nigeria which we also had a possibility to visit.

Yet, our main purpose was to create a film documentary. We also decided that it would be a great idea to do Help-Portrait in every school, clinic and orphanage we visited.

We started with the Faith Alive main hospital in Jos where all the staff and their family had a chance to come and take their family photo.
After that we had a chance to go to some of the schools, both outside Jos as well as within the city.

Videos by Danny VA.

Help-Portrait. Nigeria. from Sasha on Vimeo.










We’ve been working for over a week in Nigeria, and almost got all the materials for our documentary except the interview with Dr. Chris.
And while we were in FaithAlive hospital, we saw doctors rushing in bringing a kid of 11-12 years old. Dr.Chris went to check on him, and turned out it was an orphan from local orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS.
Yet this kid not only had AIDS, but also sickle cell anemia.
Probably 2 hours later when we were done with the interview one of the doctors came downstairs of the hospital and urgently asked Dr.Chris to come up.
What happened was that 11 year old kid passed away..
One thing is when you hear stories like that, but another thing is when you see AIDS talking kids’ lives.

Next day we decided to bring a little bit of joy to the orphanage where all the kids are HIV positive, and decided to do another Help-Portraits. And once again, it blew my mind how joyfull and happy those kids where. Even thou it seemed like they didn’t have anything, yet they found joy in simple things in life.

Accident with the kid with AIDS….one thing is when you hear about it. another is when its happening in front of your eyes.

Every time I do Help-Portrait projects I always learn something new. Something new about myself, people and approach to photography.
Here are some things I learned on my trip to Nigeria.

- Ask people to smile. It doesn’t matter how old or how young they are. They look better with the smile on their face.




- Do your best. You never know, you might be photographing the future president.
Treat everyone equally, and do your best to deliver the best photograph you can deliver. You never know who is standing in front of your camera, so treat those people as if you are photographing the president of your country.


- Show that you care.
Smile. Smile a lot. Learn how to say “smile” and “hi” in the language/culture you are in.
Hug them. Twice. A lot of times. Especially when you are photographing orphans, all they need is someone who would show that he/she cares and happy to see them. Make sure you send that message.

- Remember It’s NOT about you. It’s about the people in your photo. Make sure they are your #1 priority.
Sometimes as photographers we can stress out about our lighting not being perfect, or the person in front of the camera not standing or not looking the way you want them to look.


- Don’t wait to be asked. Ask to photograph.
Be the first to come and ask people to photograph them. You are there to serve them, and not vise versa. Don’t wait for people – especially you never met before to ask you for photo.
If you see someone seeing or watching nearby – go and invite to get a photo.


- Throw all those things aside and focus on the people in front of your camera. Approach those people with love and great respect. Make sure they know it’s all about THEM, and not YOU and your photography.

Yet probably the most important lesson/reminder I took from this trip and would like to share is something we very often neglect – To be thankful.

Here is a short tutorial on how I run Help-Portrait projects.

Help-Portrait Tutorial. Nigeria. from Sasha on Vimeo.

My Gear:
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon 24-70 2.8 II
Main Light: 47″ Octabox with AlienBees B800
Light modifier: 47″ Octabox
Light battery pack: Vagabond Mini Lithium

Main Printer: Canon Selphy 900
Secondary Printer: Canon Pixma IP100
Printer battery pack #1: Canon LK-62 for Pixma IP100
Printer battery pack #2: Canon NB-CP2L for Selphy 900

Shoulder bag: ThinkTank Retrospective 30 (Black)
Main gear bag: ThinkTank Airport Security V 2.0

Special thanks to all the supporters:
ThinkTank Photo
Rode Mic

Comments: 27
  1. Sasha Leahovcenco: Help-Portrait, Nigeria | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013 Dec 03rd 15:51

    [...] wasn’t finished. This year he traveled to Nigeria where he took Help-Portrait to every school, clinic and orphanage his team visited while creating [...]

  2. Ajibola Okubanjo Dec 04th 18:55

    Lovely photos and a great initiative. As a Nigerian, I’ve never been to these places you went to so it great to see the images.

  3. varifocals tetris autism and lazy eye Dec 12th 05:11

    Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform
    are you using for this website? I’m getting tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and
    I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  4. the best hosting provider Feb 28th 02:27

    Hello Dear, are you actually visiting this website regularly, if so tgen you will absolutely obtain good know-how.

  5. best computer training centre Mar 06th 12:41

    Hello there, You have done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally
    suggest to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this site.

  6. beautiful home decoration Mar 09th 13:47

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extrekely broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try
    to get the hang of it!

  7. Mar 10th 13:47

    It is a large metropolitan area featuring a world class airport,
    financial districts, and other businesses that directly affect the
    hospitality industry that thrives in this area. The manufacturers knew that racing, especially
    road racing, was needed to develop and test new products and technologies that the companies were developing
    for their line of street cars. This led to increased sales and prosperity for the company.

  8. get your love back Mar 11th 05:03

    What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of
    valuable knowledge about unpredicted emotions.

  9. Lorri Mar 11th 05:07

    One must practice the comic scripts beforehand at home.
    his comic roles in movies like Hungama, Waqt: The Race
    against Time, Malamaal. Well, it can easily be because the audience has been watching her in the TV for
    the past 6 years, but nevertheless, her FACTS are easy to remember and apply to everyone.

  10. android homme review Mar 12th 02:27

    Does your website have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email.

    I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it improve
    over time.

  11. Lupe Mar 14th 08:19

    I always spent my half an hour to rad this webpage’s articles or reviews every
    day along with a mug of coffee.

  12. psn network status uk Mar 14th 12:15

    It’s awesome to visit this site and reading the views
    of all mates concerning this paragraph, while I am also zealous of
    getting knowledge.

  13. option bot 2.0 Mar 14th 18:41

    Greate post. Keep posting such kind of info on your site.

    Im really impressed by it.
    Hey there, You have performed a fantastic job. I’ll definitely digg
    it and for my part recommend to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this website.

  14. Logan Square houses Mar 14th 19:36

    I visited various web pages but the audio quality for audio songs existing at this website
    is really superb.

  15. eiaculazione precoce cause Mar 15th 00:50

    I was pretty pleased to find this page. I wanted to thank you for ones
    time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit
    of it and I have you saved to fav to see new things on your website.

  16. pc download Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare Mar 15th 06:33

    Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains.
    If you know of any please share. Thank you!

  17. water damage restoration huntington beach Mar 18th 13:07

    I pay a visit each day a few web pages and blogs to read articles or reviews, but this web site
    offers quality based posts.

  18. install firefox Mar 19th 02:42

    Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web
    site, how can i subscribe for a weblog web site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I
    had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided vivid transparent idea

  19. Calvin Klein Underwear Mar 25th 03:58

    Ahaa, its fastidious discussion regarding this article at this place at this blog, I have read all that, so now me also commenting here.

  20. Fifa World Cup Game Free Download Mar 29th 13:21

    When Brazil was chosen as host for the 2014 football World Cup, a ripple of
    exhilaration went about the football world. Lastly
    the FIFA World Cup has returned to the most flamboyant footballing nation, a country where football is
    a way of daily life, a nation exactly where all supporters would
    like to encounter the World Cup Brazil. The World Cup
    is, with out exception, the greatest sporting spectacle on earth,
    and the World Cup in Brazil will be the football event of our generation.
    The 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be a carnival that many men and women will
    fortunately invest their cost savings to expertise. It won’t occur again in our lifetimes.

    Fondly referred to as Guga, this Brazilian sportsman is a previous World
    No. 1 tennis participant. He started out actively playing
    tennis at the youthful age of six and became Brazil’s second-best participant quite early in his
    job. He has won 3 French Opens, earning a Grand Slam in each and every of them.
    His French Open victories incorporated defeating the then top two players, ahead of
    turning into the world’s amount 1 participant
    in 2000. Guga is the only player to have crushed Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in the
    same major event. He is the very last participant
    to have received against Roger Federer. Soon after retiring in 2008, he has settled in Florianopolis, Brazil, his birthplace.

  21. Sell House Online Apr 01st 07:58

    Seeing a visual of how a property could possibly be modified to match their
    vision of their dream home can be the impetus that moves individuals from lookers to
    buyers. Despite what proportion you expect to moving to your completely new place, it’ll be an
    awfully stressful time. When an offer also comes in, they are going to help you using the negotiations, and they will follow up on
    all steps needed to get you for the closing table.

  22. learn to play piano Apr 01st 22:24

    Ahaa, its nice discussion on the topic of this piece of
    writing here at this webpage, I have read all that, so now me
    also commenting here.

  23. Apr 02nd 17:55

    So basically you can up-to-date everywhere you look at any
    time. Overall, analysts were all products of this “evolution” of upgrades and
    features lighter and thinner left a deep impression.
    This is a rather new development inside smartphone market and is also
    likely to hang in there for a couple of years.

  24. パトリックコックス アウトレット Apr 06th 07:55

    Hurrah! At last I got a webpage from where I know how to genuinely get useful data regarding my study and knowledge.

  25. hosting Apr 11th 15:53

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

  26. genf20 plus spray Apr 12th 07:50

    Taking the substance may be reputed to come up with a boost with the subjects’ lifespan to
    as much as fifty percent. This is This just isn’t to declare that there become magic cremes out there are that can make you stay new forever.
    My search continuing for any suitable strategy for my quick aging.

  27. porn addiction effects Apr 14th 12:41

    Humans evolved this ability to be able to compel us to accomplish the things that make us feel good – like eating and having sex.
    Internet Addiction can be a controversial issue amongst mental health practitioners.
    If you want to catch more carp it is extremely better
    to place them at their ease right.

Add comment

prev post next post back to the blog
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec