Well Hello!I am thrilled to announce our 8th year producing my little giving-back project. My goal is to help provide funding for teacher project need requests for struggling Michigan school systems.

It would mean so much to have your support expanding awareness of and participation in this year’s calendar project. To show my appreciation for your kind consideration, I am offering special theme-portrait session fees to make it more affordable for families to participate.

To produce a successful calendar project/contest, I need a minimum of 20-25 children (ages 17 & under on Jan. 1st of the year we are shooting for each project) with all sessions taking place by June 30th.

All originals are shot on a high key (white) background. I help parents choose the image to be entered in the online public ‘$1-per-vote’ contest/fundraiser. Then the magic begins!

The images chosen for the contest will receive high end retouch/enhancements, a lovely backdrop swap, and — depending on the image — various other enhancements like texture overlays, fairy dust, borders, etc. I ask that parents cover the $40 retouching fee; I cover all other software, digital assets (like wings and backgrounds to swap into the final image), and any postproduction ‘toys’ necessary to make for a lovely final portrait.

There is no entry fee for the families entering a child/image for the contest/fundraiser. The families who enter the 12 children whose photographs receive the most votes in the online public ‘$1-per-vote’ contest/fundraiser will win a variety of prizes, including digital copies of the high res finals of winning image

100% of net funds raised in the contest/fundraiser* will go to support teacher projects via DonorsChoose.org.

Session fees go toward the cost of creating/maintaining the blog/site and the contest software.

The Prize List will be available soon* — stay tuned!)

Here’s How the Annual Contest/Fundraiser Works

  • The 12 children featured in the annual “Enchanted Moments” calendar are chosen by the public in an online $1-per-vote contest/fundraiser.
  • The crew and I will choose the Cover image from the TOP 5 winning entries in the contest/fundraiser. 
    • The family/child entering the image chosen for the cover will also get to choose which month they would like their child featured in the inside calendar pages.
  • The family and I decide together which image would be best to enter in the contest
  • Parents cover the cost of:
    • The discounted session fee (less than 1/2 my normal headshot session fee to make it affordable for families to participate)
    • I ask that parents cover only the $40 per image Level II (high end) retouch fees (I don’t make money on retouching; I outsource that part of the job with someone who really has a magic touch when it comes to helping me and my clients win photography contests).
    • I cover the cost of outsourcing any work and asset purchases (digital wings, backgrounds, fx tools, etc.) for extractions/drop swaps, compositing, any other outsourced post- production fees once the retouching part of the job is complete.
      • Aside from the reduced session fee and covering Level II retouch, there is no obligation to purchase digital copies of the final images or digital copies of the other images taken during the session.
      • I do give a really nice discount for families who want to purchase copies of the calendar itself when it is ready to rock — the remaining funds raised by selling the calendar itself goes to help cover design work for the calendar, proofing, printing, shipping the run to the studio, etc.
  • I cover everything else it takes to produce the calendar project (website creation/maintenance/fees, social media PR, design work for the calendar itself, etc.)
  • 100% of net funds raised in the ‘$1-per-vote’ online contest/fundraiser goes to help fund teacher projects via DonorsChoose.org.
    • PayPal charges a small fee to help process the public votes/donations. Those fees are paid to PayPal; the remaining funds go directly to teacher projects from DonorsChoose.org.
    • Within 30 days of the contest/fundraiser close, I will provide (upon request) paperwork showing what was raised (minus PayPal fees) as well as reporting on social media the specific teacher projects your donations helped fund (I chose which projects to finance; I try to find projects that have extra support from larger donors/corps who sometimes match or double/triple the donations we make on behalf of the contest families — gotta love that, eh?

I think that covers the basics of how the project works.

For questions or to book a theme portrait session for your child for the calendar contest/fundraiser:

Email: deborahouellettephotography@gmail.com

Text: (810) 793-8919

IMPORTANT: I am a night owl so I shoot and do business mostly afternoons/evenings. I prefer a text or email for 1st contact. Be SURE to fill out the subject line when sending email (I do not open emails from folks I don’t recognize — protecting my equipment from potential viruses, etc.) 

A simple, ‘Calendar Project Session Request’ or something like it that clearly says you are someone I want to open email from, will work.

For texts, same thing. Identify yourself. Once I add you to my contacts, your name will come up when you call or text and I’ll know it’s safe to answer/respond.

After having my websites hacked more than once AND having someone try the ‘click on the wrong email and have your computer taken hostage’ thing — yep, it really does happen — I am super cautious about opening or responding to email, texts, and calls from people I don’t know.

Thanks for understanding.

Looking forward to producing what I’m sure will be another lovely calendar project.

Have a good one!