MACON, Ga. — Given how big of a role phones and apps like Instagram play in our lives, the concept of printed photography is not as relevant as it used to be, but that isn't the case for the photographers at Smile Middle Georgia.
The organization formed in 2018 to bring free printed portraits to families in Warner Robins and Macon.
"The reason we started it was to give back to the community," says founder, Kevin Chelton. "It's to give those kids an opportunity to have prints growing up throughout the years."
Chelton decided to start collaborating with schools in his community after seeing a fellow photographer do similar work in Nebraska.
Smile Middle Georgia began with schools in Warner Robins, but has since paired up with U Create Macon to bring free photography to the Macon area.
For parents like Nakeisha Leitzsey, the work that Smile Middle Georgia does is very much appreciated.
"We take pictures on our phones and the technology is great," says Leitzsey. "But to have that printed photo that you can frame in your living room to look back on is just awesome."
Leitzsey had the opportunity to take a family portrait with her son and husband when the organization came to L.H. Williams Elementary School in March.
"We haven't taken professional pictures in a while together, so I'm very happy about this," says Leitzsey.
So far Smile Middle Georgia has come to three schools in Central Georgia and they don't plan on stopping anytime soon.
For Chelton, it's all about helping families preserve their memories with photos you can hold.
"I'm blessed with everything that I've gotten," says Chelton. "I just want to give back to the communities I live in."
To learn more about Smile Middle Georgia, you can visit their Facebook page.