Thousands of Winnipeggers will pose for professional photos this holiday season, with family and loved ones. But for many in the city, holiday photos are a luxury they can’t afford.

Kevin Fontaine is just 23 years old but has spent many nights sleeping in back alleys.

“People try to come after you sometimes. People just randomly do anything when they see a homeless -- when they see a person outside," said Fontaine.

Fontaine’s difficult circumstances put things like holiday photos out of reach.

Help Portrait hopes to change that. The international group organizes local photographers to take professional photos of those who can’t afford them during the holiday season.

A number of photographers were on hand at Siloam Mission Saturday afternoon, providing free photos to guests at the shelter.

"When I saw the picture just awhile ago I had tears in my eyes,” said George Kennedy. Kennedy had his photo taken Saturday and received it moments later after it was developed at the shelter.

“It's so beautiful. You people take pictures of us people that can't afford it," said Kennedy.

Jon Adaskin was one of the photographers who volunteered his time. He said in some cases, the photos he provides are the only ones people have ever had.

Adaskin described one photo he took of a woman, who he later found out had never sat for a photographer before. "She was shocked! She had never seen an image of herself, and that was really, really moving,” said Adaskin.

Fontaine too was moved. He said he couldn’t remember the last time he had a photo taken of himself.

"(I will) give one to my family, give one to my girlfriend and keep one for myself," said Fontaine.

The Help Portrait Project began four years ago and is now supported by photographers worldwide.