Two studios offered free portraits for low-income people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on Saturday.

The portrait sessions started as a world-wide movement three years ago with the aim of offering portraits to those who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.

"We see families and kids all dressed up because they know today is Help-Portrait day," said organizer Bernard Ng.

"They know this is their one opportunity in the course of a year where they can feel special and get their portrait taken, so that initial shyness has kind of melted away now and every time we see a familiar face we're greeted with smiles again and that's what makes it all worthwhile."

Hundreds of photographers, hair-stylists and make-up artists volunteer to help.

After the portraits are taken, shots are chosen and instantly printed.

"The feeling — I can't really describe it," Ng said. "It's very powerful to actually see that moment in their eyes when they light up and see their own picture."