Q: What is Give Women A Shot? Why start this campaign?

A: Give Women a Shot affords people a unique active experience and gives them ownership of making positive change for women. Through the offer of a 5-min portrait session ($50 value), participants can receive a portrait in exchange for their pledge to support either by volunteering their service or donating funds to an organization or cause benefiting women & LGBTQ groups, and those at the intersection, including POC, native, and immigrant communities.

Q: Why is Alena doing this?

A: Outside of being an active feminist, and having increasingly woken up to women’s issues both close to home and across the world, as soon as I learned of IWD, it struck me as an important day for celebration, reflection, and action. I've seen incredible art and statements made in the past, and seen inspiring action taken, and I want to contribute to that momentum, on March 8th and every day. I can donate the use of my time and services to benefit those causes. I read something recently about a virtuoso being someone who has acquired great skill in their craft, and as it stems from the root as "virtue", it therefore seems that it is a spiritual, virtuous act to share your craft, to use your powers for good. It's an appreciation of your mind and body and skills you've honed. It promotes good energy in you and in those on the receiving end, and that is what I want for International Women’s Day.

I’d also like to make it clear that I am in no way the perfect representation of an advocate. I have my own internalized issues, and so much to learn, and I am actively working on this. If you have any suggestions or feedback on this site, this initiative, or just personal comments, I would love to hear it.

Q: Why portrait photography?

A: Portrait sessions with me are unique in that I don’t just take your photo and send you on your way. I like to get to know you a bit and learn about what makes you you, what your dreams are, and how we can use your portrait to further your goals. This can have a therapeutic effect (so I’m told by former clients!) and can be really fun and beautiful. People have been documenting other humans for ages, and since the earliest days of photography, portraits have a way of freezing time and capturing the subject as they are. (Sure, you can retouch or photoshop, and there’s a time and place for that, but as-is photos, to me, are the most beautiful.)

Q: What other types of creatives can participate?

A: Any service qualifies, and it doesn’t even really have to be “creative”! And you don’t have to be a professional! Do you do cosmetic work? Do you offer legal counseling? Domestic work? Make jewelry? Paint? Write? Own a shop? On March 8th, offer some part of your service in exchange for a contribution towards a worthy cause.

Q: What types of charities and causes benefit women & LGBTQ? What organization should I support?

A: There are countless types and are broad-ranging. This isn’t just limited to the bigger organizations, and I encourage you to dig deep in finding causes that have meaning for you and are maybe lesser known. It’s a personal choice, and my list is only suggestions. Additionally, I call attention to the groups that lie at intersections of identifying as a woman or LGBTQ, particularly POC, native, and immigrant communities, as these individuals face even more discrimination, racism, and disadvantages in our society.

Q: Should I only support women & LGBTQ on March 8th?

A: You know the answer to this. You should ALWAYS support women & LGBTQ. And there are plenty of ways to do so. You can influence your own network can community. Educate yourself and your family and friends. Vote with their interests in mind. This is always a challenge, even for those identifying within these groups. (It’s a challenge for me, daily and I am still working on it!) To do this is to go against the grain, to risk your own quality of life, your relationships, your job. But the risk is worth taking.

Q: What is an example of a personal action I can take in my community to support women & LGBTQ?

A: The reason it’s personal is just that, it’s personal. You have your own unique experience and life circumstances. Regardless of what they are, you can take steps for yourself, in your job, with your family and friends to promote equal rights and treatment for all. This can be challenging. I know it is because it’s challenging even for me and I am constantly working on it. Some examples include raising the voices of women in your life and centering them frequently in personal and work settings, believing victims of abuse or assault, confronting your peers who perpetuate stereotypes or make offensive jokes at the expense of women & LGBTQ. There is plenty that has been written on this topic. I will include more suggestions and reading material in my newsletter.

Q: When do I get my photos?

A: Do to the nature of this being a free event and because of a potential of high volume, delivery timelines are unknown at this time.

Q: What if it rains?

A: The bad news is, I don’t have an indoor location available for this, so I will likely cancel the event. The good news is, March is Women’s History month, so it’d be fitting, at my discretion, to pick a new date some time in March. If you subscribe to email updates, I’ll keep you in the loop.

Q: I identify as a man. Can I still get a portrait?

A: Of course! This is open to anyone.

Q: What if I can’t make it?

A: If all goes well, I may offer this again in the future! So subscribe to my newsletter for updates.