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Charity photo sessions in honor of Newtown victims

Olivia Act, started to honor Newtown victims, offers free family portraits

SAN ANTONIO - In honor of the Newtown, Conn., shooting victims, photographers across the country are being encouraged to donate portrait sessions to families who do not have photos of their own.

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Olivia Engel was one of the child victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, and shortly before her death, her family had a photographer do a portrait session.

Undoubtedly, those pictures will be cherished forever.

Stephanie Mills is one San Antonio photographer participating in "The Olivia Act," as the charity photography endeavor is being called.

"I felt helpless after watching the news and seeing what had happened in Connecticut and it also gives me a chance to feel like I'm doing something to help," Mills said.

Stephanie Mills Photography specializes in high school seniors, weddings and family pictures, capturing moments in time that will live on forever.

"Things happen and nothing stays the same so it's a really good idea to get pictures done," Mills said.

When she watched the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy unfolding, she was glad to hear one of the young victims had recently had pictures taken.

Then she found a Facebook page called The Olivia Act. An anonymous photographer set up the page to encourage photographers across the country to give free photo sessions to families that don't have pictures of their own.

It now has 14,000 likes.

"You never know when you might lose a loved one and you'll never be able to go back and do those pictures," Mills said.

She is now donating 26 half-hour portrait sessions in honor of the 26 Newtown victims. Photographers across the country have signed up to do the same.

She says she does not want families to regret the only photos they have are on a cell phone.

“In 20 years, that's what everyone's going to have is cell phone pictures," Mills said.

She will be choosing families through a lottery on Jan. 15 and hopes she is overwhelmed with requests.

Interested families can email Mills at: stephanie@stephaniemillsphotography.com.

Include "The Olivia Act" in the subject line.

And to find photographers in your area participating in this program, just visit the Olivia Act blog.


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