From left are Sophia Murphy, 4, and Laila Gleeson, 7, who went to the pay it forward photo shoot at Isel Park on Saturday. Photo: Kimberly John.

Paying it forward with photos


Nelson mum Monika Lehnhardt doesn’t have any professional photos of her son and daughter.

So when local photographer Kimberly John offered them a free photo shoot, she couldn’t say no.

Around 20 people met at Isel Park on Saturday for the opportunity to capture a special moment with their families.

Kimberly, who runs Picture Perfect Photography, had seen the local ‘pay it forward’ Facebook page, where Nelsonians of all backgrounds go to share things they think might be of help to others.

Food, furniture, heaters, toys and clothes are all common items. But Kimberly wanted to give away something they could treasure forever – photos.

Each family that came was treated to a ten minute shoot and three high-quality portraits.

Kimberly says she spent three and a half hours taking around 900 photos at the session, and then spent another two hours emailing them to families on Sunday night.

“It blew me away with how much interest there was. They all loved the photos, so it’s a really good feeling to know that I’ve made a difference,” Kimberly says.

“I understand life’s struggles and hurdles, so to have the community unite together and have the opportunity to photograph their families and create portraits that can be cherished, is honestly empowering.”

Another local mum, Nikayla-Grace Gleeson, also attended the shoot with her daughters Sophia and Laila.

“Kimberly is fantastic at what she does. The photo shoot she did on Saturday for the Nelson community was amazing. She had a lot of interest and never turned anyone away,” she says.

Now Kimberly hopes that more people in Nelson will choose to pay it forward to someone else in need.

“Whether that is a kind compliment or perhaps offering your assistance, it is such a powerful act.”