The Minnesota Heart Gallery provides the experience
of a photo session between kids in foster care & professional photographers.

Purpose & Process Statement

If you agree and want to help, please fill out the Volunteer Photographer Agreement Form.

The purpose of Minnesota Heart Gallery is to:

  • Recruit and support some of Minnesota’s finest portrait/on site photographers to ensure that every child or teen who is waiting in foster care for an adoptive family to be found has access to a professional photo shoot experience designed specifically for them.

  • Provide the high quality images created from the photo shoots to the youth for his or her personal use and to professionals responsible for creating materials used to recruit an adoptive family for that youth.

  • Promote the right of every child whose life has been disrupted by abuse, neglect and child welfare intervention care to be restored to a permanent family.

  • Because Minnesota Heart Gallery photos capture the extraordinary spirit of young people, and give real faces to the statistics about adoption and foster care, they inspire families to consider how they might help.

Who is Served?

Youth of any age from any part of the state who are awaiting adoption because their parents’ legal rights have been terminated due to abuse and neglect. Youth of color and sibling groups make up the majority of Minnesota’s 600 waiting youth.

What do Heart Gallery Photographers do?

Minnesota Heart Gallery photographers agree to do 1-3 photo shoots a year of children, teens and/or sibling groups who are awaiting adoption in Minnesota.

On the day of the shoot the photographer engages with the youth to capture the most authentic, personality-capturing photos possible. After the shoot, the photographer sends 20-30 high resolution images and outtakes available either on disc or online for several purposes.

First, the youth gets full permission to use the photos for personal use; second, the photos become property of Minnesota Heart Gallery where they will be used in at least two on-line locations to recruit adoptive families. Lastly, photos will also be used to create written materials used in child-specific family recruitment.

how we say thank you!

A link to your professional website will be on for as long as you are a volunteer. In addition, several times each year we will profile one of our volunteers on the website. You are always welcome to link our site to yours to promote your volunteer work with Minnesota Heart Gallery. When your photos appear on, your name will appear alongside the photo.

Once a youth is matched with a family, we may reach out again to the photographer who took the youth’s Heart Gallery photos to request a shoot for the new family - this is a real thrill for photographers and proof that their hard work helped make the reality of adoption happen.

Becoming a Heart Gallery Photographer

  1. Read the purpose and process statement. (You’re reading it right now!)

  2. Fill out and return the Volunteer Photographer Agreement Form.

  3. Once your agreement has been received and approved, the Heart Gallery coordinator will contact you.

  4. Be ready to meet some great kids!


Process for Coordinating & Conducting a Photo Shoot

  1. An adoption social worker makes an on-line request to Minnesota Heart Gallery for a photo shoot for a youth or sibling group.

  2. The Heart Gallery coordinator will contact a volunteer photographer that serves the geographic area where the youth is living. Sometimes the coordinator reaches out to more than one photographer in order to increase the possibility of finding someone available as soon as possible.

  3. Once a photographer agrees to the shoot, the Heart Gallery coordinator will send the photographer basic information about the youth, including contact information for the youth’s social worker, the youth’s first name and ideas about the photo shoot.

  4. It is the role of the social worker to call or email the volunteer photographer to coordinate the shoot. There are specific expectations for securing the youth’s privacy outlined in the Volunteer Photographer Agreement Form.

  5. The social worker is responsible for coordinating transportation and supervision for the day of the shoot. Photographers do not transport youth, nor are they ever with a youth without an adult who knows the youth well present.

  6. Photo shoot is done at photographer's studio or otherwise agreed upon location.

  7. When a Heart Gallery photo shoot is completed, the photographer provides the following:

    * 20-30 final high resolution images sized to 3500px on the longest side - please include any silly outtakes, as they can help convey the youth's personality. Dropbox folder of the images OR password-protected online gallery with download capability.

    * Many photographers choose to also provide one or two sheets of wallet-size photos for the youth to share with friends. This is always a special treat for the youth, but definitely optional for the photographer.

    Please note that photos may be cropped when displayed on the Heart Gallery website. If you would like to crop the images yourself, please contact us for information on the necessary dimensions: 
    Minnesota Heart Gallery c/o Ampersand Families | 2515 Wabash Avenue, Suite 150 | St Paul, MN 55114

    Watch for photos to be posted on and Minnesota Heart Gallery’s Facebook page. Photos will also be posted on, which is the state’s official photo listing of children who are under state guardianship and awaiting adoption.

    Stay tuned for Heart Gallery events and join us for the celebrations!


Become a volunteer photographer

If you would like to partner with us, fill out the form below and our coordinator will contact you.

Name *
Address *
Location within Minnesota + do you have a studio or shoot on location only?

Minnesota's Heart Gallery is not the listing of current waiting children and youth.

Minnesota's official waiting kids listing can be found at MNAdopt (not affiliated with the Minnesota Heart Gallery)

or by clicking the button below: