Well here we are. Literally almost everyone in the entire world on STAY-AT-HOME orders in order to combat the COVID-19 virus and the sickness it causes.
How are you doing? For me personally, I've been struggling...a lot. It's a scary time of uncertainty, for everyone and even more so for those that are vulnerable healthwise and for those that are self employed and/or running a small business.
With most of us on the requirements to stay home and practice social distancing, photographers are hit pretty hard - just as hair dressers, nail salons, and massage therapists. We just cannot do our jobs without interacting with other people. Unlike other jobs, it is just not possible to service you over video chats, as much as we would love to do it! We have all cancelled any upcoming sessions and our income has stopped! I personally haven't done a session since March 8.
Of course there are ways to shoot from a distance with many telephoto lenses that are out there. Could I shoot a family session while maintaining social distancing? ABSOLUTELY! Will I under today's stay-at-home order? NO WAY
There is a new type of session that has exploded around the nation. Maybe you've heard of the front porch sessions. The theory is, the photographer takes family portraits while maintaining their "social distance" by shooting from the sidewalk or street, which is fairly easy to do as long as all parties involved are understanding and abiding. Now if you've been around children and especially ones that totally love their photographer :) they want to run to you, hug you, show you something neat, etc etc. It would break my heart to have to yell for them to STOP, especially since most wouldn't understand as to why. (See the end of my post for tips on how to take your own porch photograph)
What is happening with these sessions is not in accordance with the strong recommendations and advice we are being told with the stay-at-home order. Yes we are able to still go outside, take walks in our local neighborhoods, for now and all essential businesses are remaining open at this point. Sadly, as much as I would like to consider it, photography is not an essential business.
Photography involves continuing to operate a non-essential business. Portrait photography involves the gathering of people and at least one person (usually the photographer) having to leave their home in order to do so. With a stay-at-home order by doing so photographers, as a non-essential business are not leading by example and not helping in getting us all through this crisis as quickly as we can. It gives the sense that "well they did it, so it must be ok". It also puts them at risk (those with legitimate businesses) for financial penalties in some areas.
Don't get me wrong...I absolutely LOVE the entire idea behind these documentary sessions of the current times, but I just feel they are not responsible and really how are they any different than park sessions which are an "every day business as usual" type session.
Photographers, and families considering any type of engagement in social interacting at this time, PLEASE just STOP! Only together as ONE will we win this battle in a timely manner. And when that happens, the sun will shine brightly, the trees will bud, and the leaves will still change color and we all will have come to realize how precious our families and life in general truly are. Everyone will want to to get that portrait they had been putting off all of these years and photographers calendars across the world will be so abundantly full!
STAY AT HOME!
How to take your own "front porch photo"
Find the location where you will be taking your photo. (porch, back deck, couch, etc) Watch how the light hits that location at different times throughout the day. Maybe even take a couple of selfies in the different lighting in order to find which you like best. Most people think super bright sunlight is the best when in actuality that's not always true. Many shots taken in bright sunlight, your photographer has done lots of behind the scenes editing to make it beautiful. Photos taken in soft light such as early morning or an hour before sunset (golden hour) are ideal. Even a cloudy, overcast day tends to be "perfect light" to take a photograph. The clouds act as a great filter.
2. Don't Stress
This photo does not have to be perfect. This is not going in photo contest. The importance is to document you and your family at this moment in your life. It can be as creative or simple as you want it to be just don't stress over it.
3. What to wear
Wear what you want! If you feel like getting full on dressed up, DO IT! Just want to take an as-is, "here we are" type photo, GO FOR IT! I'm giving you permission to just be you! Walk out on the front porch and capture it!
Whatever camera you have is the best camera to use! This includes cell phone cameras. As photographers we sometimes get wrapped up in the "perfect" photograph with perfect lighting/equipment and fail to take the every day snapshots from our phones of our families. You don't need an expensive tripod either. Use a chair with stacked books, set your timer on your phone, prop it up with a coffee mug and TAKE THE PHOTO! No special equipment is required to do this.
Don't let this one scare you. It's not anything super fancy and is not required but will make things alot easier for you if you have small children and/or pets. An intervalometer allows you to take multiple images at a time, ever heard of sports mode on your camera? The difference is you don't need to be pushing the button. Set the timer and how many interval photos you want (I'd suggest 1 photo every 5 seconds) and there you go! You will get shots that show true emotion in the moment and you may even get some pretty hilarious shots by doing this. These obviously can be purchased online to hook to your camera but you can also get some awesome apps right on your phone to use.
6. Set up
Get everyone together and check to make sure everyone is in the viewfinder. It's better to be further back as you can always crop in later.
That's it guys!! Those are my main tips in order for you to get a great photo of your family while you're all together...I mean let's face it, how often are we all together? Take advantage of it! Stay tuned for my own "front porch" family photo.
I'd love to see all of the photos that you take! And if you'd like me to edit it for you, I would be happy to do some quick edits. Send me a message on facebook and I can tell you how to get the photo to me.