As the stay at home orders came down in my state, like most of us I felt helpless as I watched the devastating effects of of COVID-19 hit our nation. I started hearing about other photographers from other states doing “front porch photography sessions” to document this unprecedented time for their neighbors. Considering I am a family photographer in Orlando who specializes in documentary wedding photography, this idea appealed to me as something that I could do in my neighborhood.
I live in a small neighborhood in Oviedo where there are about 25 homes. When we moved here in 2005, our kids were small and my husband and I used to organize neighborhood progressive dinners, potlucks, Super Bowl parties, etc. to connect with our neighbors. But in recent years, I have to admit that I haven’t been as engaged as I used to be partly because our three kids are now young adults and most of the homes have been sold to younger families. So I saw the porch session idea as not only a way to give back, but also a great way to get to know these new families and I can say that I accomplished just that.
To begin I sent out invitations stating that I was offering free front porch family photography sessions to comply with the 6-foot social distancing order and that I would be collecting donations for our local homeless ministry, Hope Helps, because their weekly food pantry and re-sale shop were closed. I assigned time slots for all the families that said they wanted to participate and literally went from house to house every 15 minutes. As it turned out, the day that worked best for everyone was the day before Easter and since families were not able to go to their traditional Easter services, some decided to use this as a chance to have Easter portraits taken. It was so much fun going around and getting to know my new neighbors and their kids and grandkids. There were even some dogs in some portraits. I was also so pleased that we were able to help the less fortunate in our community as well by donating to Hope Helps.