As coronavirus spreads and states start implementing Stay at Home orders, businesses of all kinds are suffering, photographers included. As a result, we're all trying to get creative in other services we can offer to keep our businesses afloat. One new trend amongst photographers are these "front porch sessions."
I want to start by saying I know many photographers mean well by offering these sessions and that they seem harmless. I honestly can't say I understand why families might want to have photographs to remember this time by, I can't relate to that, but that doesn't mean those feelings are invalid and shouldn't be honored. There has been a lot of controversy in the photography community about these sessions, and I decided a while ago that I wasn't going to participate in this new trend. Here's my reasoning (I'll give the short version).
First and foremost, Minnesota is currently under a Stay at Home order until April 10th. Photography is not an essential business, so even if I practiced social distancing to do these sessions, it wouldn't actually be legal for me to offer them.
Secondly, even if we were not under a Stay at Home order, I would not feel comfortable offering these sessions for a couple of reasons. One being that I don't feel they are worth the risk to me and my family (and my residents and co-workers at my other job) and to you and your family. Many Minnesotans began social distancing before there was a Stay at Home order, and that's great. But to me, practicing social distancing applies to essential activities whether we are under a Stay at Home order or not, not trying to make our normal activities "work" by complying with social distancing.
Another reason I'm not offering front porch sessions is out of a moral and ethical responsibility. Many non-professional and new and upcoming photographers get ideas from other photographers. While I could potentially offer front porch sessions and practice doing them safely, another less experienced photographer may see the photos and idea behind the session, and try to emulate it. But what if when they do so, they don't practice it safely, simply because they don't realize or even worse, because they don't care or believe there is risk? What if they get out of their car, walk into your yard, and stand 10 feet away from you? They are putting themselves, their family, you and your family, their other clients, and others at risk. It. Is. Not. Worth. It.
Lastly, front porch sessions are so not my thing. My work is based on interaction with you and your family. That's how I capture those genuine, candid moments. I'm about the real emotions and connections, not just taking a snapshot. Sorry, but you can take a snapshot yourself. ;) If my heart is not in it, I just can't do it. I can't do my job from behind a car window 30+ feet away. And honestly, I just wouldn't feel good about doing a front porch session because I would feel like I'm making money off of coronavirus. That would feel icky to me.
Now, if you are someone who was considering a front porch session, again, I am not passing judgment on you, but I hope you will consider the risks behind it and reconsider. You can capture these memories safely on your own if you want, and if that's the route you'd like to go, I'd be more than happy to help. Just reach out. We're all in this together. <3