What I learned during the front porch portrait project

What is the Front Porch Portrait Project?

For the last month I’ve been participating in the free front porch portrait project for families around San Antonio. Today I have a confession to make: I was so nervous about offering this. See the idea was started by a photographer in Georgia and quickly spread across social media. She was capturing families out front of their houses during Covid-19. I had seen it and thought it was an adorable idea. Little did I know, I was going to learn a lot in the process.


To Participate or Not?

As cute as I though this was, I kind of drug my feet about it. Not that I didn’t want to do it, I just didn’t know if I was good enough. Then I decided to go for it, I’m not one to be scared of trying something. Right after that, we were ordered to “shelter in place” and I saw a lot of photographers stop the project. That’s when I started to question it again, should I be doing this? Am I breaking the rules (I’m a rules follower for sure)? Am I making things worse? I didn’t know what to do. My husband and other family members told me to still do it, but they love me, they have to say that.

Regardless, I still wasn’t sure, so that night I watched the city council meeting about what “shelter in place” meant for San Antonio. There were loads of different jobs brought up at this meeting, one of which being a photographer. It was stated that photographers could continue their business working from home and could do sessions in an open area maintaining social distancing. There was my answer.

New baby Rhys arrived right before quarantine for the Woolfolk family
New baby Rhys arrived right before quarantine for the Woolfolk family

So What Happened When I Finally Said Yes?

I’m not going to lie though, when I posted it on social media, I was still super nervous. The internet is mean and I am not good at dealing with it. Nevertheless, I made the choice, announced it, and waited. The results warmed my heart. I received no hateful comments, and nothing but support. Loads of people wanted to sign up and my friends were sharing it to their social media accounts as well. I was super relieved.


What The Project Taught Me About Life

Once I started doing this project I learned more than I could’ve imagined. I learned about my business and myself, but I also learned about life in general. I know that sounds super cheesy. However, I knew I wanted to write about doing the front porch portrait project and when thinking about what to write I kept coming back to the same thing: it really taught me about life. So here it goes, here’s what I’ve learned this past month.

Sweet family of 3 during covid-19
Sweet family of 3 during covid-19

It’s Hard to Not Hug Your Friends

This first one is kind of funny, see because I’m not really a hugger. However, one of my dear yoga friends signed up for the project and she is a hugger. Every time I take her class, we hug and I love it. Seeing her made me realize that maybe I do love hugs. At least from certain people.

Dear friend Brandie and her sweet pup
Dear friend Brandie and her sweet pup

Perfection is Not the Goal

I’m sure there are photographers out there that would cringe at some of the photos I’ve taken during this project. Some are not technically perfect, some the lighting wasn’t what I wanted, but it doesn’t matter. I didn’t get to choose to shoot only at magic hour, I wasn’t able to bring a lot of equipment, I didn’t have help, but that wasn’t the point of this. The point was to document these families and to tell this story.

Sibling love during quarantine.
Sibling love during quarantine.

(Regular) Life Still Happens and Should be Celebrated

One family I had the opportunity to photograph literally moved into their house 2 days before. It was the first house they had bought. When the mom told me this, I remember thinking “wow, having to move during a pandemic”. But then I realized, of course they still moved. What were they going to do? Buying a house takes forever, moving takes planning, and sometimes regular life just has to go on.

Moving into a new home during quarantine and shelter in place
Moving into a new home during quarantine and shelter in place

Another family is really into San Antonio’s fiesta celebration and since it’s been moved to November this year, they wanted to still celebrate. They dressed up in their best Fiesta outfit and it was fantastic.

Celebrating San Antonio's Fiesta at home
Celebrating San Antonio’s Fiesta at home

I also had a family who had a baby just two weeks earlier. They wouldn’t have been able to get professional photos of their little one without this project. It was challenging for me to not snuggle their little one and get all those newborn photos. However, I was honoured and so glad I was able to at least capture a few family shots for them.

Newborn snuggles during covid-19
Newborn snuggles during covid-19

Finally, I had a family who was celebrating the son’s 19th birthday. I was blessed to be able to capture a small part of his day. Hopefully he will remember it with fondness.

Celebrating a birthday during Covid-19
Celebrating a birthday during Covid-19

Where You are is Better than You Think

One thing I personally struggle with is wondering whether I’m “good enough” in what I do. Am I a good enough designer, photographer, business-owner? Or am I just kidding myself? After receiving such positive feedback from people, I came to realize with this project that I might know what I’m doing after all.


A Little Silly-ness can Go a Long Way

This next lesson is one I basically live by already but it’s good to be reminded of it. I love how the families wanted to have fun with the photos. One family staged a fight over toilet paper. It was too fun.

Front porch portrait of kids being kids
Front porch portrait of kids being kids
Quarantine Silliness
Quarantine Silliness fighting over toilet paper

Doing What You Love is a Mood-Booster

I’m not going to lie, there were days when I didn’t think I was up for taking photos. This is such a weird time and my mood was really up and down. There were days when I got so much accomplished and days I didn’t want to do anything. However, no matter how I was feeling that day, after taking photos I felt instantly better. I came home happier and feeling like I had a purpose. It was magic, really.


Even Introverts Need to Get Out a Little

I’ve worked from home for a long time now and I honestly love it. I really don’t know why people struggle with it (unless you have kids at home). Back when I worked in a office, I really hated it. I hated having to put on real pants, meetings, everything. I truly enjoy being alone, nevertheless, I did realize that not even being able to go Hobby Lobby or the gym made me a bit restless. Even introverts need people.

Front porch portrait with family pup.
Front porch portrait with family pup.

Final Thoughts on the Front Porch Project

I really loved doing this, it was so rewarding for me and kept me sane during stay at home orders. I’ve decided I want to offer more mini-sessions in the coming year as well, and because of that, I’ve got a question for you. What sort of mini-sessions would you love to have? Right now, I only have Christmas mini-sessions planned, but if there’s another type of session, you’d love to have, let me know in the comments!

If you’re interested in signing up for photo session, head over to this page. I’d love to work with you!

What the Front Porch Portrait Project Taught Me About Life

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