Originally this was a post on social media, but I want to elaborate on it.
First - I'm not bashing photographers who are doing them. Or judging them. Or condemning them.
I'm not shaming anyone.
& I think the ones I've seen are adorable, but I still won't be participating in them.
I hope in the coming days more photographers stop doing them and instead do them once social distancing is over - especially in places like NC where as of 5pm today non-essential business is ordered to stop.
Secondly - I really appreciate everyone sending me the links to Front Porch Portraits (a movement that started up north I believe by a photographer who's name I have forgotten, but I do wish some people around here doing them would stop pretending it was their idea and taking credit for it as if it was an original idea - but that's a rant for later) but I am keeping my behind home as much as humanly possible.
I TRULY appreciate the links and the encouragement. It’s so thoughtful of you all to think of me. To not only suggest doing them but to offer to let me shoot them for you and your family.
There aren’t enough definitive and unanimously agreed on facts right now about COVID 19 transmission to make this high-risk mama comfortable with shooting large quantities of people or bringing her high-risk twins along to those shoots. I would have to bring them because it's not like babysitters are a thing right now and I can't exactly let their grandparents around them while we are specifically avoiding visits with them to keep them safe.
If I had a wildlife level lens? That's still a no. Also - I don’t want to have to get gas and touch a gas pump at ALL through this, so I'm hoping filling up two weeks ago is going to last me a month ha ha haha *nervous laugh*.
Plus - I am trying really hard to comply with the Safer At Home mandates not just for my kids and my family, but for essential workers who wish they could stay safe at home and are instead at risk at work every day. Because it is against the law.
Unpopular opinion but... photography is not essential it is a luxury. I've had people reach out to me and tell me that photography is good for their mental health and while I agree that is true for some people there is ZERO reason to take pictures of other people right now when there is so much beauty around us with spring blooms and Blue Ridge Mountains. So photographing landscapes? Sure - arguably essential to your health if you're doing it solo and not on a trail/spot that fifty other cars are parked at. Photographing other people? While nice - still not necessary for day to day life. Are pictures important? Absolutely.
Some of the last photos ever taken of peoples' loved ones are photos I have taken. I know how important what I do is emotionally - but it is still not an essential business as defined by the law.
& while I “probably” wouldn’t be fined or arrested for doing them today or tomorrow... the more of us who leave our homes for unnecessary reasons the more likely those fines and jail times will be enforced - and our law enforcement officers already have enough on their plates. Max Patch is officially closed because it was busier than ever once social distancing started. I believe places like Waterrock Knob and Lake Junaluska are next, and should be next.
Personally, it is just not something I want to risk, even if I do think the portraits are a sweet thing to come out of this. & even if I appreciate the point behind the movement. Even if I empathize fully with people trying to figure out how to make ends meet during this time.
I appreciate people tagging me and forwarding me links and trying to help me supplement income in some small way.
I’m not bashing or judging anyone for doing them or participating in them.
Some of me best friends have done them or have had them taken - BUT for me and my family I’m erring on the side of overly cautious. Especially because I have so many friends in the medical field who have been pleading with all of us to stay home.
I know it sucks losing income. Truly I do.
I’ve lost sleep and I’ve cried worrying about how I'll pay my larger bills during all of this.
I’ve brainstormed ways to supplement income.
I am SO bummed I’m missing spring bloom portrait sessions.
It is my absolute favorite time of year to take photographs.
I’m sad weddings are being postponed because it’s sad for my couples, hard on my budget, and making my 2020 Fall INSANELY busy.
I wish I was comfortable doing these - I’m just not. I was super anxious shooting the last maternity shoot (which went from a full shoot to a ten minute shoot once COVID 19 became a thing) from thirty feet away before it was against the law. We read the new mandate was being considered and she drove over to get them done before we had to comply - we were both anxious, but we wanted at least a few of her baby bump after planning them for nine months. They weren't where we originally planned - but they were adorable. You can see them here. Had the mandate happened before she could come? We were prepared to cancel. Even though it would have been sad.
I also wish more non-essential workers would comply with state mandates before we force the government’s hand to get even more strict. That’s just my opinion - and I realize it isn’t everyone’s. I want to be able to take the twins to our "secret place" to ride bikes where no other people are as far as we can see. I don't want to have to say inside and off of my front porch like some countries are asking their residents to do.
The faster we comply the faster we get a handle on this and the faster weddings can happen again. & for me - weddings are what pay my bills and support my family. I want summer weddings to happen. I want fall wedding season to be "normal." I don't want this to be our new normal. Even if there are things I love about it.
I am forever a "find the silver lining" kind of person because otherwise my anxiety would cripple me. I love having the twins home. I love sleeping in with them. I love not running around and rushing around. I love not wasting money at Target. I love that my friends and I have had more sincere conversations lately.
I don't love the unknowns - and that's why I won't participate in those porch sessions.
I don't know if I can get in trouble. I don't know if I could accidentally expose myself or the twins. I don't know if by doing them I am unintentionally encouraging another photographer to agree to do a session that exposes them to it or their clients. I just don't know.
Now. I do think Lifestyle Sessions in your newly deep cleaned and organized homes after this is over are 100% a thing you should call me for ❤️ I think when this is all over we should all have new appreciations for the homes we live in.
The homes that helped entertain our kids, nurture our creativity, and keep our families as safe as possible during a pandemic.
If you made it to the end of this and you're wondering how to help me without suggesting Front Porch Sessions there are a few things you can do;
1. If you are planning a session later in the year go ahead and can afford to book it now and pay a date retainer - that helps me!
2. If you know you'll use my services at some point but aren't sure when, I'm offering gift
cards worth $450 for a discounted rate of $350.
3. You can "pay what you can" to download any/all of the images in this gallery (these are all social media sized images). For printable quality download them from this version of the gallery. Don't have income to spare? Reviews online suffice as payment as well! My Venmo is Victoria-McFall-1 and my paypal email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Keep referring me to your friends and family who are planning weddings/birthdays/etc after this is all over.
6. Leave reviews on Wedding Wire, The Knot, Facebook, and Google.
7. Share my posts and blog posts when you see them.
Those things help me while also keeping me in compliance with the law.
Here's a pretty photo of the twins practicing social distance from others before it was even a thing. This photo hangs over my desk, actually.
Thank you so much for your continued support,