Before the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly turned life as we know it upside down, I was just starting my “busy season” for spring portraits. In the first two weeks of March, I photographed over 600 elementary school students, preschoolers, toddlers, and babies. My calendar was jammed packed with senior sessions, more school photographs, special events, a birthday celebration in New Orleans, a mini-vacation to Austin, and my children’s field trips. I can remember looking at my calendar thinking “WOW! How did this many things find their way on my calendar?”
Then, just like that, everything came to a screeching halt.
All my plans for a busy, full, productive spring were canceled and I found myself safe at home every day, all day, with my two kids and my husband.
We make the most of our time together. We’ve enjoyed having picnic lunches outside, going on walks around the subdivision, taking coffee breaks, and my youngest has even learned to ride his bike without training wheels! It wasn’t what I planned, but we enjoy the sudden slow pace and have tried focusing on the good parts of our lives and not the bad.
Don’t get me wrong I have my freak out moments. I’ve battled anxiety and feared my business will never recover. I worry that I am ruining my children because I am suddenly now a homeschool mom, and I am not very good at it.
Despite all the fear, this is a special time, and I decided that every day I was going to take out the camera…. the good camera not the one on my phone…and no matter what is going on, I will snap three pictures each day of my family.
My little three pictures a day personal project is an unexpected joy for me. I’ve tried new things with my camera and rediscovered my love for using natural light. I’ve enjoyed the creative process and knowing my children will have photographs to look back and reminisce on the good that happened in the midst of a global pandemic.
I share the three photographs on my personal Facebook page daily. One day my friend Kelly commented, “Can you come shoot my kids’ pictures…. from the safe distance of 6,12 or 20 feet away!”
I started off photographing my own kids but Kelly’s comments got me thinking…another friend had sent me a viral post from Tausha Ann Photography in Tennessee. This photographer had simply walked through her neighborhood and gotten some pretty amazing photographs of her neighbors just sitting on their front porches.
Going to sleep that night it hit me…why can’t I do what that photographer did?
I have these photographs that I LOVE of my kids! I can give Kelly a way to remember this time too. I can just drive by, hop out the car and take a few shots of her kiddos. While I am at it, I don’t need to do this just for Kelly, I can see if any other families want some photographs too!
Drive By Shooting
And well, me being me I decided right then and there that I WAS going to do it and that the perfect name for it would be “Drive-By Shooting.”
My husband made a cute little “Drive-by Shooting” graphic for me and I couldn’t wait to post it to Instagram and Facebook and invite the community to sign up. Before I posted the invitation on social media a long time client of mine texted me and told me about the Front Porch Project in Baton Rouge. The project is doing free front porch sessions and in exchange, requests participants to purchase a gift card from a local small business.
Front Porch Project
The idea of asking the participants to support a small business just fueled an even greater desire within me to get my own project started.
My “Drive By Shooting” project was definitely a team effort of these different friends and clients sharing their ideas and desires with me. I wish I could say it was a creative genius call on my part, but as most things in my life, it wasn’t. It was a team effort and I was finally ready to invite the community to participate.
I posted the invitation to sign up on social media expecting a handful of faithful clients to sign up. I was completely OVERWHELMED with the response!! There were so many signing up that I had to stop booking dates within a few hours of posting my invitation.
Complete strangers signed up! If you have never pulled up to someone’s house who you have never met and they are pointing nerf guns at you and holding a sign saying “stay 6 feet away or we will shoot,” I would strongly recommend it! It has been so much FUN!!! I am pretty sure I have spent most of my time laughing.
Once, I pulled up to someone’s home and started laughing so hard I didn’t think I could stand up much less properly operate my camera.
Everyone who I’ve photographed has been excited and also very thankful. I’ve lost count of how many have told me “thank you for giving us something fun to do today.” Some families have gone to outrageous lengths to capture a funny moment, and some have put on their Sunday best and posed for a great, classic family portrait.
This project is supporting local businesses, but the heart of it is giving families in our area memories to look back on. I feel very blessed to have met so many people and have given them a reason to smile. I’ve even had people tell me how much they enjoy just scrolling through the photographs online and are looking forward to seeing more.
The arts have a way of soothing us in times of trouble. This is a very scary time we are living in, but bringing a little light when things seem so dark has been deeply rewarding for me.
Katie has been involved in the photography industry for almost 20 years, beginning as a teenager working as an assistant at a local studio. She holds a B.A. in business management from Southeastern. She started My Sister and I Photography, LLC. nine years ago and has grown her studio to specialize in family, highschool senior and school/daycare photography. She is bubbly, energetic and LOVES to laugh. She is married to her high school sweetheart and together they have two children and reside in Walker. Her husband is an assistant pastor at a church in Central and is also a talented graphic designer. Together they have a weekly podcast called “Just Be Creative” that explores what life and work looks like in the creative field. Katie loves traveling, checking out live music, spending quality time with her family and friends, thinking she can dance, and ordering food in restaurants. Find me online via Facebook and Instagram!
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