** Edited 4-22-20 after clarification. Focus is OPEN for business…as in, I am happy to help with design and ordering of sessions that were already taken. Actual photography (from a business such as mine) is not exempt from the Stay At Home order per the Governor’s office. Stay healthy, focus friends and I will MOST DEFINITELY let you know when I can legally photograph again…I miss you! ~ Susan

Photo Shoot

2 Things
+ Focus is Open for Business!

#1 PLEASE have your pictures taken on your front porch!! (I’m having a friend take ours soon!)

#2 Focus Photography by Susan is not doing Front Porch sessions at this time.

Front Porch Sessions are AWESOME and very popular right now. They are super fun and, frankly, the perfect solution to a normally slow time of year for photographers. The question for photographers seems to be, in light of our current COVID pandemic…to do them or not to do them. And beyond the obvious, there are actually more considerations to be made than just social distancing. Read on if you’re curious. 

Be well, Focus friends, and I hope to see you soon for High School Senior Sessions, Family Sessions, and Pets Sessions! Contact me to chat about how this might look for you during the current COVID situation.

Here’s my family doing a porch session before
they were cool…last year with a tripod.

First of all, pandemics SUCK! Secondly, my faith in humanity seems to always be restored in times of crisis. Various porch projects are raising money for good causes and are wonderful initiatives that bring joy and good works to a great many people. 

When I started seeing Front Porch pics, I’ll admit that I was bummed that I hadn’t thought of it. I mean, c’mon, what a fantastic idea!

It’s usually a slow start to the year for on-location photographers in Minnesota. So why not, right?! 

Here’s a list of things that have gone through my mind in the last 5 days while seeing lots and lots of great Front Porch photography sessions. I’ve done a few, too! Some sessions that I’ve seen were gifted to families and some, I’m sure, were paid-for sessions. Here’s hoping that my thoughts don’t come off as judgmental, greedy, or self-serving. Wish me luck!

  • People should totally do this!
  • I want to do this!
  • I want to give this away!
  • I don’t think I have the time or capacity to do this for free.
  • Should I offer Mini-Sessions instead at my normal rates?
  • I’m not sure I’ll have any clients this fall. 🤔
  • I’ll be ok if I don’t do these sessions.
  • But some photographers won’t be ok.
  • Photographers and clients should do what’s right for their family!


People should totally do a front porch time capsule!

There are so many good reasons to do a front porch session and not very many reasons NOT to! With Governor Walz’s address yesterday, it’s clear to me that he is in favor of businesses that  can easily social-distance, getting back to work. Front Porch photography sessions may just be the easiest kind of session to socially distance with! In fact, most on-location photography would be, with maybe the exception of newborns who need substantial posing. 

I want to do this kind of session for people!

I tried my hand last week on several front porch projects. And, oh my gosh, what a wonderful experience. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully!) thing to be with families who are ALL going through the same experience at the same time. Some are in happier places than others, but the overall situation is cohesive and conjoins us all. And it sure feels good to make people feel good!

I want to give this away to be a part of something positive!

It seems that everyone right now is looking for ways to make others’ lives more enjoyable and especially seeking out ways to help those who are doing so much to care for us (read: Essential Workers…however you define that). How AWESOME is that?!? Photographers, by nature, WANT you to have the images they capture. Offering a time-capsule moment for free or to raise funds for a good cause is a very selfless endeavor that several photographers right here in Woodbury are already doing.

I don’t think I have the time or capacity to do this for free.

After seeing one local photographer’s very successful charitable campaign I was both proud and anxious. I, myself, don’t have time or the energy to complete over 100 sessions in a short time (or even 20 or 30 to be honest). But, truly…BRAVO to photographers like this to think of others and contribute in this way. I’m very proud and not surprised at all. Most photographers are given this gift of philanthropy because we SEE things and recognize the value in these moments in time.

Should I offer Mini-Sessions instead at my normal rates?

It’s a toughy! Is it greedy to ask people to pay for a session when they could get it for free from someone who is also contributing the proceeds to a good cause? The logical answer may be “no” and should be “no”, but it kind of feels like “yes” if I’m being honest. 

After trying like mad to figure out the answer to this question, I am making the decision to do nothing. While this COVID business is running rampant, Focus by Susan will not being doing porch sessions at all. Because I can’t decide what feels right. And because (hopefully), it won’t break my business.

If your family would enjoy a front porch session (and I REALLY think you should do one), please contact me and I would be happy to point you in a good direction, I promise!

And this probably sounds very contrary to what I just said, but I AM planning to do regular 0n-location (outdoor) photography sessions as long as the Governor deems it safe. At this time, I believe that means that I can while taking social distancing precautions. So, please send me your seniors and your park family sessions and your kitties and puppers who can have their sessions outside. I can’t wait to see them. 

I’m not sure I’ll have any clients this fall. 🤔

I’m forecasting that these sessions may be the only sessions that many families do this year. And that would be totally understandable. I can’t wait to see all of the Front Porch Christmas cards next December. No, for real! Hopefully by then, it will be a reminder of something we’ve come through together and come out stronger and more resilient as a result. But, I will miss seeing regulars and new clients who will maybe decide to wait on the “normal” summer/fall family portraits this year.

I’ll be ok if I choose not to do front porch sessions.

I’m not saying it won’t sting. I’m missing out for sure on the fun of it and/or the income of doing these sessions. However, I feel very blessed that (as of now, at least), my family’s income is not solely dependent on my photography business. My hope above all hope for my Focus Photography by Susan business is that people come back. PLEASE come see me for your son or daughter’s senior portraits and PLEASE look me up the next time your family considers portraits. Bring me your puppies and kitties, too!

But some photographers won’t be ok.

In the already over-saturated market that is Portrait Photography, there’s a pretty wide spectrum of photographers out there. From “totally doing this as a hobby” to “it’s my only source of income”.  Some photographers are positioned well to provide this extraordinary free service while others are losing what could be their livelihood by doing so for free or deeply discounted prices and potentially missing out on their planned-for summer and fall family sessions. Those of us photographers who are somewhere in between are surely struggling a bit to find the balance and to do what is right for their business. 

To wrap up what’s been rolling around in my noggin…I’m not saying that one short and sweet front porch session will make or break a photographer’s year. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with accepting a nice gift! Get those porch pics scheduled with a photographer and commemorate these weeks and months of working through a truly global situation. If you have the wherewithal to make your donations directly to a charity and are able to also pay a photographer for his or her services, then I’m all for that! Nearly 100% of photographers are small business owners. And finally…try not to judge when people choose differently than you. 


Be well and thank you for taking the time to read the thoughts of a local, on-location, natural- light photographer in Woodbury, MN!

All the best,

~ Susan


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