When COVID19 hit we all were in shock. Let’s be honest, how often in this lifetime are we told we cannot leave the house!? Everything closed, now what?
No fun shopping.
No eating out.
No date nights.
Times were tough and things, well, they just felt meh and uncertain for everybody. I thought about ways I could do my part and make my little community smile and uplift them with something good. I went from shooting 5ish nights a week to now nothing. Inquires were silent and people were tucked in their homes. I so missed all the faces I’m usually shooting! I too needed something to stay fresh and cheer me up! I, like many parents, just needed a minute so this was how I spent it!
What started out as a small shout out for Porch Pictures turned into quite an event in Land O Lakes Florida! I checked social media after posting what I thought might be a small “I’m in” and literally had a small village wanting photos so I made it my mission to do porch pictures for every street in my neighborhood. I didn’t want to limit participation so I made it manageable for me and my family. When you live in a Land O Lakes mass community this is quite a project to organize. Thank goodness for Google Maps y’all! I created nightly events by street and made pin maps on homes I would hit with time slots. Night after night my Canon 5DMIV got some good use and I laugh and smiled A LOT along the way. Before I knew it – three weeks in and over one hundred families behind my lens. This was certainly a Land O Lakes Porch Project!
Because I was newer to the community, only moving in a year ago I didn’t know many people. Well, that’s no longer true. I have met so many faces and now I remember their kids and house numbers as I walk or bike with my family.
But what was I shooting for? I thought long and hard about this. My husband and I dished out ideas over dinner one night and finally I settled on Kids Helping Kids Pasco County. This was a nonprofit I’ve watched for about a year on social media. I’ve wanted to get involved for a good while but many of the big activities I wanted to do with my family fell on major photo months for me. I wasn’t going to miss a opportunity to finally help in some way! See, the Founder is actually a sweet client of mine so it just felt right to have all the families donate whatever they could to this local nonprofit. I didn’t ask for any certain amount – it was just a please pay it forward to Kids Helping Kids IF YOU WERE ABLE. At first I didn’t really tell Michelle (Founder) what I was doing. I just said so hey, how can we donate? She kindly gave me some links and I attached them to every gallery I sent for my Land O Lakes Porch Photo Project. After a few days I sent her a message and said, so hey, I’m doing something in my neighborhood and byyyyy the way, I told them to donate to Kids Helping Kids. She was so excited and wala, there it was. We’re chatting daily and it’s exciting! I got people excited to get out of the house, excited to shoot, excited to dress up or get creative and most importantly, excited to support an amazing nonprofit who supports families here in Land O Lakes. I began posting the nights photos by street along my way. The outpouring support was amazing, people were so happy in my community!!!! You could feel the laughter and love on social media – it was intoxicating! The more I shot and shared photos the more people signed up for their family photos.
I couldn’t be more moved to see such value and love for my photography talents. And when families got their photos they happily donated day after day!
What I learned: Kindness burns like fire, the more you do it, the bigger it grows. <3
We raised over $1,500 for Kids Helping Kids of Pasco and I’m just blown away. While these weeks of business were quite I’ve had an absolute blast putting smiles on faces in Land O Lakes.
Special thanks to the amazing Sean Daly with ABC Action News for doing a story about DigitalMyst Photography and also Ashley Glass with CBS12 for the sweet shout out across the coast on my photos.
Here’s a collection from each family I photographed the last few weeks. Enjoy and be proud of this amazing neighborhood spreading joy Land O Lakes Florida.
Thank you to Kids Helping Kids Pasco for all you do for those kids and families in need of a little love. <3