Through a New Lens

Austin photographers capture life during social distancing with free porch portraits

Austin photographers capture life in social distancing with portraits

Front porch portraits
The Ray Family. Photo by Chris Lammert and Keelyn Costello/FrontPortraits
Front porch portraits
David Callejas gathers with his loved ones. Photo by Chris Lammert and Keelyn Costello/FrontPortraits
Front porch portraits
You don't need a front porch to book a photo session. Photo by Chris Lammert and Keelyn Costello/FrontPortraits
Front porch portraits
Front porch portraits
Front porch portraits

With the constantly changing rules in place due to COVID-19, people all over the world are finding creative ways to stay connected. For Austin-based professional photographers Chris Lammert and Keelyn Costello, that means using their talents to spread a little kindness through their newest project, FrontPortraits, which creates free front porch family portraits.

Having worked together previously on different projects, Lammert and Costello both felt that it was important to give back to the community amid  the financial difficulties people are currently facing. They decided using their creativity and photography skills would be the best way they could do so.

“We felt inspired by neighborhood walks and seeing families enjoying each other’s company on their front porch. As photographers, we tend to see moments in images and stories,” explain Lammert and Costello. “We felt that even though these times are not ideal, that we can help lift some families spirits by giving them something to cherish.”

Here’s how it works: First, book a 10-minute slot on the pair's website. On the appointed date, they drive to your home and text when they arrive so all you have to do is come outside. Then, Lammert and Costello will guide you through a few poses from the street, trying to capture what home feels like for you. Once that’s all sorted, the photos are taken of you and your family from at least six feet away (hello social distancing!) using their professional lenses with the necessary zoom range.

Lammert and Costello explain further, “Our policy is no photos from anywhere closer than the street/parking lot, no interaction closer than 10 feet, and no contact of any form.”

Don’t worry if you don’t have a front porch. They’ll keep a safe six-feet distance away in front wherever it is that you call home.

The whole photo session itself is free, plus you’ll get a download of your favorite photo at no charge. Additional photos from the session are available for purchase.

With everyone’s normal routines dramatically altered by the pandemic, Lammert and Costello have found that many of the people who booked sessions are simply excited to have something to look forward to. Some saw it as a fun activity for the family, some used it as a way to capture the newborn photos they never had the chance to schedule, and others just like the excuse to dress up.

Lammert and Costello explain, “We hope that this virus can be eradicated as quickly as possible and that people can begin living life beyond their front porches again. Until that time comes, we plan on capturing as many Austinites from their front porches and lifting spirits of the Austin community as much as we can.

Lammert and Costello reflect on how the stories they’ve heard from people who have booked sessions have been incredibly moving and eye-opening.

“From families having loved ones deployed, people losing their jobs, to infants being born during a time of uncertainty, we've truly been moved by what these families and individuals are going through. It's shown us that while every situation is different, we all share a common struggle related to COVID19, whatever that may be,” they said. “We hope that sharing these stories helps others feel less alone and instead be reminded that even though we're isolated, we’re all in this together.”

FrontPortraits’ initial sessions booked out within hours, but they anticipate opening more spots soon. If you’d like to book a session with FrontPortraits, check out the availability on their website. The pair will be adding new time slots soon, or sign up for email alerts to get notified about new availability.