Hindsight is 2020… A year in review

Wow, what a year we’ve had! We were all taken by surprise and our lives changed radically, both personal and professionally. We learned a lot about ourselves and our willingness to change and ability to adapt.

It was not easy, but as they say, we were all in it together.

Top 5 lessons learned in 2020

Here, at Terry Riggins Photography we learned a lot. Here are our top five take aways:

  1. Support our community.
  2. Everyone is on their own path. Kindness matters.
  3. Be safe for yourself and others.
  4. Learning new things was a beacon of hope.
  5. Find something that makes you smile each day.

Support our community.

A collection of friends encouraged me to use photography to support and help our community, and they became part of the creation and implementation of “Fotos for Food”.  Over 3 weeks we photographed 40 families, socially distanced, on their front porch or back yards. Each family made a direct monetary donation of their choice to the Contra Costa Food Bank. This program, along with the generous support of our local Rotary club, raised enough money to provide 18,000 meals for those in need. Each family photographed presented themselves in their own unique way: some in pjs, many with their bread starters, pets, musical instruments, bikes, signs of gratitude, and deep affection for their family members. For that collection of friends and myself, our lives were deeply enriched by this experience.

family on their back porch with items that keep them busy during the pandemic

Everyone is on their own path. Kindness matters.

In the business of documenting people’s lives in photographs, it became immediately apparent that each person and family were on their own path as they navigated 2020. We worked hard to meet them where they were. Understandably, for some, this was not a time to be photographed. But for others, when so many young adults and college students returned home, felt this was a found opportunity to capture this moment exactly where they were. With or without a recent haircut. We listened and adapted to what we heard and felt from them. What we saw, were families happy to be together, who were delighted to be outdoors in a shared fun experience. We shared our experiences laughed together about the humanity of it all.

Be safe for yourself and others.

Do I like wearing a mask? Nope. Do I wear a mask? Yup. And I used my longer lenses to be able to keep a safe distance from my clients. It was essential to adapt our process to assure safety for all. Normally I would step in and adjust a pose or move a stray hair out of place. But quickly learned that it was much better for my clients to do that for themselves. We happily adapted and fortunately being outdoors allowed us to continue to be of service. Most sessions ended with a masked portrait as families wanted to document this moment in time.

family with two sons and parents pows for a family portrait wearing covid face masks

Learning new things was a beacon of hope.

It was definitely not business as usual and our business had new ebbs and flows. Enter Zoom and those inevitable words. “You are on mute’. Ah, Zoom, we all learned and laughed together. I find learning is so hopeful. It speaks to the promise of new skills to be used now and in the future. Summer of 2020 found me taking a 6-month group coaching course on how to improve my business with 25 other photographers around the world, literally. Although, I have been a working professional photographer for 16 years, during this course learned so much about why I do what I do, who are our services are best suited for and how to service this community better. Our wonderful coach, Sandra Coan, guided us all down this path of personal and professional discovery and we are all so grateful for the experience. Leaning is good. Learning is hopeful.

Find something that makes you smile each day.

For each of us that may be something different. For me being outdoors helps a lot. Creating unique socially distanced experience help. We created outdoor movie nights as well as wine and bocce ball games. I love organizing, so closets were cleaned and debris around the yard was removed. We saw our adult sons, remote extended family members, friends, book groups, all on zoom and we laughed a lot. Striving to keep your spirits up is something we can do right where we are. Find what makes you smile, inside and out, and share it. It is good for the universe.

Brothers sitting back to back on brick steps laughing during family photography session

So that’s my takeaway for 2020. But there was more, you say… Yes, there was, but I for one am ready to take the lessons from 2020, take what was helpful and leave behind what was not.

  1. Support your community.
  2. Understand that everyone is on their own path.
  3. Kindness matters.
  4. Be safe for yourself and others.
  5. Invest in yourself.
  6. Learn something new and SMILE, it’s good for the universe.

Happy New Year, 2021. We have been waiting for you. Stay tuned.

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