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Getting your pandemic porch-rait

Photographer Kaitlyn Mullin has been capturing images of families out on their porches. [SEAN HEEGER]

She’s still telling people to say cheese, but she’s doing it from a safe distance. To keep residents spirits up during the coronavirus  pandemic, local photographer Kaitlyn Mullin has undertaken a new project she calls porch-raits.

After seeing other photographers from across Ontario and other provinces doing something similar, Mullin decided to take on this new project under her personal photography company ‘Captured by Kait.’ Her goal by starting this was to have people show appreciation for their families and get in the Easter spirit.

 “Even the strangest and the most unsettling and anxiety inducing time can still be something that we can capture beautifully,” said Mullin. “I’ve had so many families who have taken COVID-19 and social isolation and turned it into something fun. I’ve had people come out in their pyjamas and I’ve had people come out dressed up all fancy and whatnot. I think it’s really taught me that even in the crummiest of situations there’s always a silver lining and there’s always a way to find joy even when things seem dark and gloomy.”

Since she posted on Facebook at the beginning of April, she’s been contacted more than 100 times by those who want to take part and book a session for their porch-raits. Now, she’s been devoting her free time to ensure that everyone interested can get their photos taken.

Mullins is a full-time product photographer with a Toronto company, but focuses her personal efforts on family photography. It’s the latter style that she showcases in her porch-raits.

When she sets an appointment with interested families for porch-raits and gets set to take pictures, Mullin ensures the safety of everyone involved is the number one priority and limits contact by following all social distancing measures.

“I let them (the families being photographed) know to be ready and on their porch for that set time so then when I show up we’re all ready to go, everyone’s outside, I don’t need to knock on any doors or ring and doorbells,” said Mullin. “They would pose on the porch; I would direct them from the sidewalk and then I use a zoom lens so I can take the porch-rait from a far enough distance that it’s still safe for myself and for the family involved.”

She also limits contact further by foregoing printed pictures, instead sending digital files to the family through online means.

“There is actually no physical interaction between myself or the client getting their photos,” said Mullin.

She says COVID-19 has affected her business by forcing her to cancel Easter shoots she had planned, with studio equipment and props going to waste. She lost “a decent amount of money” by having to cancel the shoots and since holiday photos are her favourite, finding an alternative that was safe for her and those involved was key to keeping herself busy during this difficult time.

Her regular job as a product photographer has also kept her indoors and she says it’s been driving her a little crazy, so finding a way to get out and do something she loves is good for her and the families she shoots.

 “I’ve been stuck inside I have a little bit of cabin fever,” said Mullin. “So these photos were really good because not only did I feel like I was helping other people you know by brightening their day with some free porch-raits, but I also got to get out of the house a little bit, which I really needed.”

The porch-raits by Mullin are free and interested parties can contact her through her Facebook page Captured by Kait or on Instagram by searching @capturedbykait.

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