Lessons I learned during Covid. Oh my goodness, there were so many. Honestly, I never would have thought that being in quarantine could be so personally educational (and sometimes funny). But, it was.
Looking back now, grateful that I’m up and out and working again as a professional photographer, but also cognizant that things could change quickly in the immediate future, I realize how much I’ve learned about myself.
Thought it would be fun to share……
Undeniably, I love to go out to eat. Isn’t is strange that some things, like my egg white and veggie omelette, tastes so much better when I buy it at the local bagel store? Of course I can make it at home….and I do. But it’s never as good. And, that’s just take out! Restaurant dining is spectacular. I don’t thing I truly appreciated it until I couldn’t go anymore because of the pandemic.
Of course, I CAN cook. And, I usually do. However, cooking three meals a day, for my family, was…..A LOT! Nevertheless, my girls embarked on trendy pandemic cooking. Likewise, many of my friends did as well; and they were amazing. They baked banana bread, rainbow cookies and even attempted a copycat recipe for the yummy Levain Bakery cookies that are simply beyond.
But, I have to admit….cooking (and cleaning, and loading and unloading my dishwasher) became old quickly. I admire my friends who relished in the opportunity to create in the kitchen…..but that’s just not me.
In fact, one of the highlights of my quarantine was when I learned one of my favorite restaurants, Lemon Freehold, was doing takeout. Pick up was safe and dinner was delicious. I’m still raving about their awesome rice balls.
In short, cooking…..all the time……is overrated. I am so grateful that things have opened up and I can visit my favorite restaurants!
Generally, I love to travel. Weekends away are one of my guilty pleasures. Nothing speaks more clearly to this than my pre-pandemic trip to the TWA Hotel and my regular visits to my happy place, Sanibel Island. However, my ability to “sneak away” disappeared with the onset of Covid.
Don’t get me wrong…..I LOVE New Jersey. As a Manalapan photographer, I appreciate all that Central Jersey has to offer. In fact, my location photo shoots take advantage of the stunning beauty of our state. But with quarantine orders in place, I wasn’t seeing much of anything.
Once things opened up, a weekend away at The Gables in Long Beach Island and a quick trip to Florida (where I was finally able to see my parents, and enjoy the beach in Sanibel), truly reminded me of how good a getaway can be for the soul.
Number three in my lessons from Covid focuses on technology. Never before have I been so reliant upon it. Let me explain. Of course, I’m “kind” of a techie. As a family photographer I am intimately familiar with my camera equipment and the computer programs I use to edit and produce spectacular portraits.
I’m also “familiar” with social media. In fact, I have to admit that while I’m kind of a “news junkie” on certain days I do rely on my Facebook feed to keep me informed!
But, during the pandemic I relied on technology, socially, more than ever. It was through my Facebook and Instagram accounts that I was able to keep up with not only what my friend were doing, but also how other small businesses were managing. I participated in Zoom calls to keep in touch and managed to teach my parents to Facetime. At one point, I even created a bitmoji of myself (clearly, I had a LOT of free time on my hands).
While these aspects of technology were awesome….the constant stream of pandemic news was devastating. It played 24/7 on the television and my news feeds were filled with doom and gloom. Even worse, as Covid became more political, it seemed as if everyone was fighting over everything….lockdowns, case counts and even masks. As a result, I make a point to take a break, put down my phone and live in the present. Of course, this is much easier now that I am booking portrait sessions again.
I love my family. Consequently, spending time with them is one of the greatest joys of my life. While Covid negatively impacted by ability to visit my parents, it did provide me months of unparalleled access to my girls.
At first, I was thrilled. As moms know, our “older” (high school and college-aged) kids are busy. Those in high school have classes, sports, dance, clubs and friends. And, our college students are often away from home for months at a time.
We miss them. That’s why you see a flood of festive Thanksgiving and holiday pictures on social media. Iphone pictures from airports announcing “they are home” always make me smile.
My girls and I spent a LOT of time together this spring. As such, I began to appreciate the breaks that normal life provides. To be honest, I missed my alone time. We were all “working” from home, eating three meals a day together and even spending our spare time with each other.
While puzzles and Netflix nights were awesome….the time together was, how shall I say it…. a LOT. We all needed a break. This was one of the most important lessons from Covid.
As a family photographer, my work requires close interaction with my clients. Needless to say, my business suffered as a result of Covid. Posing for family photos was at the bottom of the list for most people. And, as much as I love to take pictures, I would never have endangered those with whom I work by suggesting sessions that were unsafe. What was I to do?
I am, without a doubt, addicted to taking pictures. Not surprisingly, I almost always have my camera with me. And, for those times when I don’t (like the day I saw a whale in the ocean while having lunch at Langosta Lounge in Asbury park), I use my phone. Bit of advice here, try Langosta’s veggie burgers – YUM!
At the start of the quarantine I was definitely short on subjects. Luckily, I had house full of girls. They become my models as I continued to shoot. When I look back on these pictures, I am grateful I made them pose….this was such a strange time, but I never want to forget it. The pictures remind me of how lucky I truly am; another one of my lessons from Covid.
As October ends and the holiday season rapidly approaches, I am hopeful and anxious at the same time. I’m looking forward to celebrating the holidays, yet am fearful of the upcoming flu season and reportedly rising Covid cases nationwide.
I am thrilled I can continue to work, both outdoors “on location” and in my studio as I plan for The Magical Santa Experience and professional holiday portraits. I will continue to live life passionately, doing what I love most…taking pictures. And, as long as I can do it safely, I would love to work with you and your family.
Time goes so quickly. Allow me to capture your family as they are today. The photos I take will serve as tangible memories for all the years to come. Contact me today to schedule a sitting.