Local photographer reaching out, giving back with front porch sessions

Monday, May 4, 2020
Local photographer Jessica Briones does a front porch session with the Ronnie and Amanda Hardman family of Greencastle recently. Briones is donating 50 percent of her proceeds to a number of local charities.
Banner Graphic/Jared Jernagan

As a school counselor also working as a portrait photographer, Jessica Briones found that both jobs had suddenly and drastically changed in late March.

Of course, we all know e-learning became the order of the day for educators through at least the end of this school year, and Briones has continued — remotely — in her role at Southmont Junior High School.

But what about the photography? The lifelong Greencastle resident made sure she didn’t violate any state orders before she resumed her photography business.

Jessica Briones

“I made sure to wait until the state of Indiana gave the go for photographers to take photos,” Briones said.

She found the information she needed on the state coronavirus website (www.coronavirus.in.gov/), which specifically says “photographers are allowed to continue business provided that it is outdoors, maintains social distancing and subjects that include other people should be nuclear families or groups of 10 or less that are already isolating with each other.”

After also confirming with local police, Briones moved forward, borrowing an idea she had seen from other photographers: Porch photos.

The concept is pretty simple. Families are told when Briones should arrive and she gets out of her car ready to start with the photos.

Briones works fast. She needs to considering she’s done 77 of these session in recent weeks.

In about 10 minutes with the Hardman family in Greencastle recently, Briones ran them through about a dozen different poses and pairings, even taking a photo of the family cat.

And then, as quickly as she had arrived, Briones was off for her next stop on a beautiful Friday evening.

The best part of the whole arrangement is the generosity Briones shows in doing the sessions. Families pay just $20 for the session, and half of that goes to area charities.

“I wanted to make the cost of these sessions cheaper than my normal prices in case people were affected by job loss,” Briones said. “I will be donating 50 percent from every session to local charities. Clients are allowed to choose which charity their money goes toward.”

That means that as of Friday, $770 was set to be split between Beyond Homeless Inc, Putnam County Emergency Food Pantry, Humane Society of Putnam County, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Greencastle Christian Church Food Pantry, Kids Against Hunger - Waynetown and the Putnam County Youth Development Commission.

Briones is a board member of the PCYDYC.

“I have a heart for volunteering and giving back to my community, which is part of the reason I wanted to do these sessions,” Briones said.

For more information on Briones’ photography, visit her online at www.facebook.com/JessicaBPhotographyIN/.

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